A 23-year-old Spokane man pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted first-degree assault and first-degree robbery in a Feb. 20 incident in which he had been charged with first-degree attempted murder and a half-dozen other crimes.
Shawn Jeffery Nason was one of four people who allegedly attempted to kill crack cocaine dealer William Weller Bedford in the course of a drug robbery at Bedford’s apartment at 6901 N. Wiscomb.
Bedford was shot in the abdomen with a 20-gauge shotgun when he opened his apartment door to a blond woman who knocked at about 3 a.m. According to court documents, Bedford had told his girlfriend, Gina Russell, not to open the door but he changed his mind after looking out a peephole and seeing the woman.
As soon as Bedford unlatched the door, two men began pushing it open. Bedford said he was trying to close the door and, while it was still ajar, one of the intruders stuck a shotgun barrel through the crack.
Bedford told authorities he grabbed the barrel and kept pushing on the door, and was shot when someone pulled the gun away. Bedford’s injury was considered life-threatening, but he recovered.
His attackers fled when Bedford was shot.
Police said Bedford told them he had just received a large quantity of crack cocaine, and he believed his attackers were trying to steal his supply.
Nason was one of the two men outside the door and, according to court documents, bragged that he was the one who shot Bedford.
The other suspects, who face trial Aug. 8 according to court records, are Samson Ogbit “Spook” Tesfamariam, 28, Amber J. Bridge, 20, and Messina Seyler, 22. All four originally were charged just with attempted first-degree murder, but Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla recently added charges against Nason and Tesfamariam, and apparently is in the process of doing so against Bridge.
The additional charges included drive-by shooting, conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree robbery and – for Nason and Tesfamariam – unlawful possession of a firearm.
Bridge allegedly is the woman who persuaded Bedford to open his door. Seyler told police she remained in the suspects’ car without participating in the attempted robbery.
No sentencing date was set for Nason, and his standard sentencing range remained in doubt Wednesday. Cipolla and defense attorney Tom Cooney couldn’t agree on Nason’s criminal history for sentencing purposes, and a judge will decide the issue after receiving briefs from the attorneys.
Cipolla said he has agreed to recommend a mid-range sentence regardless of what the range turns out to be. He and Cooney agreed the possibilities are 71/2 to 10 years or 101/2 to 13 years, plus a mandatory five years for use of a firearm.
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