Federal prosecutors have charged one of two men accused in a shooting that killed five people on the Yakama Indian Reservation in June with the death of one of the victims, marking the first murder count in the case.
The first-degree murder charge filed Tuesday against James Dean Cloud comes eight months after authorities say five people were fatally shot at a mobile home in the 5100 block of Medicine Valley Road in White Swan, a remote community of fewer than 1,000 people in Central Washington. It was the deadliest shooting in Washington last year.
Both Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud have been jailed since June on kidnapping, carjacking and firearms charges. Authorities say they and two witnesses to the shootings had departed the mobile home in the vehicle of one of the victims who was shot.
When the vehicle broke down less than 10 miles away, the Clouds walked to another house and stole a vehicle there while holding a child at gunpoint, according to court documents.
The murder charge filed Tuesday stems from the death of Dennis Overacker, identified in court documents as “D.O.” He was shot as he sat in his pickup truck outside the mobile home, according to a 911 call and media reports.
It’s not clear why authorities waited eight months to file a murder charge in the case, or whether charges are forthcoming in connection with the deaths of any of the others killed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern Washington did not respond to requests for comment, and defense attorneys for the men declined to comment on their behalf Wednesday.
Two witnesses inside the truck, including a woman who was holding her baby, were wounded in the shooting. The infant was not injured.
The others killed were Catherine Eneas Squeochs, 49; Thomas Hernandez, 36, John Cagle, 59, and Michelle Starnes, 51.
Federal authorities have released few details in the killing, including a motive.