Washington state police officer killed by deputy leads to murder conviction

A man from Washington state was convicted of murder on Friday for his involvement in the tragic death of a police officer in 2022. The officer was mistakenly shot by a sheriff’s deputy.

Julio Segura, a resident of Yakima, was found guilty by a jury in Clark County on multiple charges related to the tragic death of Vancouver police officer Donald Sahota. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Segura was convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle, and eluding police.

He was cleared of additional accusations, including attempted murder.

On January 29, 2022, Sahota, an off-duty officer residing in the city of Battle Ground, tragically lost his life due to a gunshot wound.

Earlier in the day, Segura committed a robbery at a gas station near Vancouver, according to authorities. His car was pursued by deputies towards Battle Ground.

According to prosecutors, Segura fled the scene after the car crash and started running. Deputies, who were using a drone, observed him walking on a street and then changing direction towards the Sahota residence located at the end of a private road.

In the drone video footage, it can be observed that an individual at the residence initially opened the door and engaged in a conversation with Segura for a few minutes, after which the door was closed once again, as stated in court records. According to reports, Sahota’s wife promptly contacted 911 to inform them that a man had claimed to have been involved in a car accident and required assistance.

According to the documents, Deputy Jonathan Feller witnessed Sahota grabbing a gun and sprinting towards the house. In response, Feller discharged his weapon approximately four seconds later, inadvertently striking Sahota.

Sahota’s cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds to the torso, according to the coroners.

The prosecutors claimed that Segura was responsible for Sahota’s death through the commission or attempted commission of other crimes. They argued that his actions posed a serious risk of harm to any individual involved.

Segura’s defense acknowledged that he stole a car from a Yakima dealership and committed a hold-up at the gas station using a replica handgun. However, they argued that Segura was cornered by Sahota and Feller, who responded recklessly by opening fire on the situation.

“This case presented numerous challenges,” expressed defense attorney Michele Michalek on Friday. “It is imperative for Clark County to thoroughly evaluate their approach to handling incidents involving law enforcement officers.”

According to defense lawyer Ed Dunkerly, law enforcement should undergo more training to improve their skills. When asked if Segura will appeal, Dunkerly expressed confidence in the defense’s strong argument.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reached out to Prosecutor Tony Golik for comment, but he did not respond. In a previous statement, Golik had mentioned that Feller would not be charged with any criminal offenses, as he had acted in good faith during a tumultuous incident while responding to an armed robbery suspect.

After reviewing the shooting incident, a panel of prosecutors was unable to reach a consensus on whether Feller’s use of force was reasonable. As a result, the decision was made to take further action.

In a statement released on Friday, Vancouver Police Chief Jeff Mori expressed that Sahota’s family and friends have endured a lengthy period of anticipation.

Mori expressed gratitude for the verdict, but also acknowledged that the pain and tragedy of Don’s death still persist.

The date for the sentencing has been set for June 27.

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MBS Staff
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