The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Troy Joe Chute, 42, with murder in the first degree and assault in the first degree. Investigators say Chute shot and killed Jacob Nicholas, 34. Chute also shot Cassandra Harris, 36, in the foot.
“This is another unfortunate example of a trivial dispute escalating needlessly into violence,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On March 12 at about 3:30 in the morning, officers were called to a home on East Pioneer Way in Orting after reports of a shooting. When they arrived, they spoke with a witness who said his friend, Cassandra Harris, had been shot in the foot by “Troy,” later identified as Troy Chute. The witness explained Chute also shot Jacob Nicholas.
Officers located Harris, who had an apparent gunshot wound to her foot.
Harris, before being treated for her injuries, reported that Chute shot Jake Nicholas and then shot her in the foot. She described the gun Chute used as a rifle with wooden grips.
Harris told officers that Chute came unexpectedly to the “treehouse” where she and Nicholas were. She said Chute climbed up with a gun. There was an argument between Nicholas and Chute over a motorcycle, and Chute shot Nicholas in the chest and Harris in the foot.
Officers went to the area of the “treehouse” along the riverbank. They found an inflatable raft covered in what appeared to be blood.
The “treehouse” had been burned, but human remains and a rifle were located. Detectives reported that the burned remains were those of Jacob Nicholas, and that Nicholas sustained a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Deputies noticed Chute walking on the west side of the river to an area with a steep hillside. SWAT contacted Chute and took him into custody.
Bail was set at $2 million.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.