Prosecutors Win Key Ruling In Dragging Death Case
NEWPORT — Prosecutors in Pend Oreille County won a key ruling Tuesday morning when a judge ruled they could seek an aggravating factor of deliberate cruelty against Wendell Sinn for the dragging death of Jerid Sturman-Camyn.
Sinn, 45, was re-arraigned on the amended charge to include the aggravating factor of deliberate cruelty. He promptly plead not guilty to the amended charge.
Prosecutors have been working for some time now to build the case that Sinn was the aggressor in the November 2007 incident at a hunting camp in Pend Oreille County. During a heated argument with Camyn, Sinn tied a rope around his neck with the other end of the rope tied to the bumper of a pickup truck that Sinn’s son was sitting in.
Sinn told his son to drive away without the son knowing Jerid Sturman-Camyn was tied to the bumper. Authorities say Camyn may have been alive and conscious for the first few minutes of the 13 mile drive Justin Sinn took away from the hunting camp.
“If people were to describe that particular event, if it were a dog they would say that would be cruelty to an animal well this was a human being that was drug behind a pickup for 13 miles,” Deputy Prosecutor Tony Koures said.
The prosecutors’ move to seek an exceptional sentence in this case was the stick that they threatened to use against Sinn when they offered him a plea deal back in July. At the time they offered him a plea deal with the exceptional sentence hanging in the balance.
Sinn refused the deal and continues to maintain his innocence, his attorney claiming that his client was acting in self-defense.
Now, if found guilty on a 2nd Degree Murder charge, with the aggravating factor of deliberate cruelty Sinn could face up to life in prison.
During Thursday’s court hearings the defense asked for a continuance because of the amended charges but the court refused their request. Sinn’s trial is set to begin on September 22nd.