Two of the three men suspected of planning a robbery that led to the killing of Kelso convenience store clerk Kayla Chapman last month pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Wednesday morning.
D’Anthony Leslie Williams, whom police have identified as the shooter, pleaded not guilty to aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of meth. His defense asked for trial dates in mid-to-late May. Superior Court Judge Anne Cruser, while skeptical that Williams would actually be ready to go to trial by then, agreed to those dates.
Nenemeny Winter Ekiek, making his first face-to-face Cowlitz County court appearance in front of a judge, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and possession of meth. An April 26 trial date was set, although attorneys and Cruser indicated the trial may be delayed too.
Erkinson Kinisou Bossy, believed by police to be the driver in the shooting, is still in the process of being brought to Cowlitz County from the Multnomah County jail. He faces charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police believe Williams, 19, killed Chapman, 30, after he and two other men drove up from Vancouver on Jan. 22 to purchase drugs. After being unsuccessful, they decided to rob Holt’s because they “did not want to make the drive to Kelso for nothing,” according to police interviews with Ekiek, 21, who is believed to be one of the men in the car.
Bossy gave Williams a semi-automatic handgun, and Ekiek supplied him with a hat and red bandanna, according to Ekiek’s account to police.
According to police review of the store surveillance footage, a hooded gunman believed to be Williams entered the store at about 4:10 a.m. The gunman attempted to shoot Chapman twice before robbing her, and after obtaining money, cigarettes and Chapman’s cell phone, shot and killed her just before leaving.
Williams was arrested the day after the shooting in Camas. Ekiek was arrested in the afternoon on Feb. 5, and police booked Bossy later that night after a chase involving gunfire between Bossy’s vehicle and officers.
Williams’ defense said during his first appearance that the gunman in the video is “completely covered other than eyes and hands” and that many details from the shooting remain to be investigated.