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Suspect charged in Sand Point murder

Prosecutors have filed criminal charges in last week's stabbing, which left a 20-year-old man dead after attending a UW fraternity party in Sand Point. The suspect remains at large as of press time and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Preston A. Traxler Jr. was charged with murder in the second degree in the death of Maurice Smoots. Traxler, 19, was at the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity's April 11 party, witnesses told police. Prosecutors allege in court documents that Traxler stabbed Smoots in a fight in a nearby 7-Eleven parking lot after the party.

"We're just hoping to get him picked up as soon as possible," said Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

Traxler has been known to frequent the Central District, Rainier Valley and downtown Seattle, according to police. He is a black male, measuring 5 feet 5 inches, weighing 150 pounds and has a scar on the right side of his forehead.

Traxler attempted to speak with a young woman outside of the party, and the woman and Smoots asked Traxler to leave them alone, witnesses told police. Smoots and Traxler began pushing each other, but the scuffle was quickly broken up, witnesses said in court documents.

At the 7-Eleven, Smoots and Traxler fought again, where Traxler allegedly stabbed Smoots and fled the scene, the prosecutors contend.

A King County medical examiner conducted an autopsy on Smoots, finding that he sustained approximately 12 stab wounds to his neck, face, shoulder and arms.

If Traxler is convicted of the second-degree murder charge, his sentence will likely range between 10 and 19 years, according to Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Even though Traxler is not in police custody, his arraignment has been scheduled for Wednesday in King County Superior Court. Prosecutors will request that bail be set at $500,000 for Traxler if he is apprehended, according to court documents.

Alpha Phi Alpha, a 16-member non-residential fraternity, held the party at the Sand Point Naval Station. The fraternity is not governed by the Interfraternity Council and is a registered student organization.

Anyone with information can call SPD at 684-5550 or 9-1-1.

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