OKANOGAN – A woman convicted of killing her uncle when she was 16 has been returned to Okanogan County for resentencing.
Shalin Elizabith Alltus, now 21, was booked into the Okanogan County Jail on Jan. 6, in advance of Okanogan County Superior Court proceedings to resentence her.
Alltus was found guilty by a jury Aug. 26, 2016, of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of theft of a firearm and two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile.
In an Aug. 22, 2019, decision by the state Court of Appeals for Division 3, a new sentencing hearing was ordered for Alltus.
The appeals court determined the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Alltus’ request to bifurcate (split into two parts) her sentencing, order a pre-sentence report and give her lawyers sufficient time to present evidence of mitigating circumstances related to her youth.
“We remand with directions to order a pre-sentence report and conduct a new sentencing hearing,” said the three-judge appeals panel in an opinion that was published in part.
In Superior Court actions last week, the county contract defender’s office was appointed to represent Alltus. No bail was set. She is not to be released without a court hearing, according to court documents.
A pre-sentence investigation was ordered.
The court set a review hearing for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and a sentencing hearing for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 12.
Alltus’ uncle, Patrick Alltus, was found dead Oct. 5, 2014, in his rural Riverside home. He was found wrapped in blankets with a plastic bag over his head, and he had gunshot wounds to the arm and face, and a blunt force injury to his forehead, according to court records.
Cause of death was determined to be bleeding out, probably within 30 minutes of the shotgun blast to the face. Wounds to his wrist and bicep were consistent with a .22-caliber rifle, said court records.
No one had heard from him since Sept. 30, 2014, when his girlfriend received a text message.
Shalin Alltus and another teen, Parker Bachtold, had been living with Patrick Alltus, but were not there when his body was found. One of his pickup trucks was missing and a statewide alert was issued for the truck.
The two teens were arrested Oct. 6, 2014, at a motel in Oregon where Bachtold’s father and stepmother had been staying. The truck was located at the motel, and Patrick Alltus’ .22-caliber rifle and shotgun were found in the parents’ motel room.
Bachtold initially denied knowledge of Patrick Alltus’ death, but eventually admitted his role.
He said he was sleeping the night Patrick Alltus was shot but was awakened around midnight by a gunshot, said court records. He picked up the shotgun, loaded it and stepped into the hallway, according to court records.
He saw Shalin Alltus in the living room, behind a couch, and the .22-caliber rifle was on the ground. Patrick Alltus came around the side of the couch, swearing at his niece because he had been shot in the arm.
As he approached his niece, Bachtold shot him in the head, said court records.
Bachtold covered the body with a blanket and Shalin Alltus placed a plastic bag over her uncle’s head. They then grabbed some items, including the two firearms, and fled in Patrick Alltus’ truck, said court records. They headed for Curtin, Ore., where Bachtold knew his father and stepmother were staying.
The truck ran out of gas near a store being purchased by Bachtold’s parents. He was trying to push the car when an Oregon state trooper stopped and questioned them. They provided false names, but the trooper received another call and left. Bachtold put the guns in the store, said court records.
When questioned by his stepmother, Bachtold said he’d been working for Shalin Alltus’ uncle and had earned the truck and other items.
A second motel room was rented for Bachtold and Shalin Alltus. They stayed there until located by police and arrested. In the interim, Bachtold showed the guns to his father, who took them and stored them in his motel room. The senior Bachtold said he took the guns because he disapproved of his son having them in his possession.
After the jury returned a guilty verdict, the prosecution requested sentencing the next day because relatives of Patrick Alltus were present. When the defense objected to a 10 a.m. sentencing hearing, the hearing was postponed to the afternoon.
Before the hearing, Alltus filed a motion seeking a continuance and pre-sentence report. She argued the court could not make an informed decision “without knowing more about her difficult family background, certain traumas, and her mental health history,” according to court documents.
Defense counsel said it had no problem splitting the process, so family members could make statements at that time with the rest of the sentencing to be completed later.
“The trial court went forward anyway, observing that the pre-sentence report would add nothing significant from its perspective,” said court documents.
Alltus was sentenced to 460 months (38.33 years) of confinement.