Homicide investigation ongoing in Waitts Lake area

RaeLynn Ricarte
Staff Writer

Ryan Gilliard, who will be 45 in two weeks, made his first appearance in Stevens County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 2, after being arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Gilliard is accused of shooting and killing a 37-year-old man about 9:30 p.m. on Feb.1 in the Waitts Lake area.
According to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrived to find the male victim with a gunshot wound to the head. He was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane where he died from his injuries.
Judge Lech Radzimski set the bond for Gilliard's release at $150,000 at the request of Deputy Prosecutor Ken Tindall. If the defendant posts bail, he is not to have contact with two witnesses in the case, nor harass or stalk them.
Tindall told Radzimski that Gilliard had a long criminal history, including 36 prior criminal cases in Washington and 18 in Idaho. He had last been in Stevens County court on a warrant as a fugitive from Idaho in 2019.
"The state has concerns about his being released," said Tindall, who was also granted his request that Gilliard turn over any firearms in his possession to the sheriff's office and that he be prohibited from possessing weapons.
Patrick Cooney from the Golden Law Firm in Colville acted as defense attorney for Gilliard's first appearance. However, he told Radzimski that his firm had a conflict of interest that prevented them from providing Gilliard with services and attorney John Perry of Spokane was appointed to represent the defendant, at least until his assets and income are known to determine if he qualifies for a publicly-funded defender.
Cooney told Radzimski that Gilliard did not pose a flight risk because he was married with three step-children, and that he was a licensed plumber with work in the area.
Gilliard started to explain that, if released, he would face a complication because one of the witnesses lives in his home, but Radzimski advised him to quit talking until he had conferred with his attorney. He had started the hearing by telling Gilliard that anything said in court could be used by the prosecution against him.
Gilliard had mentioned that the witness had been protected by his actions before Radzimski shut down the conversation. The judge told Gilliard that he would have to find somewhere else to live if the witness was still staying in his home when he was released.
The next court date for Gilliard is Feb. 22. If convicted of second-degree murder, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $50,000 fine.