GUILTY WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

I was checking to see if hearings would be held for tomorrow - and came up this! Guess he got wise & changed his plea to guilty on his assault case!

Adamson - Case #20-1-00968-21

11/19/2020 Arraignment and Trial Setting
Judicial Officer:Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 03:00 PM

11/19/2020 Change of Plea
Judicial Officer: Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 03:00 PM
Comment: IN CUSTODY

11/23/2020 Sentencing Hearing
Judicial Officer: Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 01:00 PM
Comment: IN CUSTODY


link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search
 
Thursday, Nov. 19th:
*Plea Hearing (Assault) (@ 1pm PT) – WA – Benjamin Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – *Jonathon Robert Adamson (21/now 23) charged (11/20/20) with a total of 10 counts- 1st degree aggravated murder, 1st degree aggravated assault, 1st degree kidnapping, 1st degree rape, 1st degree rendering criminal assistance, unlawful disposal of remains, 2 counts of tampering with physical evidence & 2 counts of tampering with a witness. Plead not guilty to all charges. $10M bond.
Trial was set to start 8/5/19, plead guilty instead. Adamson’s plea agreement included an agreed-upon sentence of 510 months, or 42 & ½ years to life in prison, provided he meet requirements set by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, including providing a full & accurate account of Eastman’s death.
Court info from 3/17/19 thru 8/29/19 reference post #429 here:
GUILTY - WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

10/3/19 Update: Plead guilty. Set Sentencing hearing continued to 11/7. 11/7/19: Set Sentencing hearing continued (again) to 1/9/20. 1/9/20: Sentencing hearing set for 3/11/20. 2/4/20: Has changed his mind & wants to change his plea.
3/9/20: Sentencing stricken from calendar. Motion to modify conditions of release filed 7/13/20. Motion hearing on 7/16/20. Motion was denied.
11/10/20 Update: Sentencing hearing (for murder) on 11/23/20 @ 1pm.

*Charged with 2 counts of custodial assault based on allegations ( he assaulted two corrections officers after they had confronted him about violating a jail policy). Bond $25K.
11/9/20: Order determining probable cause. 11/10/20: Preliminary appearance. Motion for Order determining probable cause; affidavit of probable cause. Arraignment & trial setting hearing on 11/19/20 @ 1pm. 11/19/20 Update: Arraignment & trial setting hearing has been changed to Plea Change hearing & sentencing on 11/23/20.
 
Adamson - Assault:

11/19/2020 Arraignment and Trial Setting
Judicial Officer: Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 03:00 PM
Result: Held

11/19/2020 Change of Plea
Judicial Officer: Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 03:00 PM
Cancel Reason: Stricken
Comment: IN CUSTODY

11/19/2020 Guilty Plea Only Hearing

11/19/2020 Notice of Hearing

11/23/2020 Sentencing Hearing
Judicial Officer: Lawler, James W
Hearing Time: 01:00 PM
Comment: IN CUSTODY



link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search


I'm guessing he plead guilty to the assault since it says "Guilty Plea only hearing".
 
Ben is getting Justice today!!
5b5bb1707a14b.image.jpg



Monday, November 23rd:
*Sentencing Hearing (@ 9:15am PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Kindra Rose Adamson (43/now 44) arrested (7/10/18) & charged (7/11/18) & arraigned (7/19/18) with 2 counts of 1st degree Rendering Criminal Assistance. Plead not guilty. Was a $1M bond, Judge reduced it to $100K. Also allowed to reside in County other than Lewis if/when she’s released.
She knew of murder 6/23-24; withheld info from LE.
8/9/18 Update: hearing cancelled to 8/10 for Plea Change Hearing. Other dates stay the same. 8/10/18 Update: Plead guilty to rendering criminal assistance. Faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, but under State guidelines more than likely will face a prison term of 12 to 14 months. As a condition of a plea bargain will likely be called by the state to testify against her sons. As part of the plea agreement, if she follows all the conditions of her release, one of the felony counts would be knocked down to a misdemeanor, with a recommended sentence of credit for time served.
8/18/18 Update: Sentencing set for 10/25 was cancelled, had review hearing on 11/29. Will be sentenced last. Review hearing 1/10. 1/24/19: Both sides ask for continuance. Review hearing on 2/28. 2/28/29: Next Review hearing on 3/28.
3/28/19 Update: Review hearing continued to 5/2. 5/2/19: Review hearing stricken. Sentencing scheduled on 3/11/20. 3/9/20: Sentencing stricken from calendar. Awaiting Adamson’s Appeal.
11/11/20 Update: Sentencing rescheduled on 11/23/20 @ 9:15am. Not in custody.

