January 4, 1995 in Nation/World

“I Was In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time, That’s All” Kevin Boot, In Jail Suspects Blame Each Other Teenage Cousins Charged With First-Degree Murder

By The Spokesman-Review
 

FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION: Kevin Boot, 17, spent weeks at a time in the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center for convictions over the past four years. He once was sentenced to 40 weeks in jail, followed shortly after by eight more for an assault conviction. A story in the Spokesman-Review on Wednesday stated otherwise. Correction published 1/5/95.

Felicia Reese died for $43.

Two suspects in her execution-style murder said robbery was their motive when they spotted Reese, 22, parking her car in a secluded spot at the Sheraton-Spokane Hotel last Thursday, sheriff’s deputies said.

Kevin Boot, 17, and his cousin, Jerry Boot, 16, forced her into the back seat of her blue Nissan at gunpoint and drove to Minnehaha Park, where they stopped the car, according to an arrest warrant.

Both blame each other for firing the fatal bullet into her head. One accuses the other of dragging her body out of the car, dumping it along Upriver Drive and snatching the $43 from her purse.

After being arrested last week on unrelated charges, the teenagers were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and are being held in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bail. They will be tried as adults, prosecutors said.

“Not with these charges will they be treated as juveniles,” Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Thompson said. “No way.”

Unlike his cousin, Jerry Boot has had few runins with local police and sheriff’s deputies in the past. He recently moved to Spokane from Seattle, and enrolled at Jantsch High School, court records show.

Kevin Boot, however, has been in and out of the Juvenile Detention Center so many times that records clerks and prosecutors know his criminal history by heart.

He’s been convicted 18 times in the past four years for crimes ranging from vehicle prowling to hitting a person in the face with a shovel. Five of his convictions are for assault.

When he was 16, he punched a teenage girl who he said mumbled racial slurs at him. A month later, he broke into a North Side home carrying a 16-gauge shotgun and robbed the owner.

He’s waved knives and guns at other teenagers and smashed windows out of cars. Once he pushed his grandmother down a set of stairs in her East Longfellow home.

Rarely has Kevin Boot spent more than a few days in jail, though.

The most serious charge against him was leveled last spring, when he was accused of pointing a gun at two teenage girls and threatening to kill them.

If Superior Court Judge Marcus Kelly hadn’t thrown out evidence in that case because of a technicality, Kevin Boot probably would have been behind bars when Reese was killed, juvenile officials said.

“If he’d been convicted, with his standard range, he’d have been in a juvenile facility,” said Juvenile Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady, who has filed an appeal in the case.

“It just made me sick,” said Wayne Ristau, a court investigator who recommended sentences in many of the cases against Kevin Boot.

“Especially when you’ve seen the handwriting on the wall and you’ve done everything you could do,” Ristau said. “We’ve operated not only in the aspect of rehabilitation, we’ve tried to do everything we could do within the standards the Legislature has given us.”

Twice during the summer of 1992, when Kevin Boot was convicted of assault, Ristau asked for exceptional sentences.

In his arguments, Ristau noted Kevin Boot’s extensive criminal history.

“I said I felt this kid was a danger to the community,” said Ristau, who advised against probation. “We just didn’t feel like we could do the job.”

Reese, described as an upbeat Christian who sang in the church choir, had plans to get married this summer. More than 500 of her friends held a memorial service for her Saturday at Harvest Christian Fellowship, where she was a devoted member.

“Do not forget Felicia,” her fiance, Ken Whitehall, told the group. “Her heart was with God. That’s the way we need to live our lives.”

From jail Tuesday, Kevin Boot maintained his innocence in Reese’s murder and again offered his cousin as the shooter.

Smiling constantly, the selfproclaimed Crips gang member spoke softly into a telephone on the other side of the jail glass.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, that’s all,” Boot said. “I was with my cousin, that’s all. What he did, that’s something else.”

Boot said he grew up mostly on the streets, joining the Rolling 60s gang four years ago. His father is “in prison somewhere” and Boot said he doesn’t know where his mother is.

He lived off and on with his grandparents, Mary Katherine and Jerry Boot, in their North Side home but said he always preferred being on his own. He dropped out of Jantsch High School last year.

“I don’t like living by the rules,” Boot said, twirling a thin black tail of hair around his finger. “I like things my way.”

ILLUSTRATION: Three Photos, Two Color


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