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News / Clark County News

Jury selection to begin in Vancouver police Officer Donald Sahota’s death

Robbery suspect accused of murder; trial scheduled to start Monday

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 1, 2024, 6:05am

Jury selection is set to begin today in the murder trial for the robbery suspect accused in the 2022 death of off-duty Vancouver police Officer Donald Sahota.

Julio Segura, 22, of Yakima, is charged in Clark County Superior Court with three counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Opening statements in Segura’s trial are scheduled to begin Monday.

The court decided to start jury selection the week before the trial because it’s anticipated to take longer than the typical one day allotted to seat a jury. Starting jury selection early means the court is more likely to stay on schedule for the rest of the trial, which is slated to last three weeks, Superior Court Program Manager Joe Johnson said.

Court staff plan to call 145 jurors today to courtroom 401. Johnson said the jury pool in this case is larger than usual, although the size is not unprecedented. In complex cases, he said, the court usually calls about 100 jurors.

Also this morning, the court expects to consider motions filed in the case earlier this week. Among them is a defense motion for a change of venue. Segura’s defense team cited ongoing media coverage of the case and the court’s rulings limiting testimony about prior law enforcement shootings.

Sahota, 52, was mistakenly shot and killed Jan. 29, 2022, at his home near Battle Ground during a manhunt for Segura, an armed robbery suspect. Law enforcement from multiple agencies were pursuing Segura, who fled from his immobilized car to a nearby house, which happened to be Sahota’s, according to investigators.

Sahota struggled with Segura in his driveway and was stabbed three times, investigators said. Sahota was chasing Segura toward his house when Clark County sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Feller arrived and shot Sahota. The investigation found Feller fired four shots within four seconds of arriving at Sahota’s home.

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

The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office previously said in a letter it does not intend to charge Feller in Sahota’s death, despite an outside panel of prosecutors failing to reach a consensus on the reasonableness of Feller’s decision to fire his weapon.

Segura’s defense attorneys have indicated during pre-trial hearings they intend to point to the deputy as causing Sahota’s death, instead of Segura.

Editor’s note: The headline has been updated to reflect Donald Sahota’s name. It was incorrect in an earlier version.