Kennewick Man Found Guilty of Murdering Everett Police Officer
(Everett, WA) -- A Kennewick man accused of shooting an Everett Police officer to death, then running over the officer's body with his getaway car has been found guilty on Aggravated First-Degree Murder and other counts. 51-year-old Richard Rotter of Kennewick was loading guns from one car to another in the parking lot of a Starbucks when he was approached by Officer Dan Rocha. After an exchange that became heated, Rocha tried placing Rotter under arrest only to face a physical altercation, which ended with Rotter firing on Rocha. The prosecution says Rotter fired five shots at Rocha, then drove over him. Rotter was stopped a short distance away after crashing his car in a multi-vehicle wreck. This happened in March of last year.
Rotter's defense team argued before a Snohomish County jury that the defendant had a mental illness and was under the influence of meth and other substances when he carried out the shooting. Prosecutors say Rotter knew what he was doing, and did not want to go back to prison, since as a previously convicted-felon, he was not allowed to possess weapons. Sentencing is set for April 17th, but there is only one sentence available: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman issued a statement shortly after the verdict was read:
“Today’s verdict comes with mixed feelings. While on one hand, I am pleased to see that the defendant will be held accountable for his actions to the fullest extent of the law, it still doesn’t bring Dan back, nor does it change the fact that his family lost a loving son, husband, brother and father.
I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to the entire investigative team, and in particular lead detective, Kendra Conley with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the prosecution team of Craig Matheson and Bob Langbehn, who have all spent the last year diligently preparing for this trial. I can never express my level of appreciation for them. Their tireless efforts and extreme competence secured a verdict in this case that brings justice to the family and our department members. They are among the finest public safety professionals I’ve had the honor to work with in my career.
Moving forward, the Everett Police Department will remain steadfast in our commitment to honor and remember Officer Rocha and his legacy of community service. We will never forget.”