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Sirens & Gavels

Accused witness killer on trial in Colville

Opening statements are expected today in the case of a Deer Park man accused of murdering a witness in an assault case against him.

Christopher H. Devlin had faced the death penalty for the May 2008 shooting death of Daniel D. Heily, 52, of Chattatory, but a judge took it off the table last February because of mismanagement by prosecutors.

Devlin now faces life in prison without parole if he’s convicted of aggravated first-degree murder.

A co-defendant, Carl A. Hoskins, had faced the same charge but has been offered a plea deal for second-degree assault if he testifies against Devlin. He left jail on Aug. 31 and will be sentenced to 27 months in prison with credit for time served if he continues cooperating, according to court documents.

Heily, who was disabled, disappeared on May 13, 2008, the night before he was to testify against Devlin at a second-degree assault trial.

Heily’s body was found in the cab of his pickup truck behind a Deer Park liquor store the next day. Hoskins and Devlin were arrested that night. The slaying qualified for the death penalty because the victim was a state witness.

A jurisdictional squabble broke out between Stevens and Spokane counties regarding where the murder took place. Spokane County prosecutors are handling the case, but the trial will be held before a Stevens County jury in Colville.

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