The man charged with killing Gordon R. Feist, of Colville, has confessed to the shooting and told detectives that two others helped him, according to court records filed Wednesday.
Eric L. Booth, 26, faces a charge of murder in connection with the July 17 killing of 63-year-old Feist. Neighbors found Feist bleeding from the head when they responded to the sound of his utility vehicle crashing into a pole.
Detectives tracked Booth down with the help of the gun found at the scene and a chance encounter by Community Corrections Officer Travis Hurst, who remembered being told that the homicide suspect likely would have a facial wound based on blood found on the windshield on the passenger side of the crashed utility vehicle.
Hurst and another corrections officer stopped at 419 Old Dominion Road on July 20 to contact Booth’s brother, who was on probation for an unrelated matter. When they noticed the facial injuries, they called Stevens County detectives, according to court records.
The gun found near Feist, a .22 caliber Derringer, was reported stolen from a June burglary of another residence where a safe containing 23 guns was stolen. That safe was found on June 19 off of Old Dominion Road and “almost” within sight of the porch of the house where Booth was arrested, according to court records.
“The investigation revealed that Booth had met Gordon Feist earlier and had done some work at the Feist residence within the past few weeks,” the court record states.
Monday, Booth contacted jail staff and asked to speak with a detective. Deputies tried to contact Booth’s attorney but were unable to reach him. The detectives then had Booth sign a written waiver of his constitutional rights and recorded what he had to say, according to court records.
“Mr. Booth said that he went with two other persons to Mr. Feist’s home with the intent to rob him of guns and money. They were armed with firearms,” the record states. “They formed a plan to walk to the house and claim they were out of gasoline as a ruse.”
The plan worked, and they got into the utility vehicle with Feist, according to court records. Then, “as they drove down the drive, Mr. Booth panicked and shot Mr. Feist” as he was driving the Kubota utility vehicle, the record states.
Booth said he doesn’t remember exactly what happened during the crash, but “he described in detail the events before and after the crash and provided important information to the detectives.”
The probable cause affidavit did not name the two other suspects; the investigation is continuing. Booth, who has no previous felony convictions, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment on the murder charge.