Spokane deputies arrested a 20-year-old Saturday suspected of stabbing and killing his cousin in Spokane Valley, according to court records.
Aaron M. McAteer now faces murder charges in the death of Manuel J. Trujillo, 39.
Witnesses told police that they saw two men fighting in the street near 8016 Boone Ave. at about 4:15 p.m. McAteer later admitted to stabbing Trujillo, but said it was self-defense, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Responding deputies discovered a large amount of blood in the roadway and found Trujillo unresponsive and not breathing near the intersection of Boone Avenue and Dorn Street. Blood covered his lower legs and he was lying in juniper bushes with his legs sticking out, the court document said.
Deputies also observed multiple puncture wounds to Trujillo’s right side. Trujillo was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at about 6:30 p.m.
McAteer’s grandmother told deputies that her grandson and Trujillo had been drinking together that day. She said that McAteer was home briefly around sunset and admitted to her that he stabbed Trujillo after Trujillo came at him with a pocket knife, documents said. McAteer also told his grandmother he threw the knife before returning home. McAteer told his family that he planned to turn himself in at noon the next day.
Deputies located McAteer on Saturday at the office of his attorney, Chris Bugbee. Blood was still on his cuticles and under his fingernails, a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detective wrote in the probable cause affidavit.
McAteer told deputies he and Trujillo were at his residence at 114 N. Hutchinson Road, less than a mile away. They left after Trujillo assaulted a female guest. McAteer said they both were drinking and were going to walk to a 7-Eleven, but Trujillo walked off. McAteer watched Trujillo walk about a block away, documents said. McAteer told deputies that after he called out to Trujillo, Trujillo ran at him with a blue pocket knife, documents said.
McAteer told deputies he was able to keep Trujillo away by holding him back with his hand on Trujillo’s head as Trujillo swung the pocket knife, the documents said.
McAteer then retrieved his own knife, described in court documents as “a fixed-blade knife with a rope-bound handle,” to defend himself.
According to court documents, McAteer said he stabbed Trujillo in self -defense.
McAteer also told deputies that Trujillo cut his hand, although deputies did not find an injury on his hand to be consistent with an edged weapon. Surveillance footage and witness statements also did not support McAteer’s claim that Trujillo charged at him with a knife, court documents said.
A blue pocket knife was discovered in one of Trujillo’s pockets, but it was closed and did not have any blood on it. Due to the amount of blood at the scene “it is unreasonable to believe that he was able to close and place the knife in the pocket of his shorts after being mortally wounded,” court documents said.
McAteer was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Saturday, where he remains on $751,500 bail. He was also charged with driving under 21 while consuming alcohol or cannabis, driving without a license and minor in possession.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.