Staples' death likely a suicide

Retired Judge Fred Staples died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Benton County Coroner John Hansens said Tuesday.

Staples, 77, was found dead on his patio Monday afternoon. An autopsy is expected to be performed Thursday, Hansens said.

Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb said the death investigation still is ongoing, but there doesn't appear to be foul play involved.

A .38-caliber revolver was found at the Greenbrook Place home, he said.

Officers were called to Staples' home about 3 p.m. for a report of a possible suicide.

He lived in the condo with his wife, Kay, but no one else was home at the time.

Staples was the longest-standing judge on the Benton-Franklin Superior Court bench when he retired in 1994.

He reportedly had been ill for about a year and told friends he had lung cancer.

Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home, Kennewick, is in charge of arrangements.

A viewing is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. A service is set for 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, followed by a burial.