Prosecutor declines to file charges in homicide

Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle ruled the shooting death a case of self-defense.

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WALLA WALLA — A local man who shot and killed a longtime acquaintance who broke into the man’s home in April did so in self-defense, therefore will not be criminally charged for committing the homicide.

County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle outlined his decision in a letter today to investigating authorities.

Jonathan L. Phillips, 31, of 1265 Belle St., gunned down Joshua S. White about 6:30 a.m. on April 7 after White broke into Phillips’ residence, police said.

Phillips, an employee of the Washington State Penitentiary, and White, who lived in Anacortes, Wash., reportedly had known each other for many years. They had spent the evening drinking and fighting at the residence and eventually Phillips kicked White out.

However, White returned, pounded on the locked front and rear doors, and demanded entry, according to Nagle’s letter.

“White forced his way into Phillips’ home by shattering the frame to the dead bolted rear door. Phillips, hearing White violently break into his home, armed himself with a Remington 870 shotgun and shot Joshua White in the chest,” Nagle wrote.

“Phillips stated to officers that he did so out of fear of White.”

An autopsy indicated the shots went through the palm of White’s extended left hand — which was extremely close to the barrel of the shotgun — and then penetrated his heart.

Nagle added that White was committing the crimes of burglary, malicious mischief and assault, and the state Legislature has enacted laws that give people the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves under certain circumstances.

“The Washington State Legislature and the Washington State Supreme Court have also made it clear that in such situations the prosecution should not charge a person 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 these defenses to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Although the use of deadly force might be reckless or criminal in certain circumstances, Nagle concluded that Phillips had every right to defend himself from the perceived attack.

“In fact, the circumstances as they appeared to Phillips at the time would lead a reasonable person to fear that White was attempting to take Phillips’ shotgun away from Phillips and arm himself.” Nagle wrote.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

Comments

chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

One friend arrives in town and while drinking with the local friend at his house they engage into a fight. The one from out of town is kicked out but returns ( to retrive his belongins, maybe?) The local guy shoots and kills him. This is obviously the reporting of the killer, with other (selfserving, maybe?) details as stated above. The prosecutor dismissed the case with what seems to be a perfunctory investigation. This case is a deja vu of another case when our prosecutor showed his apparent unwillingness to work on a "difficult" case to charge!

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PearlY 1 year, 4 months ago

Even to retrieve one's belongings, one is not entitled to break down the door of someone else's house. If I found myself in such a situation, I'd either call the cops to help retrieve my belongings or sleep in my car until morning and hope my friend had calmed down and/or sobered up by then. Of course, I wouldn't be drunk, so making rational decisions would be easier.

The deceased criminal history (and the survivor's lack of it) might have given the survivor's story some added credibility.

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

The way it is spelled is "you're", not "your",... eeyet!

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Cowboy01 1 year, 4 months ago

I care as much as how your or you're is spelled as much as I care for that gangbanger that was shot in the back and that is in black and white, so lets try, yir an idiot pancho!!

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr. Cow, of course you don't care! You're just an uneducated "eeyet" and cannot help yourself but to ruminate and spew methane in keeping with your bovine nature. You don't care about insulting people with gratuitous epithet... and expect no response? You're as abrasive as uncured "menudo", my friend. There is nevertheless (hopefully) a cure for your maladie, Mr. Cow, and that is a good body rub with "udderly smoth". Hopalong, Mr. Cow...an clean up after you!

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Cowboy01 1 year, 4 months ago

I dont care how much spell check you use, it still stands....

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barracuda 1 year, 4 months ago

Paco....

"Mr. Cow, of course you don't care! You're just an uneducated "eeyet"

After all of the hoopla you spew about name calling?

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

As I said: "You don't care about insulting people with gratuitous epithet...an expect no response? " If he keeps doing what he is doing, he will keep getting what he is getting!

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barracuda 1 year, 4 months ago

Wow................. Really? This explains a lot!

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

paco - you should become a recruiter - then you could be confident in your one man army. Sad.

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carcrazy 1 year, 4 months ago

This is so funny paco. Cowboy simply said you are an idiot and your responses proved his point.

