- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

SEATTLE (AP) - A Washington state man who pleaded guilty in the 2019 beating of a 62-year-old homeless man in Seattle has been charged with second-degree murder after prosecutors said the man died two years later as a result of the attack.

King County prosecutors said Ryan Johnston, 42, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree assault after hitting Jeffrey Christenson and bludgeoning him with a traffic cone while he was resting outside the Central Library in Seattle, The Seattle Times reported.

An autopsy determined that Christenson died two years later from delayed complications and his death was a homicide. Johnston now faces a second-degree murder charge. Court records do not show if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Court records show Johnston also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault after hitting a woman in the face three weeks after the attack on Christenson.

Johnston was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.



Following his arrest, he was diagnosed at Western State Hospital with unspecified psychosis and bipolar, schizoaffective and substance abuse disorders, court documents said.

Christenson, who suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, died on March 20 of this year at a nursing facility in Pierce County.

Court records show Johnston was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in Christenson’s death. He is currently incarcerated at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) east of Yakima.

An arraignment is scheduled for May 17. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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