Prosecutors Release Statement On Harper Plea Deal
In the quiet, gated neighhborhood where a brutal triple killing happened last year -- neighbors still cannot believe murder charges are dropped against 30 year old suspect Kevin Harper.
Ellen Vanderwall lives two houses down from where the killings happened.
"We just wanted truth out, and by waiting a year and a half, after neglecting evidence, we have lost truth," said Vanderwall.
The truth is say prosecutors-- about two weeks ago they were contacted by a witnesses who wanted to discuss a previous statement -- Apparently ruining their case that Harper murdered Bill and Pauline Goggin, and Bill's Mother Bettye.
The prosecutors office issued a statement today saying the information "...Changed the timeline in which the time of death was determined to have occurred, and described activity observed at the goggin residence on the evening of the murders."
Harper was the prime suspect in the killings for almost two years.
But in a plea deal yesterday he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and stolen property.
Neighbors aren't the only ones stunned by the outcome of this case - on facebook people are outraged and pointing the finger at prosecutors.
Tony Doan said, "I hope people are losing their jobs over this."
Chelsea Allen said, "the Prosecutors Office dropped the ball on this case."
Vanderwall says with Harper only serving at least 7 years in prison, she fears for the safety of those who live in her neighborhood.
"What happens when he's out and he comes back home, what recourse do we have living near him? Does it mean we have to get bigger guns and meaner dogs? I don't want to live like that," said Vanderwall.
Kevin Harper is scheduled to be sentenced the first week of January.
We asked County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty for clarification on today's statement--he told us his office will have no further comment
Here is the statement from the County Prosecutor's Office:
On October 10, 2012, the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office entered into a plea agreement with Kevin Harper, under which he entered pleas to charges of First Degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Second Degree Possession of Stolen Property.
The agreement was reached after new information was obtained that led to question Harper’s participation in the February 16, 2011, home invasion burglary that resulted in the murder of William Goggins, Pauline Goggins and Elizabeth Goggins. The new information obtained changed the timeline in which the time of death was determined to have occurred, and described activity observed at the Goggin residence on the evening of the murders. This newly obtained information was not provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office until September 25, 2012, after the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office was contacted by a previously undisclosed witness, wanting to discuss her prior statement and her having been contacted by a defense investigator.
Further dissemination of facts specific to the case are limited due to the related and pending matters that are currently set for trial, as well as the Bench/Bar Guidelines.