Trial in death of Marysville cop’s daughter begins

EVERETT — Opening statements were expected Thursday morning in the trial of a Marysville police officer whose daughter was fatally shot when his 3-year-old son grabbed a gun left unsecured in the family’s van.

Derek Carlile, 31, is charged with second-degree manslaughter. Although the Camano Island man didn’t pull the trigger, Snohomish County prosecutors allege he is responsible for the girl’s death because he failed to heed or be aware of the danger of leaving his four children, ages 1 to 7, alone with a loaded handgun.

Carlile, who has worked as a patrol officer in Marysville for about three years, was off duty when the March 10 shooting occurred. He and his wife had stopped for a brief visit with a friend at a Stanwood art gallery.

He left a .38 caliber revolver he owns in the van’s cup holder. He typically would carry the firearm in an ankle holster.

Investigators say evidence shows Carlile’s son got out of his booster seat, grabbed the handgun and fired. Jenna Carlile, 7, was shot in the abdomen. She died a few hours later, despite emergency surgery.

The trial before Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne is expected to last into next week. Lawyers spent Tuesday and Wednesday working to select a jury to hear the case.

Extra jurors needed to be summoned. A number of people said they not only had heard details about the shooting but also had strong opinions about the case.

Lawyers questioned jurors closely about their ability to decide questions based on evidence, not sympathy; their views on firearms ownership and weapons handling; the presumption of innocence and what it means for a defendant when prosecutors decide to file a criminal charge.

Lisa Paul, a senior deputy prosecutor, is pressing the case.

Carlile is represented by Seattle attorney David Allen. He earlier urged Wynne to throw out the case, arguing that prosecutors could not meet the legal burden to prove that his client’s actions caused Jenna’s death. Wynne declined. Last week, the state Court of Appeals also opted not to weigh in on the case ahead of trial.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

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