Police & Fire

Gig Harbor man one of two arrested for suspected murder

Posted on October 22nd, 2021 By:

(This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. with information from charging documents)

A Gig Harbor man was charged Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court with first-degree murder for allegedly killing a man from whom he had arranged to buy marijuana, and his friend is facing an accomplice to Murder 1 charge.

picture of a kitsap county sheriff's car

Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men in the killing of a Port Orchard man. Courtesy of Kitsap County Sheriff's Office

Kannon Stephens, 19, of Gig Harbor and Karlen Talent, 20, of Port Orchard were booked into Kitsap County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. They pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office investigators continue to search for a third suspect.

Stephens had arranged via Snapchat to meet 19-year-old Tyrone Sero, of Port Orchard, Tuesday at the AM/PM store on Lund Avenue in Port Orchard to purchase a pound of pot, according to charging documents. The two, who didn’t know each other, had a disagreement and the deal fell through. They continued to negotiate online and agreed to meet again at the Kitsap Community Resource building behind the AM/PM.

At 12:40 a.m. Wednesday, security video shows Sero, who had been driven by a friend, walking to a Toyota 4Runner where he sat in the front passenger seat. After closing the door, he struggled with someone and appeared to be pulled into the backseat. The 4Runner sped out of the parking lot. Sero’s driver said he heard a sound like a firecracker going off, according to documents.

Sero’s friends and family members heard about the possible kidnapping and demanded to see the video of the first meeting. They spread the photo of the 4Runner on social media and spoke to Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies.

A large group of friends and family members tracked down Stephens’ Sullivan Avenue address and arrived at the home where they thought Sero was being held. A confrontation occurred between Stephens and his family and Sero’s friends and family with several gunshots being fired by both sides. One of Sero’s friends was shot and taken to St. Anthony Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the report.

At 4:31 p.m. Thursday, Stephens and his attorney arrived at the sheriff’s office in Port Orchard where Stephens confessed to shooting and killing Sero during the marijuana deal, according to the probable cause statement. Talent was arrested Thursday night at the Burley Store in South Kitsap and declined to answer questions.

Stephens told investigators that he and Talent and a third suspect met Sero at Sero’s apartment near the AM/PM to buy pot. Stephens said he was lying down hiding in the back cargo area of the 4Runner and was armed with a handgun. Talent was in the driver’s seat and the other friend was in the front passenger seat.

He said Sero was in the backseat and asked if they had the money. After he was shown the money, Sero pulled out a gun and demanded the cash. Stephens said he heard a commotion and a gunshot from Sero’s gun. He said he got up and saw Talent leaving the car and thought Sero had shot Talent. In defense of his friend, he shot Sero in the back of the head, Stephens said.

Stephens’ statement doesn’t coincide with the video, according to the report. It appears Sero was kidnapped and murdered almost instantly after getting into the 4Runner.

The three suspects drove Sero’s body to an undeveloped property near Matlock in Mason County, where they tried to burn it in a fire pit. Stephens went back the next day and put the remains in three bags, two of which he threw in a nearby river. He kept the third bag in his car and drove back home to Gig Harbor.

Stephens later showed detectives the site near Matlock and allowed them to seize his bloody clothes and the gun supposedly used by Sero from his home. They also impounded his Toyota Corolla that he said had the third bag in its trunk. The 4Runner, which had blood in it, was found at the Gig Harbor Albertsons parking lot.