TACOMA -- Three men appeared in a Pierce County courtroom charged with killing 17-year-old Bernard Houston on August 28, 1988.
The prosecutor's office alleges Houston, a Hilltop Crip, was targeted by five Bloods. His murder started years of gang violence in the Hilltop neighborhood in the late 80's and early 90's.
Charged with premeditated murder Thursday were Nathaniel Miles, 47; Anthony Ralls, 44; and 45 Brian Allen, 45. Two other suspects, Terris Miller, 42, and Darrell Lee, 44, are already in prison.
If convicted, the defendants face life in prison.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist credited Tacoma Police detectives with diligently tracking the suspects for the last 13 years.
"In reality, most crimes are solved because someone talks and that's what happened here," said Lindquist.
Houston's relatives were at the courtroom to watch the proceedings and thanked the police for sticking with the case.
"Never ever did I think this day would come," said Bernadine Sanders, Houston's sister.
"We just want to thank the police, because that's amazing, twenty five years later!" said cousin Yvonne Heads.
Tacoma Police detective Lorretta Cool remembers the "bad old days" on Hilltop. She kept coming back to work the case.
"We don't let these things go,' she said. "We are going to find the people who did it and we are going to prosecute them," said Cool.
The defendants are being held on $2 million bail.