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Spokesman-Review Seeks Murder Documents Mexican Orchard Workers May Have Been Killed In Hate Crime

Wed., Dec. 20, 1995

The Spokesman-Review is going to court to gain access to documents in a murder case that may have been racially motivated.

Authorities have declined to say why they think Anthony Sammons, 25, and Scott Pierce, 20, repeatedly beat two Mexican orchard workers and dumped them into the Okanogan River on Sept. 27.

However, sketchy court documents suggest Alejandro Torres Sanchez, 24, and Guillermo Herrera Roman, 21, were killed for sport. Some people in the county think the men were killed because of their race, and racial tensions have flared in recent weeks.

The Spokesman-Review filed a motion Monday asking Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Jim Thomas to reverse his decision last week to seal a transcript of Sammons’ confession.

Earlier, the newspaper asked the Washington Supreme Court to unseal other documents that may explain the murders. A Jan. 25 hearing will determine whether the court will accept the case.

Okanogan County District Court Judge Chris Culp, filling in on Superior Court, ruled Nov. 3 that the public may not see documents that show why he issued search warrants against Sammons and Pierce.

“The nature of either hearsay statements or other inflammatory statements is such that the defendants’ probability of a fair trial is further placed in jeopardy,” Culp said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

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