Kettle Falls man pleads guilty for extramarital 'Wild West' shooting outside O'Reilly's Auto Store

RaeLynn Ricarte

Anthony Jones, 36, of Kettle Falls pleaded guilty last week to third-degree assault, which wrapped up the summer shooting case tied to his wife's extramarital affair.

“This is the west, but it's not the Wild West, so picking up a weapon is not the way to resolve a conflict,” said Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen of the incident.

He agreed to the plea deal because the circumstances of the case would have made it difficult to get a jury conviction for first-degree attempted murder, the original charge against Jones.

Jones told investigators that he did not intend to shoot the male victim in the left thigh during their altercation on July 10; that he had been aiming away from him. His wife could have claimed spousal immunity under the law and, so, could not be called against him as a witness, which added another complication to the case.

“I think, punishment wise, since he has been in jail several months, he is getting what he deserves,” said Rasmussen.

Under the deal negotiated between the state and Spokane defense attorney Steve Graham on behalf of Jones, the defendant received three months in jail but was released after the court hearing because he had already served four months. In addition, Jones agreed to pay $750 in court costs and fines. He will be on probation for 12 months and is prohibited by a court order from being around or contacting the victim in any way for five years.

“I give the state significant latitude when it is deciding what can and can't be proved,” said Stevens County Superior Court Judge Patrick Monasmith after accepting the plea agreement at the Nov. 10 hearing.

He asked Jones if he understood that by admitting guilt to a felony offense, he was giving up his right to appeal the sentence, as well as to own a firearm or vote unless he went through a court process to get those rights restored. Jones went through the legal process in 2017 to regain his firearms after losing them following a 2006 burglary conviction.
After saying he understood the ramifications of the plea deal, Jones declined to make any further comments in court. Monasmith told Jones that without the plea agreement, he could have faced 15-20 years in prison for behavior that had been described as “impulsive and reckless” by his own attorney.

“His response was over the top, but I don't believe he tried to kill [name of victim withheld]” said Graham.

He told Monasmith that having Jones incarcerated had been a hardship for his wife and children.

“His family has paid dearly for this,” said Graham. “His wife had been hanging on a string financially.”

According to a police report, the emergency dispatch center was notified of shots being fired outside O'Reilly's Auto Store shortly after 5 p.m. on June 10. Police Officer Adam Kowal, who was off-duty, happened to be in the vicinity, as did an off-duty Border Patrol agent. They arrested Jones and called for an ambulance to transport the victim, who was first taken to Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville. He was then Life Flighted to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment of his wound.

Jones told law enforcement officials that he had become angry after seeing his wife and the victim ending a kiss or embrace when he drove up. His wife was employed at O'Reilly's at the time. After leaving his vehicle, Jones confronted the victim, who tried to punch him but missed. At some point, Jones said the victim reportedly moved his hand toward his hip where a firearm was holstered.

“Jones said when he saw that motion, he knew it was time to do some ‘cowboy things,’” wrote Kowal in his report.

After retrieving the 9mm handgun that his wife kept in her car, Jones then shot the victim, who fell to the ground and drew his own firearm. The victim shot toward Jones but the round hit the vehicle he was behind, records show. Jones then fired the rest of his rounds into the air “in an attempt to get [name of victim] to shoot him,” according to court records.
When the victim still did not shoot, Jones reportedly approached and threw his gun at the victim's chest, yelling at him to shoot. At that time, the police arrived to stop the altercation.

Jones told detectives that he and his wife had been married for 15 years and had four children. He detailed encounters between her and the victim that had led to several past physical confrontations. He said that he had driven to the store after becoming suspicious about a text message from his wife asking when he would be home from work in the logging industry.

Records show that Jones said he suspected his wife wanted to be with the other man, so he decided to go by her job site after finishing work early.