WALLA WALLA -- Trial is set to begin Oct. 24 for the suspect in this month's slaying of an 18-year-old woman in the vicinity of the former Blue Mountain Mall.
Angela D. Effinger, 29, of 320 N. Seventh Ave., Apt. M, entered a not-guilty plea Monday afternoon to the charge of first-degree murder during a brief proceeding in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Effinger is accused of stabbing to death Audrey Brewer with premeditated intent during a fight about 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 6 in the Sears parking lot.
Police believe Effinger was upset because her former boyfriend, Andrae T. Jackson, 24, had started a relationship with Brewer. The women reportedly agreed to meet in the parking lot to fight.
Before arriving, Effinger had armed herself with a kitchen knife and, in a text message to Jackson, allegedly threatened to "scalp" Brewer, according to a police report filed in court.
Effinger claims that in the parking lot, Brewer confronted her with a clenched fist, so Effinger began punching first and Brewer started punching back.
Effinger then reached into her pants pocket, grabbed the knife and swung at Brewer's right shoulder, the police report says.
Chazma D. Muir, who had arrived at the scene with Effinger, witnessed the fight, as did Jackson, officials said.
Effinger reportedly left and drove home, where she was located and taken into custody.
The knife wound Brewer suffered pierced the aorta just above her heart. She was pronounced dead at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, officials said.
Effinger remains in the County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.
If convicted as charged, she could be imprisoned for 20 to nearly 27 years under the state's standard-range sentencing laws. The charge does not carry the possibility of a death sentence.
Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.