The man who shot and killed one person and wounded another during a drug deal in June on the South Hill pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Brian R. McGaugh, 38, was originally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel accepted McGaugh’s guilty pleas Thursday to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm as part of a plea agreement.
Hazel followed the recommendation from the prosecution and defense to sentence McGaugh to 108 months in prison – the low end of the standard sentencing range of 108 to 120 months. The maximum penalty for second-degree manslaughter in Washington is 120 months, or 10 years.
McGaugh killed Ty Jordan, 38, and shot Jerrame Kimble in the arm during the June 23 incident, according to court documents.
Jordan and McGaugh got out of their vehicles to get drugs from another man at the intersection of West Seventh Avenue and South Oak Street, the documents said.
A fight ensued, and Kimble told police that Jordan said McGaugh was trying to rip off his friend by not paying for fentanyl. Then McGaugh pulled out a pistol and shot Jordan and Kimble, the documents said.
The plea agreement was viewed differently by each party involved.
Hazel called the plea a “just compromise.” McGaugh’s attorney claimed his client acted in self defense while the prosecution said the agreement holds McGaugh accountable and Jordan’s family asked for more prison time.
“You are responsible for the death of Ty Jordan, and that’s a significant crime,” Hazel said.
McGaugh’s attorney, Christian Phelps, said a jury would have determined McGaugh acted in self defense and he encouraged his client to take the case to trial. But, Phelps said McGaugh wanted a resolution to the case.
“The state’s own evidence supports a self-defense verdict,” Phelps said.
Spokane County deputy prosecutor Sharon Hedlund said the plea was a “guaranteed resolution.”
“It’s a way to ensure Mr. McGaugh has another strike offense, limit his liability and then move forward, hopefully giving the family some closure even if they’re still not very happy with myself,” Hedlund said.
Hannah Shedd, Jordan’s widow, told the court she would have rather lost at trial than agree to “the slap on the wrist” offered in the agreement.
“No amount of prison time the court could deliver for Mr. McGaugh will ever bring Ty back, but the longer he is put away, the safer our community is,” Shedd said.
Rosanna Jordan, Jordan’s sister, and Charlotte Hillman, Jordan’s mother, said they forgive McGaugh, but like Shedd, asked Hazel to impose consecutive sentences for the two charges instead of running them concurrently. Hazel ended up running them concurrently.
“First of all, I forgive him for what he did because I can’t carry that burden,” Hillman said. “He’s got to.”
Rosanna Jordan said her brother was her best friend.
“I just don’t think that justice was served. Period,” Rosanna Jordan told The Spokesman-Review. “It doesn’t change anything. My brother’s gone and that’s all there is to it.”
McGaugh told Hazel he was sorry and did what he had to do that day, adding that the decision to fire his weapon was made in a few seconds.
“This has been the worst thing that has ever happened in my life for sure,” he said.
McGaugh’s family attended Thursday’s sentencing and declined to speak on the record to The Spokesman-Review.
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