A Deer Park man was acquitted Thursday of allegations that he’d kidnapped his wife and her new lover and tried to throw them off a bridge.
A jury of seven men and five women found David E. Epley not guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping for the May 12, 2009, incident.
“I think it was grossly overcharged,” said Epley’s lawyer, Gloria Ochoa. “At most what (prosecutors) had was maybe an assault, but it was not first-degree premeditated attempted murder.”
Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece declined comment. The jury deliberated for about a day.
Epley, 37, has been out of jail on bond. He was acquitted earlier this year on allegation that he raped his wife at gunpoint just days before the incident, but jurors didn’t know that.
“It came down to the credibility of the witnesses,” said defense lawyer David Bingaman.
Epley smiled as the verdict was read and hugged crying family members afterward.
“I feel great,” Epley said. “Now I get to fight to see my kids.”
Epley denied being armed during the confrontation, which started in the parking lot of Cinola Restaurant, 14710 N. Newport Highway, and continued to the Wandermere Bridge on U.S. 395, north of Spokane.
Treece told jurors that Epley hid in his wife’s car as she shared a drink with her guitar instructor, then put a gun to the man’s head after they got in the car and ordered his wife to drive to the bridge. Treece said Epley tried to heave the man over the bridge.
But Ochoa said Epley spotted his wife’s car at the restaurant and was worried about her, so he used his key to enter her car and wait for her. He fell asleep, and an argument ensued after the couple got inside the car.
Epley told his wife to drive to the bridge to take the boyfriend home, Ochoa told jurors.
Epley later called 911 to report that his wife’s lover had threatened to assault him. Deputies found what Treece said were fake suicide notes Epley had written pretending to be his wife.
But Ochoa said those so-called suicide letters were simply notes that her client took while talking to his wife over the phone.
“We’re elated,” Ochoa said after the acquittal. “Justice was served today.”