Isaac Zamora

Isaac Zamora is led into a courtroom Sept. 10, 2014, at the Skagit County Courthouse.

MOUNT VERNON — The man who is serving a life sentence for a 2008 killing spree in Skagit County is asking to have his guilty pleas withdrawn.

Isaac Lee Zamora pleaded guilty in November 2009 to 18 charges, including murder and attempted murder, for the September 2008 shooting spree that began in Alger and ended in Mount Vernon.

Zamora also pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of murder for the deaths of Skagit County sheriff’s deputy Anne Jackson and Alger resident Chester Rose.

Those pleas came as part of an agreement made the day before Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich was to determine if he would seek the death penalty against Zamora, according to previous reporting by the Skagit Valley Herald.

Zamora was sentenced to a life of confinement, either in a mental hospital or prison.

After a yearslong battle with the state Department of Social and Health Services — which manages Western State Hospital — Zamora is being held at the Monroe Correctional Complex’s Special Offender Unit, according to state Department of Corrections records.

In an April 2019 letter to Skagit County Superior Court Judge Dave Needy and a subsequent motion filed on his behalf earlier this month, Zamora asked to have his guilty pleas withdrawn based on the fact that his “mind has changed drastically and nearly ten years of incarceration, medicine and ongoing therapy plus many law changes.”

The motion filed by Zamora’s lawyer, Skagit County public defender C. Wesley Richards, states that Zamora’s pleas came solely in an attempt to avoid the death penalty.

Zamora argues that his pleas should be withdrawn because not only was use of the death penalty as a bargaining chip unconstitutional, but because the state Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the death penalty violated the state constitution.

“It is fundamentally unfair that because of the threat of the death penalty, which is unconstitutional, Mr. Zamora gave up his right to a jury trial where he could have presented a well-supported insanity or diminished capacity defense,” the motion states.

Zamora pleaded guilty to killing David Radcliffe, Greg Gillum, Julie Binschus and Leroy Lange. Four others were wounded.

A hearing on Zamora’s request is set to be held Nov. 6 in Skagit County Superior Court.

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

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