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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Judge orders suspect held on bond

Mother says girlfriend told her shooting was accident

The mother of the man charged with shooting his girlfriend in the face said the alleged victim now claims that the gun dropped, fired and shot her accidentally.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese, however, said that regardless of how the injury occurred, she believed 30-year-old Joshua Graham is a flight risk and a danger to the community and ordered him held in the Spokane County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

Graham was arrested Monday after Spokane police got a tip on his location. Investigators dispute the accidental injury claims and want Graham charged with first-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm after his 19-year-old girlfriend, Justine K. Fry, was shot in the face with a .22 caliber pistol on Oct. 1. The bullet entered near Fry’s nose and lodged near her spine. She recently was released from the hospital.

According to court records, Fry initially refused to say that Graham shot her, but she later told detectives that “he threatened her by pointing a handgun at her head” and then she was shot.

In court Tuesday, Graham’s mother, 53-year-old Donna Hilliard, said she spoke with Fry on Monday and Fry told her that the shooting occurred following an argument.

Graham “was yelling at her (Fry) about having the gun in the house and it dropped and that’s how she got shot. She just kept saying it was an accident,” Hilliard said.

After Fry was shot, Graham called 911 and helped her into a car.

“Does that sound like somebody who just shot someone in the face?” she asked.

Her son, who got out of prison after a five-year stretch on a drug conviction this spring, didn’t turn himself in to police because he was scared, she said.

But Plese was not impressed with Hilliard’s plea to reduce her son’s bond. She noted that Graham has two prior convictions for violating protection orders, has five prior arrests for domestic violence and 13 prior failures to appear in court.

Hilliard is also named in the police report, which noted that she “was trying to protect her son from criminal charges and initially misled Detective (Ben) Estes about her son possessing a firearm.”

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