Kennewick man now charged with aggravated murder, burglary in shooting

March 28, 2013 

— A 41-year-old man accused of killing his former fiancee's roommate now is charged with also pointing a gun at her forehead after breaking into her home.

Grant Wayne Scantling pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to the updated charges of first-degree burglary and aggravated first-degree murder.

If convicted as charged, Scantling could spend the rest of his life in prison or face a death sentence.

Prosecutor Andy Miller told the court Thursday that he isn't sure this case meets the criteria for a death penalty case, but said the state needs to be careful with how things proceed until a decision is made.

The murder charge now includes the aggravating circumstance that it was committed "in the course of, in the furtherance of, or in the immediate flight from" the burglary.

The new charge alleges that Scantling entered 520 E. Eighth Place in Kennewick the morning of March 22 and either grabbed Ann Marie Krebs' neck or pointed the gun at her forehead.

That's after Scantling fatally shot Franklin Scott Evans Palmer several times in the head and the chest, according to court documents and autopsy results.

Palmer, 24, was a friend of Krebs. He had been staying with Krebs and her three children at her Kennewick duplex for about two months.

Scantling is the father of two of those children.

He and Krebs were engaged, but she broke it off in November. She planned to move to Michigan with her children the day of the shooting.

Prosecutors allege that Scantling entered the home about 7:30 a.m. and shot Palmer.

Krebs told Kennewick police she heard a gunshot and saw Palmer fall to the floor in the hallway. She then looked out from her bedroom and saw Scantling stand over Palmer and shoot him, documents said.

Scantling then went into Krebs' room, pointed the handgun at her and blamed the shooting on his estranged girlfriend because "she slammed the door on him a few days ago," court documents said.

He took her into the living room and put the gun to his own head, telling Krebs he had a bullet left for her and one for himself, before lowering the gun and running out, documents said.

The kids were in the home at the time of the shooting but were not hurt.

Scantling was arrested that afternoon in Spokane.

During Thursday's brief hearing, Judge Robert Swisher said he had signed an order appointing Scott Johnson as defense co-counsel. Alexandria Sheridan was appointed as Scantling's attorney at a previous hearing.

Swisher has been assigned by court administration to preside over the case.

Prosecutor Miller questioned if Sheridan is qualified for an aggravated murder case.

Johnson said he understood Miller's concern, but added that he isn't death-penalty qualified either.

Another hearing is scheduled next Wednesday.

Scantling is in the Benton County jail on $1 million bail. His trial is set for May 13.

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