Goggins' friends react to possible murder trial dismissal: 'It would be devastating'

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Close friends and neighbors of West Valley murder victim's Pauline, Bill and Bette Goggin have watched intently as Kevin Harper's unusual murder trial unfolded and could be thrown out all together in less than two weeks.

It's got them worried about justice for the Goggins.

"My husband and I had to get in our car, drive up to the neighbor's house and meet with officers and the detectives before we could believe it," said Patti Morrisette.

Morrisette and her husband were close friends of the Goggins. Their deaths have impacted her ever since.

"It's like you almost expect the phone to ring," said Morrisette. "So there's a huge emptiness in our lives."

That emptiness has lingered more than a year. Now a new set of feelings are building.

The triple-murder trial could be thrown out for the man suspected of the Goggins' brutal deaths. Patti and her husband have followed the recent developments closely.

KIMA asked, "If a case of this magnitude were to be dismissed, having touched you personally and affected this whole community, what would be your reaction?"

"Disbelief," Morrisette. "And it would be devastating. I don't know if I could cope with that."

Harper's defense attorney Pete Mazzini believes he has valid reasons for getting the case tossed. He blames mismanagement from the Yakima Prosecutor's Office for failing to hand over evidence and documents promptly.

Prosecutors revealed Tuesday that detectives and jail workers accessed jail phone calls between Harper and his attorney and possibly listened to them.

It's the latest hiccup in an already rocky murder trial that has stunned close friends of the Goggins.

"Middle class people who don't have a crime record of their own and beaten to death in their home," said Neighbor and close friend Ray Vanderwall. "That's not an everyday case. So you would hope it would've been handled very, very carefully."

Sentiments mirrored closely by the trial judge. If that trial never happens, the community might never get lingering questions answered.

"Were they targeted? Or was it random? If random, what do we do to protect ourselves?" said Vanderwall.

And perhaps equally as important, a sense of closure.

"We just hope that justice will prevail," said Morrisette.

Harper's trial is technically in recess after being forced to start last month. The next hearing is in less than two-weeks.

A judge will decide whether to throw out the case altogether. If it's not dismissed, the trial is expected to resume before a jury in November.