June 7, 1996 in Idaho

Comeslast Said ‘I Shoot To Kill’ Witness Says Murder Suspect Wasn’t Surprised By Two Deaths

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Kenneth “Junior” Comeslast wasn’t surprised when he learned two girls died in a volley of gunfire last summer in northeast Spokane.

About nine hours after the shootings, he told friends, “When I shoot, I shoot to kill.”

That account was offered Thursday by one of the friends, Christopher McIlveen, who testified for the prosecution during the double-murder trial.

Comeslast, 16, is being tried as an adult for gunning down two girls as they sat on the front porch of a friend’s Hillyard home last Aug. 9. He is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted murder.

If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

Kendra Grantham, 16, and Cindy Buffin, 17, were killed as they tried to escape the gunfire at 2928 E. Central. Amanda Denny, 14, who lives there, was shot in the side. Sadie Maddox, 13, was not injured.

McIlveen, now 18, has pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court to first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

During McIlveen’s testimony in Superior Court, Comeslast wrote furiously, crunching his body over a yellow notepad.

McIlveen rarely glanced at Comeslast.

The witness said he first saw Comeslast with the gun about three weeks before the shooting. He was cleaning it.

McIlveen said he next saw the rifle the night of Aug. 8, when Comeslast carried it in a duffel bag and stashed it behind the back seat in friend Douglas Champagne’s station wagon.

Comeslast wanted to shoot his gun at Boulder Beach on the Spokane River, McIlveen said.

So Champagne drove McIlveen, Comeslast, Amy Allen and Adawn Lowry to the beach. Comeslast and Champange each fired about 10 shots, McIlveen said.

Then Comeslast wanted to drive by the home of his former girlfriend, Amanda Denny.

At least 10 people were on the front porch. The station wagon kept rolling, to Comeslast’s home, because Comeslast wanted to reload the gun, McIlveen said.

“He showed us his special bullets that he had,” McIlveen said. “They were gold.”

The car parked at a corner down the block from the Denny home. Comeslast grabbed his rifle and said he’d be right back, McIlveen said.

Minutes later, the teenagers in the car heard popping shots, then a pause, then more shots.

Comeslast jumped in the front passenger’s seat and Champagne tried to start the car, which stalled for a moment. No one reacted much to the gunfire, McIlveen said.

“I didn’t really feel nothing because we didn’t really know what had happened,” he said.

Comeslast was dropped off at his North Side home after unsuccessfully trying to get Champagne to hide the gun. Comeslast finally agreed to stash the rifle in his parents’ garage, McIlveen said.

Adrian Ellenwood testified that Comeslast, his cousin, knocked on his door the afternoon of Aug. 9. Ellenwood said he was handed the assault rifle.

“I asked if he heard about those girls getting their heads blown off,” Ellenwood told the jury. “He said ‘no.”’

Ellenwood agreed to keep the weapon, the bullets and a blue-and-green nylon bag for a couple of weeks.

Hours later, feeling nervous, he and his wife called police, who picked up the weapon. Comeslast was arrested early the next day.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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