AND
*Sentencing Hearing (@ 9:30am PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Michael D. Salazar (17/now 18) arrested (7/19/19), charged (7/22/19) & arraigned (8/1/19) with 1st degree murder, tampering with evidence & 1st degree rendering criminal assistance. $250K Bond.
Court documents allege that he knew about the plan to assault Eastman before it happened, but did nothing to warn anyone and furthermore physically prevented his ex-girlfriend from alerting anyone. Plead guilty on 5/6/20.
Court info from 7/22/19 thru 5/6/20 reference post #495 here:
GUILTY - WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

9/10/20 Update: Salazar was scheduled to enter a guilty plea Wednesday. However, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office learned Salazar potentially had new information regarding charges of witness tampering filed against another suspect, Jerald Thompson, originally scheduled to go to trial next week. Meyer said he couldn’t disclose the new information, but said Salazar could now be a witness in Thompson’s trial. In that event, prosecutors hope to sort out a plea agreement with Salazar before Thompson’s trial begins. Sentencing hearing rescheduled on 10/19/20 @ 10am. 10/17/20 Update: Sentencing hearing was stricken – no further dates available. Defendant not in custody.
11/11/20 Update: Sentencing hearing on 11/23/20 @ 9:30am. Not in custody.

AND
*Sentencing Hearing (@ 9:30am PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Amanda Lyn Hagerty (42/now 43) (Salazar’s mom) arrested (7/19/19), charged (7/22/19) & arraigned (7/25/19) with 2 counts of 1st degree rendering criminal assistance & misleading LE. Plead not guilty. $250K bond. Bonded out (7/29/19).
Trial was set to begin on 2/25/20 continued to 5/11/20-cancelled plead guilty.
Court info from 7/22/19 thru 5/6/20 reference post #495 here:
GUILTY - WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

9/10/20 Update: Motion for sentencing continuance-granted. Rescheduled on 10/19/20 @ 11am.
10/17/20 Update: Sentencing hearing was cancelled-no further dates available. Defendant not in custody.
11/11/20 update: Sentencing hearing on 11/23/20 @ 9:30am. Not in custody.

AND
*Change of Plea & Sentencing Hearing (@ 10:30am PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Jerald E. Thompson (24/now 25) arrested (7/19/19), charged (7/24/19) & arraigned (8/22/19) with 2 counts of 1st degree rendering criminal assistance & misleading LE. Plead not guilty. Unsecured bond. Bonded out.
Trial was set to begin on 3/11/20 continued to 5/4/20 was cancelled & reset for 9/14/20 & cancelled, plead guilty.
Court info from 8/13/19 thru 9/24/20 reference post #512 here:
GUILTY - WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

10/8/20 Update: Hearing was held. Thompson plead guilty. Next Change of plea & sentencing hearing on 11/4/20. 11/4/20 Update: Hearing was stricken from calendar, no further dates.
11/11/20 Update: Sentencing hearing on 11/23/20 @ 10:30am. Not in custody.

AND
*Sentencing Hearing (@ 1pm PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Benito “Benny” S. Marquez (16/now 17) arrested (7/2/18) & charged (7/2/18) & arraigned (7/19/18) with 1st degree murder, 1st degree rape, tampering with physical evidence & unlawful disposal of remains. Plead not guilty. $10M bond each.
Marquez is charged as adult. Can have contact w/family except those charged.
7/19/18 Update: Next: Review hearing/set trial date on 10/18. 10/18/18: Trial date has been set. Next Omnibus hearing on 12/20, Trial Confirmation hearing on 3/28/19-cancelled, and trial starts 4/1/19-cancelled.
2/14/19 Update: Will be pleading guilty, plea hearing on 2/22. 2/22/19 Update: Guilty plea entered. The two sides agreed on a recommended sentence of more than 34 years. Because Marquez was 16 at the time of the crime, he can petition for release after 20 years. Review hearing on 3/28. Judge will wait to sentence Marquez until after he appears as a witness in the trial of his older brother, Jonathan Adamson.
3/28/19 Update: Plea entered. Review hearing on 5/2. 5/2/19 Update: Review hearing continued to 6/6 @ 1pm.
6/6/19 Update: Hearing continued to 6/14. 6/14/19: Officially plead guilty. 12/18/19: Defense motion for investigator @ public expense-granted. Sentencing on 3/11/20. 3/9/20: Sentencing stricken from calendar. Awaiting Adamson’s appeal.
4/2/20 Update: Review & motions hearing re Conditions of Release.
11/11/20 Update: Sentencing hearing on 11/23/20 @ 1pm. In custody.

