Walla Walla County prosecutor will not file charges in NY Store shooting

Excerpt of Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney James L. Nagle's letter explaining his decision to decline prosecution of John Saul. The complete letter can be read below.

Excerpt of Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney James L. Nagle's letter explaining his decision to decline prosecution of John Saul. The complete letter can be read below.

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— Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle will not file charges against John Saul, 63, in the shooting death of Cesar Chavira, 22.

A six-person coroner’s inquest jury ruled Friday that Saul committed a justifiable homicide. The ruling by a majority of jurors came after two days of testimony from law enforcement officers and a forensic pathologist.

According to a Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office investigation conducted by Detective Sgt. Gary Bolster, Chavira broke into the New York Store at roughly 2:30 a.m. on May 4. According to testimony from Walla Walla police officers, Saul stated Chavira threatened him during the burglary.

Bolster’s investigation showed that Saul fired his 12-gauge shotgun five times at a distance between 120 and 155 feet, striking Chavira in the back with nearly 50 pellets of No. 4 buckshot. Chavira was in the street outside the store when Saul fired the shots.

In a letter stating his decision not to prosecute, Nagle stated the Washington State Legislature and Supreme Court have “made it clear that” a person should not be charged with murder or manslaughter “when they are defending themselves, their property, or against a felony, unless the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove the absence of any of the defenses to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Nagle also pointed out the slayer does not have to prove the homicide was justifiable. According to Nagle, the jury must be convinced “beyond any reasonable doubt that a person was not defending themselves, their property or against a felony.”

“The jury verdict of the coroner’s inquest indicates how difficult the prosecution of this case would be,” Nagle wrote in a the letter sent this morning.

“However, had any of the particular facts in this case been different, the reasonableness and necessity of (Saul’s) actions would be highly doubtful, and he would likely be facing serious charges,” Nagle added.

Mike Hubbard, Saul’s attorney, said Nagle’s decision is “the right and just choice,” and added that Saul is sorry for the shooting death.

“John is a very peaceful, nonviolent type of guy,” Hubbard said. “It’s been extremely hard on him.”

Michelle Trombley, an attorney with the Kennewick law firm Rodriguez and Associates, stated Chavira’s family will sue Saul, despite the coroner’s inquest verdict. Trombley could not be reached as of press time Monday.

Terry McConn contributed to this report.

Document

Letter from Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney James L. Nagle declining to prosecute John Saul for the shooting of Cesar Chavira at the New York

Comments

hometowner 2 years, 2 months ago

Only in Walla Walla can you shoot and kill a person and get away with it. I am so happy to know that if someone robs my house and runs away that I can chase them with my shotgun and do whatever bodily harm I think is necessary. Nagle I am glad you are not going to run for prosecutor again. Hopefully you will go to Olympia and implement this new "law" that you just created. Because Law Enforcement is going to have a hell of a mess.

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mytwocents 2 years, 2 months ago

We have a right to bear arms and we have a right to protect whats ours.its part of what our freedoms are based on.. Why would we let some poorly raised little thugs disturb our domestic peace and tranquility? they are all domestic terrorists,and this situation is a perfect example of what's going wrong with our community and our nation...Texas used to have a law on the books called "the he needed killin" law.. Soooo if the shoe fits.. I am just glad to know that I can protect my property.

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bluedevilcfmy 2 years, 2 months ago

John is a HERO!! This has nothing to do with "killing someone and getting away with it" its about defending ones self/property and no longer being a victim to a punk on a mission!

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Bigdog 2 years, 2 months ago

There is no "new" law hometowner. If you do not like our laws please leave...and don't come back! This whole idea of glorifying the criminal and punishing a law abiding citizen, is really getting old. If you dare enter my humble abode when I am sleeping you will end up in the same shape. How dare you think you can enter my home, threaten me, and everything is just peachy keen – NOT!

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hometowner 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't disagree that you should be able to protect yourself and home. My shotgun is loaded. But to shoot someone who is running away is extensive.

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katijo 2 years, 2 months ago

I am pretty sure the law has been this way for some time. While I am VERY happy that John has been relieved of charges...why did we have to waste the money of the inquest. Pretty sure that in itself didn't produce ay "new" evidence.

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mytwocents 2 years, 2 months ago

Better to have wasted time on an inquest than on the time and resources it would have taken to go to trial!

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katijo 2 years, 2 months ago

very true. I just feel like the whole thing was a show.

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