April 23, 2010 in City

Teen makes plea in Spokane slaying

19-year-old supplied knife for fatal stabbing
By The Spokesman-Review
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High on methamphetamines, Christopher E. Hooper handed over the knife last year that killed Shannon Cochran, who was standing up to several attackers to defend a friend.

Hooper, 19, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree assault; the charge was reduced from second-degree murder because he didn’t do the actual stabbing on Jan. 16, 2009, and he cooperated with police, Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell said.

But Haskell noted it was Hooper who handed the knife to 20-year-old Michael L. Summa, who Haskell said stabbed 22-year-old Cochran to death near the intersection of Helena Street and Garland Avenue. Summa and 19-year-old Tylor Buttolph both face a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the case.

“This has put our family through agony,” Cochran’s aunt, Heidi Dorscher, said in court. “We couldn’t even say goodbye to him because his body was evidence.”

Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno agreed to the plea bargain and sentenced Hooper to serve 12 months in prison. He was given credit for time served, which is about 10 months, defense attorney Senit Lutgen said.

“Certainly, Mr. Hooper recognizes the pain this situation has caused,” Lutgen said. “I know he got mixed up in this, … but there was no fight between him and anyone else.”

Moreno asked Hooper to explain himself.

“My actions that day were not very smart,” Hooper said. “I didn’t want anything like that to happen.”

“What did you think would happen when you handed somebody a knife?” the judge asked.

“I wasn’t thinking. I was under the influence of meth,” he said.

Moreno asked the youth, a 10th-grade dropout who had no family in attendance and a mother in jail in Benton County, whether he had a concept about the consequences of loss of life.

“His family can never see him again,” Moreno told Hooper before deputies took him back to jail.

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