Another Setback for the Prosecution in the Kevin Harper Case
A setback for the State in the Kevin Harper case. The man believed to be responsible for the brutal Goggin murders in 2011 . The State Court of Appeals struck down the states effort to re-file charges against him. The Yakima County prosecutors office had taken the case to the the Division III Court of Appeals in Spokane hoping to get a superior court’s ruling thrown out. Yakima County Superior Court Judge Ruth Reukoff refused to thrown out a plea bargain agreed to by Harper and the state. That would’ve allowed the state to refile murder charges. Now the plea bargain to lesser charges will stand and Harper will be sentenced next Tuesday.
Prosecutors and Yakima County Sheriffs investigators believe that Harper murdered Bill, Pauline and Bettye Goggin in a West Valley home in February of 2011. The 32 year old Harper faces seven years in prison for his guilty plea to weapons and stolen property charges.
County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty says he is not giving up. Even after Harper is sentenced Tuesday the appeal could be nullified and he could still face murder charges. He says the Appeals court ruling only lifted an emergency stay.
On Monday, appeals court Commissioner Monica Wasson issued an emergency one-week stay of the sentencing, saying she needed more time to go over the prosecution’s last-second request for discretionary review.
On Thursday, Wasson lifted the stay, saying she was not persuaded that Yakima County Superior Court Judge Ruth Reukauf was in error when she refused last month to revoke the plea agreement.
Hagerty says he will move forward to have the plea- agreement nullified.