King County prosecutors increased their charge to first-degree murder Friday against a Puyallup-area man accused of shooting his former boss at a Federal Way apartment complex in October 2009.
The charge against Kareem Harris, 28, was amended from first-degree attempted murder after his former boss, Wilbur L. Gant, 49, of Federal Way, died Jan. 10 – more than 14 months after the shooting.
Harris pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder Friday at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, where he remained in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
Gant died from pneumonia secondary to multiple gunshot wounds sustained in the shooting, according to King County Medical Examiner’s Office investigator Nick Fletcher. Prosecutors allege Harris caused Gant’s death.
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It’s the second time prosecutors have increased their charge against Harris.
In January 2010, prosecutors ramped up their attempted murder charge from second degree to first degree after obtaining information that the shooting was premeditated. Prosecutors also added a firearm enhancement to the charge. Harris pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents, Harris was a day-shift operator at Milgard Windows in Fife until May 2009. Harris was fired after Gant discovered he had falsified his timecard, the documents state.
Harris shot Gant four times in retaliation for Gant’s involvement in a hearing to deny unemployment benefits to Harris after he was fired, according to court documents.
The shooting occurred just before 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2009, in the 100 block of South 340th Street outside Gant’s residence.
Harris is scheduled to go on trial April 18. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could face a sentence of 25 to 31 years in prison. His attorney, Scott Carter-Eldred , could not be reached for comment Friday.