2013 deadly year for Mid-Columbia counties

Tri-City HeraldDecember 28, 2013 

Edwards Homicide Investigation

Detectives from the Benton County Sherrif's office investigate the homicide of Benton City resident Mike Edwards. His body was found in the Assembly of God church parking lot on North River Road.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

This was a deadly year in the Mid-Columbia.

Twelve deaths were classified as homicides in Benton and Franklin counties in 2013.

A third of the victims were younger than 18. The number included two teens who were killed in a high-speed crash, another teen who was shot execution-style in a remote area of Richland and a 9-month-old baby who was raped and killed, investigators said.

Of the known suspects, five are teenagers charged with murder or vehicular homicide.

"This type of violence all in one year is unprecedented," Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb told the Herald this fall after the city's third homicide. "Two of them were domestic situations. It's just extremely unfortunate."

In all, four of the homicides involved domestic violence.

And in two other cases, police have yet to identify and arrest a suspect.

Kennewick police are calling the most recent homicide, on Christmas Eve, a gang-related crime.

Here are the cases:

-- Carlos Ochoa and Kevin Lopez-Gonzales, both 16, were passengers in a speeding car on Jan. 8 when it rolled before hitting a cluster of trees near Grandview. Driver Jovannie Razo, 18, is charged with vehicular homicide.

-- Saul Ramos-Arrazate, 30, was shot several times Jan. 17 in his Connell apartment after arguing with his live-in girlfriend's former husband. Julio Cesar Hernandez may have fled to his native Mexico. A $1 million warrant is out for his arrest.

-- Jerry L. Barton, 53, was shot March 22 during a family dispute in Finley. It was ruled justifiable homicide because Timothy Brown, 24, and his grandfather believed they were in danger.

-- Franklin Palmer, 24, was rushing to help his Kennewick housemate on March 22 when he was fatally shot. Grant Scantling was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and burglary, and given a life sentence.

-- Nine-month-old Serenity Reedy of Richland was found dead in her crib June 7. Her mother's live-in boyfriend, Jose Luis Aguilar, is accused of raping and killing the baby.

-- Frank Sanchez, 88, was beaten and shot in the head June 7 at his Basin City home. A suspect has not been identified.

-- Preston Yahne, 22, was reportedly trying to get away from his alleged killer on June 14 when he was run over several times by his own car. His body was put in the trunk and the car was set on fire. Robert B. McCorkindale is charged with the Prosser man's death.

-- Joshua Snapp, 17, was shot three times in the chest and head on July 4 when he reportedly went to smoke marijuana with friends in a remote Richland area. Teens Joshua H. Hunt and John C.I. Young, both of Richland, are charged with murder.

-- Michael Edwards, 55, was stabbed Sept. 8 and his body found behind a shed in Benton City. Teen suspects Noah M. Matlack and Noel Gonzalez are accused of burglarizing the disabled man's home before their arrest in Oregon.

-- Rebeca Vandeventer, 32, bled to death in her Richland apartment Sept. 11 after she was stabbed 30 times while her three children were in the house. Lawrence A. Miller is charged with killing her because he was upset she was in a new relationship.

-- Gerardo Villamar Jr., 23, of Kennewick, was stabbed in the back and died on Christmas Eve after he and three cousins left a party in east Kennewick and fought with an unknown suspect. Police suspect the fight was gang related.

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