Deal stands: No one on the hook for West Valley triple murder

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Blaming the prosecution, a judge decided there was no evidence Kevin Harper broke his plea deal. This means the deal stays in tact and the state can't re-file murder charges against him.

Judge Ruth Reukauf seemed to waste no time deciding whether Kevin Harper's plea deal should be revoked.

"Unfortunately, because of the state's choices in this case, that is never going to happen," said Reukauf.

No suspects are left accountable for the murders of three members of the Goggin family.

Friends and neighbors of the family filled the courtroom Monday. Some left when the decision was made, others stayed.

"The judge said this was one of the dark days in her career to have to make a decision like she made and its a dark day for the rest of us to hear the decision that she had to make," said Raymond Vanderwall, a family friend.

Harper did plead guilty to some charges as part of his deal. The maximum sentence he'd receive for that conviction is about seven-years.

Harper would get credit for time served. That would leave about five-years remaining.

It's possible the judge could let Harper serve the last year and a half in a treatment facility.

"The hope now is that he gets the maximum sentence that they could prescribe for the two charges that he's pleaded guilty to," Vanderwall said.

"I should think that Mr. Harper will be a different person when he gets out," said Defense Attorney Pete Mazzone.

To get all sides, Action News tried to interview the prosecutors. They declined to comment after today's hearing.

Kevin Harper will be sentenced on October 1st.


The twists and turns with Kevin Harper's involvement in the West Valley triple murder have been going on for years now. Here's a look at the timeline of events since the brutal killings.

It all started when the bodies of Bill, Pauline and Bettye Goggin were found inside the gated community of Falcon Ridge in February of 2011.

Harper was arrested for the crime a few weeks later. His trial started last August. It stopped on the first day after his attorney said they'd no longer waive the right to a speedy trial.

Then about a month later, in a shocking development, Harper made a plea deal to lesser charges. Prosecutors later requested that deal be revoked and for murder charges to be re-filed.

Then in June, KIMA and other media outlets fought to keep you informed on the latest developments in the case.

New documents in connection to the case were released later that month. It indicated the evidence prosecutors planned to use to try to revoke the plea deal.

Finally, the state rejected a request to re-file murder charges against Harper. He'll be sentenced for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property early next month.