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Prosecution Rests In Comeslast Murder Trial Witnesses Try To Show Suspect’s Connection To Crips Was Motivation For Killings

Tue., June 11, 1996

Prosecutors completed their case against 16-year-old Kenneth “Junior” Comeslast on Monday, trying to prove he killed two girls to build his gangster reputation.

Comeslast faces eight criminal counts in Spokane County Superior Court, including two for aggravated murder and two for attempted murder.

The murder charges stem from the slayings of Cindy Buffin, 17, and Kendra Grantham, 16, who were talking with friends on the front porch of a Hillyard home when the gunfire erupted last Aug. 9.

Amanda Denny, 14, was wounded in the shooting. Sadie Maddox, 13, was not injured.

Prosecutors say Comeslast, then 15, approached the porch in the early morning darkness and fired more than 15 shots with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

They claim Comeslast, who is being tried as an adult, shot to kill.

Defense attorneys, who will begin calling witnesses today, argue the killings were accidental.

Trying to establish criminal intent, Deputy Prosecutor David Hearrean had jurors listen to a rap-like letter found in Comeslast’s juvenile detention cell last fall.

The 19-line handwritten letter brags about belonging to the East Coast Crips, a California-based gang.

Comeslast concludes the letter by saying no one should get in his way “when I got my Glock, ‘cause the only thing you’re gonna be is six-feet-under … so stay true to the blue and you don’t have to worry about going under, ‘cause I’m a Crip for life.”

Larry Saunders, a Spokane Police Department gang expert, testified Monday that a Glock is a highpowered pistol, and Crips wear blue as their gang color.

Saunders said shootings and other acts of violence earn gang members “juice,” or respect.

Prosecutors have no witnesses who can identify Comeslast as the person who fired the shots that killed Buffin and Grantham.

But earlier in the trial friends said Comeslast was in possession of an assault rifle at the time of the shooting. He also once threatened Denny, a former girlfriend, witnesses said.

Others said Comeslast also considered Eric Denny, Amanda’s brother, a rival gang member and threatened to kill him as well.

Comeslast created a stir Monday morning when he appeared in Judge Kathleen O’Connor’s courtroom wearing dark slacks and a white T-shirt.

Assistant Public Defender Richard Fasy scrambled to produce a green long-sleeved shirt for Comeslast to wear.

After lunch, Comeslast returned to court in the T-shirt, having told jail deputies that was his preference.

The trial was delayed as Fasy had Comeslast return to jail for another long-sleeved shirt.

“I’ll have a talk with him tonight to make sure we don’t have that misunderstanding again,” Fasy told Judge Kathleen O’Connor.

, DataTimes

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