Guilty plea in Wash. shooting spree that killed 6

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2009 8:17 PM

A man who killed six people, including a sheriff's deputy, in a northwest Washington shooting rampage last year pleaded guilty Tuesday and will spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital or prison.

Isaac Zamora entered the pleas to 18 charges, including aggravated murder, attempted murder and burglary, after prosecutor Rich Weyrich agreed he would not seek the death penalty.

"Mr. Zamora won't ever walk the streets again," Weyrich said. "From a public safety standpoint, we've accomplished that."

Zamora, 29, began his rampage Sept. 2, 2008, near the town of Alger, 70 miles north of Seattle, and continued it on Interstate 5. Described by his family as mentally disturbed, he was captured after a police chase and later told investigators he killed for God.

The dead included a man who had accused Zamora of trespassing, a woman who lived nearby, two construction workers, a motorist on the highway, and Skagit County Deputy Sheriff Anne Jackson. Jackson had frequently tried to help Zamora's family deal with his mental illness, Zamora's mother said.

Zamora pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two aggravated murder counts, in the deaths of Jackson and Alger resident Chester Rose. Because the prosecutor is not contesting those pleas, Zamora will begin serving his time in a mental hospital rather than a prison.

In Washington, defendants found legally insane can be released from a mental hospital if they are deemed competent and no longer dangerous. If Zamora is ever cleared from the hospital, however, he will spend the rest of his life in a state prison for the four aggravated murder counts to which he pleaded guilty.

Weyrich said Zamora clearly had mental issues. Weyrich said he agreed to the plea deal because he was concerned that a jury might acquit Zamora for insanity on all counts _ meaning he could one day be freed.

The other victims were David Radcliffe, 57, of Clear Lake; Greg Gillum, 38, of Mount Vernon; Julie Binschus, 48, of Alger; and LeRoy Lange, 64, of Methow.