Merlin N. Bell was sentenced today to the maximum 25 years in prison for fatally shooting a teenager in the bus loading area at the Federal Way Transit Center in 2009.
King County Superior Court Judge Cheryl Carey sentenced Bell, 29, at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. A jury convicted Bell of second-degree murder Sept. 23 for shooting 19-year-old De’Von Winston-Parks. The sentencing range was 17 to 25 years in prison.
Bell got into an argument with Winston-Parks on Sept. 17, 2009 at the transit center in front of dozens of bystanders. Bell, of SeaTac, pistol-whipped Winston-Parks and shot him once in the neck before fleeing, according to court documents.
While on the ground, Winston-Parks told a bystander, “Oh, my God, God don’t let me die.” He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said Bell initially told officers he was not at the transit center. He later admitted to the shooting, but said it was in self-defense, police said.