Kidnapping Charges Added In Moses Lake Murder Case
Seattle Times Staff: Seattle Times News Services
EPHRATA, Grant County - Prosecutors filed kidnapping charges yesterday in the case of a teenager accused in three schoolhouse slayings. A defense lawyer sought to have the trial moved to King County.
Grant County prosecutors say Barry Loukaitis, 15, walked into an algebra class at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake on Feb. 2 and began firing a hunting rifle, killing teacher Leona Caires and students Manuel Vela and Arnold Fritz. Another student, Natalie Hintz, was seriously wounded.
A prosecution motion to amend the charges adds 15 counts of first-degree kidnapping.
The kidnapping victims include 14 students who were ordered at gunpoint to line up at the back of a classroom and a teacher who entered the room after the shootings and eventually managed to disarm Loukaitis.
Public defender Guillermo Romero requested the trial be moved to King County, arguing that Loukaitis cannot be tried fairly in Grant County because of extensive media coverage.
In addition to the new charges prosecutors filed yesterday, Loukaitis faces three counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
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