Parking spot dispute leads to murder charge for Washington man, prosecutors say

Brooke Wolford
·2 min read

An argument over an apartment complex parking spot led to a fatal shooting and now a Washington man is charged with murder, officials say.

Koby Cornelious, 18, is accused of fatally shooting Melvin Wilson, 34, in Kent Sunday following the parking spot dispute, according to King County Superior Court documents. He is charged with second-degree murder and a judge set his bail at $2 million, the King County Jail roster says.

According to court documents:

Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Wilson and his girlfriend, who was interviewed by officers at the scene, saw a tow truck entering their apartment complex as they were leaving and they decided to “warn friends in the hopes that no one would be towed.” They spotted a woman whose Ford Fusion was parked outside of a stall and asked if she needed assistance or if she was getting towed.

They approached the woman and she told them she called the tow truck because someone had parked in her spot, which sparked an argument over the financial burden of paying for a tow.

Wilson’s girlfriend told officers the argument became heated and the woman started insulting Wilson with expletives and racial slurs, according to the probable cause report.

The woman then called someone, who arrived almost immediately and initially acted as a “peacemaker” by calming the woman and putting her back in her car. Wilson and his girlfriend tried to leave but the woman continued to “hurl insults at [Wilson], so he continued to argue with her.”

Three videos that captured the shooting were collected by police. An officer’s description of the video footage said that Wilson approached the woman who was yelling at him and that “he does not appear to be armed in any way and his hands are out of his pockets.”

While standing in front of the woman’s car, the man the woman had called, identified as Cornelious, of Kent, “pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired multiple shots at Wilson.”

Seven shots were fired at Wilson. Cornelious took off running and the woman drove off in his Fusion and parked it elsewhere in the complex.

Officers arrived at the scene around 1:55 a.m. and found Wilson unresponsive. First responders attempted lifesaving efforts but Wilson was pronounced dead just after 2:20 a.m.

Seven 9mm casings were found at the scene.

Witnesses gave officers Cornelious’s description and detectives later found his mother, who told them he was hiding inside an apartment. She called him outside and officers detained him.

“Cornelious emphatically denied being involved in, or having knowledge of, a shooting, saying he had been asleep in his apartment the whole time,” according to the probable cause report.

Cornelious’s arraignment hearing is scheduled April 21, Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, told McClatchy News in an email.