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2012 Spokane gun killing moves toward trial

The fate of a 30-year-old Spokane man charged with killing a gang rival during a confrontation in December 2012 will be decided by a jury next week.

Louis Hanson, 30, is accused in the slaying of Aaron Cummings, 27, at a home near North Central High School in Spokane in the early morning hours of Dec. 30. Prosecutors plan to argue Hanson killed Cummings in order to rise through the ranks of his own gang. If they convince a jury, it would imprison Hanson for life under the state’s “three strikes” law.

Police initially arrested another suspect based on eyewitness accounts. Those descriptions were later found to be deliberately falsified.

Hanson’s defense team contends prosecutors have kept them from questioning a key witness, and have not provided an expert access to the gun allegedly used in the shooting.

The witness told police she saw Hanson enter a home at 1607 N. Wall St. while she and some girlfriends were preparing to leave for a night out. While curling her hair in the bathroom, she watched a person she identified as Hanson pull a revolver from his waistband, point it at Cummins and fire. Other witnesses reported the two exchanging gang affiliations before the violence began.

Search warrants filed in the case have focused on Hanson’s tattoos, which will be used as evidence of his gang affiliations. Hanson has also reportedly been involved in several assaults while incarcerated, which prosecutors contend are a result of his gang ties.

Opening arguments in the case are scheduled to begin Monday.

Editor’s note: This article was updated Oct. 28, 2013 to remove an inaccurate reference to the potential maximum penalty if convicted.

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