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

Here you are again, carcrazy, cloacked as an inocent arbiter angel! You always appear out of thin air, never committed to anything, always conniving... and like a volture, flying low ( really low) and in the periphery, always marauding for a free meal.

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carcrazy 1 year, 4 months ago

Not true, I am committed to nurturing your Narcissism.

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

How true! Your holy truth and committment comes down from Heaven like a lightning, but still predictable and boring. As it happens some of it bounce back at the ozone leyer, like a valentine bomerang. Projection, as it pertains to psychology, is ever present and plenty of it to go around! And the lightning goes..."Bazinga"

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PearlY 1 year, 4 months ago

Just on this page alone: retrive, belongins, maladie, smoth, cloacked, inocent, volture. Regardless of your skills as a psychiatrist, are you sure you want to take on the role of spelling coach?

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

paco - just can't let the kid rest in peace? The case your referring to: the person had broken into a business establishment(robbery), had stolen property on his person(fleeing a crime) and unfortuately suffered the consequences! Case closed!

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wwguy7 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks for trying to set this guy straight Namvet, but I don't think it will work.

Let's think about this. The shooter obviously knew his friend well. If he was a bumbling drunk who wouldn't hurt a fly, do you think that he would have armed himself? No way. We all know people who become violent after drinking. He obviously knew something about his buddy, and protected himself accordingly.

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peaches 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe next time he'll have the sheriff escort him to "retrieve" his proprety instead of breaking down the door! oh..there won't be a next time! I guess he should of thought about that first..

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Igor 1 year, 4 months ago

This was a clear case of self-defense. Prosecuting a case like this would not only be unethical but also a waste of taxpayer dollars.

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fishmark54 1 year, 4 months ago

Why did the U-B feel it relevant to publish the fact about Mr. Phillips employment at the penitentiary ? My feeling is that is he were employed by Safeway or Les Schwab neither employer would have been reported.

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bj84711 1 year, 4 months ago

What difference does where he works make? A clear case of self defense and the correct choice not to prosecute and waste money.

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barracuda 1 year, 4 months ago

A good guess is that the UB wanted us to know Mr. Phillips has training in firearms as well as self defense thru the for his work. And obviously it paid off, he defended himself very well!

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mytwocents 1 year, 4 months ago

because the UB is notorious for biased reporting.

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peaches 1 year, 4 months ago

My vote, also, is that Paco is an idiot..And I assume that he is probably not allowed to own a firearm by law..Maybe he's upset over the fact that B&E with the intent to commit a crime will get you what you deserve.

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chicoli 1 year, 4 months ago

When I retired from the military 12 years ago I left my gun behind me, with a promise to never again touch one with a ten foot pole. My 2 dobermans and my $25,000 best in the market alarm from Germany is plenty mighty. I invest my money in traveling around the world, enjoying gourmet dinners( peaches for breakfast) and attending concerts of clasical music. This is a heck of a better way than buying guns and bullets and going hunting. As for my other available time and "hoobies", I go bona fide around the country helping and treating returning veterans with war trauma, a speciatlty I do extremely well, thanks to my credentials and national recognition. I sponsor poor kids to go to college, and teach them that is better to learn to play a guitar than to shoot a gun. And you, what are you doing with your life? Now...who is the idiot?

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

Now that's funny I don't care who you are! What did you get for your $25 big ones besides 2 dobermans and a soup can with a roll of string? You didn't think that was rather expensive? As far as gourmet (peaches for breakfast)(WOW) dining and travel half way around the world! That definitely takes a slice of strawberry shortcake. What were you trying to do write an episode for a sequel to dumb and dumber?

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pdywgn 1 year, 3 months ago

When I left the military I left my gun behind too. They wouldn't let me keep it!

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carcrazy 1 year, 3 months ago

Ah yes pdywgn, but do you have a $25,000 security system or a pair of dobermans to protect your castle?

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chicoli 1 year, 3 months ago

...with the promise to...? You need to complete the thought, pdywgn! No answer for the OTHER inane comment!

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