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News / Clark County News

Three suspects in VanMall slaying in custody

Deputy prosecutor describes shooting as a 'drug deal gone bad'

By Paris Achen
Published: February 4, 2014, 4:00pm

Police on Wednesday located the alleged shooter in the case of a man found dead along Northeast Vancouver Mall Drive, according to a source close to the investigation. Two alleged accomplices are also in custody.

Wednesday’s arrest concluded a 36-hour manhunt for the third suspect, whom police declined to identify. He is believed to have killed Vancouver resident Craig Moritz. Moritz’s body was found early Tuesday in the 7700 block of Northeast Vancouver Mall Drive.

Two suspected accomplices, Jonathan Hensey, 21, of East Wenatchee and Shawn Fortner, 19, of Bend, Ore., were arrested late Tuesday. They appeared Wednesday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree murder related to the death of Moritz, 21.

“This was a violent crime that occurred as a result of a drug deal gone bad,” said Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu.

Moritz died from a single gunshot wound to his back, said Vu.

Vancouver police found Moritz’s body in an open field along the north side of the road at about 3 a.m. Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a court affidavit, Moritz and his friend, Aaron Smith, went to a spot along the street to sell Fortner some marijuana. Fortner and Hensey picked up Moritz and Smith in a minivan and drove them a short distance to a parking lot in the same block.

In the parking lot, a masked man emerged from the back of the minivan and held Moritz and Smith at gunpoint, the affidavit says. Smith told police that the masked man threatened to shoot them and demanded that they hand over all of their belongings.

Smith and Moritz were attempting to flee when the masked man shot Moritz in the back and killed him, according to the affidavit. Fortner later allegedly admitted to police that he, Hensey and the third man had met Moritz and Smith in order to rob them of their drugs, the affidavit says.

At Wednesday’s court hearing, Judge Robert Lewis held Hensey on $500,000 bail and Fortner on $750,000 bail. Lewis appointed Vancouver attorney Ed Dunkerly to defend Hensey and Clark Fridley to defend Fortner.

They are scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Feb. 19.

The alleged shooter in the case was in the Washington County Jail late Wednesday and faces extradition to Clark County.