Slaying suspect’s charges increase

EVERETT — Jay Clements lost his life but he certainly wasn’t the only victim after Noel Evans Caldellis fired into a crowd gathered in a Brier cul-de-sac last year, prosecutors allege.

Caldellis, 19, already was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Clements, 21, on Sept. 3, 2006.

Prosecutors contend Caldellis showed extreme indifference to human life when he reportedly began shooting a .357-caliber Magnum pistol during an argument outside the party.

Witnesses told police that Clements posed no threat, and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Caldellis now faces two counts of first-degree assault involving two other people who allegedly were menaced by the gunfire. Prosecutors also filed a second-degree murder charge. That will offer jurors an alternate way of interpreting the evidence expected to be presented at Cal­dellis’ Oct. 5 trial.

A judge on Friday upheld Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter’s right to file additional charges against Caldellis last month despite objections from the teen’s attorney, Raymond McFarland.

McFarland had asked the court to deny Hunter’s motion to amend the charges against Caldellis. He said the charges were excessive and he questioned the prosecutor’s timing so close to the trial. The case was set to go before a judge on Friday.

McFarland argued that the state only filed the additional charges to motivate Caldellis to plead guilty to the original murder charge. The case has never been investigated as an assault case “for victims who didn’t know they were victims,” he said.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Knight disagreed that people who run for cover when someone is firing randomly into a crowd aren’t victims, the judge said. He cautioned McFarland about overstating his case.

Knight, relying on a recent Supreme Court ruling, said the state was within its right to file the assault charges. The prosecutor has a right to file additional charges to motivate a defendant to plead guilty if the charges are legitimate, Knight said.

Caldellis on Friday pleaded not guilty to all four counts. He remains under house arrest at his parents’ home. His whereabouts are monitored electronically, and his family was required to post $250,000 bail.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

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