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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Trial for Brandon O’Neel, suspected of shooting state trooper, delayed to March

By Jeremy Burnham Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

WALLA WALLA — The trial of Brandon O’Neel, the man accused of shooting a law enforcement officer in the face in September, has been delayed to March 21.

O’Neel, 37, of Walla Walla, was in Walla Walla County Superior Court in front of Judge Brandon L. Johnson on Wednesday, Jan. 4, for a pretrial hearing because his trial was originally scheduled to start Jan. 24.

His attorney, Julie Carlson Straube, requested more time, but said she did not want the trial pushed back too far. She asked for a new date in March.

Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Gabe Acosta, who took office Jan. 1, also said he wanted the delay because he just took the case over from retired Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle.

O’Neel is charged with first-degree attempted premeditated murder, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, attempting to elude police, threatening to bomb with intent to alarm and harassment with threats to kill.

First-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault are Class A felonies with a maximum penalty of life in prison. Threatening to bomb is a Class B felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. His other two charges, Class C felonies, carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.

O’Neel is accused of stopping his vehicle near Washington State Patrol Trooper Dean Atkinson Jr.’s police vehicle on West Poplar Street, getting out and shooting the trooper multiple times in the hand and face, according to court documents.

Earlier on the day of the shooting, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office deputies evicted O’Neel from his Walla Walla apartment.

According to court documents, an eviction summons application filed by the apartment’s property management company cited an alleged threat by O’Neel to “execute any cop or manager” who tried to evict him.