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Redmond Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter

A judge has denied a request for release of Cornelius J. De Jong IV, the 21-year-old suspect in the shooting death of Claire Thompson.

The 21-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter.

Cornelius J. De Jong IV of Redmond appeared in King County Superior Court for the first time Monday. He has been in custody on $300,000 bail since the day after the Feb. 12 shooting that claimed the life of 20-year-old Claire Thompson, a Sammamish native who lived in Seattle.

Prosecutors allege De Jong acted recklessly when fired his .40-caliber handgun into a wall during a party in the 16800 block of NE 97th St. Thompson, who was sitting in the next room, was struck in the neck and died later that morning at Harborview Medical Center.

De Jong's attorney, Michael Iaria, asked Judge Nicole MacInnes for the defendant to be released on his own recognizance, saying he is not a flight risk because he lives with his mother and works for a family landscaping business.

"He's a lifelong resident of Western Washington, a lifelong resident of Redmond," Iaria said. "These are roots that run deep and broad, and he's not going to flee."

But senior deputy prosecuting attorney Kristin V. Richardson told the judge De Jong's experience with guns and prior alcohol-related convictions make him a risk to society. 

"That combination together is a community safety risk," Richardson said.

MacInnes denied the defense's request for release, calling De Jong's alcohol history "significant." He has been found guilty of DUI, being a minor intoxicated in public, and two incidents of being a minor in possession of alcohol.

"If there were not alcohol involved in this, I would have a different perspective," MacInnes said.

A case-setting hearing has been scheduled for March 12.

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