Three charged in Kinkele's murder
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:46 PM
"Family members describe Eben Berriault as a family man, a devoted father of two who goes to church every Sunday without fail. They say his half-brother Seth Anderson is a kind and gentle animal lover who wouldn't hurt a fly.Skagit County officials call them cold-blooded murderers and are considering whether to seek the death penalty against them in what police are calling a random killing of Whidbey Naval Officer Scott Kinkele on July 28.Based on information from 25-year-old Adam Moore of Anacortes, a man who allegedly accompanied the brothers in the shooting spree, 36-year-old Berriault and 23-year-old Anderson, both of Anacortes, were charged with first-degree murder in Skagit Superior Court Wednesday.Skagit County Prosecutor Tom Verge said he is considering increasing the charge to aggravated murder - premeditated murder - which comes with the possibility of the death penalty. He said he plans to decide in the next 30 days. Moore was charged with first-degree manslaughter. He told investigators that he was in the back seat of the car during the shooting spree.Verge described the murder as a thrill kill. He said there was no confrontation between Kinkele and his alleged murderers, one of whom shot Kinkele in the back of the head with a slug from a 12-gauge shotgun for no reason whatsoever.In addition to the murder charge, Berriault and Anderson were also charged with first-degree assault in a shooting in Sedro-Woolley an hour before Kinkele was murdered. Skagit Undersheriff Dave Stafford said Berriault shot a .22 rifle at a 33-year-old Sedro Woolley woman who was driving westbound on Highway 20 just outside Sedro-Woolley.According to the affidavit of probable cause, the three men were drinking the afternoon before the murder and the brothers bragged to Moore that they were going to end up in prison before the night was through.The shooting spree started as a plan to poach deer near Mount Baker. On the way there, Berriault first shot at a road sign, the affidavit states, but his targets grew more serious after that. He shot a dog, then the woman's car and finally drew a bead on Kinkele's head and killed him, the affidavit states. Afterward, Moore told police that Anderson and Berriault were proud and excited about what they had done and wondered aloud if the victim was a kid.The men were stopped by a police officer outside of Sedro-Woolley, but because the woman hadn't reported the shooting yet the officer let them go with a warning.Berriault was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree. He was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery in 1983 in Chelan County. Investigators searched Berriault's K Avenue home in Anacortes July 29 and recovered a shotgun and a .22 rifle.According to investigators, Kinkele was on his way home from visiting a friend in Mount Vernon and had stopped at a convenience store for coffee that night. He was eastbound near the bridge over the Swinomish Slough when the slug from a shotgun came through his rear window and hit him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. His car swerved over the median, went across two lanes of traffic and ended up alongside a potato field. The State Patrol first responded to a report of a car accident.If convicted of the charges against him, Berriault would face a standard sentence range of 46 to 58 years in prison. Anderson, who prosecutors call an accomplice in the murder, faces a standard sentence of 38 1/2 years to 48 years in prison. Moore, who prosecutors say did nothing to stop the shootings, faces a range of six years and six months to eight years and six months in prison.Berriault and Anderson are being held on $1 million bail. Moore's bail was set at $250,000. All three men are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 9 at 9:30 a.m. in Skagit County Superior Court."