Rivas

Ernesto Rivas appears in Skagit County Superior Court in January 2017.

MOUNT VERNON — After nearly two and a half years, the trial for a man accused of shooting a Mount Vernon police officer is set to begin Wednesday.

Ernesto Lee Rivas, 46, faces 11 charges related to the Dec. 15, 2016 incident, which included an hourslong standoff with law enforcement from throughout the region and left officer Michael “Mick” McClaughry blind after being shot in the head.

Two of the charges Rivas is facing are for attempted murder — one for the alleged shooting of McClaughry and one for the shooting which McClaughry and other officers went to Rivas’ home to investigate.

The other charges include first-degree assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly shooting at other police officers who had responded to the scene and unlawful possession of firearms, court records show.

The trial has been delayed several times, most recently in February.

According to documents filed in Skagit County Superior Court, prosecutors may call law enforcement officers, forensic experts, doctors who treated McClaughry and residents in the neighborhood where the shooting took place to testify.

Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau is also listed as a potential witness. She and Rivas exchanged nine text messages during the standoff.

Rivas’ lawyers intend to call a variety of mental health and forensic experts.

McClaughry is also expected to testify.

Jury selection is expected to begin Wednesday, with testimony beginning next week.

About 200 potential jurors — the largest jury pool ever assembled in the county — have responded to summonses to appear.

In 2013, a pool of 163 jurors was assembled for the trial of Larry and Carri Williams, a Sedro-Woolley couple tried in the death of their adopted daughter.

Rivas’ trial is expected to last about eight weeks.

Two boys have pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting.

In January 2017, 15-year-old Roberto Lopez Jr. was sentenced to six months in a juvenile detention facility after pleading guilty as an adult to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

In June 2017, 16-year-old Austin Isaias Gonzales was sentenced to seven and a half years of prison after pleading guilty as an adult to three counts of second-degree assault, two of which carried a deadly weapon enhancement.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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