Compassion, not hate as before, shown at 3rd sentencing in killing

Family and friends of the late Tyrone Sero entered Kitsap County Superior Court Oct. 23 for the final of three sentencing hearings for those convicted in his death, a hearing defined not by rage as the first two, but instead compassion and forgiveness.

Sero’s death in 2021 came at the hands of the three men in an apparent marijuana deal gone wrong after a struggle broke out inside the vehicle he met the men in. Kannon Anthony Stephens later confessed to ending that struggle by shooting Sero in the head.

Stephens and Karlen Merle Talent received their sentences of a little over 17 years and 93 months, respectively, after a controversial plea deal that allowed for guaranteed convictions in all three cases in exchange for the dropping of longer prison time.

Kyra Sero, a longtime critic of the prosecution and Sero’s cousin, spoke once again against the office of Kitsap County Prosecutor Chad Enright at the sentencing Monday of Eli Malcom Gregory, who was sentenced to 93 months by judge Jennifer Forbes. “Our family has patiently waited to receive justice, all while each of (the prosecutors) we were left to trust in knew they weren’t going to stand firm with their authority and threw his justice away like it was nothing but trash,” Sero said, “just as Stephens did as he tossed Tyrone’s remains into that river.”

She went on to further claim that her time fighting for justice in court may be done in this case, but will not be done in the long run. “This is only the beginning of what’s to come,” she told prosecutors, “…so this won’t be the last time you hear from me, but the first time you will be up against me.”

However, this hearing, unlike the first two, was not completely full of hateful speech and clenched fists, which prompted high security the morning of the hearing. Kyra Sero revealed in her statement that she successfully reached out to Gregory in the weeks following Stephens’ sentencing, part of an effort to connect any remaining dots in the case as it would not be going to trial.

She said that, in those talks, she found Gregory both informative and reliable, not once putting himself apart from the other convicted men or trying to justify the horrific act.

It’s language that ultimately led her to do something rarely seen in extreme cases as this: offer forgiveness. “…as I have told you this already but I say it again publicly, I want you to know that although not everyone in my family will agree or do the same, I can forgive you and only you,” Sero said.

Gregory again expressed his apologies to the family in a statement of his own, accepting his evident responsibility in Sero’s death and refusing to try and take some sort of cop-out to help come to terms with his actions.

“I am sorry that each and every one of you have no choice but to face the void we have left by ending Tyrone Sero’s life,” he said to the family. “It is evident that I will never measure up to what Tyrone is and would have been, but I vow to use this second chance at life to show everyone the impact this has had on me.”

Forbes commended Gregory for his words, encouraging him to make the most of his opportunity.