Two people charged in connection with a shooting at a gas station in Elma April 13 pleaded not guilty Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court. The hearings of two others charged in connection with the incident were delayed until next week.
Gordon J. Harper, 39, of Satsop pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault with a firearm, second-degree assault, drive-by shooting and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Anna M. Kohler, 27, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault.
Harper is accused of shooting a 26-year-old homeless man in what was meant to be a “show of force” over a debt the man allegedly owed Ricky D. Sizemore, 53, of Elma.
Sizemore allegedly told police he had known the man for two months, and loaned him $700. Court documents say he also told police the man sold him a substance the man claimed was methamphetamine, but Sizemore “later tried to consume the substance and found that it was not methamphetamine.”
Another man, who has not been charged, was allegedly contacted by Sizemore and asked to arrange to have the victim “at a location where Sizemore could confront (the man),” according to charging documents.
Harper, Sizemore, Kohler and Rhonda G. Harris, 49, of Satsop arrived at the gas station for the confrontation, Sizemore armed with a paintball gun, Kohler and Harris with baseball bats.
Sizemore told police he spotted the man getting out of a truck, holding what turned out to be an “airsoft” gun, and began shooting him with his paintball gun. Airsoft guns are replicas made to look like real guns and fire plastic pellets. Kohler and Harris are accused of beating the woman who was with the man. Harris is also charged with second-degree assault.
At that point, Sizemore claims he heard gunshots.
According to prosecutors, security video from the gas station shows Harper approach the man’s truck, look inside, then walk off camera. He returns moments later with a hand gun and fires into the vehicle at the man.
Sizemore allegedly told police he didn’t know the man or intend to kill him, but intended to make a “show of force.” He said he didn’t know Harper had a gun. Investigators later tracked Harper to a trailer in the Satsop area, where they also recovered the handgun believed to have been used in the assault.
According to court documents, Harper told police he had begun carrying the .22-caliber pistol with him because of threats from someone in Lewis County.
“Harper stated that he agreed to participate hoping that he would be able to get some drugs from Sizemore for helping,” updated court documents stated.
The man was shot in the abdomen and treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
He faces three months of physical therapy to recover from his wounds.
Harper was assigned a new attorney Monday because his former counsel was already representing the man Harper is charged with shooting on a unrelated criminal matter.
Sizemore is charged with second-degree assault and drive-by shooting. The assault charge is a “most serious” offense under state law, which means it would count as Sizemore’s third strike if convicted. That would result in a mandatory life sentence. He and Harris are expected to enter their pleas next week.
All four suspects are held in the Grays Harbor County Jail, Harper with $500,000 bail, Sizemore with $250,000, and Harris and Kohler with $100,000.