YAKIMA, Wash. -- A chaotic scene unfolded outside a Yakima County Courtroom after the triple murder suspect Kevin Harper accepted a plea deal that included no murder charges.
Harper pleaded guilty to 1st degree unlawful possession of a firearm and 2nd degree possession of stolen property. All 1st degree murder charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.
The two charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years. Prosecutors recommended 87 months jail time with the option of serving up to 18 months outside of jail.
Before the deal, Harper was being tried on three counts of 1st degree murder for the deaths of Bill, Pauline and Elizabeth Goggin in West Valley last year.
The defense wanted the case thrown out altogether over claims prosecutors withheld documents and that detectives eavesdropped on Harper's jail conversations with his lawyer.
Those eavesdropping claims prompted the special prosecutor's investigation.
The allegations were brought to light when the case's prosecutors revealed detectives and jail workers accessed those recorded calls.
The triple murder trial was forced to start at the end of August because of Harper's right to a speedy trial. But, a jury wasn't expected to be seated until November.
Prosecutors said Harper's alibi changed when a neighbor revealed information they said they were unaware of. Yakima County Deputy Prosecutor Ken Ramm said the timeline changed based on information provided by that witness.
Further details about what led to the plea agreement were not revealed.
The plea agreement also stated the charges against Crystal West would be dismissed with prejudice.
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