Manslaughter suspect appears in court

An Oak Harbor man accused in the shooting death of 15-year-old Ericolis Kelley appeared in court.

An Oak Harbor man accused of manslaughter in the Aug. 30 shooting death of 15-year-old Ericolis Kelley appeared in Island County Superior Court Tuesday.

Prosecutors made the unusual decision of seeking an arrest warrant on 18-year-old Eric Keo even though he was already being held in Island County Jail. The key witness had been released from jail, where he had been held in an unrelated matter, and prosecutors wanted to ensure that bail was set on Keo as soon as possible.

Judge Christon Skinner agreed with the prosecutor’s request to maintain bail at $500,000, which was the amount of the arrest warrant. Under the conditions of release, Keo is barred from contacting seven different potential witnesses.

Keo’s arraignment was set for May 15.

Prosecutors charged Keo in Island County Superior Court Monday with manslaughter in the first degree, assault in the second degree, intimidating a witness and tampering with physical evidence. The manslaughter and assault charge included firearm enhancements which could possibly add years to the sentence.

Keo is accused of recklessly handling a gun around a group of friends and shooting Kelley after asking him if he believes in God. Under the manslaughter charge, he is not accused of purposely killing Kelley but causing his death by acting recklessly.

Keo is also charged with assault for allegedly pointing a gun at another friend. In addition, he is accused of intimidating a witness by threatening a young man who was present at the shooting and with tampering with physical evidence for taking Kelley’s cell phone from the scene, according to court documents.

Kelley was a Freeland resident but attended Oak Harbor High School, where he was popular as a student and a talented athlete.