Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Suspect in events that led to officer’s death pleads not guilty to multiple charges

By , Columbian staff writer

Julio Segura, the alleged robber who was being chased when off-duty Vancouver police Officer Donald Sahota was mistakenly shot and killed by a Clark County sheriff’s deputy, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a slew of charges, including multiple counts of murder.

Segura, 20, of Yakima was arraigned in Clark County Superior Court on three counts of first-degree murder and one count each of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 12, and prosecutors said they expect it to last two weeks. His bail is set at $5 million.

According to investigators, on the night of Jan. 29, a man, later identified as Segura, showed a pistol and robbed a Chevron convenience store in Orchards. Deputies soon located the getaway car, a silver Mercedes without license plates, and chased it toward Battle Ground.

Segura crashed the Mercedes near Northeast 219th Street and Northeast 72nd Avenue, court records say. He then ran from the car, which police later determined had been reported stolen from a Yakima car dealership.

Deputies operating a drone saw Segura walking along Northeast 84th Avenue before he turned toward the Sahota home, which sits at the end of a private road. Drone video shows someone at the home opened the door and talked to Segura for nearly three minutes before the front door closed, court records state. During that time, Sahota’s wife called 911 to report a man was at their door, saying he’d crashed his car and needed help.

Less than 30 seconds later, court records say someone, later identified as Sahota, 52, stepped outside toward Segura.

A struggle ensued between Segura and Sahota. Segura is accused of stabbing Sahota three times. Moments later, an arriving deputy, identified by investigators as Jonathan Feller, mistakenly shot and killed Sahota, court records say.

Although the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office found Sahota died from gunshot wounds, an autopsy also determined his stab wounds were life-threatening.

Segura allegedly told investigators he knew Sahota was a police officer, and he thought he had killed Sahota, according to court records.

The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team out of Cowlitz County is investigating the shooting.

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