Mistrial declared in Ocean Shores manslaughter case

Herald staff

MONTESANO — A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the first-degree manslaughter trial of a Seattle man who fatally stabbed another man during a Fourth of July confrontation in Ocean Shores.

Grays Harbor County Superior Court jurors deadlocked on whether Minh Duc Hong, 26, should be convicted in the killing of Christopher Kinison, 20, outside a gas station and convenience store. Jurors began deliberating Tuesday.

Hong, who was with his twin brother and a friend, said Kinison and others began accosting them with racist taunts as they tried to leave the parking lot.

Kinison stood in front of the young Asian-American men’s car, blocking it and waving a Confederate flag, defense lawyer Monte Hester told jurors earlier. Hong’s brother got out to run away and wound up in a fight with Kinison. Hester said Hong had to step in to defend his brother and eventually defend himself.

On Monday, Hong told jurors he feared for his life during the fight.

But the prosecution said Hong was wrong to bring fatal force to the fight. Kinison was stabbed 23 times.

Hong said he was relieved by the mistrial.

There was no immediate word from prosecutors on whether they will seek to retry Hong.

  • Reed moving fast: He won’t take office until next month, but Secretary of State-elect Sam Reed’s picture already graces the agency’s Web page, and he has appointed Steve Excell to be the next assistant secretary of state. Excell will succeed Don Whiting, who is retiring after 32 years with the office. Excell was chief of staff for Gov. John Spellman in the early 1980s and served as legislative assistant to former U.S. Rep. Joel Pritchard. More recently, he was chief executive officer of Applied Demographics, a Seattle-based marketing, research and public affairs firm. Reed, a Republican, was elected last month to succeed Republican Ralph Munro, who is retiring after 20 years in office. Excell will act as chief of staff and as the main policy adviser to the secretary of state.

  • Bumpy ride: A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong was diverted to Anchorage after hitting turbulence that injured four people. Three crew members and a passenger suffered minor injuries Tuesday night and were treated at a hospital, United spokeswoman Chris Brathwaite said. The rest of the passengers and crew spent the night at Anchorage hotels and were to be put on another plane Wednesday to Hong Kong. The plane, with 390 people aboard, encountered turbulence just north of Seattle. Passenger Alan Carasso said the turbulence lasted about 30 seconds. "It wasn’t just a mild chop," he said. "It got my pulse going."

  • One way to settle it: An election stalemate for the mayor’s office in the tiny Central Oregon town of Waterloo was settled in just seconds with an old-fashioned tie-breaker: drawing straws. Challenger Phillip Bohna, a veteran city councilor, won by a straw’s length, ousting incumbent Richard Paull after weeks of uncertainty. Both candidates won 45 votes in the Nov. 7 election. A recount produced the same results. So election officials proposed drawing straws, but it didn’t go very smoothly. At first, no one could find a straw. People hunted for coffee stir sticks and someone suggested using a pencil. In the end, Councilor Judy McKenzie donated the straw from her soda. Bohna will be sworn in on Jan. 9.

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