Shooter in gas station assault strikes plea deal

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Halliday

SOAP LAKE — A Soap Lake man who fired shots at a man after he was hit in the head with a miniature baseball bat was sentenced for reckless endangerment after he was initially charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Logan Halliday, 30, of Soap Lake, entered an Alford plea in Grant County Superior Court to reckless endangerment and was sentenced to a total of 364 days in jail, with 352 days suspended for two years and credit for 12 days served. In an Alford plea a defendant is not pleading guilty to a crime, but believes they would be found guilty if the case were to proceed to trial.

Halliday was initially charged with second-degree attempted murder, but the charge was amended in a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense. The amendment was a substantial drop in terms of expected confinement, as reckless endangerment is only a gross misdemeanor in Washington, and, according to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Alan White, was a result of having to disprove self-defense to a jury.

“We reduced the charge on Mr. Halliday based upon... well, the main reason was we would have to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt if we had to go to trial. He did receive some medical treatment for getting hit on the head with a baseball bat. It was a souvenir-sized baseball bat, not a full-sized baseball bat. And there were some indications from law enforcement that he was exercising self-defense or had a reasonable belief that he was exercising self-defense.”

The July 12 shooting came as a result of an alleged drug-related debt Halliday owed 51-year-old Michael France and 59-year-old Bernard Brill. France and Brill went to Halliday’s work at the Gas-N-Go gas station in Soap Lake in search of him several times before the 9:45 p.m. shooting. Halliday arrived at the Gas-N-Go about 9:40 p.m. and was confronted by Brill and France in the parking lot. The three men argued for a few minutes before France hit Halliday in the back of the head with a souvenir baseball bat.

Halliday responded by pulling out a gun and holding the two men, along with a woman, at gunpoint for around 30 seconds. Brill attempted to leave and starting driving toward state Route 28 through the parking lot. He reportedly drove between 10 and 20 feet away from Halliday before Halliday fired three rounds into the back window of the vehicle Brill was driving. No one was injured in the shooting.

In court filings Soap Lake Police Chief Ryan Cox wrote that at no time after initial assault was there an additional threat posed to Halliday and video evidence shows he was a “sufficient” distance away from Brill and France and could have retreated inside the Gas-N-Go “but chose not to.”

White told the Columbia Basin Herald when Halliday was charged all of the video footage had not yet been received and when more video was received “it hinted to corroborate a potential self-defense claim.” France and Brill previously entered guilty pleas to fourth-degree assault and were sentenced to 364 days in jail, with 304 days suspended for two years.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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