AND
*Sentencing Hearing (both cases) (@ 1pm PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Jonathon Robert Adamson (21/now 23) arrested (6/30/18), charged (7/2/18) & arraigned (7/11/18 & 3/7/19) with a total of 10 counts- 1st degree aggravated murder, 1st degree aggravated assault, 1st degree kidnapping, 1st degree rape, 1st degree rendering criminal assistance, unlawful disposal of remains, 2 counts of tampering with physical evidence & 2 counts of tampering with a witness. Plead not guilty to all charges. $10M bond.
Trial was set to start 8/5/19, plead guilty instead. Adamson’s plea agreement included an agreed-upon sentence of 510 months, or 42 & ½ years to life in prison, provided he meet requirements set by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, including providing a full & accurate account of Eastman’s death.
Court info from 3/17/19 thru 8/29/19 reference post #429 here:
GUILTY - WA - Ben Eastman, 16, raped and murdered, Lewis County, 23 Jun 2018

10/3/19 Update: Plead guilty. Set Sentencing hearing continued to 11/7. 11/7/19: Set Sentencing hearing continued (again) to 1/9/20. 1/9/20: Sentencing hearing set for 3/11/20. 2/4/20: Has changed his mind & wants to change his plea.
3/9/20: Sentencing stricken from calendar. Motion to modify conditions of release filed 7/13/20. Motion hearing on 7/16/20. Motion was denied.
11/11/20 Update: Sentencing on 11/23/20 @ 1pm. In custody.

*Charged with 2 counts of custodial assault based on allegations (he assaulted two corrections officers after they had confronted him about violating a jail policy).
11/9/20: Order determining probable cause; 11/10/20: Preliminary appearance. Motion for Order determining probable cause; affidavit of probable cause. Arraignment & trial setting hearing on 11/19/20 @ 1pm. 11/19/20 Update: Arraignment & trial setting hearing has been changed to Plea Change hearing & sentencing on 11/23/20. 11/19/20 Update: Plea hearing was stricken, but arraignment hearing held, plead guilty. Sentencing on 11/23/20.
 
Adamson got the book thrown at him - 563 months

Marquez got less that the recommended sentence 22_ months and they're waiting talk of an appeal. He referred to Ben Eastman as his best friend in his own statement. His attorney insinuated that Adamson's and Marquez's 16yo sister told them that Ben had sexually assaulted her.

Neither is allowed within 500 feet of Ben's dad for the rest of their lives.
 
Came across more MSM info explaining the mystery, evening release of defendant M. Salazar:

Suspect Charged in 2018 Killing of Randle Teen Released From Jail Pending Sentencing

Sept 11, 2020

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer contested the release of Michael D. Salazar, 18, of Randle, who had reached a plea agreement with the state in May that dropped the second-degree murder charge he was facing. Meyer argued that based on the allegations, Salazar should not be released.

Salazar pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, three counts of first-degree attempted rendering criminal assistance non-relative and tampering with a witness-domestic violence on May 5.

However, Superior Court Judge James Lawler sided with Salazar’s defense attorney Tim Leary and agreed to release him before his sentencing hearing.

According to the Lewis County Jail log, Salazar was released at 7:16 p.m. on Thursday.

Meyer told The Chronicle that the second-degree murder charge was dropped in order to secure a plea agreement with Salazar on the condition that he testifies against Jerald Thompson, brother of Jonathon Adamson, who is charged with tampering with a witness in connection to the killing.

[..]

Meyer said it did not make a lot of sense to him to release Salazar, who had been in custody since July of 2019, because by the time he is sentenced, he would have served nearly the entire sentence that Meyer is prepared to recommend in credit from time served in the Lewis County Jail.

Meyer is prepared to recommend a sentence of 20 months in prison and 18 months in community custody, which is how Washington refers to parole, according to court documents.

