Eric Lee Booth, charged with the murder of Gordon R. Feist of Smart Way Road, Colville, could plead not guilty by reason of insanity after undergoing a mental evalua¬tion at Eastern State Hospital.
At Booth’s arraignment last Tuesday, his defense attorney, Paul Wasson, requested that his client be taken to Eastern State Hospital for a professional assessment of his mental state. Wasson said that while it was uncertain that Booth, 26, would enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Wasson still made the request for the evaluation to preserve that option.
Stevens County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Rasmussen said last Thursday that Booth is known to have cognitive issues. He agreed with Wasson that those issues should be researched before the case proceeds.
On Sunday, July 17, a neighbor called 911 to report that an off-road vehicle had struck a utility pole in what was believed at the time to be a traffic accident on Smart Way Road. Medics arrived to find Feist bleeding from two gunshot wounds to the head. He was taken off of life sup¬port at Sacred Heart Medical Center on July 18.
Investigators at the scene recovered a .22 magnum Derringer, which was reported stolen on June 28 from an¬other Stevens County residence.
Booth claims he
According to Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen, Booth was attempting to burglarize Feist’s upscale home when Feist found him. Booth supposedly falsified a story about how his car had run out of gas and he needed help.
“Feist recognized the perpetrator because he (Booth) had done work for him before at his home and agreed to help him,” said Sheriff Allen.
Police found a two-gallon gas can in the back of the wrecked utility terrain vehicle. Investigators suspect that Booth feared that Feist would discover his ruse, so he shot him as they were driving on Smart Way, causing them to crash into the utility pole.
Investigators think that Booth fled from the wreckage of the four-wheeler without retrieving the pistol from the scene because a nearby neighbor who heard the crash was coming out of his home to investigate during those late evening hours of July 17.
Two accomplices Booth claimed helped him in the attempted robbery, Jesse J. Fellman-Shimmin, 27, and Collette M. Pierce, 40, remain in custody at the Stevens County Jail. Fellman-Shimmin was taken into custody on a hold from the state Department off Corrections and Pierce is in custody on drug charges. The investigation into their possible involvement in Feist’s killing remains open.
Booth’s evaluation at Eastern State is expected to take place some time this week. His next court appearance is tentatively scheduled for August 22.