EVERSON, Wash. — A man held in custody after being arrested for shooting his mother’s visiting ex-husband at their Everson residence has been released on a reduced bail amount after details of a self-defense argument were filed with the court.
In a motion to reduce bail, filed by Public Defender Starck Follis in Whatcom County Superior Court on Tuesday, January 18th, the defense provided details explaining what led to the shooting on the evening of January 6th. The motion asked that the $1,000,000 bail be reduced to $100,000.
According to the motion, after Everson Police booked Ethan Knight into the Whatcom County Jail and a probable cause affidavit was filed with the court, defense counsel learned of and advised the prosecuting attorney of a smartphone recording of the incident. It was not clarified in the motion whether the recording was audio and/or video and what it provided.
Follis said the mother had told an investigator, with her lawyer present, her ex-husband had been visiting from Michigan, where he lived after having remarried. During his stay there was “increasing and uncontrolled alcohol use and belligerent and aggressive conduct sometimes resulting in physical confrontations, particularly with Ethan.” On the night of the shooting, Knight had gone to his mother more than once asking her to call 911 because her ex-husband was acting aggressively. The last time he had a gun in his hand, asking her again to call 911.
About this time and unknown to the mother, Knight had begun making the recording on her smartphone.
The mother said her ex-husband refused to deescalate and leave, instead pushing her and getting a handgun from a nightstand. She said she then heard shots and came to find her ex-husband shot and bleeding. She called 911 at Knight’s insistence.
Further investigation determined the ex-husband had a warrant in Michigan regarding a domestic violence assault and battery charge, in 2002 a petition for a protection order related to domestic violence was filed on the mother’s behalf with the ex-husband as the respondent and their 2009 divorce decree included allegations of domestic violence that resulted in the mother being granted full child custody.
Follis noted the prosecution has the burden of disproving a self-defense explanation beyond a reasonable doubt.
Prosecutors filed an objection to reducing bail. Today, January 24th, the court agreed to reduce the bail requirement to $250,000 or $25,000 cash during a 9am hearing on the bail reduction motion. Knight was released from custody later this afternoon after posting $25,000 cash.