A Royal City resident is set to spend 45 years in prison for a workplace murder that occurred in 2015, following a recent ruling by a state appeals court.
Eduardo Ibarra Valencia's claim of insanity was rejected by a three-judge panel in Spokane on Tuesday. Initially, Valencia had accepted a plea deal in 2017 for second-degree murder charges, but he later retracted his plea when a Grant County Judge and an appeals court determined that his sentence had been incorrectly calculated based on the wrong offender score. The case was sent back to Grant County, where a Superior Court judge found Valencia guilty of First-Degree Murder and First-Degree attempted murder.
Valencia appealed, arguing that the Superior Court had made an error in dismissing his insanity defense. He maintained that he provided ample evidence demonstrating his inability to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crimes. However, the appeals court panel concluded that the state had presented enough evidence to refute the opinion of an expert neuropsychologist who claimed that Valencia could not differentiate between right and wrong during the incidents. Additionally, the expert admitted to facing challenges in reaching his opinion.
Valencia was convicted of murdering a 49-year-old man and injuring a 54-year-old woman at Callahan Manufacturing in Royal City in November 2015. In 2017, he informed a judge that he believed his coworkers intended to harm him and his family, which led him to bring a handgun to work.