When a Washington state man survived being shot nine times by a teenage hitman in July, prosecutors say the victim’s ex-wife, who had ordered the botched assassination, continued plotting against him, exchanging text messages with the gunman about having to ‘complete’ the ‘unfinished job.’
Last week, Bellevue police arrested Shaerin Kelley, 30, and two 17-year-old boys, identified as Joseph Good and Quincy Mendez, on charges related to the shooting and attempted murder of Kelley’s ex-husband, Baron Li, 48.
Police said that Kelley had promised to pay Good $13,000 for killing Li. It is believed Mendez was promised $5,000 for acting as the getaway driver and knew of the murder-for-hire plot.
According to prosecutors, Kelley and Li have been locked in a contentious legal battle over the custody of their six-year-old special-needs son, Arik, and the mother allegedly wanted to seize control of a trust fund set up for the child who suffered brain damage as an infant.
KIRO7 video shows the moments Shaerin Kelley, 30 (left), and Joseph Good, 17 (right), were arrested last week in a botched murder-for-hire plot targeting Kelley’s ex-husband
Police in Washington state also arrested Good’s suspected getaway driver, 17-year-old Quincy Mendez (pictured dressed in red)
Kelley’s ex-husband, 48-year-old Baron Li, survived after being shot nine times in July
In an interview with KIRO7 this week, Li, who continues to recover from his injuries three months later, said that his ex-wife’s alleged involvement in the assassination plot did not come as a surprise to him based on their turbulent history.
‘Did I know she was crazy, did I know she was capable of doing this? Of course, without a doubt,’ he said.
Court documents allege that when Kelley learned that her ex-husband had survived the shooting, she began planning a second attempt on his life.
Good reportedly was unaware that Li was alive weeks after the shooting and texted Kelley, asking her whether he would be paid soon, according to the filing cited by The Washington Post.
‘Job unfinished, will need to complete unless it resolves on its own in the next month,’ Kelley allegedly replied.
‘Your sure? I’m pretty sure I finished it well,’ Good wrote in a text included in the records.
Kelley allegedly informed him that her ex-husband had survived, ‘unfortunately.’
A bullet hole is seen in Li’s car following the July 10 shooting in Bellevue, Washington
Kelley, 30, pictured in an undated photo, left, has been charged with first-degree attempted murder. Kelley, seen during her arrest, right, is accused of repeatedly plotting to have Li killed
Prosecutors wrote in a memo that after learning that Li had survived, she exchanged text messages with Good about having to ‘complete’ the ‘unfinished job’
Good agreed to try again, but asked for a portion of the promised payment upfront so that he could pay his getaway driver, according to the documents.
Before the trio had a chance to follow through on the plot, police rounded them up on October 8.
Kelley was initially jailed on $2million bond, but on Wednesday prosecutors asked a judge to revoke her bond, arguing that her efforts to have her ex-husband killed were ‘ongoing.’
‘Rather than any remorse or realization of the horror of what she set in motion when the victim survived, it appears the intent to kill the victim was unabated,’ prosecutors wrote in a memo. ‘If Kelley is out of custody, then Baron Li’s life is at risk.’
The judge agreed and ordered the 30-year-old held without bond. She remained at the King County Jail as of Thursday afternoon.
Good and Mendez, who were both charged as adults, are being held at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center on $2million bond each, reported The Seattle Times.
All three are scheduled to be arraigned on charges of first-degree attempted murder on October 26.
On July 10 at about 8.30am, Li was walking to his car at the Overlook at Lakemont Apartments in Bellevue, Washington, when he heard a noise that sounded like a firecracker, turned around and saw a thin teenager pointing a gun at him.
Li sought cover behind a car door, but two gunshots knocked him to the ground. The teen, who police say was Good, then approached the victim, stood over him and shot him seven more times, Bellevue Police Major Travess Forbush said, KOMO News reported.
Although the 48-year-old car dealership sales manager was shot from a close range in the chest, legs and arms, all the rounds somehow missed all the vital organs and arteries.
Li suffered gunshot wounds to his chest, arms and legs, which missed all vital organs and arteries. He spent a week in the hospital in July and still requires hip surgery
Prosecutors said Kelley and Li have been locked in a legal battle over the custody of their six-year-old special-needs son, Arik, and the mother allegedly wanted to seize control of a trust fund set up for the child
Speaking to ABC’s Good Morning America this week, Li characterized his survival as a ‘miracle.’
‘I don’t think there’s very many people shot as many times as I have and is in the condition I’m in,’ he said. ‘I’m here talking and breathing. I appreciate that.’
Li spent a week in the hospital after the shooting, which damaged his right arm and left two bullets permanently lodged in his body. He also requires a hip replacement surgery.
Court documents revealed that the day of the incident, Good, the suspected shooter, had asked his friend, Mendez, to drive him from Mount Vernon, Washington, to the apartment complex in Bellevue, where ‘he was going cap someone and empty the clip.’
According to the documents, Li told police that the only person who might want to kill him would be his ex-wife.
Li (left) told authorities he and Kelley were involved in a ‘very acrimonious custody battle’
Authorities said after Li (pictured) fell to the ground, the shooter stood over him and kept firing
He said that ‘they were in the midst of a very acrimonious custody battle that also included a financial motive for Kelley to have sole custody of their child,’ the court documents stated.
During the investigation, detectives said they learned that Kelley bought a GPS tracking device found under Li’s car, which they were able to connect to the second suspect in the murder-for-hire plot.
Forbush said that ‘There is evidence that she conspired to commit the murder.’
Detectives were able to figure out the identity of Kelley and the two teens and track them down using surveillance video, technology, social media and search warrants.
One of the surveillance videos captured the license plate of a pickup truck that was believed to be the teens’ getaway vehicle, which was registered to Mendez’s father, police said, Patch.com reported.
In addition, cell phone records showed that Good and Mendez had made a roundtrip from Mount Vernon to Bellevue the morning of the shooting, according to police.
Li was shot as he was walking to his car at this apartment complex in Bellevue, Washington
After his arrest, Mendez admitted to his role in the shooting, police said.
While recovering from the shooting, Li told KIRO in August that he was ‘just worried about the rest of my family. That could have been me walking out with my kids.’
Kelley and Li got married in 2010 and welcomed their son, Arik, a short time later. In August 2015, the wife filed for divorce.
Li told The Seattle Times that his ex-wife had primary custody of their son until 2017, when Child Protective Services removed him from her care over allegations of neglect and placed him in a foster home.
Li said he fought for two years to gain primary custody of his son, which finally happened in May 2019.
Initially, Kelley was allowed overnight weekend visits, but in March, after several unspecified incidents during child exchanges, the judge revoked overnight visitation and ordered her visits to be supervised.
Li said he previously warned the court that Kelley was dangerous, but no one would heed his words. He also reported to the police that his ex-wife had allegedly attempted to run him over with her car on two separate occasions.
Li, who has remarried, has two sons and a daughter, the youngest of which is six years old.
According to a GoFundMe fundraiser, set up for Li, doctors were able to remove two of four bullets that were were stuck in his body. The remaining two were said to ‘too dangerous to remove and will remain.’