Anderson, Kauffman win felony assault trial
Attorneys Neil Anderson and Katie Kauffman won a trial Nov. 28 for a client accused of first-degree assault in the February 2021 shooting of a Vancouver man in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
The client, who has been in custody since the incident on $300,000 bail, was acquitted on all charges and released from the Clark County Jail after Anderson and Kauffman successfully argued that the shooting was in self-defense.
A jury returned the verdicts after deliberating approximately three hours.
Jurors heard testimony last week before the Thanksgiving holiday, and then returned to court Nov. 28 for closing arguments and deliberations.
The client was initially charged with attempted murder. Prosecutors amended the charge down to first-degree assault, a class A felony, with a firearm enhancement less than a month before trial. He was also charged with drive-by shooting, a class B felony. If convicted he faced between 14 and 17 years in prison.
The alleged victim in the case claimed he had never seen our client, but jurors heard that our client had some negative experiences with the alleged victim and had suspected him of stealing tools from his work truck.
Our client told jurors that he reacted in self-defense and fired his gun after the alleged victim pulled a gun from his vehicle.
The alleged victim drove to the hospital after he was shot.
Investigating officers from the Vancouver Police Department said they searched the alleged victim’s vehicle for a gun but didn’t find one. A firearms expert testified for the defense that the fact officers failed to search trash bins at the apartment complex and at the hospital, when the alleged victim had the opportunity to throw his weapon away, made it a substandard investigation.
Our client, who has no criminal history, had his young child in his vehicle at the time of the shooting, a fact defense attorneys used to support the idea that the shooting had not been planned.
During closing arguments, a senior deputy prosecutor kept referring to the shooting as something out of the Old West, and that our client had confronted the other person like it was high noon.
Anderson told the jury that he has seen a lot of westerns and the facts in this case didn’t fit.
“I’ve never seen John Wayne bring a baby to a gunfight,” he said.