By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
One of the two men convicted in connection with the events at a Salkum-Onalaska area home in which three people were fatally shot in August 2010 has lost his appeal regarding his responsibility to pay funeral and burial expenses for two of the victims.
Ryan J. McCarthy, 28, Redmond, and John A. Booth, 31, of Onalaska, were both charged with first-degree murder and extortion shortly after the slayings of David West Sr. 52, his son David West Jr., 16, and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. Denise Salts, then 51, who also lived at the house on Wings Way, survived a gunshot wound to her face.
Authorities contended the visit by the two former cell mates to the residence was related to some kind of debt collection and that gun fire erupted when West Sr. brought out a shotgun and told them to get out of his house.
Booth was convicted by a jury two years ago of murder, attempted murder, attempted extortion and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is serving a life sentence.
McCarthy was sentenced to 14 years in prison after getting a deal in which he pleaded guilty under doctrines such that he pleaded to crimes he did not commit to escape consequences of more serious charges, and agreed if a jury heard and believed the state’s evidence, he would likely be convicted.
McCarthy appealed the order by Lewis County Superior Court that he pay as part of his restitution the expenses for West Jr. and Williams who were shot by Booth, according to the opinion issued last week by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II.
He pleaded to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and attempted extortion in connection only with West Sr., according to the opinion. His murder charges were dismissed.
At his restitution hearing, both prosecutors and the defense argued to the trial judge he must find a causal connection, but the judge disagreed, according to the opinion. And two of the three appeals judges sided with the trial court judge.
The amounts in question were $5,750 for West. Jr. and $819.25 for Williams.
Judges George Fearing and Joel Penoyer stated that since the state paid benefits for West Jr. and Williams, finding they were entitled, it must have concluded McCarthy’s burglary, robbery and extortion were a proximate cause of their deaths.
In her dissent, Judge Jill M. Johanson pointed out the payments were distributed less than a month after the original charges were filed and long before McCarthy’s role was presented.
Johnason agreed with McCarthy that the Lewis County Superior Court erred as it improperly imposed restitution without making a finding his acts were related to the expenses incurred.
At his sentencing, prosecutors told the judge Booth fired the shots and “Mr. McCarthy was there.” His lawyer told the judge his client passed a a lie detector test that confirmed his story in which he ran outside before Booth fired any shots.
For background, read “Court hearing reveals more details about Salkum triple slaying” from Saturday Oct. 1, 2011, here