SOUTH?BEND, Wash. - The attempted murder trial of a Seaview man accused of shooting a State Patrol trooper in Pacific County has been rescheduled for this fall as investigators await lab testing and the defense reviews evidence.
Martin A. Jones, 45, faces one count of aggravated first-degree attempted murder for allegedly shooting Trooper Scott Johnson in the head on Feb. 13 in Long Beach. Jones also faces a count of first-degree assault for allegedly firing at a second man, tow truck driver George Hill. Both charges include aggravating factors and firearm enhancements. The maximum sentence for each charge is life in prison.
His trial was initially set for next week, but has been rescheduled for Oct. 18. It will run Monday through Thursday for three weeks
An omnibus hearing has been set for the end of August. During an omnibus hearing, the court gives the parties involved an opportunity to raise issues that may affect the trial. These issues could include pre-trial suppression motions, motions to continue the trial, and motions to amend the information to be dealt with. The defense could renew a request to set a discovery deadline in the case.
Pacific County Prosecutor David Burke said investigators have sent evidence to the state crime lab for analysis. The testing process can take weeks or months.
"That's the last big piece of the puzzle,"?he said.
Court records stated another trooper arrested Jones' wife, Susan, for allegedly driving under the influence along Highway 103 just after midnight. Johnson was processing her vehicle for towing when Jones walked up behind him.
Investigators believe Jones shot the trooper twice in the back of the head with a small handgun and fled. Hill, the tow truck driver, chased the man, but stopped when the shooter fired another round in his direction.
Jones was arrested a few days later after the trooper picked him out of a photo line-up, court records stated. The trooper has been recovering from his injuries, which include bullet fragments still embedded in his skull.
Burke said much of the case investigation and preliminary preparation was being handled in Seattle through the state Attorney General's Office, which is assisting in the case. Jones' attorney, David Allen, is also based in Seattle.
"I haven't had a chance to see everything,"?Burke noted of the most recent evidence.
"We're available to help local prosecutors with big cases," said Assistant Attorney General John Hillman, who, along with Lana Weismann, will be assisting with the case. "There are several reasons. Many law enforcement agencies responded to the scene and there were many witnesses. There also will be medical testimony and testimony to prove the shot came from Jones' gun."
Hillman said that, as far as he knows now, a change of venue won't be requested.
Burke said the defense attorney had also requested the trial be delayed, so he could review discovery evidence provided by investigators. Burke said both sides are preparing for trial and would not take much action until the trial draws closer.
"I?don't anticipate much happening (in the coming months),"?he said.
The AG's office assisted the county in the Knotek deaths trial in 2003.
The Chinook Observer contributed to this story