A 23-year-old Tacoma man has been sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison for shooting two people dead in apparent muggings he allegedly committed with a then-18-year-old accomplice in 2021.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Alicia Burton handed down a 474-month sentence to Diamond D. Aaron on March 2 after he accepted a plea deal in February, according to court records. Aaron pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder with a firearm in the death of 32-year-old Bud Morgan and first-degree manslaughter in the death of 36-year-old Heather Mason Tucker rather than face trial for multiple counts of aggravated first-degree murder, among other charges.
Prosecutors recommended the 474-month sentence as part of the plea agreement.
Aaron’s defense attorneys requested a 416-month month sentence because he is still under 25, the point at which the brain and impulse control mature, according to court documents. They also cited his abuse as a child.
Charging documents show Aaron and Octavio J. Reed, now 20, told Tacoma detectives they first came across Tucker in the 900 block of North Pearl Street near 6th Avenue on July 24, 2021. Reed demanded “everything you have” and then shot her multiple times. Aaron said they then went to Wright Park, where Reed asked Morgan for his things as he sat on a bench and then one or both men shot him.
Reed is being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, plus lesser charges, while awaiting trial in June, according to court records. His mother recently filed a letter saying he has a disability and has cycled through attorneys who don’t adequately help him understand court proceedings.
The Tacoma Stories blog tracking local homicides remembered Morgan, who was from Hoquiam, as a generous person whose difficulties coping with the challenges of life led him to addiction. His sister wrote a letter to the judge saying their mother, who she cared for full-time, died shortly after his funeral service, compounding her grief.
“Many people have come to us to tell us the stories of how he saved their lives, walked young (ladies) and their kids home while they are being harassed, helped broke down motorists, sticking up for the people who couldn’t defend themselves,” the sister wrote. “This world had a truly wonderful person tragically taken away from it.”
Tucker was a Pierce County musician, singer and younger sister, according to an obituary written by her mother. Her stepfather asked for the longest sentence possible in a letter to the court.
“I am sure you’re in the heavens, singing in the angels’ choir,” her mother wrote in the obituary. “From the moment of your birth, you touched many lives while on this earth.”
Tacoma detectives zeroed in on Aaron and Reed as suspects through witness interviews, belongings left at the scenes, surveillance footage and social media photos, according to charging documents. When investigators identified the pair, they found surveillance footage of the men going to Aaron’s residence listed with the Department of Corrections together in the weeks after the killings.
Upon their arrests nearly a month after the killings, the men gave differing statements to police about who fired and whose plan it was to rob people at gunpoint.
Aaron said in a police interview after his arrest that he didn’t shoot Tucker and only fired one shot at Morgan that he purposefully missed. He said Reed took the gun when he missed and shot Morgan in the chest.
Police arrested Reed the following day. Charging documents show he admitted to shooting Tucker several times as she ran away and then killing her execution-style as she screamed on the ground. Reed said Aaron gave him the gun and told him to rob Tucker.
From there, Reed said, he and Aaron went to Wright Park and Aaron shot Morgan several times from behind while hiding in the treeline, according to charging documents. Reed said one shot grazed his hand and that Reed didn’t give Morgan time to reply whether he had any money to fork over.
Afterward, both men burned their clothing, according to charging documents. Both said it was the other’s idea.
“There is a disturbing randomness to these crimes,” a prosecutor wrote in a sentencing memo. “Such random and unprovoked killings pierce the community’s sense of safety but also traumatize the victims’ family members.”