Regarding the dropped second-degree murder charge that Salazar was facing, Meyer said it would have been hard to prove in trial, and a plea agreement that would get him to testify against Thompson would suffice.
______________________

I agree with Meyer and wish that Salazar would have been held until his sentencing date. He could have prevented Ben's death had he come forward. And I hope nobody in his community ever forgets this. He's not a good guy.

MOO
 
Adamson got the book thrown at him - 563 months

Marquez got less that the recommended sentence 22_ months and they're waiting talk of an appeal. He referred to Ben Eastman as his best friend in his own statement. His attorney insinuated that Adamson's and Marquez's 16yo sister told them that Ben had sexually assaulted her.

Neither is allowed within 500 feet of Ben's dad for the rest of their lives.
Thank you @TwoLea.

Adamson's initial plea agreement was 510 months plus polygraph and full account of what happened to Ben.

Surprised about any mention of appeal by Marquez given it was only by his age and special WA law related to his age that saved Marquez from true, just, punishment.

MOO

ETA: Just learned that Municipal Court is on youtube but Superior Court hearings are "live" on zoom or audio call and cannot be recorded for later broadcast. I so regret missing this hearing...
 
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Here are the other sentences.

Kindra:

11/23/2020 Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence

Confinement
Type: Local Jail
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Term: 32 Days
Credit for Time Served
Credit Term: 32 Days
Comment: 6 Months Community Custody
Restitution and Other Fees
Current Sentence Status:
Status: Active
Status Date: 11/23/2020
Signing Judge: Lawler, James W
Signed Date: 11/23/2020
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Fees and Fines: $600.00

link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search


Salazar:

11/23/2020 Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence

Confinement
Type: Prison
Agency: Department of Corrections
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Term: 20 Months
Credit for Time Served
Credit Term: 418 Days
Comment: 18 Months Community Custody
Restitution and Other Fees
Current Sentence Status:
Status: Active
Status Date: 11/23/2020
Signing Judge: Lawler, James W
Signed Date: 11/23/2020
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Fees and Fines: $600.00

link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search


Hagerty:

11/23/2020 Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence
Felony Judgment and Sentence

Confinement
Type: Local Jail
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Term: 7 Days
Credit for Time Served
Credit Term: 7 Days
Comment: 6 Months Community Custody
Restitution and Other Fees
Current Sentence Status:
Status: Active
Status Date: 11/23/2020
Signing Judge: Lawler, James W
Signed Date: 11/23/2020
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Fees and Fines: $600.00

link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search


Thompson:

11/23/2020 Judgment and Sentence
Judgment and Sentence

Confinement
Type: Partial Confinement
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Term: 30 Days
Credit for Time Served
Credit Term: 0 Day
Restitution and Other Fees
Current Sentence Status:
Status: Active
Status Date: 11/23/2020
Signing Judge: Lawler, James W
Signed Date: 11/23/2020
Effective Date: 11/23/2020
Fees and Fines: $500.00

link: Odyssey Portal - Washington Courts Online Case Search
 
Gruesome Randle Murder Case Comes to a Close With Sentencing Hearings

Nov 24, 2020

5fbc52868782b.image.jpg

Brothers Marquez in the box, Adamson at the table.

On Monday, Jonathon Adamson was sentenced to 563 months, or nearly 47 years, to life in prison for convictions for first-degree murder, first-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping and witness tampering in Eastman’s death.

His brother, Benito Marquez, was sentenced to a total of 360 months, or more than 26 years, for charges of first-degree murder and first-degree assault. Due to his age at the time time, 16, he will be eligible for early release after 20 years.

“I can’t really express how sorry I really am,” Marquez said. “I’m not the monster that I was that night. … He was my best friend, I don’t know how I did what I did. It’s unforgivable, but holding that hate in your heart is just going to hurt you more and more and more.”

[..]

Two family members of Eastman’s spoke at the hearing, and Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer read two statements.

“Words cannot express the pain and anguish my family has endured,” wrote Rhonda Bridges, Eastman’s grandmother, in a letter read by Meyer at the hearing.

[..]

The attorneys involved, and Superior Court Judge James Lawler, spoke about how the case had affected them personally.

“I’ve seen a lot of cases. I’ve never seen a case like this,” Lawler said before passing sentence on Adamson.

The judge, who noted his 38-year law career, said he was “horrified” by the facts of the case in the probable cause report, the first collection of facts alleged in a criminal case.

