A Spokane man whose 2006 murder conviction was vacated following state Supreme Court rulings last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case after a February mistrial.
John Lipinski, 30, entered the plea Thursday, about three weeks after a jury deadlocked in his retrial for the murder of Melissa Salvidar. Salvidar died of a fractured skull after Lipinski drove her to the hospital in August 2004.
A child delivered by caesarean section died several weeks later, according to court documents.
A Spokane jury convicted Lipinski of murder in Salvidar’s death and manslaughter for the death of the child in 2006. However, several potential jurors were questioned in private prior to their selection, based on the high-profile nature of the case and fears from the court jurors with knowledge of the case would “taint” others.
In a series of rulings, the Washington state Supreme Court said that practice denies a defendant’s right to a public trial and ordered a new trial be held in the case last summer.
A rehearing of the case was held in a Spokane courtroom earlier this year. After several days of deliberations, a jury was unable to reach a verdict. Yet another trial in the case was tentatively scheduled for May.
Lipinski pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in Melissa Salvidar’s death and second-degree manslaughter for the death of the child, according to court documents. He has already served close to eight years in prison for the deaths. His attorney, John Stine, said Monday that Lipinski will need to complete some paperwork but that he should be freed shortly after that.
Lipinski is currently listed in custody on a warrant at the Spokane County Jail.