Homicide charge dropped in plea agreement
OKANOGAN – An Omak man has pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in a 2019 homicide and assault case.
Tayler Ray Davis, 20, also settled two other felony cases against him Feb. 9 in Okanogan County Superior Court.
Davis pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to a single count charged in a Feb. 6 amended information for assaulting Adrian Legarda with a knife Oct. 15, 2019. Davis was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
A second-degree murder charge for the death of Keith Riehart in the same incident was dropped.
According to court records, several witnesses either cannot be located or contacted.
Legarda and Marlene Picard, mother of the decedent, both were contacted about the settlement.
“Mr. Legarda is in support of this agreement and indicates he wants to put this matter behind him so he can move on,” said court records. “Mr. Legarda indicated that he thought this was a good resolution to this matter under all circumstances.
Picard indicated she had hoped for more serious charges and more time in prison for Davis, but “she understood the risk of going to trial and the possibility that the jury could find the defendant not guilty of both offenses if the claim of self defense was proven on both counts originally charged,” said court records.
Davis originally was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the death of Keith D. Riehart, 31, and for injuries sustained by Lagarda, then 25. Riehart and Lagarda were brothers.
Davis is accused of stabbing both men during an altercation early the morning of Oct. 15 outside a home at 314 W. Third Ave., Omak.
According to a report by Omak Police Department Detective Brien Bowling, Omak officers were called at 3:30 a.m. Oct. 15, 2019, for a report that a man had been stabbed and was lying in the street. A suspect, Davis, allegedly had driven from the scene.
Officer Jerod Gavin arrived and found Riehart lying in the street with a stab wound to the chest. The man appeared not to be breathing, nor did he have a pulse, according to the report.
Lagarda, also on the scene, told the officer he had been stabbed in the chest, said the report.
A crew from LifeLine Ambulance arrived and confirmed Riehart was dead, then took Lagarda to Mid-Valley Hospital, Omak, where he underwent emergency surgery on his chest, said the report. Emergency room doctors said the knife possibly hit Lagarda’s heart.
Witnesses allegedly told police that Davis and Lagarda had gotten into an altercation and Riehart, a bystander to that point, also became involved.
According to Bowling’s report, which accompanied charging documents, Davis said he was in the home when others arrived, and he tried to leave. Davis allegedly heard Riehart yelling at him, and said Largarda started punching him in the head and Riehart started hitting him with a baseball bat.
“Tayler said he was in fear for his life and pulled his knife in hopes Keith and Adrian would stop assaulting him,” said the report. “Tayler said Keith and Adrian didn’t stop. Tayler said he swung the knife at Adrian and didn’t even know if he hit him.”
Davis alleged Riehart hit him with the bat a few more times and then Davis “said he stabbed blindly with his knife,” the report said. “Tayler said Keith fell to the ground.”
Davis then got into the car with his girlfriend and left because he was scared, the report said.
Davis also settled two other pending cases with Feb. 9 plea agreements:
-He pleaded guilty to second-degree theft, second-degree vehicle prowl and third-degree theft in a November 2020 vehicle break-in and credit card theft case. Three charges of second-degree theft were dropped.
As part of the settlement agreements, Davis agreed to pay legal financial obligations of $500. A restitution hearing is set for May 21.
-A third case against Davis was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the charges cannot be refiled. He was charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree theft of an access device, theft of a motor vehicle, third-degree malicious mischief and two counts of second-degree theft in a November 2020 Twisp case.