After spending the past 29 months in the Snohomish County Jail while legal proceedings dragged on, Shayla Baylor has been released following a plea deal reached by defense attorneys and prosecutors. In the deal, charges against the 28-year-old were reduced from second-degree murder to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the fatal Jan. 24, 2021, stabbing of 62-year-old Greg McKnight in the Lynnwood Fred Meyer parking lot.
According to court documents, on the day in question Baylor fatally stabbed McKnight during a parking lot altercation over a parking spot. McKnight, who was disabled, parked in a disabled parking stall and used an electric scooter while shopping at Fred Meyer. Upon returning to the parking lot on the scooter, he found another vehicle occupied by Baylor and three other persons blocking access to his car. He requested that they move, an argument ensued, angry words were exchanged (which according to the defense included racial slurs), and Baylor “in a fit of rage” stabbed McKnight several times in the legs with “a 15-inch combat knife.”
McKnight was transported to a hospital, where he died from his wounds. Baylor and the others left the parking lot — ultimately driving to California, where Baylor was identified and arrested by Oakland authorities. She was transferred back to Washington state, and has remained in custody at Snohomish County Jail.
This is the third time Baylor has appeared in court to answer charges for the crime. In September 2021 she was tried for second-degree murder and in April of this year she was tried again on a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter. The juries were unable to reach a verdict in either case, and both were declared mistrials.
In this latest action, Baylor appeared in court Monday, June 26, where she entered a guilty plea to the reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter. State sentencing guidelines recommend 22 to 27 months imprisonment and since she had already served 29 months, Judge Paul Thompson ruled that she be released with time served, imposing 18 months’ probation.
— By Larry Vogel