Prosecutors: Jail calls between triple murder suspect, attorney accessed by detectives

YAKIMA, Wash. -- In one of the biggest cases before Yakima County, prosecutors now admit jail phone conversations between Kevin Harper and his defense attorney were accessed and possibly listened to by detectives and jail workers.

In fact, Yakima County admits eight calls were accessed, totaling over 40-minutes.

"This is just another example of egregious misconduct by the state that is just unwarranted," said Harper's defense attorney Pete Mazzone. "And I've never seen it happen to this extent before."

The case fell on shaky ground recently after the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office was accused of bungling the case.

It's why a second prosecutor was added to relieve the burden on Ken Ramm. That second prosecutor discovered the breach of privacy.

"It's inexcusable," said Mazzone.

Mazzone said this new development creates prejudice. He previously filed a motion to dismiss the case based on mismanagement from the Yakima County Prosecutors Office.

"They listened to these conversations back in April and May of 2011. So clearly they influenced whatever was done after that fact," said Mazzone.

Yakima's Prosecuting Attorney, Jim Hagarty, is seeking outside help to handle the eavesdropping allegations.

He asked to have Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller head up an investigation. Miller previously argued a similar case in Franklin County.

Conversations between a Pasco murder suspect and his attorney were listened in on back in 2010.

Miller determined police made a "good faith" mistake in doing so, and the judge decided the murder case should not be thrown out.

A Friday deadline will determine whether a new hearing will be held for Kevin Harper.

It could determine whether this breach was accidental or intentional. And that could determine the next step in a very rocky triple-murder trial.

Harper's defense attorney continues to believe the whole case against his client should be tossed. He filed another motion to do so following the allegations that phone calls were intercepted.

To get all sides, KIMA reached out to Yakima County Prosecutors. They had no comment.

A Yakima judge will decide whether to throw the case out all together in two weeks.

Harper is accused of killing three people in West Valley last year.