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Woman faces charges in man’s shooting death

A Spokane woman has been accused of participating in a November killing.

Abigail M. Meckle went before a judge this week to face several charges in connection with the Nov. 16 shooting of Jim Johnston, 40, at an apartment at 1281/2 N. Division St.

Police believe Meckle assisted Robert T. Spencer and Bryan M. James in killing Johnston, a Central Valley High School alumnus. Meckle was detained and interviewed by detectives about the killing in November but was not jailed.

“It’s just a progression of the case,” said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson. “Just because she was arrested and let go didn’t mean we had forgotten about her.”

Spokane police believe that Jonna Pacello, who worked as a prostitute, had been held against her will by Meckle and Spencer at a downtown Spokane motel because she refused to let Spencer be her pimp, according to court records. Pacello told investigators that she escaped the room, but Spencer later assaulted her, and Johnston intervened to stop him, the records state.

Spencer left the building but soon came back with James and Meckle, authorities say. Witnesses told detectives that Spencer hit Johnston on the head with a pipe and that James shot him.

In a jail interview, Meckle said that authorities have put words in her mouth and that she was not involved in the shooting.

She said Pacello was not held against her will at the motel; she said she was there to get drugs.

“When you’re on drugs and you get high, you tend to hallucinate about things,” Meckle said. ” … I feel like I’m being railroaded.”

James was found guilty in May of attempting to kill two pedestrians in north Spokane. He still faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with Johnston’s death.

Spencer and Meckle each face several counts, including first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree promotion of prostitution.


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