Surprising New Turn in West Valley Murder Case - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Surprising New Turn in West Valley Murder Case

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YAKIMA, Wash.--Surprising new developments in a brutal West Valley Murder case. Prosecutors said they plan to re-file murder charges against one of their previous suspects.

31-year-old Kevin Harper was initially a suspect in the triple murders of Bill, Pauline and 98-year-old Elizabeth Goggin. They were found brutally beaten to death in their West Valley home in February of 2011.

Harper struck a plea deal in October after new information changed the timeline of the murders and absolved him.

The defendant pleaded guilty to lesser charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and second degree possession of stolen property. But now, prosecutors are saying he violated terms of the deal, and they're pushing for a retrial.

It's a move that gives friends of the Goggin family hope, but Harper's lawyer said this could breach his client's right to a speedy trial.

"There is no time left," said Pete Mazzone, the Defense Attorney. "Even if we were to do all those things, this trial's been over for six months, over six months."

NBC Right Now asked Ray Vanderwall, a close friend to the Goggin family, "Do you still hope that your friends will get some justice?"

"Oh yes, definitely," said Vanderwall. "That's the overriding thing. Justice should be done, crimes should be paid for."

The court is now considering whether to close the hearing and seal off records from the media and the public. However, the judge said that might not be possible since the case has been widely publicized.

The records hearing will be held during the month of June.

 

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