Dan Blasdel, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel listens as Walla Walla County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabe Acosta questions potential jurors during the opening this morning of a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira.
Photo by Andy Porter.
Walla Walla Testimony continues in the inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira today at 9 a.m., with Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office Detective Gary Bolster taking the stand first.
The inquest began Wednesday morning with jury selection, which took roughly an hour.
Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel, the presiding coroner for the inquest, gave jurors instructions, informing the mostly female jury they were charged with determining the circumstances surrounding Chavira’s death, and whether New York Store Owner John Saul was justified in shooting Chavira.
According to testimony from Walla Walla Police and Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Deputies, Saul had stated he heard someone break into his store just after 2 a.m. May 4. Saul said the burglar threatened him, and Saul defended himself with a 12 gauge shotgun.
Officer Ascencion Castillo said he was the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting, and he discovered Chavira lying in the road, roughly 75 yards from the store.
“It was pretty obvious he was shot in the back,” Castillo said, adding that Chavira was “taking his last breaths” when Castillo arrived.
Testimony from Crime Analyst Technician Matt Stroe with the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Steve Duehn indicated five shotgun shells were found outside the store.
Other witnesses included New York Store Employee Mary Pounds and Chavira’s girlfriend Myra Urincho.
Witnesses scheduled for today, in addition to Bolster, include Dr. Daniel Selove and Randy Holbrook.