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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Courthouse watch: 6.10.09

A man charged in a deadly Halloween shooting outside a Spokane nightspot opted for a plea deal the day his first-degree murder trial was set to begin.

Matthew R. Jones, 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces about 10 years in prison.

Trial for Jon Espinoza, the man who allegedly fired the bullet that killed 22-year-old Joshua Ridgely, is set for September. Read Thomas Clouse's story here.

The same day Jones opted for the plea, a man questioned in the same shooting but never charged was on the Spokane County Superior Court docket on unrelated charges.

Zacharia A. Tesch, 30, was due in court Wednesday on drug and gun charges related to a police raid at his home in March, records show.

Tesch is listed as a witness in Espinoza's murder case and told police he was trying to help a friend during a fight when he heard a gunshot.

"At which time (Tesch) looked and saw that Matt, the male he had met (at) the 7-11 with Jon Espinoza, was holding the gun pointing it into the air. Espinoza then went to Matt, took the gun from him and started shooting into the crowd," according to court documents.

Tesch left with friends in a white Mustang. Police went looking for the Mustang after witnesses said they'd seen it speeding away shortly after the shooting.

Police questioned Tesch and his friends and decided they were being truthful, court papers show.

But in March, detectives learned Tesch might have information about the Halloween homicide, according to a search warrant used to search his apartment.

Investigators found guns, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia, records show.

Tesch was also charged last month with possession of cocaine in relation to an incident the day before the Halloween shooting in which a police officer found cocaine in his car following a traffic stop, according to court records.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.