Crime

Trial begins against men involved in Lynden drug deal that ended in shooting

A Lynden police car blocks the driveway at 1213 Bradley Road east of Lynden High School  Wednesday morning, Nov. 23, 2011, where Jesse L. Winchester, 22, of Ferndale, was found dead in the home after an apparent homicide. His father, Jeremiah L. Winchester, 40, was taken to St. Joseph hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.
A Lynden police car blocks the driveway at 1213 Bradley Road east of Lynden High School Wednesday morning, Nov. 23, 2011, where Jesse L. Winchester, 22, of Ferndale, was found dead in the home after an apparent homicide. His father, Jeremiah L. Winchester, 40, was taken to St. Joseph hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

A police officer described the crime scene as bloody and chaotic in testimony during the first day of trial for a man whose son was killed last fall during what police called a Lynden drug deal gone bad.

Opening statements and witness testimonies were made Monday, April 9, in Whatcom County Superior Court in the case against Jeremiah Winchester and Johnny Arellano. Both men have been charged with two counts of attempted drug possession - heroin and methamphetamine - and one count of first-degree attempted robbery, while Winchester has an additional count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Both men were at a home in the 1200 block of Bradley Road late Nov. 22 when Winchester was shot in the face and his son, Jesse Winchester, 22, was shot and killed after an alleged drug deal turned violent.

Earlier that night, Jeremiah Winchester had Roberto Lara, who lived in the house, call up a man named Salvador Rodriguez to buy $1,800 worth of heroin, Lara told the court Monday. Lara said Winchester told him that Rodriguez owed a friend a large sum of money and Winchester planned on talking to him about it when he got to the house.

When Rodriguez, along with his younger brother, Oscar Rodriguez, and Andrew Medina arrived at the house, things got out of hand quickly. The three men walked into a bedroom occupied by the Winchesters, Arellano and another man named Gavin Glyzinski who has already pleaded guilty to charges connected with that night. Medina grew wary when he saw Jeremiah Winchester, said something in Spanish and left the room, Lara testified, and the Rodriguez brothers followed him out the door.

As Medina continued down the stairs and a few other people left the bedroom to see what was going on, Lara said he heard the slide of a gun from the brothers.

A confrontation began, and Oscar Rodriguez allegedly shot Jeremiah Winchester in the face. Winchester's son ran down the stairs to chase the brothers and more shots were fired. Jesse Winchester was shot, and despite wearing a bullet-proof vest, he died at the scene. His father broke into tears several times during testimony as Lara and law enforcement officers discussed his son's death.

Lynden Police Officer Doug Mather said the scene was chaotic in the aftermath of the incident, with spent shell casings, holes in the walls and trails of blood.

"There was blood everywhere. I've never seen that much blood in one area before," he told the court. "It was pandemonium."

The trial will continue Tuesday.

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