Investigation Update: Fatal Fight in Tavern Parking Lot
Spokane Valley Major Crimes Detective Marc Melville has identified a suspect in this investigation based on new witness testimony and new evidence discovered, including DNA, during this month’s long and thorough investigation.
Unfortunately, even following press releases and several news reports requesting witnesses come forward with information, no one did.
Initially, from witness statements and photo identification, a suspect was arrested on January 2, 2020, for Assault 1st Degree. Charges were dismissed on January 30, 2020, after learning the witnesses had mistakenly identified the suspect.
Despite no new witnesses coming forward to assist, the investigation continued. Remaining focused on solving this case, Detective Melville identified and located a previously unknown potential witness and conducted an interview.
The witness, who was not involved in the incident, confirmed he was, in fact, at the bar on December 29, 2019, and that a person of interest in the case was actually the suspect involved in the fight.
It is not known why this new witness did not come forward despite several requests for assistance, knowing the wrong person was mistakenly identified by witnesses and arrested in this case.
DNA evidence, in addition to other evidence discovered, confirmed the witness’s information. In late September, Detective Melville developed probable cause to forward a request to the prosecutor’s office, requesting the suspect be charged with Manslaughter 2nd Degree.
After reviewing all the evidence, the prosecutor’s office declined the request because the new evidence does not make it clear if the suspect acted in self-defense when the heated argument quickly escalated into a physical and fatal altercation.
At this time, unless additional information is received, the investigation into this fatal encounter is closed.