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Prosecutors drop murder case after claim of self defense

James Faire (KOMO News file photo)
James Faire (KOMO News file photo)
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SPOKANE, Wash. - An appeals court has tossed out all criminal charges against a Washington state man accused of killing of a woman and injuring her friend in 2015, ruling that prosecutors couldn't disprove that he acted in self-defense.

James Faire of Tonasket was originally charged in Okanogan County with several crimes after he allegedly ran over Debra Long of Issaquah and George Abrantes of Marysville with a pickup truck during a confrontation in Tonasket, Wash., in 2015. Long died and Abrantes was injured in the incident.

Faire maintained from the beginning that he and his wife were being attacked by Long and Abrantes and he was attempting to drive away from them when they suddenly surrounded his vehicle, and he was unable to avoid hitting them.

Charges were filed against Faire, but they were ultimately dismissed last year when the trial judge ruled that key evidence in the case had been mishandled.

The Okanogan County prosecutor, Branden Platter, appealed the dismissal of charges. But a different prosecutor, Arian Noma, succeeded him and asked a pair of other prosecutors to handle the appeal.

Ultimately a team of six prosecutors was assembled to review the case, and they agreed they could not disprove Faire's assertion that he acted in self-defense.

The team filed a motion to withdraw the appeal "in the interest of justice" and it was granted last month by the state Court of Appeals in Spokane.

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The appeals court also ruled that Faire can never again be charged with any crimes in connection with Long's death.

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