February 17, 2011 in City

Gunman at Hoopfest pleads guilty to assault

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Background

Four men were arrested June 26 after three bystanders at Hoopfest were injured by gunfire. The victims all suffered minor wounds to the legs or feet.

The Hoopfest gunman who opened fire on rival gang members last year, injuring three bystanders in the downtown Spokane crowd, pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges.

Miguel C. Garcia, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He’s expected to serve nearly nine years in prison; sentencing is set for April 12. Since he used a gun in the commission of the assaults, six years of the agreed upon 105-month sentence will be served as part of a weapon enhancement.

“I think this was a fair outcome for all parties,” Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Garvin said.

Defense attorney David Partovi and the attorneys for several other defendants initially complained that Garvin overcharged the case with the multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder. But Partovi said Garvin easily negotiated the settlement.

“I think it’s fair. I don’t want him to do that kind of time, but our chances at trial were limited,” Partovi said of his client. “I do think he did act in self-defense, but he was looking at 30 years. It was a complicated set of facts.”

Garcia, Adam Doe, 19, Marquis D. Johnson, 22, and Rashjel C. “Reggie” Cage, 24, were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder and single counts of riot and unlawful possession of a firearm.

All four men were arrested June 26 after witnesses said Cage handed a gun to Garcia, who then fired three times, striking three bystanders at Hoopfest. The victims all suffered minor wounds to the legs or feet.

Two of the intended shooting victims, Kalen J. Bedford and Andre Conway, were members of the Blocc Hustlers gang, which is rival to Doe and Cage’s Murder One Crips gang, police said.

After complaints were raised about the initial charges, Garvin reduced the charges to five counts of first-degree assault and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, along with riot and firearms charges. Doe also was charged with third-degree assault after a Spokane police officer said the teen struggled violently when he was arrested with the gun used in the shooting.

All of the other defendants have entered pleas. Garcia’s case was the last to be completed, Garvin said.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen told Garcia that the charges constitute his second strike of a most serious offense, and that another conviction would send him to prison for life without possibility of parole.

“It’s not very often that I take a plea on a strike offense from someone who is 19 years old,” she said. “This has to be the last time you get into trouble.”


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