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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man sentenced to 12 years in prison for shooting, killing girlfriend in Newport

A 30-year-old man who shot and killed his girlfriend with a shotgun as she fought with her estranged husband in Newport was sentenced to over 12 years in prison.

Nathan Fry pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree manslaughter and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in the death of 44-year-old Jennifer Lee

Mark Duxbury, Newport police chief at the time, wrote in a probable cause affidavit that he and Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched Nov. 6, 2022, to the shooting at 427 W. Seventh St.

Duxbury discovered Lee, who had a massive wound to her head, dead in a bedroom after Fry and several other people exited the residence. Fry and Lee’s estranged husband, Christian Lee, had blood on them when they exited, Duxbury wrote.

Fry and the Lees lived at the home with others.

One man who lived at the residence told police he heard a loud argument that day coming from upstairs while he was in the basement. He and his roommates went upstairs to see what was going on when Fry met him at the top of the stairs.

The man said in documents Fry told him Jennifer Lee was dead because Fry tried to shoot Christian Lee. The man found Christian Lee lying on the floor near Jennifer Lee’s bedroom, while Jennifer Lee was on the floor dead.

Christian Lee told police he went to Jennifer Lee’s bedroom that day to talk to her about the roommates accusing one another about missing property.

The Lees started to argue, and Jennifer Lee got angry with Christian Lee and charged toward him, Christian Lee told police. He said he shoved Jennifer Lee back toward the bed.

Fry picked up a gun and stepped onto the bed, Christian Lee said in documents. Fry pointed the gun at Christian Lee and Fry appeared to fall backward while standing on the bed when Christian Lee heard the gun go off.

Christian Lee saw Jennifer Lee lying on the floor with a large wound to her head, he told police. He yelled to his roommates downstairs that Jennifer Lee had been shot. He heard Fry run downstairs to the basement.

Christian Lee said he went downstairs to tell everyone what happened and that Fry was downstairs “freaking out,” court records show. He said he grabbed hold of Fry and told him to breathe.

Fry told police the Lees were pushing one another and yelling when he picked up a shotgun. He said he stood on the bed, pointed the gun in the general direction of the Lees and told them to stop. He said he told Christian Lee to leave the bedroom.

Fry said he tripped, fell backward and the gun discharged.

Fry, a convicted felon, denied pointing the gun directly at the Lees and said he did not intend to shoot either.

Fry was initially booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder, in addition to the manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm charges. 

Judge Lech Radzimski sentenced Fry Feb. 8 to 147 months in prison. Radzimski ordered Fry to serve three years of community custody when he’s released from incarceration.