Richland murder suspect Aaron Christopher Kelly’s arraignment pushed back for mental evaluation

Aaron Kelly Court Appearance Fred Meyer Shooting Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. — Aaron Christopher Kelly was set to appear in Benton County Superior Court for his formal arraignment on two separate charges, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

However, it was agreed that he should undergo mental evaluation—pushing his next court date to April.

The proceeding began with a lengthy assessment of whether Kelly should be shackled during this court appearance and for all others moving forward. Ultimately, it was decided that Kelly would be shackled for this appearance alone.

Three people identified by the judge as family members of the defendant attended the arraignment.

Charged with First-Degree Murder and Attempted First-Degree Murder

On February 8, 2022, Kelly appeared before a Benton County judge and was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder and was then booked into Benton County Jail on a $1 million bail. 

READ: Richland murder suspect Aaron Christopher Kelly arrested for Fred Meyer shooting; bail set at $1 million

During the court hearing, the judge ordered that even if Kelly were released on bail, he would not be allowed to leave Benton County.

Fatal Shooting at Richland Fred Meyer

On February 7, 2022, Kelly was the suspect in question after a gunman opened fire in the Richland Fred Meyer store Monday morning, killing Instacart employee Justin Krumbah and critically injuring another Fred Meyer employee. 

RELATED: Fred Meyer shooting victim ID’d as GoFundMe campaign launches to cover his funeral costs

After an hours-long manhunt, Kelly was arrested that same night on I-90 between Sprague and the City of Spokane, and law enforcement said he was transported back to the Tri-Cities in connection to the shooting. 

Court documents report suspected criminal history

In an earlier report, KAPP-KVEW obtained more than 100 pages of court documents involving Kelly, from civil and criminal cases filed in Benton and Franklin counties. 

READ: Court records detail Fred Meyer shooting suspect’s contacts with police, civil court

KAPP-KVEWs Reporter Emily Goodell reviewed the documents and found reports of Kelly’s “erratic” behavior dating back at least two years. Court documents also showed Kelly had been accused of suspected shoplifting and alleged burglary.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE FEB. 7 SHOOTING AT FRED MEYER IN RICHLAND:

READ: Fred Meyer shooting suspect was “in decline over the last few weeks” + more details from Richland PD