Vancouver Lake shooting case heads to jurors

Defendant accused of robbing, shooting Oregon man five times




Pedro “Junior” Godinez Jr. not only planned to murder Freddie Landstrom in November 2012 near Vancouver Lake, he attempted to carry out the plan with “deliberate cruelty” and then showed a lack of remorse for the crime, a Clark County prosecutor argued Tuesday.

“He makes him think he’s going to live the entire time, then at the last minute, he tells him, ‘I lied to you,'” said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino.

Godinez forced Landstrom on his knees, made the sign of the cross and shot Landstrom five times with a small-caliber handgun, Gasperino said. He was shot in the head, chest, arm, clavicle and hand, Gasperino said.

Gasperino’s statements were part of his closing arguments Tuesday in Godinez’s trial in Clark County Superior Court. Godinez, 20, is on trial for allegedly kidnapping, robbing and repeatedly shooting Landstrom, 39, of Beaverton, Ore., on Nov. 28, 2012, near Vancouver Lake. Godinez and Landstrom did not know each other before that night, Gasperino said.

After Gasperino gave his closing arguments, Godinez’s attorney, Chuck Buckley, gave his interpretation of the evidence presented at the trial, which began March 3 in Judge Barbara Johnson’s courtroom. Buckley didn’t present any witnesses, including Godinez, in the case, and rested on Tuesday.

A jury of 12 is scheduled to begin deliberations in the case today.

Godinez is charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and unlawful possession of a firearm. “Deliberate cruelty” and “lack of remorse” are alleged aggravating factors, either of which could bring a potential sentence above the state’s standard range. All of the charges, except unlawful possession of a firearm, include a firearm enhancement, which adds a mandatory five years to any sentence.

Landstrom testified that Godinez’s former girlfriend, Joanna

Speaks, lured him to her apartment in east Vancouver on Nov. 28, 2012. After he arrived, he said, Godinez entered the residence with a gun and demanded that Landstrom give up his wallet and cellphone. Godinez allegedly forced Landstrom to get into Landstrom’s 2012 black Nissan Sentra and drive him to Vancouver Lake.

At some point before the shooting, Landstrom said, Godinez forced him at gunpoint to disclose the PIN to his ATM card.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Speaks, 23, pleaded guilty July 10 to participating in the robbery and tampering with a witness in the case. She was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison as part of her plea bargain. In exchange, Gasperino dismissed charges against her of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rendering criminal assistance and receiving a bribe.

However, on the stand Thursday, Speaks changed her story. She claimed that she perpetrated the robbery without Godinez’s knowledge. She said the evening after the robbery, she gave Godinez Landstrom’s ATM card and PIN and asked Godinez to withdraw some money for her. She said she also let him drive Landstrom’s car.

Gasperino said that surveillance cameras captured Godinez driving Landstrom’s 2012 black Nissan Sentra outside a convenience store and outside a motel, using Landstrom’s ATM card at a credit union and entering the convenience store, where Godinez allegedly withdrew $2,000 of Landstrom’s money from an ATM machine. The timestamp on the convenience store video was about 4 a.m. Nov. 28, 2012.

“Miss Speaks said she didn’t see Godinez until later that evening,” Gasperino said. He said there’s “an extreme differential in the time frames” for when she said she sent Godinez to withdraw money and when surveillance video shows him withdrawing the money.

He said the jury should question her credibility as a witness.

“How many stories did she admit to telling?” Gasperino said. “… Five to six different versions.”

A DNA profile matching Godinez’s was found on the gearshift and steering wheel of Landstrom’s Nissan Sentra, Gasperino said.

Caron Pruiett, a forensic scientist with the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory in Vancouver, testified Thursday that the probability that the DNA on the gear shift belongs to someone else in the United States is 1 in 14 quintillion. She said her tests also showed that Godinez was a possible contributor to DNA found on Landstrom’s steering wheel.

Godinez fled to Grandview, where police apprehended him 10 days after the shooting, Gasperino said.

Buckley argued Tuesday that it’s unclear whether the man using Landstrom’s ATM card in the “grainy” surveillance footage is, in fact, Godinez.

Regardless of who Landstrom’s assailant was, there is not evidence to show that the assailant intended to kill Landstrom, Buckley said.

He said that the assailant had told Landstrom he wouldn’t kill him; he just wanted Landstrom’s valuables. The plan went awry when Landstrom fought back, Buckley said.

“The only thing we know is that Mr. Landstrom was shot,” Buckley said. “But why was he shot? … He grabbed the assailant’s gun. They got into a fight. He got shot a number of times during the struggle.”