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June 30, 2022

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Auburn man charged with murder, assault in White Center baseball bat attack, prosecutors say


May 20—A 42-year-old Auburn man was charged this week with second-degree murder, accused of striking a man in the head with a metal baseball bat in White Center this month, apparently because he thought the man had stolen his cellphone, according to King County prosecutors.

King County sheriff’s deputies arrested Antonio Johnson at his home May 12, and he remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, jail and court records show.

Johnson was also charged with second-degree assault domestic violence, accused of hitting a woman he formerly dated in the back of the head with the bat moments after he attacked Jacob Kellog, 48, on May 2, the charges say.

Kellogg, who also suffered a broken arm, died eight days later. The woman was not seriously hurt.

“The defendant beat Jacob Kellogg with a baseball bat to his head with such force that, even after multiple surgeries to relieve pressure on his brain … he never regained brain function and died after he was removed from life support,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jason Brookhyser wrote in charging papers. “Immediately after the defendant caused this catastrophic injury to Kellogg, he walked outside and, in the presence of his 7-year-old daughter, he used the bat once again” to strike his former girlfriend in the head.

Court records do not yet indicate which attorney is representing Johnson, who is scheduled to be arraigned next Thursday.

Johnson and a woman who lives in an apartment on 17th Avenue Southwest in White Center dated on and off for two years before breaking up sometime in April, at which point Johnson moved in with his girlfriend and their daughter in Auburn, the charges say.

The woman who lives in the White Center apartment called 911 on the night of May 2 and reported an assault.

When deputies arrived, they found a man, later identified as Kellogg, bleeding from his head on the living room floor, the charges say. The woman, who was also bleeding from a wound behind her right ear, identified Johnson as their assailant, according to the charges. Kellogg and Johnson had not met before.

The woman was treated at a Burien hospital, while Kellogg was transported to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, where he died May 10 from complications from multiple blunt force injuries to the head, the charges say.

Sheriff’s detectives learned during an investigation that days before the attack, the woman had told Kellogg and another friend that everything in the apartment needed to be moved out — and Kellogg assumed that meant he could take a cellphone belonging to Johnson from the residence, the charges say. The woman later told Johnson that Kellogg had taken the phone and given it to a friend, according to the charges.

Video footage from a nearby house showed Johnson, his girlfriend and daughter coming and going from the apartment in a silver Chevrolet Equinox, charging papers say.

When Johnson was arrested, sheriff’s detectives saw he had what appeared to be blood stains on his tennis shoes, the charges say. Detectives also found dried blood inside his girlfriend’s SUV and on the vehicle’s exterior, according to the charges.

The baseball bat, which Johnson reportedly threw out the SUV’s window somewhere in Burien, had not been located, the charges say.

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