Death penalty decision delayed in Kinkele shooting

"Skagit County prosecutors put off making a decision on whether to pursue the death penalty against two of the three Anacortes men believed responsible in the shooting death of a Whidbey Island Navy junior officer.Prosecutor Tom Verge has called the shotgun shooting a “thrill kill.” He charged two half-brothers, 36-year-old Eben Berriault and 23-year-old Seth Anderson, with first-degree murder but hasn’t decided whether to upgrade the charge to aggravated murder.Aggravated murder carries death or life in prison as the possible sentences.The hearing on the decision was postponed until Sept. 7.Investigators say that Lt. j.g. Scott Kinkele was on his way home to Oak Harbor early in the morning of July 28 when a man in the car behind him fired a slug, which hit Kinkele in the head and instantly killed him.The police believe that Berriault, Anderson and 25-year-old Adam Moore were on a drinking and shooting spree on Highway 20 in Skagit County that ended with Kinkele’s murder. Investigators say Berriault was doing the shooting out the window, first hitting a dog, signs, then a woman’s car in Sedro-Woolley, and finally killing Kinkele.Moore, who is cooperating with police, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter. Kinkele’s mother, Mary, is pushing prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Berriault, who has a criminal history that includes first-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery convictions in 1983 in Chelan County.She recently appeared on TV news to air her pleas in public.If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, 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. "

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