LACEY – A book by Lacey author Richard Alumbaugh explores the 1986-87 trial of two men who killed a Colville tribal police officer.
“Elmer’s Tribal War” was released recently by Columbia Press.
Alumbaugh’s late wife, Jo Anne Alumbaugh, presided over the Okanogan County Superior Court trial as a visiting judge.
Elmer McGinnis and his son, Patrick Hoffman, were convicted of killing Sgt. Louis Millard and wounding Assistant Chief John Dick during a shootout near Nespelem on Aug. 27, 1986. They were found guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree assault, and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Officer Chester Clark also was injured in the incident, according to Chronicle files.
Richard Alumbaugh said he became intrigued by the case after finding a file box of information about the trial that belonged to his late wife.
“Curiosity led to subsequent inquiries on and off the Colville reservation,” he said. “I discovered a precipitous buildup of tensions between Elmer and tribal police nearly a year before the early morning deadly 1986 incident.”
Richard Alumbaugh maintains that the state’s evidence “failed to clarify with certainty who shot and killed tribal officer Lou Millard.”
In a 1991 Washington Supreme Court decision, the majority upheld McGinnis and Hoffman’s convictions.
Elmer McGinnis died in 2001.