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In brief: Man convicted of shooting West Side teen Molly Conley

EVERETT – A jury on Monday found a man not guilty of murder in the drive-by killing of a 15-year-old Seattle girl with Spokane family ties, and instead convicted him of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

After deliberating less than two days, jurors in Snohomish County Superior Court also found Erick Walker, 28, guilty of assault and drive-by shooting.

Molly Conley, a freshman at Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School, was fatally shot walking along a road while celebrating her birthday on June 1, 2013, with friends in Lake Stevens.

Molly’s father, John Conley, said outside court that he was disappointed the jury did not convict Walker of murder.

“Molly was a beautiful, beautiful child, a beautiful girl and we all miss her so much,” he said.

She was the granddaughter of Spokane businessman John Conley Sr., who founded the White Elephant store.

Prosecutors said Walker, of Marysville, went on a three-hour shooting spree, indiscriminately firing from his car and hitting homes in Lake Stevens and Marysville.

The defense noted the bullet that killed Conley was never found.

House panel OKs oil-train crew bill

OLYMPIA – Trains with crude oil coming through Spokane or crossing Washington elsewhere would need larger crews, but those with farm chemicals would not, under a revised bill passed by a House committee Monday.

The latest version of a bill on one of the session’s hottest topics – transporting oil from other states and Canada to refineries in Western Washington – also calls for higher taxes on the oil than the Senate Republicans approved early this month. Both versions would require shippers to notify the state Department of Ecology of their expected shipments for the upcoming week, but would only allow aggregated reports of the shipments to be made public at the end of each quarter.

A train carrying oil or some other hazardous materials would be required to have three or more crew members, depending on the number of cars. The House Environment Committee approved an amendment from Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, to ensure farm chemicals like anhydrous ammonia were exempt from the larger crew standards and other provisions of the bill.

Committee passes e-cigarette measure

OLYMPIA – The state could establish rules for advertising and warning labels for e-cigarettes if the federal government doesn’t do it first, under legislation approved by a key House committee Monday.

But a key part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to control vapor nicotine products, an excise tax that could almost double their cost to consumers, was stripped from the bill in a major rewrite before the Commerce and Gambling Committee sent it to the House for a full vote.

The proposal still would allow the state Liquor Control Board to penalize or revoke licenses for shops that sell to customers younger than 18. Most other issues with the devices should be resolved through federal regulations, said Committee Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Pierce County.

The state should not hinder adults who are switching to e-cigarettes to get away from regular cigarettes or other tobacco products, Hurst said. Nicotine is still addictive, he added, “but this is a far safer product.”

 

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