Franklin County Coroner Denies Lawyer's Demand to Directly Parti - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County Coroner Denies Lawyer's Demand to Directly Participate in Shooting Inquest

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PASCO, WA. -- The attorney representing the wife and children of Antonio Zambrano, the man who was shot by Pasco Police last month, recently sent a letter to the Franklin County Prosecutor demanding that the three officers involved face a jury trial on second degree murder charges.

George Trejo says that with much of the evidence is already available to the public like the revealing video of the shooting, he doesn't think there is any need for a coroner's inquest. But if there is an inquest, he wants to be able to ask all the witnesses questions of his own. 

Coming this May, Dan Blasdel will be performing his fourth inquest, that's the most done by any Washington Coroner. His last coming in 2012 in Walla Walla. 

Blasdel thinks that experience will help him handle this high profile case. 

"Yes, oh definitely I think it helps me," Blasdel said. "One, I know what to expect from the inquest process."

In a letter sent Sunday, lawyer George Trejo asked prosecutor Shawn Sant to allow him to ask questions during the inquest. Blasdel had not seen the letter when we sat down with him. We gave him a copy to read. He says Trejo needs to contact him and not Sant for permission. 

"When it comes time to the inquest, and he has not corresponded with me in any way, and asks that he be allowed to stand up and ask questions or to cross examine, his request will be denied," Blasdel said. 

Blasdel says this has happened before when lawyers wished to be a part of the inquest in the Walla Walla case. Blasdel says he will do the same thing now that he did then, allow them to submit questions that will be read by the prosecutor. 

"Once you get another attorney involved, cross examining and bringing his own agenda to the table, it can cloud that," Blasdel said. "So that's why we would only allow those questions just to be asked by the prosecutor."

But Trejo doesn't think that's enough. 

"No. It's not enough for me," Trejo said. "Why should he be allowed to paraphrase my questions?"

For Blasdel, he says he will handle each issue with the inquest as it comes. After all, he is the most experienced man in the state to handle this situation. 

We also sat down with Prosecutor Sant Monday afternoon. Now the final decision rests with him. He says he will take into account whatever the six person inquest jury decides. It will not bind him to directly follow their recommendations on whether he files charges against the three officers or not. 

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