3-Strike felon who got clemency now faces murder charge

A 3-Strikes felon who got clemency in Washington State is back behind bars for murder. It’s apparently another gun control failure. (Dave Workman)

A “three-strikes” felon in Washington State who was granted clemency from his life sentence by former Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2013 is back behind bars facing a first-degree murder charge for allegedly shooting a man at a Kent motel.

If the charge is proven, Stonney Marcus Rivers will add one more black mark to an Evergreen State gun control law that has so far failed to prevent at least two high-profile multiple homicides. That was Initiative 594, passed by voters in 2014 thanks to a $10.4 million dollar campaign spearheaded by the billionaire-funded Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a Seattle-based gun control group. I-594 mandated so-called “universal background checks” that are supposed to prevent criminals from getting their hands on guns.


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But according to a report by KIRO News, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, Rivers is believed to have been the trigger man in the slaying of David A.Cabrera in some sort of drug deal.

Rivers was sent away thanks to Washington’s ground-breaking “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law, also passed by voters some 20 years ago. That initiative campaign was championed by gun rights organizations because it punished criminals without penalizing law-abiding gun owners.

Under the Three Strikes law, criminals who rack up three felony convictions can be sent to prison for life. KIRO and other news agencies have noted Rivers’ criminal background that includes convictions for robbery and assault. He was released from prison in 2015.

After being contacted for comment, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg released a statement that seemed to criticize the Three-Strikes law. Ironically, Satterberg was a high-profile proponent of I-594.

According to KOMO, the Seattle area ABC affiliate, another man has also been charged in the case as an accomplice. He was identified as Theneious Swafford. He was reportedly “under supervision by the state Department of Corrections” and has an “extensive criminal history.” Police believe Swafford was the driver who drove Rivers to and from the crime scene.

The background check law did not prevent a triple homicide in Mukilteo or the shooting at Burlington’s Cascade Mall, both in 2016. In the Mukilteo case, the shooter passed a background check and in the Burlington incident, the shooter took a gun from his stepfather’s residence, bypassing the check requirement.