[..]

Meyer asked for the highest sentence allowable by state law in Adamson’s case.

“It’s hard to look at Mr. Adamson and find redeeming qualities,” Meyer said

Meyer described Adamson as the instigator of the attack, saying that at one point, Eastman was able to break loose and Marquez suggested they should stop beating him. At that point, Meyer said Adamson told his younger brother they’d already “come too far.”

“Mr. Adamson has earned every day of the top end of the standard range,” Meyer said.
 
Family Members, Friends Who Allegedly Helped Murderers of Randle Teen Sentenced

Nov 24, 2020

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On Monday, during Marquez’ sentencing hearing, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer described some of the things these people did to help Marquez and Adamson after they lured Eastman into the woods outside Randle and savagely beat him to death over the course of about 45 minutes, buried him in a shallow grave, then dug his body up and moved it.

Kindra Adamson, mother of Jonathon Adamson and Benito Marquez, was charged with rendering criminal assistance to the brothers and was sentenced Monday to credit for the 32 days she has already served.

[..]

Early in the case, it was alleged that Kindra Adamson lied about the whereabouts of her sons when they fled to Eastern Washington. Meyer told the court Monday Marquez told investigators his mother gave them hydrogen peroxide and instructed them on how to get Eastman’s blood out of their car interior after the murder.

Emma Brown, who at the time of the murder was Jonathan Adamson’s fiance, pleaded guilty in 2019 to third-degree rendering criminal assistance and making a false statement. She was sentenced in September, 2019 to 90 days in jail with credit for one day served, and the remaining 89 days were suspended provided she maintain law-abiding behavior.

She was accused of lying to police after the murder.

Michael D. Salazar was originally charged with murder in Eastman’s killing. Prosecutors said he physically stopped a third party from reporting to an adult what Marquez and Jonathon Adamson planned to do.

According to Meyer, Marquez also testified that Salazar got he and his brother clean clothes after the murder and gasoline to start a fire to hide evidence.

Salazar later pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, three counts of first-degree attempted rendering criminal assistance non-relative and tampering with a witness-domestic violence on May 5 and was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison with credit for the 418 days he had already served. He will also be subject to 18 months of state Department of Corrections supervision.

Salazar’s mother, Amanda Hagerty, was also accused of rendering criminal assistance. She was sentenced to credit for her seven days already served.

Finally, another brother of Jonathon Adamson and Benito Marquez, Jerald E. Thompson, was accused of witness tampering, for allegedly trying to get Marquez to not plead guilty or testify about the case, at the behest of Jonathon Adamson. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
 
What a sad day for Ben's family and friends. Sad in that this young man was taken too soon in a horrific attack by his friends that could and should have been prevented.

I just relistened to the Dr. Phil Show featuring Ben's murder and I really don't believe there was an alleged rape of another family member by Ben.

However, I do believe a jealous girl could make up an assault story. In other words, I think the story of Ben sending a shirtless photo of himself to BM's former girlfriend, and perhaps the alleged victim upset that Ben's attention was directed elsewhere, more likely to be true.

I'd heard earlier that Ben had broken free and locked himself in his assailant's vehicle but did not have MSM confirmation to post this until today. However, I wasn't aware that BM allegedly pled to JA for Ben's life when he first broke free.

If true, it somewhat confirms to me that JA was the bully, instigator, that I've long suspected.

I regret there was not more evidence to prosecute Kindra and I think the DA made a decision to make a deal with the devil for her testimony against her sons (albeit her testimony was never required in the end).

I think that alone tells the environment these kids came from. They are of Kindred's cloth.

Kindra had also known the victim Ben since he was 5 years old and she lied to the police and Ben's parents when he was missing -- knowing all along that he'd been murdered-- and that she told her sons how to clean up/destroy the evidence!

The third brother, Thompson, was sent to do the bidding for Jonathan and try to get Marquez to change his guilty plea.

What a messed up family. It's a shame that the entire lot could not be removed from society.

I believe all of us that followed this case can relate to Judge Lawler here (speaking to JA):

“This case, unbelievably, just kept getting worse,” Lawler said. “This case and your actions are simply beyond belief, but we have to believe it.”

MOO
 
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Randle, WA is a town of less than 3,000 people in East Lewis County. The combined junior and senior high school has less than 250 students and Eastman’s sophomore class had only 32 students in it.

In signing off, I want to remember the address from White Pass Jr/Sr high school principal Chris Schumaker:

Schumaker spoke of Eastman’s humor and loyalty to his friends in the address. In an in interview with The Chronicle after the vigil, Schumaker elaborated on the teen’s character.

“He really liked to stand up for his friends,” Schumaker said. “A lot of the time, his friends would get in trouble because of his shenanigans and somehow he was able to kind of sidestep getting caught. So then towards the end he would kind of say, ‘Mr. Schumaker, it was kind of me, I deserve the detention.’ And I would say, ‘no, you know they did the crime, they get the time.’ He tried really hard to plea deal consequences his friends earned. But in the end, I would just say ‘Ben, go back to class, it’s okay. They’ll get through it, you’ll get through it, there’s always tomorrow.’ He was a good kid.”

‘My Life Has Changed Forever’ — White Pass Jr. Sr. High School Holds Vigil for Ben Eastman III

Rest easy Ben....
 
I thought I made my last post on this case but with the recent arrest of two 16-year-olds from Thurston County that were arraigned 9/6/22 in Pierce County Superior Court for the murder of a 51-year-old Orting, WA man (Daniel McCaw, former boyfriend of a teen's mother), I came across Nov 2021 news that I'd missed:

Benito has a new lawyer and filed a motion to overturn his plea and the sentence!


11/29/2021

One year into his 26-year jail sentence for the the murder of 16-year-old Ben Eastman, Benito Marquez’s new attorney has filed a motion to overturn his guilty plea and sentence.

Marquez and his brother, Jonathan Adamson, both accepted plea deals in February 2019 after being accused of luring Eastman into the woods in East Lewis County in June 2018 on the pretext of going camping and then beating him to death. They allegedly buried Eastman in a shallow grave, then later dug up the body, reburied it and fled to Eastern Washington.

Marquez was sentenced on Nov. 23, 2020, to a total of 260 months, just over 26 years, for first-degree murder and first-degree assault. Due to his age at the time of the murder — he was 16 — Marquez is eligible for early release after 20 years.

The sentence was appealed that same day, and the case is currently making its way through the state Court of Appeals.

The motion filed by Marquez’s new attorney, J. Talitha Hazelton, in Lewis County Superior Court last week asks the court to discard Marquez’s guilty plea on the grounds that his court-ordered attorney, Shane O’Rourke, failed to properly defend Marquez.

Hazelton’s firm, TeamChild, provides legal services to incarcerated and at-risk youth in Washington state.

In the motion, Hazelton argues O’Rourke’s “personal beliefs and conflicting allegiances” negatively impacted the case and that O’Rourke “failed to sufficiently investigate and test the state’s evidence prior to advising Marquez to plead guilty.”

After Marquez’s change-of-plea hearing, O’Rourke said the evidence against his client was significant enough that a jury trial wouldn’t have been a wise move, saying “there’s no sense in going to a trial with that type of overwhelming evidence,” according to previous Chronicle reporting.

Hazelton argued Marquez lacked the intent required for a first-degree murder conviction, and claimed O’Rourke could have demonstrated that lack of intent by presenting evidence of Marquez’s brain injury, his “extreme intoxication” at the time of the crime and Adamson’s culpability.

Adamson was sentenced to 563 months, or nearly 47 years, to life in prison for convictions for first-degree murder, first-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping and witness tampering in Eastman’s death.

Adamson was the instigator of the attack, according to Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, and Marquez’s sentence was reduced based on that, as well as his age and his help with the investigation.

Hazelton also argued O’Rourke did not provide Marquez enough information to make an “intelligent” decision about his plea, and claims O’Rourke and Meyer used “coercive tactics” to convince Marquez to enter a guilty plea.



Meyer and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies allegedly interviewed Marquez prior to the February 2019 plea hearing and during that interview Meyer allegedly told Marquez “there wasn’t going to be another (plea deal)” and that “he would do everything he could to make sure Benny stayed in jail for the rest of his life,” according to court documents. O’Rourke then allegedly entered the meeting, presented Marquez with a fast-food burger and allowed him to pet a therapy dog.

“This testimony raises serious questions as to whether Prosecutor Meyer and Attorney O’Rourke used coercive tactics … to get Benny Marquez to take a plea deal he had already indicated to Attorney O’Rourke and others he was not going to take,” wrote Hazelton.

In addition to invalidating the guilty plea, the motion also asks the court to vacate Marquez’s original sentence and have him resentenced.

Hazelton argues that the case should be resentenced because O’Rourke failed to provide the judge “mitigation evidence” that gave insight into Marquez’s state of mind at the time of the incident.

The day of the murder, Marquez and Adamson, ages 16 and 21, were camping with their 14-year-old sister, their cousin and their cousin’s girlfriend. After they’d all consumed a “significant amount of alcohol,” their sister was pushed into disclosing that Eastman had allegedly raped her 10 days prior.

“Within a matter of hours, (Eastman) was dead,” according to court documents.

“Because (the sister)’s report of rape to Benny and Jonny was the catalyst for the sequence of events that unfolded, it was critical that the sentencing judge understand such a report was not a haphazard drunken malignment of (Eastman) that spurred action, but a shameful secret unearthed from hiding that, when revealed, was indisputably felt and understood as real harm that happened to (the sister),” said Hazelton in court documents.

Hazelton claimed Meyer gave a “distorted characterization” of the catalyst behind the murder to the court during Marquez’s sentencing and said O’Rourke’s failure to correct Meyer’s characterization negatively impacted Marquez’ sentence.

The motion was officially filed in Lewis County Superior Court on Nov. 22 and a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
 

Case Information​

18-1-00498-21 | STATE OF WASHINGTON vs BENITO S MARQUEZ

  • 11/22/2021 Notice
    Comment
    of Limited Appearance
  • 11/22/2021 Motion
    Comment
    for Relief from Judgment 7.8
  • 11/23/2021 Appendix
    Comment
    to Motion for Relief - A-T
  • 11/23/2021 Affidavit Declaration Certificate Confirmation of Service
  • 11/23/2021 Proposed Order Findings
  • 12/10/2021 Memorandum
    Comment
    in Support of Motion for Relief from Judgment - Supplemental
  • 01/10/2022 Certificate of Mailing
  • 02/08/2022 Order to Show Cause
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Comment
    Date set by Court Admin
  • 02/15/2022 Scheduling Conference
    Original Type
    Scheduling Conference
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Hearing Time
    03:00 PM
    Result
    Held
    Comment
    In custody at Greenhill
  • 02/15/2022 Motion Hearing
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Comment
    Scheduling Conference
  • 02/15/2022 Order
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Comment
    -Scheduling
  • 03/08/2022 Mandate
    Comment
    W/ Unpublished Opinion
  • 03/15/2022 Motion
    Comment
    to Disqualify Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
  • 03/29/2022 Brief
    Comment
    in Response
  • 04/05/2022 Motion Hearing
    Original Type
    Motion Hearing
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Hearing Time
    01:00 PM
    Result
    Held
    Comment
    Disqualification Hearing / @ Green Hill
  • 04/05/2022 Motion Hearing
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
  • 04/05/2022 Reply
    Comment
    to State's Response
  • 04/05/2022 Order
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Comment
    Acknowledging Defendant's Waiver
  • 04/05/2022 Order
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Comment
    Acknowledging Defendant's Waiver
  • 04/08/2022 Order Denying Motion Petition
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
  • 06/21/2022 Response
  • 07/07/2022 Motion
    Comment
    for Defense Witnesss List for 7.8 Motion
  • 07/07/2022 Affidavit of Mailing
  • 07/18/2022 Status Conference
    Original Type
    Status Conference
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Hearing Time
    1:00 PM
    Result
    Held
    Comment
    @ Green Hill
  • 07/18/2022 Review Hearing
  • 07/18/2022 Subpoena
  • 07/18/2022 Subpoena
  • 07/18/2022 Subpoena
  • 07/18/2022 Subpoena
  • 07/18/2022 Subpoena
  • 07/19/2022 Request
    Comment
    for Virtual Hearing with Jonathon Adamson
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/17/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/18/2022 Return on Subpoena
  • 08/29/2022 Show Cause
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Hearing Time
    9:00 AM
    Cancel Reason
    Stricken
    Comment
    @ Green Hill
  • 11/16/2022 Status Conference
    Judicial Officer
    Yeager, Joely
    Hearing Time
    01:00 PM
    Comment
    In Custody at Greenhill
  • 01/09/2023 Motion Hearing
    Judicial Officer
    Lawler, James W
    Hearing Time
    09:30 AM
    Comment
    7.8 Motion / Jonathon Adamson appearing via WebEx - VHR form sent to WA State Pen 7/19





