Charges: WWU student may have been killed for contents of piggy bank

A Kent man has been charged in the shooting death of Western Washington University student Meagan Smith.

Zachary D. Craven, 24, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after allegedly shooting Smith as well as his grandmother Angelika Hayden on July 7.

Smith, 21, was killed by a single gunshot to the side of her head while house-sitting in Renton for a friend, who was also Craven’s ex-girlfriend, according to charging papers.

When Craven’s ex-girlfriend and her family returned to the home they discovered the back door unlocked and Smith dead in the kitchen. They called police shortly before 11:30 p.m., according to charging papers.

Prior to the crime, Craven had contacted his ex-girlfriend alleging she owed him $1,000, according to charging papers. She denied owing him any money but stated she would split the contents of her piggy bank with him when she returned from vacation.

The piggy bank was discovered on the kitchen counter beside Smith’s body, according to charging papers.

Earlier that night, the body of Craven’s grandmother was discovered at her Skyway-area home with a single gunshot wound to the head, according to charging papers.

Craven was apprehended by police early July 8, and as of Tuesday, July 14, was being held on $5 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, July 23.

Craven is also being charged with second-degree assault for pistol-whipping his grandfather during a separate incident earlier in the month, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

A vigil service for Smith was held in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bellingham Thursday, July 9. Her funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, July 17, at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way.

Libby Keller can be reached at 360-715-2242 or