MAN SEN­TENCED FOR AS­SAULT

Tri-City Herald - - Front Page - BY CAMERON PROBERT cprobert@tric­i­ty­her­ald.com Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402; Twit­ter: @cameron­cprobert

Ed­win Espejo got eight months for at­tack­ing a fel­low in­mate while await­ing trial for a shootout with po­lice.

A Pasco man sat qui­etly in a wheel­chair Fri­day as he was sen­tenced to eight months for at­tack­ing a fel­low Franklin County in­mate.

Ed­win Espejo, 32, had been in the jail for sev­eral months await­ing a trial for a shootout with Pasco po­lice when he helped at­tack the man in a jail cell.

Espejo’s trial for the po­lice shooting — which in­volved a to­tal 28 gun­shots ex­changed be­tween both sides — is sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary.

He was con­victed in Au­gust of at­tack­ing Richard Vasquez, who was fac­ing charges for rape and lead­ing po­lice on a high-speed chase. Vasquez has since pleaded guilty to those crimes.

Espejo and two other in­mates beat him in a jail cell in June, ac­cord­ing to court records. Vasquez suf­fered a con­cus­sion, bro­ken nose and cuts to his mouth and face.

Franklin County cor­rec­tions of­fi­cers said video cam­eras in the jail al­legedly show in­mate Adrian Te­jada-San­doval throw­ing the first punch, and other in­mates, in­clud­ing Espejo, join­ing in. Of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied Espejo by his limp.

An­other in­mate Efren P. Tor­res al­ready pleaded guilty to fourth-de­gree as­sault.

Espejo said he was in­no­cent but a jury found him guilty of sec­ond- de­gree as­sault.

On Fri­day, his de­fense at­tor­ney Gary Metro asked Judge Cameron Mitchell for a new trial based on a prob­lem with a ju­ror.

The woman was be­hav­ing oddly and say­ing strange things dur­ing the de­lib­er­a­tions.

While at the time, the at­tor­neys agreed the ju­ror should be re­placed, Metro ar­gued on Fri­day that the woman’s be­hav­ior was a sign that she was be­ing pres­sured by fel­low jurors into con­vict­ing Espejo.

Af­ter the ju­ror was re­placed with an al­ter­nate who had lis­tened to the same ev­i­dence, the jury reached a guilty ver­dict within 20 min­utes.

Metro claimed Fri­day that quick de­ci­sion is ev­i­dence that the rest of the jurors had al­ready made up their minds, and were try­ing to push out a dis­sent­ing voice.

“It’s clear she was picked on,” he said.

Pros­e­cu­tor Laura Mapes coun­tered by point­ing out the judge stopped de­lib­er­a­tions and talked to jurors about their ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We don’t know what hap­pened in the jury room,” she said. “We’re not al­lowed to spec­u­late about it. ... This last-ditch ef­fort is with­out merit.”

Mitchell ruled the ju­ror wasn’t re­moved be­cause of her opin­ion, but be­cause she seemed to have prob­lems un­der­stand­ing what was go­ing on.

He then sen­tenced Espejo to serve eight months. The sen­tenc­ing range was six months to a year in jail.

Mapes asked for 10 months, not­ing Espejo not only par­tic­i­pated in the at­tack, but helped clean up af­ter­ward.

Metro re­quested the least amount of time.

Espejo did not talk dur­ing the hear­ing.

BOB BRAWDY Tri-City Her­ald

Ed­win Espejo, right, con­fers with his at­tor­ney, Gary Metro, dur­ing a 2017 hear­ing on at­tempted-mur­der charges stem­ming a Sept. 16, 2017, gun­fight with Pasco po­lice af­ter of­fi­cers re­sponded to a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence call. Espejo was sen­tenced Fri­day for at­tack­ing a fel­low Franklin County in­mate while await­ing his trial on those pre­vi­ous charges.

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