SEATTLE – A courtroom at the King County Jail erupted with emotion as the suspect made his debut in the death of a beloved Seattle business owner. The suspect, Ashton Lefall, is charged with killing D’Vonne Pickett Jr. in the Central District on Wednesday.
On Friday, a judge found probable grounds for holding Lefall without bail because of the charges he faces in Pickett’s death, including first-degree murder.
He is also charged with other crimes in Seattle and faces two counts of assault, robbery and wrongful possession of a weapon.
The pain, anger and heartache that Pickett’s family heard in the courtroom was terrifying. It was the first time since Pickett’s death that his mother, sisters and loved ones had come face to face with the suspect. As tears streamed down their faces, they let the accusations fly.
“He’s a coward! He killed my only son! In front of his shop! He killed my baby!” yelled Pickett’s mother, Nicky Chappell.
The pain of Pickett’s devastating loss runs even deeper for his family, as Pickett and Lefall were once childhood friends.
“I used to have this boy at my house. I fed him. He called me mom. He shot my baby in the back. He took it from us. I will never see my baby again. Once again. One more time and that’s all I have. I’m so hurt,” Chappell sobbed.
The grieving mother said Lefall had been a problem for the family for the past two years and claimed he had harassed and stalked her. She said Pickett filed a police report against Lefall in September.
“He was definitely after my son,” Chappell said.
Pickett was shot multiple times at his own store, The Postman, in Seattle’s Central District on Wednesday. He established the postal business in honor of his late great-grandfather, who served in the postal service for decades.
Court documents said Pickett’s wife was in her car outside the store just before the shootout when she saw Lefall reaching for the store door. The documents said she was “asked about anyone who had harmed D’Vonne, she identified Ashton Lefall as someone who had repeatedly threatened D’Vonne and his family members, including her.”
“I think he was waiting and watching somewhere,” Chappell said.
Now Pickett’s family is wondering what their life will be like without him.
“My mother lost her only son. The man of the house, the man of the family. That’s not fair. How do we go from here? How do we put the pieces together?” exclaimed Pickett’s younger sisters, De’Auz’Janae Pickett and Daz’Wonique Morris.
The family said they find some comfort and healing in the tremendous amount of support and community. From the growing memorial outside his shop to the candlelight vigils, the family said the light Pickett instilled in so many people would shine bright forever.
“I know my brother is happy because that’s all he wanted. He wanted his legacy to have an impact and it is,” said De’Auz’Janae.
“There was never a dull moment with my brother. My brother was the centerpiece of a table. He brought all the energy, positive energy. The light in the show. said Pickett’s youngest sister, Da’Ajeray Morris.
“Half man, half amazing. D’Vonne Pickett Jr. will live on,” Chappell cried.
Pickett will be remembered as a devoted father and husband, successful business owner, top athlete at Seattle University, youth athletic coach and dedicated community leader.
The Lefall suspect’s next court hearing was scheduled for October 24.