Jury finds suspect guilty in 2019 Central Washington homicide | Local
Jury finds suspect guilty in 2019 Central Washington homicide | Local

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Three years after Richard Wayne Plumlee III’s killing, it took a jury almost three and a half hours to find his accused murderer guilty.

A Yakima County Superior Court jury found Joshua James Glazier, 29, guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm Thursday, the same day attorneys wrapped up the case and presented their closing arguments.

Glazier did not appear to show any emotion as the verdict was read or when Judge Jeffery Swan polled jurors individually to confirm the verdicts.

“Justice was served,” said Jamie Plumlee, Richard Plumlee’s son.

Christopher Swaby, Glazier’s attorney, declined to comment on the verdict.

Swan scheduled sentencing for Feb. 10.

The verdict came almost a week after jurors started hearing testimony. Attorneys rested their cases Thursday morning, with Swaby calling no witnesses, followed by closing arguments.

Chief Criminal Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Aaron said the jury “did their duty in this case and they can go home and rest assured they made the right decision.”

Aaron credited the work of lead Yakima police Detective Drew Shaw and the YPD, as well as the prosecutor’s office for helping win the conviction.

Glazier, a Union Gap man, was accused of shooting Plumlee in the Yakima Inn parking lot Dec. 17, 2019. Plumlee, a 43-year-old farrier from Roy, near Tacoma, died from his wound that night at Astria Regional Medical Center.

Police arriving at the scene found Plumlee lying in the parking lot in a pool of blood, with Sheila Martin kneeling next to him. Martin was one of the state’s key witnesses, but Aaron said she was in a difficult position and her testimony in court appeared inconsistent at times due to her health and family pressure.

Martin is Glazier’s aunt and said she was Plumlee’s girlfriend, which Plumlee’s family disputes. Martin suffered a stroke a couple of months before the trial began.

But Aaron said there was corroborating evidence that supported Martin’s testimony. Among the evidence was a shell casing found inside the motel room near where she said Glazier was standing when he raised his arm seconds before the shooting, and video showing people leaving the room at the time of the shooting that lined up with Martin’s testimony, even though it was not clear enough to identify any one person.

While she didn’t say anything to the first officer who arrived on the scene, Martin consistently told another officer, the motel manager and a YPD detective that night that her nephew — Glazier — shot Plumlee, Aaron reminded jurors. She also told Shaw and a defense investigator later that Glazier was the shooter.

“She never said anybody else shot (Plumlee),” Aaron said.

She also established the motive for the crime, Aaron told jurors, when she said that Plumlee spent more than half an hour “fussing” about a $10 debt he said Glazier owed him.

But Swaby told jurors that Martin’s first statement to the first officer on the scene should be regarded as the only credible statement, since she was still in shock at the moment, and the others were given likely after she had talked with other people at the motel.

“Someone shot your boyfriend and he’s bleeding out, why didn’t you say what you saw?” Swaby asked. “She said no.”

Martin, Swaby said in his argument, was also drinking and using drugs that night.

He said it was just as likely that Martin’s grandson, who was also at the motel and who Martin said liked guns, shot Plumlee as Glazier could have, and that Martin may have protected her grandson.

“The information you got in this trial is not the kind of information you would rely on to make an important decision in your life,” Swaby said.

Aaron, in his rebuttal, said Swaby’s theory that Martin was choosing between her grandson and Glazier was a “false dilemma,” as there was another person in the room she could have implicated if she was trying to protect family. That person, Aaron said, stayed in the room and waited for police to show up, while Glazier and Martin’s grandson “scattered” after the shot was fired.

Aaron said the jury needed to hold Glazier accountable, based on the evidence.

“Sooner or later, everyone must sit down to a banquet of consequences,” Aaron said, quoting Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson.