Grandview woman gets immunity to testify at boyfriend's murder trial

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMay 9, 2014 

A Grandview woman who helped cover up the killing of a Prosser man has been granted immunity so she can testify in her boyfriend's murder trial.

Robert B. McCorkindale asked Friday to delay his Benton County Superior Court trial six weeks because the defense just received this information.

Lawyer Alexandria Sheridan, in a motion filed earlier this week, said she and co-counsel Michelle Alexander received May 2 a four-hour-long videotaped confession of Laura M. Bancroft.

It also came with the agreement granting Bancroft's complete immunity, and an amended witness list for the prosecution.

McCorkindale, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 14 death of Preston Yahne after the two got into an argument.

McCorkindale claims Yahne tried to stab him with a box cutter, but he was able to disarm him and then stab Yahne in the chest with another knife, court documents said. Yahne tried to run away, only to be chased by his own car with McCorkindale behind the wheel.

McCorkindale ran over Yahne several times to make sure he was dead, put his body in the trunk and the next day drove to a gravel pit on Emerald Road and set the car on fire to dispose of the evidence, documents said.

The burned body of Yahne, 22, was found June 18 in the trunk of his vehicle outside of Sunnyside.

McCorkindale and Bancroft were arrested June 25 in Grandview after a witness put them at the scene of Yahne's burned car.

McCorkindale reportedly told Yakima County detectives that he was concerned about keeping his girlfriend out of trouble. He was allowed to hug Bancroft and say goodbye before she was booked into jail.

Bancroft was sentenced earlier this year in Yakima County Superior Court to one year and one month in prison.

She entered an Alford plea to second-degree arson and first-degree rendering criminal assistance. The Alford plea means she denied committing the crimes but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her.

Sheridan, in her motion to continue the trial date, said she has tried to reach Bancroft's attorney in Yakima County but his voicemail is full and she can't find an email address for him.

She noted that the defense was expecting written reports this week from Benton County sheriff's Detectives Lee Cantu and Scott Runge, and had been told by Prosecutor Andy Miller that additional video from Bancroft's interview was being mailed from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in Oregon.

McCorkindale's trial had been set for May 27, but now is scheduled July 7.

Sheridan said McCorkindale has the right to effective assistance of counsel at trial and the extra time is needed for the defense to be fully prepared.

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

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