TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — More than 20 years after the killing, a Tacoma marijuana consultant and entrepreneur has been charged with first-degree murder for a shooting during a drug deal.
A Pierce County Superior Court judge set a $1 million bail for 51-year-old Michael Schaef, who pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder charges.
Schaef was in court after his ex-wife told detectives he was responsible for the death of Jerald Iafrati on May 6, 1991.
“There are basically two ways cold cases are solved. The first is DNA, and second is people talk,” said Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
According to prosecutors, Schaef’s ex-wife arranged for him to meet Iafrati to buy a large amount of marijuana. Instead, Schaef and an accomplice robbed Iafrati of thousands of dollars and shot him in the chest during a struggle.
Schaef is well known among marijuana and medical marijuana communities in Western Washington. Schaef was the co-founder of a club that attempted to offer marijuana smoking using vaporizers soon after voters legalized recreational marijuana use. His attempt, which came before the state had drafted rules around marijuana, was shut down by regulators. Schaef ran a dispensary in Tacoma as well.
Schaef also founded an organization that purportedly pushed for standards and ethics among the marijuana growing community.
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