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COUPEVILLE – A Camano Island man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the July 26 shooting death of a friend.

Huey P. Ford, 65, had been arguing with the man over his lawn, believing it had been poisoned, said Greg Banks, Island County prosecuting attorney. Mahlon H. Gane Jr., 55, was shot with a pistol that Ford carried with him on his wheelchair, Banks said.

Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock gave Ford a prison term slightly above than the midrange under state sentencing guidelines.

A half-dozen people spoke on behalf of Gane, calling him “an incredibly generous, loved person who spent his life helping everyone out, including the defendant,” Banks said.

According to court papers, Ford told detectives he shot Gane after a struggle in which Ford fell out of his wheelchair.

Snohomish County Jail corrections officers continued to show their displeasure with their boss on Thursday by lodging a workplace safety complaint with the state.

The complaint to the Department of Labor and Industries alleges more than 50 safety violations in jail operations.

Members of the county Corrections Officers Guild have for months been butting heads with Steve Thompson, the county’s corrections director.

In a news release, guild president Chuck Carrell said Thompson has failed to take seriously officers’ complaints about safety.

Jim Cline, the guild’s attorney, also criticized County Executive Aaron Reardon for failing to intervene.

Reardon earlier examined complaints by corrections officers and announced his continued support for Thompson.

An Airlift Northwest helicopter carrying a car crash victim to a Seattle hospital was forced to make an emergency landing in Skagit County when an engine light came on.

The Arlington-based airlift company sent another helicopter to Skagit County Airport to take the patient the rest of the way to Harborview Medical Center.

The helicopter won’t be allowed to fly again until a mechanic determines whether anything is wrong, a company spokeswoman said.

Airlift Northwest dispatched the helicopter to a fatal multicar accident on I-5 north of Burlington at about 4 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

From Herald staff reports

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