An apparent witness to a deadly Kennewick shooting assured a judge Wednesday that he will show up to testify at next week's murder trial.
Michael P. Billado, 23, has been in custody in the Benton County jail since Aug. 22 after telling investigators he would not testify. He initially was arrested on an unrelated charge.
"Mr. Billado hasn't done anything wrong except witness a crime," said Benton County Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher. "He made some unfortunate statements, but he does not deserve to be held."
But Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller wanted Billado held in jail until he could be interviewed by prosecutors. The videotaped interview can be used at the trial in case Billado doesn't show up.
The interview was held after the court hearing and Billado was released.
Prosecutors claim he was just feet away when Grant W. Scantling shot Franklin Palmer inside a Kennewick house on March 22.
Billado reportedly ran from the house as Scantling allegedly fired two close-range shots at his friend, killing the 24-year-old.
Palmer was living at the same house as Scantling's former fiancee, Ann Marie Krebs, court documents said.
Krebs told Scantling she had been romantically involved with Palmer after they broke up.
Scantling, 42, was at Wednesday's hearing when Billado agreed to testify.
Defense attorney Alexandria Sheridan and prosecutors argued for most of Wednesday's hearing about whether jurors can see certain evidence.
Scantling is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
Prosecutors said they should be allowed to show the jury notes about problems Scantling was having with Krebs. Sheridan argued police did not have probable cause to take the notes, reportedly written by Scantling, from the basement of a Spokane home where he was living.
Judge Swisher disagreed, ruling they can be allowed at the trial.
In a note titled "The Last Will and Testament of Grant Wayne Scantling," he complains that Krebs, who was getting ready to move to Michigan with their two children, slammed the door on him when he came to visit his kids.
"She has gone too far," said the note. "She could have prevented this day by simply letting me hug my children."
"This last act has backed me into a corner. I am destroyed, annihilated and tortured inside at the thought of her continuing to use (my children) against me like this," said the note.
Another note said, "I never was too good at finishing things. Lets see if I get the job done this time."
"I apologize to everyone (but Ann) for the pain and heartache that this day is going to cause," said one of the notes. "I'm already gonna burn in hell. God have mercy on my soul. My heart is gone and my chest is empty."
Swisher also ruled that statements Krebs made to a Kennewick officer and statements she made to a 911 operator can be used at the trial.
A large portion of Scantling's interview after he was arrested in Spokane will not be played during his trial because officers continued to question him after he asked for an attorney.
Miller offered to drop the aggravating circumstance element from the murder charge, which would give Scantling the possibility of parole if he pleaded guilty.
However, Scantling rejected the offer.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson