9 major cases set for trial in Yakima County for first half of 2017

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Prosecutors in Yakima County are gearing up for several murder trials this year after dozens of homicides throughout 2016.

One high-profile case that is set for trial dates back 20 years.

Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic and his team are preparing for court and the chance to provide victims' loved ones some closure. Nine major cases have been set for trial this year.

“You've got not only testimonial evidence from eyewitnesses or corroborative witnesses, you've got information from forensics and from law enforcement that worked on the scene,” said Brusic.

Brusic said they try to bring cases to trial within a year of an incident but delays can happen.

Now there is a trial scheduled just weeks away for the death of 10-year-old Nathaniel Reedy, who was shot in the stomach outside his home in Union Gap in March 2015.

His grandfather Steven Reedy has been charged with manslaughter.

Another four trials in February are also lined up.

John Feher and Heather Walbridge have been charged with attempted murder after being accused of soliciting what turned out to be an undercover sheriff's deputy to kill Walbridge's ex-husband last spring.

Then there is the trial for Ricardo Mendoza, charged with the murder of girlfriend Marcelina Briones who was beaten with a metal bat last January.

“Murder trials are very serious not just because of the tragic result - there was a loss of life - but they're very serious in the sense that they have all kinds of evidence along with that,” said Brusic.

The murder trial for Ricardo Dimas is also scheduled for next month. He has been charged with the shooting death of Anna Hargett on Roosevelt Avenue in January 2016.

Josclyn Olivas is on the books as well, being tried for vehicular homicide after reportedly driving drunk and killing Ronald Knowlton in February 2016.

But probably one of the most anticipated trials has been scheduled for March - a 1997 cold case murder.

Authorities charged Barry Beckford, formerly known as Barrett Bailey, after the television show Cold Justice found new evidence in the death of his wife Deborah along the Naches-Wenas Grade 20 years ago.

“We made a decision that with the evidence we had we were going to proceed forward in the case,” said Brusic.

The Marty Grismer case will go to trial in April for the murder of Wapato teacher Desiree Sunford in 2013.

A grisly murder case against Manuel Verduzco for the double-homicide at Moneytree last spring is expected to go to trial in August, while Nicholas Bryant will also face a jury for the fatal stabbing of Christopher Gilchrist last Halloween.

All chilling cases prosecutors hope to bring to a close.

Prosecutors said some trial dates could possibly change. They said all cases involve many complexities that they can't legally talk about.

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