Prosecutors may refile charges against Kevin Harper
YAKIMA, Wash.-- Charges may be refiled in the West Valley triple murder. Prosecutors shocked Yakima when they made a plea deal with Kevin Harper last fall. It dropped the first degree-murder charges and left no one on the hook for the crime. But today KIMA learned how prosecutors took the first step to pull that deal off the table.
Harper has been waiting to be sentenced on lesser charges he agreed to, but now Prosecutors are taking back that deal much to the dismay of Harper's attorney.
"Completely rehashing of things and adding things that we now have to go and investigate," Defense Attorney Mazzone said in court to the judge.
Pete Mazzone helped strike that deal to remove murder charges. Harper had been the prime suspect in the 2011 murders of the Goggin family. Tracy Culton had the charges against her dropped as well. She's free to live her life. Harper expected a seven-year sentence. But prosecutors tell me the deal was violated. They won't tell me how. A motion to revoke the deal is sealed from view. The defense was worried they wouldn't be prepared for the next hearing.
"This is going to affect this guy and so its not something that can be done peacefully because you will never fully appreciate the extent of this," Mazzone said in court.
Once the plea deal is withdrawn, prosecutors say they plan to refile murder charges. They cite new information, possibly new witnesses but wouldn't confirm anything.
Defense Attorney Peter Mazzone fought for more time and resources to prepare for a murder trial.
"I cannot do this by myself," he said many times in the hearing.
The next hearing is set for mid-June.
"I will entertain additional objections from anyone in the courtroom at that particular point," Judge Ruth Reukauf said.
At that time, anyone in the courtroom will be able to have their voice heard. Kevin Harper's plea deal was 7 years behind bars. The maximum time for the crimes he admitted to was fifteen years.