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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
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July 3, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 3, 2014
 

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I I!li i![ii !Ill " Page A-2 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, July 3, 2014 Prosecutor: No decision on shooting charges By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun corn The Mason County Prosecu- tor's Office has not filed charg- es in a shooting that killed a 14-year-old boy last week. Ciqala Miller was killed June 24 after being shot in the chest with a high-powered hunting rifle while playing with another teen. County Prosecutor Mike Dorcy said Tuesday he is wait- ing to review a complete report from the Mason County Sher- iffs Office before considering filing any charges in the case. According to the Mason County Sheriffs Office, Miller was playing with a 13-year-old boy when the two found fire- arms in a residence in the 100 block of Twana'Court on the Skokomish Reservation, 11 miles north of Shelton. The 13-year-old ran to a neighbor's house to call 911, and gave a statement to detec- tives. Shelton man pleads guilty, sentenced to 66 years By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com Alr a day and a half of testimony in a murder trial expected to last more than a week, a Shelton man changed his plea to guilty June 26 and was sentenced Tuesday to more than 66 years in prison. Michael Justiniano, 53, pleaded guilty to mur- der in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm. "(Justiniano is) really, I believe, being affected by this trial. I believe it is affecting him on an emotional level," said Justiniano's attorney, F. MacNamara Jardine. "I understand his desire to put this behind him." Justiniano entered an Alford plea, also known as a Newton plea, which ST A Re utation Built on ervice IF YOU DIDN'T GET A 1111 COMPLETE CREMATION FLYER IN THE MAIL, CALL TO LOCK IN YOUR PRICING. S001795 COMPLETE BURIAL SERVICE IS STILL AVAILABLE. CALL means he did not admit that he committed the crimes he was charged with, but believed he would be convicted by the prosecution's evidence. Mason County Pros- ecutor Mike Dorcy asked for a sentence of 66 years in prison. Justiniano was previously convicted of as- sault in 1986 and first-de- gree murder in 1988. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder charge, but was released early for good behavior, Dorcy said. Justiniano was charged in the Aug. 13 shooting of George Alan Harmon, 54. Another man, Lee Barnard, was also shot, and testified for the prosecution June 25. He identified Justiniano as the man who shot him and Harmon. Jardine of F. MacNa- mara Jardine & Associ- ates in Tacoma inter- rupted the prosecution's questioning of a member of the Washington State Patrol's Crime Scene Re- sponse Team on June 26 Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Michael Justiniano pleaded guilty June 26 in the midst of his first-degree murder trial. He was sentenced to more than 66 years in prison Tuesday. to announce she needed to confer with the prosecu- tion. Since June 25, the prosecution had ques- tioned eyewitnesses to the shooting, law enforcement officers who responded to the incident, and a Mason General Hospital Emer- gency Department physi- cian who treated one of the victims after the shooting. "He and I had quite a bit of discussion on wheth- er this is something that will benefit him," Jardine said. In return for the guilty plea, Dorcy agreed to re- duce his sentencing rec- ommendation by 10 years. The court was not re- quired to abide by either the prosecution's or the defense's sentencing rec- ommendation. However, Justiniano told the court the sen- tencing reduction had no bearing on his decision to plead guilty. He said he didn't want the victim's family to have to see autopsy and crime scene photos in court, and wanted the trial to be over. "It don't matter to me," Justiniano said. "I want this to be over." Jardine said her client changed his plea because "it was the right thing to do. y' "He believes this is the last offer he can make to the family to show any amends," she said. Dorcy said he was con- cerned the Alford plea was not appropriate be- cause Justiniano was not motivated by the sentenc- ing reduction. '%Ve didn't have any discussion on this being an Alford or Newton plea," Dorcy said. "I think an A1- ford plea is even less appro- priate if there's no benefit. We're trying to make sure that both his rights, and the conviction is protected." Jardine said her cli- ent saw other benefits to pleading guilty, aside from the sentencing reduction. "He is not trying to say he wasn't a part in any way shape or form (to the shoot- ing)," she said. "The benefit or absence of benefit is a personal decision of his." Come in and join us for BREAKFAST every SUNDAY morning. A full menu to choose from which includes coffee & juice. Everyone welcome. 9:00 am to i1:00 am 113 W. 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