WALLA WALLA -- A man charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, which officials believe started a fire that killed three women last February, pleaded innocent Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Jared F. Allen, 41, of 309 N. Sixth Ave., is scheduled for trial Oct. 20. Allen is accused of cooking the controlled substance in an RV on Woodlawn Street the evening of Feb. 25. Officials said a chemical fire flashed during the process, killing the three women inside the vehicle.
Allen escaped by climbing through a rear window, but wasn't able to re-enter to reach the other occupants. Dead at the scene were his daughter, Shanda Lee Allen, 19; Jesse Christine Thompson, 30; and Tri-Cities resident Annabel Nicole Bautista, 20. Thompson was the stepgranddaughter of Donald Wood, the owner of the RV and of adjacent property at 1001 Woodlawn.
Autopsies revealed one of the women died from inability to breathe and the others, from inhaling carbon monoxide. Allen cannot be held criminally responsible for their deaths because of a recent Washington State Supreme Court decision. Officials believe at least two and possibly all three
of the women were actively involved in processing chemicals at the time. The Supreme Court has ruled that a person involved in criminal activity cannot be prosecuted for the death of another person if that person also was participating in the criminal activity.
If convicted of the meth manufacturing charge, Allen would receive a standard-range prison term of about eight to 10 years. He was arrested near Weston on July 25 on the Walla Walla County warrant and unrelated charges.