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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Two men charged with beating fellow inmate to death

1-4-2007 Washington UPDATED

WALLA WALLA -- Two inmates at Washington State Penitentiary have been charged with murder in the fatal beating of another inmate in his cell in November.

Kevin Achartz, 40, who was serving a life sentence from King County for sexual exploitation of a minor, was found unconscious in his cell on Nov. 19 and died four days later in a Kennewick hospital.

Michael E. Elmore, 22, and Victor W. Doty, 26, were charged Tuesday in Walla Walla County Superior Court with first-degree murder.

Officials haven't determined a motive.

The pair apparently entered Achartz's cell by signaling a correctional officer to open the door, Walla Walla Police Detective Miguel Sanchez said Tuesday. The pair remained in the cell, beating and kicking Achartz, for about an hour, until the doors were reopened for a lunch period, police allege.

Officers conducted regular checks that day, "but it's obvious they were not done during that one-hour window of opportunity," penitentiary spokeswoman Lori Scamahorn said Wednesday.

Achartz had been serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 2005 conviction in King County. He had earlier convictions for rape, burglary, failing to register as a sex offender, assault and theft, prison officials said.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle said Elmore's criminal history includes a second-degree assault conviction from Skagit County. He could be sentenced to 34-46 more years in prison if convicted.

Doty, from the Tri-Cities, faces a sentence ranging from 24 to 32 years if convicted of the new charge because he has no prior violent offenses, Nagle said.

Nagle said he hadn't decided whether to pursue an aggravated-murder charge stemming from the fact that the slaying occurred in a prison. Such a charge would carry the possibility of the death penalty or life without parole. ..more.. by AP


Inmate sentenced in killing
Victor Doty received a 12-year, 3-month sentence in the beating death of Kevin Achartz.

A prisoner who would have been free by now learned Monday he still has a lengthy term to serve for his part in a fatal beating.

Victor Doty, 27, was sentenced in Walla Walla County Superior Court to 12 years and 3 months in prison for the 2006 assault on a fellow Washington State Penitentiary inmate.

Doty and fellow inmate Michael Elmore, 23, were convicted this month of first-degree manslaughter in the death of 40-year old Kevin Achartz. If he had not been charged, Doty would have been released in September after finishing an earlier sentence, prosecutors said.

A jury found both men guilty of entering Achartz' cell Nov. 19, 2006, and severely beating him for more than an hour. Achartz died from his injuries five days later when he was taken off life support.

At Monday's sentencing, Doty told Judge Donald W. Schacht ``I don't really know what to say...What happened is what happened. I'm sorry for what happened.''

Doty's attorney, Gail Seimers, asked Schacht to impose the lower end of the range, 120 months, because her client ``felt he had little if any choice'' to participate in the assault.

But in recommending the maximum term, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden pointed out that Doty and Elmore could have stopped their attack at any time, but did not.
``They chose to beat (Achartz) for an hour and 10 minutes...They left him to die,'' Golden said.

Schacht said the prosecutor's arguments echoed his own thoughts. ``You took a life...You participated in taking a life,'' he told Doty.

Schacht gave Doty credit for 55 days already served in Walla Walla County Jail, where he was held while awaiting trial. He was also ordered to serve 24-48 months community custody after his release.

According to prosecutors, at the time of the assault Doty was serving a sentence for a 2006 drug conviction in Benton County.

Elmore's sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 13. According to prosecutors, he faces a sentence of 17 years to more than 23 years due to his criminal history.

At the trial, prosecutors said Achartz was assaulted because he was a child molester and the inmates wanted to attack before he was in protective custody.

Achartz had been serving a life sentence without possibility of parole after being convicted in King County of sexual exploitation of a minor. The sentence was imposed under the state's ``three strikes'' law due to Achartz' prior convictions. ..more.. by Andy Porter of the Union-Bulletin

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