YAKIMA -- A Prosser man acquitted of drive-by shooting charges in 2008 wasn't so lucky the second time around.
Chad E. Duncan, 21, was convicted this week of six counts of first-degree assault in connection with a July 2009 shooting that authorities said targeted a house full of people with no gang ties.
Duncan, described by authorities as a gang member, faces a hefty sentence that could send him away for decades, including 30 years just for firearm enhancements associated with the assault counts.
In the first case, Duncan was acquitted of attempted murder and assault charges for a June 2008 shooting at a rival gang member walking to Eagle Alternative School in Toppenish. The defense challenged whether police had done enough to identify Duncan as the shooter, saying he bore only a coincidental resemblance.
The verdict disappointed chief deputy prosecutor Ken Ramm, who handled both trials.
Ramm later said authorities had learned that the rifle used in the Toppenish shooting had been concealed in the suspect vehicle, which was later sold to someone in the Tri-Cities. Lab tests showed Duncan's DNA on the gun, Ramm said.
Duncan was arrested again in July 2009 by Yakima police officers responding to a shooting that targeted a home in the 300 block of Cherry Avenue.
One victim was grazed in the head, another had his hat punctured by a bullet and a third said he could tell that a bullet passed in front of him. Duncan was charged once for each person in the house, including another young man, a mother and a grandmother.
Police identified him as the suspect after an officer spotted his white car on I Street, which prosecutors said would have been consistent with the route taken by a white car that witnesses described leaving the scene.
Although the officers reported that two women riding with Duncan made incriminating statements against him at the time, both were reluctant to testify in detail.
Video from the patrol car shows Duncan leaning into the passenger side of the car, the same area where the gun was found. Several shell casings were found on the driver's side.
But defense attorney Rick Hernandez of Sunnyside questioned whether the investigation was complete. He suggested to the jury that even if Duncan was the shooter, the prosecution hadn't proven that he intended to commit great bodily harm against each victim, as the statute requires.
Duncan has several juvenile arrests and more than a half-dozen convictions on his record. He testified that he continued to carry a gun in order to protect himself and his family in spite of his criminal history, which bars him from owning firearms.
After the verdict, someone in Duncan's group of relatives exclaimed, "Are you happy now, Mr. Ramm?"
Ramm responded: "I am now. That was for (the victim)" in the first drive-by.
Hernandez declined to comment on the verdict.