Trial begins for Pasco man accused of shooting, killing neighbor
PASCO, Wash. — Opening statements began today in the trial of a Pasco man accused of gunning down his neighbor.
Victor Paniagua is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Abel Contreras. The deadly shooting happened June 3 in Pasco. According to police, Contreras was found dead at his home at 502 South 22nd Avenue that afternoon after a witness called police to report a disturbance.
“He shot a man in cold blood,” said Franklin County Deputy Prosecutor Albert Lin.
Lin said there were two witnesses in the house at the time of the shooting. After the shooting, Paniagua left the house and went to his own home to meet up with his girlfriend. He then got a ride to the Tahitian Inn where he was later found by police.
Paniagua’s defense attorney Karla Kane Hudson said her client was “in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people.” Hudson also said it can’t be proven that the bullet found in the wall of Contreras’ home came from the gun found with Paniagua at the Tahitian Inn.
In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Paniagua is also facing charges of first-degree assault, unlawfully possessing a gun and witness tampering.