YAKIMA – An Ephrata man convicted as a teenager of murdering a playmate in 2003 made his first court appearance Monday after an appeals court last month said his rights were violated and ordered a new trial.
Evan Savoie, now 21, had been sentenced to 26 years in prison for the death of Craig Sorger, a developmentally disabled boy last seen playing with him in a recreational vehicle park.
Visiting Judge Jack Burchard of Okanogan County set bail at $1 million for Savoie in Grant County Superior Court.
Savoie is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 29.
Sorger, 13, was last seen playing with Savoie and another playmate, Jake Eakin, and his mother reported him missing when he didn’t return home. The boy’s body was found with dozens of stab wounds.
Savoie and Eakin were 12 at the time. Both proclaimed their innocence for two years, but Eakin ultimately testified against Savoie in a plea deal.
Prosecutors tried Savoie as an adult. He had been serving his sentence at Airway Heights Corrections Center but was transferred to Grant County for his court appearance and will remain there pending a new trial, Deputy Prosecutor Ed Owens said.
Attorneys for Savoie appealed his conviction on grounds that the trial judge violated his right to a public trial and erred in appointing counsel for Sorger’s parents. During one hearing, that attorney successfully moved to have the court closed to the public to argue motions about the family’s health records.
The state Appeals Court agreed last month and ordered a new trial.