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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

18-year-old woman given credit for time served in connection with shooting, SUV burning

An 18-year-old woman tied to a shooting inside a crowded vehicle that was later set on fire was given credit for time served and released from jail Tuesday.

Chenoa Fairbanks pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree rendering criminal assistance, first-degree reckless burning and first-degree malicious mischief.

“I’m so incredibly grateful no one died that day,” said Shannon Karlinsey, whose son was in the vehicle during the shooting.

The felonies stem from Aug. 2 when Fairbanks, 18-year-old Christian Proctor and seven others were driving in a GMC Yukon on West Mission Road from Northern Quest Resort and Casino, according to court documents.

During the ride, Proctor and one of the teens, a 15-year-old, started arguing, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said in documents. Proctor pulled out a handgun and fired at the 15-year-old, striking him and an 18-year-old woman in the SUV.

The driver of the Yukon, also a minor, pulled the vehicle over when the shooting started, and everyone except the two defendants got out of the car, detectives said in documents. Proctor and Fairbanks drove away in the Yukon, which didn’t belong to them.

Proctor crashed the Yukon into a ditch but continued to flee, documents say. He eventually parked the Yukon outside the Copper River apartment complex, 2865 W. Elliott Drive, minutes after the shooting.

Fairbanks removed a cellphone, believed to belong to one of the victims, from the vehicle and smashed it on the ground, likely to destroy evidence of the alleged crimes, detectives wrote.

Proctor and Fairbanks reached back inside the Yukon, rummaged inside the car and walked away. Smoke then started to billow out of the car, and it was soon engulfed in flames.

Detectives said it appeared the defendants set the fire to destroy evidence.

Fairbanks was originally charged with two counts of first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and second-degree arson. Proctor, who was dating Fairbanks, was charged with the same crimes and is awaiting trial Jan. 29.

Spokane County deputy prosecutor Tom Treppiedi said Proctor was the shooter, and that Fairbanks was not an “active participant” in the assault, making the assault charges difficult to prove if the case went to trial.

Treppiedi said Fairbanks did, however, help Proctor tamper with evidence. It was unclear who set the vehicle on fire, he said.

Fairbanks’ attorney, Kyle Madsen, said Fairbanks was as surprised as anyone else in the vehicle at the shooting and is taking responsibility for her actions.

“The situation was truly a shock to her,” Madsen said.

He called the plea agreement a “fair, just resolution,” especially given her youth. She was 17 at the time of the shooting.

Fairbanks declined to make a statement to Spokane County Superior Court Judge Rachelle Anderson. Fairbanks wore gray Spokane County Jail inmate clothing and had a tattoo next to her left eye.

Anderson followed the attorneys’ recommendation and credited Fairbanks the 53 days she served in jail. She ordered Fairbanks, who has no criminal history, to serve one year of probation.

Anderson implored Fairbanks to make good decisions on who she spends time with, because the wrong people can lead her down a path she did not intend.

“Every decision you make does have a consequence,” she said.

Karlinsey said she hopes Fairbanks changes her life, because “this isn’t the way to go.”

“I pray that you change,” she said.