 
Wednesday, November 16th:
*Status Hearing (appeal) (@ 1pm PT) – WA – Benjamin Everett Eastman III (16) (June 23, 2018, Randle; found June 28, 2018) – for *Benito “Benny” S. Marquez (16/now 20) arrested (7/2/18) & charged (7/2/18) & arraigned (7/19/18) with 1st degree murder, 1st degree rape, tampering with physical evidence & unlawful disposal of remains. Plead not guilty. $10M bond.
Marquez is charged as adult. Can have contact w/family except those charged.
7/19/18 Update: Next: Review hearing/set trial date on 10/18. 10/18/18: Trial date has been set. Next Omnibus hearing on 12/20, Trial Confirmation hearing on 3/28/19-cancelled, and trial starts 4/1/19-cancelled.
2/14/19 Update: Will be pleading guilty, plea hearing on 2/22. 2/22/19 Guilty plea entered. The two sides agreed on a recommended sentence of more than 34 years. Because Marquez was 16 at the time of the crime, he can petition for release after 20 years. Review hearing on 3/28. Judge will wait to sentence Marquez until after he appears as a witness in the trial of his older brother, Jonathan Adamson.
3/28/19 Update: Plea entered. Review hearing on 5/2. 5/2/19 Update: Review hearing continued to 6/6 @ 1pm.
6/6/19 Update: Hearing continued to 6/14. 6/14/19: Officially plead guilty. 12/18/19: Defense motion for investigator @ public expense-granted. Sentencing on 3/11/20. 3/9/20: Sentencing stricken from calendar. Awaiting Adamson’s appeal.
4/2/20 Update: Review & motions hearing re Conditions of Release. 11/11/20 Update: Sentencing hearing on 11/23/20 @ 1pm. In custody.
11/23/20 Update: Sentenced to a total of 360 months, or more than 26 years & will be eligible for parole after 20 years. They're waiting talk of an appeal. He referred to Ben as his best friend in his own statement. His attorney insinuated that Adamson's & Marquez's 16 year sister told them that Ben had sexually assaulted her. Neither is allowed within 500 feet of Ben's dad for the rest of their lives. Marquez was allowed to withdraw guilty pleas to additional charges, leading to his convictions on only first-degree murder & first-degree assault due to his assistance.
11/29/21: Marquez’s new attorney has filed a motion to overturn his guilty plea & sentence. Marquez was sentenced on Nov. 23, 2020, to a total of 260 months, just over 26 years, for first-degree murder & first-degree assault. Due to his age at the time of the murder — he was 16 — Marquez is eligible for early release after 20 years. The sentence was appealed that same day & the case is currently making its way through the state Court of Appeals. The motion filed by Marquez’s new attorney, J. Talitha Hazelton, in Lewis County Superior Court last week asks the court to discard Marquez’s guilty plea on the grounds that his court-ordered attorney, Shane O’Rourke, failed to properly defend Marquez. In addition to invalidating the guilty plea, the motion also asks the court to vacate Marquez’s original sentence and have him resentenced. Hazelton argues that the case should be resentenced because O’Rourke failed to provide the judge “mitigation evidence” that gave insight into Marquez’s state of mind at the time of the incident. Status hearing on 11/16/22 @ 1pm & motion hearing on 1/9/23 @ 9:30am for 7.8 Motion/Jonathon Adamson appearing via WebEx-VHR form.
 
Hearings for Party Name Benito Marquez

between 11/16/2022 and 1/31/2023



Case NumberStyle / DefendantCase TypeDate / TimeHearing TypeJudgeCourtroomCase Category
18-1-00498-21MARQUEZ, BENITO SADL Criminal Adult11/16/2022 1:00 PMStatus ConferenceLawler, James WCourtroom #4-4th Floor Law and Justice CenterCriminal
18-1-00498-21MARQUEZ, BENITO SADL Criminal Adult11/30/2022 11:00 AMStatus ConferenceLawler, James WCourtroom #2-4th Floor Law and Justice CenterCriminal
18-1-00498-21MARQUEZ, BENITO SADL Criminal Adult1/9/2023 9:30 AMMotion HearingLawler, James WCourtroom #2-4th Floor Law and Justice Center
Criminal
 

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