First-degree murder charges are to be filed today against two men accused of murdering an Elk area homeowner during a burglary Wednesday.
One of them, Jason V. Kukrall, 21, is a convicted child rapist. Co-defendant Tobias R. Stackhouse, 17, has no criminal record but is being charged as an adult. Stackhouse will turn 18 on Feb. 2.
The two Elk area defendants made initial appearances Thursday before Pend Oreille County Superior Court Judge Larry Kristianson.
They waived their right to have Prosecutor Tom Metzger summarize the evidence against them, and Kristianson ordered them held without bail in the county jail until they are arraigned Jan. 26.
Metzger declined to provide details of the alleged crime but confirmed reports that Steve Roscoe, 43, was shot in his back yard after he and his wife, Debbie, had come home and discovered their home had been burglarized.
Steve Roscoe suffered a wound to the chest, and Metzger said he expects at least one bullet to be recovered during an autopsy today. He said it is not clear how many times Roscoe was shot, but more than one handgun is believed to have been used.
Police found two guns and a bag of coins in the suspects’ car when they were stopped near the Wandermere shopping center north of Spokane shortly after the murder.
Kukrall and Stackhouse were given courtappointed attorneys when they said they have no money or property other than Kukrall’s car.
Stackhouse’s attorney, Al Schwenker, objected to his client being charged as an adult and being held in the adult jail. Kristianson told Schwenker he could present an argument during arraignment, but the judge said it is “appropriate” to treat Stackhouse as an adult at least until then.
Metzger said state law allows adult charges against Stackhouse because of the severity of the crime. But Schwenker said he thinks adult charges would be proper only if Stackhouse had had a prior criminal record.
Both Stackhouse and Kukrall sat quietly in court and, aside from telling Kristianson they have no money, said nothing.
Metzger said he will file a statement in court early next week. He said he would file first-degree murder charges today, and predicted other charges would be filed as the investigation continues.
The prosecutor said he doesn’t intend to file aggravated murder charges, which would allow the death penalty, because the evidence doesn’t support the necessary finding of premeditation.
Klickitat County Juvenile Court Administrator Keith Anderson confirmed that Kukrall pleaded guilty in 1989 to raping a 4-year-old boy. Kukrall, then 16, was sent to the state’s maximum security Green Hill reformatory in Chehalis, Wash., in August 1989 and was paroled in May 1991.
Kukrall’s prior record included a September 1988 conviction for possession of marijuana, for which he was sentenced to three months of “community supervision” and was ordered to perform community service.
Before that, Kukrall was counseled and released on Snohomish County charges that he committed seconddegree criminal trespass and thirddegree malicious mischief in August 1986, when he was 12. He was accused of third-degree theft in March 1988, but avoided formal prosecution when Snohomish County officials put him in a “diversion” program for firsttime offenders.