Investigation Launched Into Witness Tampering in Pending Kennewick Murder Trial
A suspect about to go on trial for a fatal shooting in March might also be facing felony charges for attempting to influence witnesses.
Grant Scantling (pictured) is set to go on trial for allegedly shooting 24-year-old Franklin Palmer in March. The fatal shooting occured at a duplex on East 8th Place in Kennewick. Palmer was the roommate of Scantling's ex-fiance, Ann Krebs.
Jury selection began Tuesday as dozens of potential candidates were screened at the Benton County Justice Center. According to Benton County prosecutors, taped telephone calls from the jail and information from two jail inmates suggest Scantling attempted to contact certain witnesses with the intent of influencing their testimony.
While rejecting a defense request to delay the trial, Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher did authorize the defense to hire a private investigator to look into the claims. The 41-year-old Scantling is facing first-degree murder charges, and if convicted, faces life in prison without parole.
Witness tampering in Washington state is a felony. Judge Swisher said the trial will move forward as planned, and asked the new evidence be brought up at the end of the case. Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller said he is not sure he will use the new evidence in the trial.
(Photo courtesy of KNDU-TV)