KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — A stolen getaway car and a visible scar helped lead investigators to arrest a 19-year-old for the murder of a Kelso convenience store clerk during an armed robbery Tuesday.
D’Anthony Leslie Williams was arrested Wednesday night and his girlfriend’s house and booked into the Cowlitz County Jail on charges of 1st-degree murder, 1st-degree robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.
Williams is accused of fatally shooting 30-year-old Kayla Chapman in the neck and chest at Holt’s Quik Chek just after 4 a.m. Tuesday. He also allegedly stole money, cigarettes and Chapman’s cellphone.
The coroner’s report said Chapman died from a gunshot wound to the left neck and chest.
Williams reportedly stole the getaway car from a woman he knew. According to investigators, he said he was just going to borrow it, but never brought it back, so when the woman saw the police reports and her car on TV, she was able to confirm it was hers — which helped lead police to Williams.
Officials are looking to talk to at least 2 other people that were spotted in the getaway car.
Cowlitz County authorities found Williams at his girlfriend’s house in Camas and said there were multiple factors that led authorities to identify Williams as the suspect.
Among the factors that connected him to the crime, investigators said, were a visible scar on Williams’ hand seen in the surveillance video as well as a Williams’ one-time probation officer who saw the surveillance video and identified him.
Williams has a juvenile criminal history dating back to 2011. In records obtained by KOIN 6 News, Williams pleaded guilty to robbery in 2014 — when he was 14. The Columbian reports he and another teenager held up a clerk at knifepoint.
Candles are still burning near the stuffed animals, flowers and balloons left for Kayla outside the gas station as part of a makeshift memorial
Kelso resident Linda Ritz stopped by the makeshift memorial. Although she didn’t know Kayla very well, Ritz said Kayla made her day.
“I just thought she was the greatest person in the world. Treated me with the utmost respect,” Ritz told KOIN 6 News. “I wanted to show her respect.”
Racci Jordan Montgomery was a customer at the convenience store. She said Kayla’s death “really, really broke my heart.”
Speaking about the alleged killer, Montgomery said the choice he made is “going to land him somewhere he don’t want to be. And now he done lost his life.
Court records show several prior juvenile cases linked to Williams. In 2014 when he was 14 years old, Williams was involved in the robbery of a gas station in Vancouver. He pleaded guilty to 1st-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon at the time.
Williams, now 20, is being held without bail until his arraignment and is expected back in court on January 31.