Nez Perce County Prosecutor Denise Rosen is not backing away from the murder charges filed against former Asotin County, Wash., sheriff’s deputy Kenneth Arrasmith even though his attorney maintains she has not gotten all the facts yet.
“I had sufficient facts at the time I charged Mr. Arrasmith with two counts of first-degree murder and it will be up to a jury to decide his guilt or innocence,” Rosen said.
But Roy Mosman of Moscow, whose firm is handling Arrasmith’s defense, contends Rosen should re-evaluate the case once all the facts are in.
“I think she acted very quickly,” Mosman said. “I think at the time she didn’t know all the facts.”
Meanwhile, Robert Hough, Arrasmith’s brother-in-law and family spokesman, announced on Tuesday that a legal defense fund has been set up. Canisters were being placed in area businesses to collect money, and supporters are selling burgundy ribbons and buttons.
Arrasmith, 44, is accused of killing Ronald and Luella Bingham of Clarkston, Wash., on May 17 outside a Lewiston automotive shop. The victims died of multiple gunshot wounds and police say about 36 spent 9mm casings were found on the ground at the murder scene.
At the time of the shootings, Washington’s Asotin County Sheriff’s Department was investigating allegations that the Binghams had sexually molested Arrasmith’s 15-year-old daughter.
Family members said in interviews after the shootings that Arrasmith, who lives in Sunnyside, Wash., had conducted his own investigation of the Binghams and taken his findings to authorities.
A report on the sheriff’s department investigation was completed last week and turned over to Rosen, but she has refused to release the information on grounds that it is part of the murder investigation.
The Binghams were charged in 1984 with raping their 16-year-old baby sitter. Ronald Bingham pleaded guilty to second-degree rape in exchange for the charge against his wife being dropped.
He served 18 months in prison.
Asotin County court records also show the couple was charged in 1978 with second-degree statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.
The charges were dismissed after the alleged victim’s father sent her to live in another state.