Man pleads guilty to Camano Island murder

A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 2016 murder of a Camano Island man, according to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office.

Ezekiel Scannell-McCrae shot and killed 34-year-old Joseph Hicks July 28, 2016 in the middle of the road on Heather Lane on Camano Island. The shooting was near the house where Hicks lived with his girlfriend.

Scannell-McCrae entered a guilty plea in Island County Superior Court to one count of murder in the second degree.

A second charge of unlawful possession of a firearm was dismissed.

Under the plea bargain, Scannell-McCrae’s attorney and Prosecutor Greg Banks will jointly recommend a sentence of 18 years at a hearing that will likely be held in December.

Under Washington’s “Hard Time for Armed Crime” law, the 18-year sentence recommendation includes a mandatory five-year sentence enhancement because the crime was committed with a gun.

“This is a just and fair result,” Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said in a press release. “It gives Mr. Hicks’s survivors certainty in the outcome and a measure of closure, and will impose a substantial period of incarceration.

The plea bargain was made in consultation with Hicks’ family and his girlfriend. This settlement, like a plea bargain, accounts for the risks of acquittal at trial and possibility of reversal on appeal.

Scannell-McRae has been held in the Island County jail on $1 million bond since the murder, and remains there pending sentencing.

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