A second attorney will help in the defense of Francisco J. Resendez Miranda, accused of shooting three people from Pasco in a Benton County cornfield a year ago.
Bruce Spanner, the Benton County Superior Court judge in the case, has known the attorney, John Chambers, for decades, but said during a Monday hearing that he saw no need to recuse himself from the case.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said he had no concerns with Spanner’s decision, but questioned why Chambers did not arrange to attend or call in for a hearing for a suspect accused of aggravated murder.
Chambers, who has been working as a defense attorney in Yakima County, has signed a Benton County contract. He was in court in Yakima County on Monday, and Resendez Miranda was represented in court by attorney Shane Silverthorn of Ellensburg, who called in for the hearing.
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Spanner and Chambers graduated from high school together in the Tri-Cities, were later on the same intramural football team and were roommates briefly while attending college when Chambers needed a place to stay temporarily. They’ve talked about 10 times during the past 30 years, including at a high school reunion and when Chambers recently stopped by the judge’s office, Spanner said.
Resendez Miranda, who goes by other names, is accused of killing Abigail Torres-Renteria, 23, who was almost nine months pregnant; Victoria Torres, 19, and David Perez-Saucedo, 22. Their bodies were found Aug. 9, 2014, off Nine Canyon Road.
Court documents show the slaying might have been in retaliation for a break-in at Resendez Miranda’s apartment the night before.
Trial is scheduled for Nov. 2. The next hearing in the case will be Sept. 3.