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Judge rejects motion to dismiss murder charges against James Cloud

UPDATED: Mon., March 7, 2022

The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in Spokane.  (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in Spokane. (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Yakima Herald-Republic

SPOKANE — A federal judge today rejected a motion to dismiss murder charges against James Dean Cloud. 

James Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud are accused of the June 8, 2019, shooting deaths of five people outside White Swan — Dennis Overacker, 61, John Cagle, 59, Michelle Starnes, 51, Catherine Eneas, 49, and Thomas Hernandez, 36. 

Federal prosecutors charged the Clouds with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing a firearm with intent to commit bodily injury. 

The Clouds are being tried separately. James Cloud’s trial started last week in Spokane. 

On day two of the trial, defense attorney John McEntire learned of text messages from the boyfriend of a key witness to an FBI agent. 

The boyfriend said Esmeralda Zaragoza would testify to whatever the FBI wanted if criminal charges against him were dismissed. 

That information wasn’t provided to Cloud’s defense attorneys, who filed a motion to dismiss charges Saturday evening. 

U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. rejected the motion when the trial resumed this morning, Monday, March 7, 2022.

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