A Seattle Man Sentenced 123 years For Killing Ethiopian Restaurant Owner

A 25-year-old Seattle man who was convicted of killing the owner of the Philadelphia Cheesesteak restaurant in the Central District in 2008 was sentenced Friday to just over 123 years in prison.

A 25-year-old Seattle man who was convicted of killing a Central District restaurant owner in 2008 was sentenced Friday to just over 123 years in prison.

Degene Barecha Dashasa

Rey Davis-Bell was convicted in February of first-degree murder for shooting Degene “Safie” Dashasa in his restaurant on Jan. 30, 2008. He was also convicted of three counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at two other people in the restaurant and firing gunshots into the window of a former girlfriend’s apartment earlier in the day.

The victim’s relatives said after the shooting they thought Davis-Bell may have had a grudge against Dashasa because he had run Davis-Bell out of the shop to prevent him from dealing drugs on the premises.

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Prosecutors, however, were never able to lay out a motive in court.

Prosecutors said the gunshots Davis-Bell fired at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment were an angry response after learning that she had been bad-mouthing him to the woman he was dating at the time.

Davis-Bell maintained his innocence throughout his trial. His defense lawyer, Peter Geisness, said witnesses described the gunman as being between 5-feet-8 and 6 feet tall. Davis-Bell is just 5-feet-4, he said.

Rey Alberto Davis-Bell
Rey Alberto Davis-Bell in the courtroom after his homicide conviction

Police and prosecutors say that on Jan. 30, 2008, Davis-Bell first shot at his ex-girlfriend’s West Seattle apartment and then drove to Philadelphia Cheese Steak, at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, went inside and asked for Dashasa, 32. As he approached the counter Dashasa was shot in the chest. A customer, Yo Lee, was shot and wounded as he stood near the front door, according to court charging documents.

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Dashasa’s cousin, who was working at the restaurant, ran from gunfire and wasn’t struck, court papers said.

Dashasa, who emigrated from Ethiopia about a decade ago, took over the popular Central Area restaurant after his best friend and business partner, Troy Hackett, was fatally shot in 2003. Hackett’s slaying remains unsolved.

Several months before his death, Dashasa traveled to Ethiopia and married a woman he had met through relatives. He had bought a house and was preparing it for his new bride when he was killed, his family said.

Source: seattletimes

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