This news story was updated at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday March 30, 2011
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
The death penalty is off the table for John Allen Booth Jr., a defendant in last August’s triple slaying inside a Salkum-Onalaska area home.
Booth, 31, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of David J. West Jr., 16, and Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle.
Deputies investigate off Gore Road on Aug. 21, 2010
He is also charged in the death of David J. West Sr. 52, and the non-fatal shooting of 51-year-old Denise Salts. He has pleaded not guilty.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer filed notice on Friday he will not seek the death penalty if Booth is convicted.
“After looking at everything, meeting with the family, looking at the case and talking with prosecutors inside and outside the office, I decided not to seek the death penalty,” Meyer said today.
Meyer declined to share what the victims’ family members thought of his decision, saying those are private conversations.
Previous Lewis County Prosecutor Michael Golden left the potential option open, but was voted out of office in November. Meyer, a former defense attorney, stepped into the elected position in January.
Booth’s attorney, James Dixon, said his client is pleased with the prosecutor’s decision, and anxious to proceed to trial.
Booth and former prison cell mate Ryan J. McCarthy, 29, of Redmond, are charged in the case.
Authorities have said they believe the two men’s Aug. 21 visit to the house on Wings Way off Gore Road was related to a drug debt collection.
Booth, a former Onalaska resident, is set for trial the week of May 16, however, prosecutors have asked a judge to consolidate the two cases into one trial.
McCarthy’s trial is scheduled for the week of Oct. 10.
Dixon indicated he will oppose the motion.
“He has a right to a speedy trial,” Dixon said in an emailed note. “He has waived that right already, but that waiver does not extend to the date currently set for Mr. McCarthy’s trial.”
Read background on the case:
• “West Sr. pointed shotgun telling pair of ex-cons to leave his house, triggering triple homicide, unsealed court documents allege” from Saturday Sept. 4, 2010, here
• “Unsealed document: More details on Salkum slayings” from Monday Sept. 6, 2010, here