Man pleads not guilty in Hockinson homicide

West is one of four defendants accused in fatal shooting of man

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A fourth co-defendant allegedly involved in the robbery and killing of a man and kidnapping of his girlfriend was arraigned Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.

John Michael West, 43, a transient, entered not-guilty pleas to first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.

His three co-defendants, Neil Allen Alway, 39, Ashley Lorraine Barry, 31, and Ashley L. Wideman, 23, also all transients, were arraigned last week. They, too, pleaded not guilty to various charges. West’s arraignment was pushed back because his attorney was unavailable last week.

The two couples are accused in the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Raymond C. Brandon, whose body was discovered April 27 in a Hockinson shed. He had been missing for about a week.

A trial for all of the co-defendants is set to begin June 26.

According to multiple probable cause affidavits filed in the case, the group was lying in wait at a residence, 15308 N.E. 172nd Ave., southeast of Hockinson High School, where Brandon and his girlfriend, Allison Fields, 20, were known to frequent. During the chaotic confrontation, Brandon was beaten and fatally shot, and Fields’ hands were zip-tied and she was forced to stay with the group.

Fields eventually escaped, but the suspects took her silver Subaru Forester. She told investigators that Alway was sent to collect money from Brandon, because he had used someone else’s money to get the vehicle out of impound after it was towed the month before, court documents state.