November 9, 1996 in City

Woman Admits Role In Slaying Plea Bargain Had Let Her Trade Testimony For A Lighter Sentence

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Spokane woman who testified against a former boyfriend at his recent murder trial pleaded guilty Friday to being an accomplice to a crime.

Susan Boatright, 36, pleaded guilty to first-degree rendering of criminal assistance, then hurried to jail to collect her belongings before being set free.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen sentenced Boatright to 298 days in jail - the exact length of time she’s been in custody.

She was arrested in January along with former friend Kenneth D. Gooch, 42.

Gooch was found innocent Thursday of first degree murder in the shooting death of Spokane crime figure Vito Tombari.

Jurors heard Boatright testify as the only eyewitness to Tombari’s death.

She said Gooch told her, while driving to Tombari’s house, that he intended to kill him.

She testified that Gooch later took a gun and killed Tombari, 40, with a single gunshot to the chest.

In that trial, jurors decided they were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Gooch did not act in self-defense.

Before the trial, Boatright accepted a plea bargain with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to helping Gooch leave the scene of the crime after the shooting.

If Boatright had not testified against Gooch, prosecutors could have charged her with Tombari’s murder as well.

Boatright had no other felony convictions, Eitzen learned before passing sentence.

Her defense attorney, Dale Jurdy, said Boatright planned to leave Spokane to live briefly with family members. Abused by Gooch before Tombari’s death, she said she now feels vulnerable after testifying against him.

She also fears for her safety because of alleged connections Tombari had with organized crime, Jurdy said.

, DataTimes


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