Vancouver man pleads guilty to murder, robbery

He shot, killed resident during home invasion

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: January 12, 2011, 6:00 PM

 

A Vancouver man who shot a resident to death in December 2009 during a home break-in pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

Douglas A. Marquis, 23, will be sentenced Feb. 9. Prosecutors will recommend a 35-year sentence.

Marquis entered a Newton plea, a type of guilty plea in which the defendant admits only that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to prove their case.

The plea meant that Marquis did not have to provide his account of the crimes, instead laying burden on Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve to outline the evidence for Superior Court Judge Roger Bennett.

Fairgrieve said Marquis was among five defendants, wearing masks and armed with firearms, who went to Charles N. Moore’s home in the 5300 block of St. James Road on the evening of Dec. 13, 2009. Marquis confronted Moore, 46, in a bedroom, pointing a shotgun at him.

Moore struggled for the gun and Marquis shot him in the chest, Fairgrieve said.

“(Moore) seemed to believe this was a joke or didn’t believe it was loaded,” the deputy prosecutor said in explaining Moore’s actions.

The other defendants ransacked the house, stealing items.

The home invasion followed a meeting beforehand in which Moore’s former girlfriend, Cathleen Potter, provided a detailed map of the victim’s home and told the group — whom she knew through her adult son — to retrieve her personal items.

While Moore had two roommates, “Charlie Moore was identified as the target,” Fairgrieve said.

On a fixed income, Moore wasn’t known to have expensive items. However, Potter’s defense attorney has said his client wanted her stereo and a computer back.

Fairgrieve said the prosecution would have relied heavily on testimony from Marquis’ five co-defendants: Minna R. Long, Joshua B. McAlexander, Garold T. Jacobsen, Caleb E. Soucy and Potter.

Three of them, Long, McAlexander and Potter, have entered guilty pleas. Their sentencings are pending.

Soucy has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Jacobsen has agreed to plead guilty, but has not yet formerly entered his plea before a judge.

Bennett decided to sentence all of the five defendants at a daylong hearing on Feb. 9.

If the judge accepted prosecutors’ recommendation in all the defendants’ cases, it would net a punishment of at least 101 years in prison.

Marquis’ defense attorney David Kurtz intends to compile mitigating factors in his client’s case to be considered before sentencing because the judge is free to sentence within a range of 35 and 46 years.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.