‘Crime-infested’ 7-Eleven, WA corrections system sued by slain Spanaway mom’s daughter
The daughter of a Spanaway mother of nine shot dead in May contends in a newly filed lawsuit that the state prison system inadequately supervised the convicted felon charged in her mother’s death.
The lawsuit filed March 23 in Pierce County Superior Court also alleges that businesses where the killing took place failed to secure their “crime-infested” properties.
More than 450 crimes were reported near the 7-Eleven convenience store and 76 gas station at the 17400 block of Pacific Avenue South in the five years leading up to the May 26 murder of 39-year-old Angelina Palmer, the lawsuit states.
Jerrmell R. Warren, 40, is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in Palmer’s death. He’s pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.
Police reports show Warren — who was wanted for a probation violation and on suspicion of violently assaulting his girlfriend — opened fire during an argument with a gas-station customer and struck Palmer as she left the 7-Eleven on her birthday. She died at the scene. Four days later, police caught up to Warren after he became a suspect in an armed carjacking and led officers on a high-speed pursuit where he crashed into multiple cars.
The lawsuit alleging wrongful death, negligence and nuisance seeks unspecified monetary damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral expenses and legal fees. The complaint states the goal of the suit is to prevent violence at the Spanaway gas station and future failures of the state’s community custody program.
The owner of the convenience store declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by The News Tribune. Emails to the owner, a CPA listed as his business agent and a 7-Eleven representative were not returned. A 7-Eleven franchising site shows the property is for sale.
The state Department of Corrections also declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
“It’s a fairly unique circumstance because you’ve got a property that has a really ugly history,” plaintiff’s attorney Jonathan Nolley told The News Tribune recently. “And then it seems that the assailant was there threatening people ... And no one was doing anything about it.”
Nolley said a store clerk should have called 911 but also questioned why Warren wasn’t already in custody on the day of the shooting.
Following prison sentences for sexually assaulting a fellow jail inmate and eluding police while driving under the influence, Warren violated his DOC supervision terms multiple times and had been wanted for months for not reporting to a probation officer, court records show.
Warren remains jailed while awaiting trial on more than a dozen charges stemming from five incidents, including Palmer’s murder, armed robbery, domestic-violence assault, assaulting police during a pursuit and felony DUI.
Nolley said his firm, Mickelsen Dalton LLC, will partner with more experienced attorneys on civil cases involving prisons and probation systems to litigate the claims against the state. He said research into Warren’s contacts with law enforcement is ongoing.
“Suffice it to say something didn’t go right in terms of the supervision of this guy,” Nolley said.