The lawyer for a Pasco murder suspect has been given clearance to look for jail phone calls between a prosecution witness and his ex-girlfriend, but with limitations.
Judge Carrie Runge signed a subpoena Tuesday ordering Benton County jail officials to find specific calls involving an inmate at the jail.
The man is a witness in the Franklin County Superior Court case against Kenyatta K.E. Bridges.
Bridges, 26, is charged in the Dec. 3, 2014, shooting of Lorenzo “Richie” Fernandez Jr. outside a Pasco apartment complex.
Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Astley on Tuesday said the defense filed a motion seeking evidence of calls Luis Amaya made between his first and second interview with Pasco detectives while locked up in Benton County.
Amaya indicated in a recent interview that his ex-girlfriend encouraged him to be more forward, which is why he changed his story, Astley told the court.
Astley said she did not object to the request, but wanted limits on the search to calls Amaya made between Feb. 27 and March 4, 2015, and only those involving a female recipient.
My client’s life is at stake, this is an important witness and we should be able to listen to phone calls during this time period.
Karla Kane Hudson, Kenyatta Bridges’ attorney
Karla Kane Hudson, Bridges’ attorney, argued that unduly burdens jail staff to review each recorded call during the time period and make sure a woman was on the other end. She said it could be a problem identifying those certain calls if a man answered and then handed the phone to Amaya’s ex-girlfriend.
Kane Hudson acknowledged not knowing if there will only be one or two calls, or several hours worth. Jail officials can look up the calls by inmate number, Kane Hudson said.
She also asked to have the time period extended to March 10, 2015, and to include several minutes after each phone call just in case Amaya discussed his interview or talked to other family members.
Astley said she was worried the defense could be going on a “fishing expedition” to learn what is being said about the case and who else Amaya was talking to.
“We have information that (Amaya) was talking about the case over the phone calls,” Kane Hudson replied. “My client’s life is at stake, this is an important witness and we should be able to listen to phone calls during this time period.”
Runge granted the request to extend the search period by six days.
Also Tuesday, the judge said prosecutors can get additional fingerprints of Bridges for further testing.
Apparently, certain areas of Bridges’ fingers didn’t show up in the prints taken at the outset of the case and a scientist at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab has asked for more thorough prints.
The lab is trying to compare Bridges’ prints to those found on a gun box that is in evidence in this case.
Kane Hudson said she has concerns about this late request. However, she agreed to it as long as the defense investigator can be present.
Bridges is not scheduled for trial until Jan. 6. He is charged with first-degree murder while he or an accomplice was armed with a deadly weapon, along with conspiracy and second-degree unlawful gun possession.
Prosecutors previously have said they believe Bridges “played a minor role” in Fernandez’s death.
DeShawn I. Anderson, 20, is alleged to have been the mastermind behind the shooting.