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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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Affidavit: Dispute over video game prompted fatal shooting in north Clark County

Joshua G. Spellman, 36, makes court appearance on suspicion of second-degree murder

By , Columbian Local News Editor

A 36-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his friend of 26 years Wednesday night in north Clark County after the two argued over a mishap in a role-playing, hack-and-slash video game.

The victim was identified in court records as 34-year-old Andrew W. Dickson. He suffered a gunshot wound to the torso and was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, where he underwent surgery. He later died from his injuries, according to court documents.

On Friday, Joshua G. Spellman of Amboy appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The prosecution said Spellman has no known prior criminal history. Still, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic requested Spellman be held on $2 million bail, arguing that “a seemingly minor incident resulted in someone being shot and killed.”

People in the gallery for Spellman’s hearing quietly said, “Oh my God,” in response to the prosecution’s bail request. The defense asked for $200,000 bail.

Citing concerns for community safety, Judge Jennifer Snider set Spellman’s bail at $750,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 29.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at 9:11 p.m. for a report of an assault with a weapon at 43118 N.E. Cedar Mist Road, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

In an interview with detectives, Spellman said he, Dickson and a third friend named Rob were playing Diablo II on an online gaming platform. Both Spellman and Dickson lived on Spellman’s parent’s property and were playing the game from separate dwellings on the property. The three players communicated via headset, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Spellman said Dickson became upset after a random player entered the game and stole a valuable piece of loot that the trio hadn’t been able to collect. The game should have been password protected but was not, he said. Spellman said Dickson began yelling, name-calling and cursing at him, the affidavit says.

Dickson’s rant went on for three to five minutes, Spellman said. He became upset with Dickson and told him he needed to calm down or he was going to get shot. Spellman then took his gun and left his bunkhouse to go to the main house. While walking between the houses, he fired a round into the air, according to court records.

Spellman entered the main house with the gun in his hand. He was talking to his dad when Dickson also came inside. Dickson verbally confronted Spellman about Spellman’s threat to shoot him. Spellman said Dickson then “closed the distance” between them, and Spellman shot him, the affidavit says.

When investigators asked if Spellman had to retrieve his gun before the shooting, he said it was by his computer. “I asked him why his pistol was next (to) the computer. Josh replied, ‘Why not? This is America,’” the affidavit reads. While answering follow up questions, Spellman told detectives that Dickson was often upset and volatile but that he had never been violent toward him, the affidavit says.