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Brusic not filing charges against woman in Selah homicide amid search for more evidence

A 51-year-old Selah woman accused of killing a man will be released from jail as investigators seek more evidence.

Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic announced Wednesday that he would not file charges at this time against Kerrie Ann Mathews in the Friday shooting death of Todd William Kopinski. She was booked into the Yakima County jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the case.

Brusic had until today to file charges against Mathews. He described the case as “complex” and said that his choice was to either let her go while seeking more evidence or charge her despite incomplete information.

“I perceive it as part of our job as prosecutors to make sure we have a complete investigation and make an intelligent and informed charging decision that reflects the facts of that investigation,” Brusic said in a phone interview. “The situation arises here that we don’t have those facts.”

In his letter to Sheriff Bob Udell, Brusic said his office also needs to evaluate all possible defenses that Mathews could raise, including self-defense.

Mathews called 911 around 9 p.m. to report the shooting, saying that Kopinski came after her and that she fired a single shot hitting him, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by deputies.

Deputies arriving at the house in the 500 block of Irene Lane found Kopinski, 49, on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest, the affidavit said. Deputies also saw signs that the blood in Kopinski’s body had settled in his body and that the body had been turned over, the affidavit said.

Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said Kopinski died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, and the death has been ruled a homicide.

Deputies also found a .357 Colt Python revolver on a table in the dining area, and a leather holster on a bed in another room, the affidavit said. Investigators also found signs that the living and kitchen area had been cleaned after the shooting and broken glass in a trash can. The shower floor was wet, suggesting someone had just showered, according to the affidavit.

Brusic said he does not believe Mathews is a flight risk. Court records show she has no prior felony convictions, and she was being held on $500,000 bail after a Monday preliminary appearance hearing.

Kopinski’s killing is the 19th homicide in Yakima County this year.

(1) comment

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Did the victim have a criminal record?

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