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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

‘Be part of the good that comes from my son’s death,’ mother tells man as he’s sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for Airway Heights killing

Nov. 4, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 4, 2022 at 7:48 p.m.

Ezekiel Mentell, 24, awaits his sentencing for first degree manslaughter on Friday Nov. 4, 2022 in the shooting death of Jeffrey Hayes.   (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)
Ezekiel Mentell, 24, awaits his sentencing for first degree manslaughter on Friday Nov. 4, 2022 in the shooting death of Jeffrey Hayes.  (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)

A 24-year-old man was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison Friday for shooting a man in Airway Heights last year.

Ezekiel Mentell, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm and rendering criminal assistance .

Mentell and another man, Shawn Cottingham, shot and killed Jeffery T. Hayes last year not far from Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

Cottingham pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Vickie Hayes, Jeffery’s mother, blamed the “epidemic of drugs and guns” in America for her son’s death.

She described her son’s sense of humor and unique sense of style to the court before sharing the devastation of his death. She said she hopes something good comes from the family’s pain.

“You can be part of the good that comes from my son’s death,” Hayes told her son’s killer.

Kelly Deitman, Jeffrey Hayes’ sister, noted her brother was mentally ill and struggled with addiction, but that didn’t mean he deserved to die such a horrible death.

She pleaded with Mentell to “please do the work” and become a productive member of society.

Mentell, wearing a white Spokane County Detention jumpsuit with profanity scrawled in marker across the top, apologized to the family.

“I owe you a very big apology for my actions,” he said, before admitting Jeffery Hayes death was “completely 100% my fault.”

“From this point forward I will change my actions to bring peace to my environment,” he said.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel called the shooting “senseless violence” before sentencing Mentell to 200 months in prison.

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