Plea deal questioned in shooting case, suspect's release denied

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In a hearing before Washington Superior Court Judge Errol Arthur, the attorney for a shooting defendant discussed the status of a plea offer and the suspect's June 20 denial of release.

Keith Walker, 30, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly shooting a man March 7 at an apartment complex near the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace, SE.

According to a police report, the victim said he got into a verbal altercation with Walker because he did not want Walker to speak with the victim's daughter. The victim said Walker was dating his daughter's mother, who lives with the victim.

Although the shooter wore a black ski mask, the victim allegedly identified him as Walker in a photo lineup presented by a detective. The victim said he recognized Walker's voice, noticed his dreads and remembered his eyes being red, which he said was a common occurrence, according to court documents.

Tamara Jones, Walker's defense attorney, alerted the court that it was rejecting an offer from the prosecution, which required Walker to plead guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying a pistol without a license, in exchange for the prosecution not seeking an indictment.

Jones said they needed more time to review the plea offer, adding that this was Walker's first time in prison and he had no experience with the legal system.

The prosecutor, meanwhile, said the plea offer had expired, amid Judge Arthur's confusion that the offer was still open.

“I don't want to beat the dead horse here,” the prosecutor said, saying the prosecution would not be required to offer another plea deal because the defense had requested a trial date during the hearing.

Before responding to the plea offer, Jones requested his client's release, saying Walker was willing to comply with any conditions Judge Arthur would impose in order to mitigate the potential danger he might pose to the community – for example, GPS monitoring and orders to stay away from any witnesses.

She said Walker had no criminal history or mental health issues, and noted his “deep family ties” and that he was a “dedicated employee.” She reminded Judge Arthur that a gun had not yet been found.

Additionally, Jones called the victim an “unreliable witness.” She claimed he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident and “changed his story several times.” She also added that the victim was “known to be jealous of his ex-girlfriend.”

The prosecutor said the defendant shot an individual at point-blank range, posing as a dangerous threat and causing significant injury to the victim.

According to the prosecutor, the victim fractured bones in his lower leg, underwent surgery and underwent physical therapy.

The prosecutor told Judge Arthur that the victim feared returning to her home in Washington because of possible retaliatory acts from Walker's family or friends.

Judge Arthur rejected the defence's request for release, saying that given “the nature of the allegations” there would be no conditions “that would ensure the safety of the community”.

The celebrations should resume on August 2.

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