Spokane police arrested a second suspect in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Ceasar Medina at a store on North Monroe Street in May.
Vatsana “Linnie” Muongkhoth, 28, was arrested early Thursday for her suspected involvement in the shooting during a robbery attempt at Northwest Accessories, 3400 N. Monroe St.
She is being held in Spokane County Jail on a $1 million bond, along with Jeremiah A. Smith, 25, who was arrested about a week after the shooting at midnight on May 25. Smith is suspected of shooting Medina.
Witnesses told police two people forced their way into the store, and one of the employees hurled an empty wine bottle at them. One of the intruders then opened fire, striking Medina, who died after police attempted lifesaving efforts.
The shooting was captured on the store’s video surveillance, and when Smith was arrested he was wearing some of the same clothing one of the suspects wore in the video. His parole officer also identified Smith as a suspect based on tattoos visible in the video.
Police say they believe Muongkhoth was Smith’s accomplice and was the second suspect in the video, wearing a hood and bandanna over the face.
In interviews with police Muongkhoth denied having any contact with Smith after his release from prison in May. She said she had been arguing with her boyfriend, an employee at Northwest Accessories, the night of the murder. She admitted driving to the store that night and breaking out the back window of her boyfriend’s car, according to court records. She told police she then went to a nearby friend’s house alone.
However, Muongkhoth’s friend said she arrived with Smith shortly after midnight on May 26, around the time the robbery was reported to police.
According to court documents, Muongkhoth’s phone didn’t show any texts between her and Smith. Police obtained a search warrant in early July and were able to obtain copies of hundreds of texts exchanged between Muongkhoth and Smith that apparently had been deleted from their phones. The texts were nearly constant late on May 25 as the two talked about her fight with her boyfriend and how Muongkhoth wanted to “get his ass,” according the court documents.
The texts end abruptly at 11:23 p.m., right after Smith texted, “Ok. Let’s go to the shop then,” according to documents. The texts resume at 1:22 a.m. May 26. Muongkhoth texted Smith, “Get rid of your sweater,” and he texted her, “Don’t says nothing to know one.”
Muongkhoth told police she and Smith dated before he was sent to prison in 2010 for a violent home invasion robbery. She was involved in the robbery with him and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Muongkhoth is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.
Smith, if convicted, could serve life in prison. He faces charges of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree-assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and intimidating a witness.
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