Witness jailed for refusing to testify in Kennewick shooting case

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldAugust 24, 2013 

An alleged eyewitness to a March slaying is being held in the county jail on $100,000 bail after telling Kennewick detectives he would skip out on the upcoming trial.

Michael P. Billado was staying at a Kennewick house on East Eighth Place when Grant W. Scantling burst in and shot his former fiancee's lover, according to court documents.

The 23-year-old Billado said after getting up to use the bathroom, there was a commotion and he saw Scantling, then he heard a "click, clack, pop" and could feel a bullet "go right past my head" before ducking, documents said.

Franklin Palmer died after being shot several times in the head and the chest.

Scantling is charged in Benton County Superior Court with aggravated first-degree murder for Palmer's death, and first-degree burglary for forcing his way into his ex's home and threatening to kill Ann Marie Krebs.

Billado has been labeled a material witness in the case, but said he has no intention of testifying against Scantling since he already gave a statement about what happened the morning of March 22.

"You can serve me if you can find me," he told Detective Jason Harrington on Aug. 19.

The detective wanted to meet up with Billado to personally hand him a subpoena for Scantling's Sept. 3 trial, but the witness said it was best to leave the paperwork with his mother and he'd get it later.

Then, before hanging up on Harrington, Billado said he has other things to worry about and added that "the guy's caught, let him have his day in court without me," court documents said.

But Billado himself was caught just days later when he was arrested for an unrelated charge in Pasco. Since Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher had signed a material witness order earlier in the week, Billado was transported to Benton County so he could make a first appearance in court on the matter.

"What am I being charged with?" Billado asked, after Judge Vic VanderSchoor read his rights.

Prosecutor Andy Miller told Billado he's being held in custody for indicating to detectives that he wouldn't appear for trial if served.

Miller said he would contact Billado's court-appointed attorney and arrange to take a deposition of the witness. That way, if Billado ignores his subpoena, the videotaped interview can be used in trial.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 28, the same day Scantling's due back in court to argue pretrial motions.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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