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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Robert Nelson

Woman gets 18 1/2 years for murder

The woman convicted of killing a Spokane man in December has been sentenced to 18 ½ years in prison.

Melinda R. Barrera, 32, was convicted last month of killing Robert A. Nelson following a bizarre altercation where Barrera was struck in the face with a cell phone and her boyfriend struck Nelson with a baseball bat.

The same jury acquitted 22-year-old David C. McLaughlin of killing or assaulting Nelson but found that Barrera was guilty of second-degree murder after she admitted firing the shot that killed Nelson.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen sentenced Barrera to a total of 224 months in prison with credit for 239 days already served in the Spokane County Jail.

McLaughlin was sentenced recently to a year in prison for felony drug possession.

Past coverage:

July 5: Couple convicted, aquitted in murder

June 22: Trial starts for couple in shooting death

May 8: Murder suspect now facing meth charges

Dec. 10: Shooting suspect recalls chaos

Judge considers dropping murder charge

A judge said she has concerns about the validity of a murder charge against one of two defendants charged in the shooting death of a man last year in the West Central neighborhood.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen said she could decide either today or Monday on a motion to dismiss the second-degree murder charge against David C. McLaughlin, 22, who is charged along with 32-year-old Melinda R. Barrera of the Dec. 7 shooting death of Robert A. Nelson.

Police refute ricochet claims at trial

The state may finish the its portion of the case Thursday against a man and woman charged with second-degree murder of a man who was shot and killed last December just a few blocks from the Spokane County Courthouse.

Defense attorneys Tom Krzyminski and Derek Reid queried Spokane Police detectives Chet Gilmore and Jeff Barrington about how the crime scene was processed and statements given by 32-year-old Melinda R. Barrera and 22-year-old David C. McLaughlin.

Barrera acknowledged firing the gun on Dec. 7 that killed 46-year-old Robert A. Nelson, but she claims that she fired a single shot into a closet, not the bedroom door that police describe as having a hole from the bullet that killed Nelson.

Krzyminski and Reid both said last week that the bullet may have ricocheted from the closet and somehow struck Nelson.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund asked Gilmore if he found any evidence that a bullet ricocheted off one of the apartment walls at 1328 W. Dean Ave. Gilmore answered: “No.”

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