|Topie: Doreen Britt, 52, and Wesley Myers, 18
||Spokane teenager pleads guilty to 2 murders
June 20, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A teenager pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing a friend with a baseball bat and fatally shooting his friend's mother with a deer rifle, all over a perceived insult.
Travis R. Ault was 17 on Nov. 18, 2005, when he killed 18-year-old Wesley Myers because he felt Myers had badmouthed one of Ault's friends over the telephone, according to court records.
Ault then walked downstairs at his friend's home and shot Myers' mother, Doreen Britt, 52, in the face. He tried but failed to kill Britt's husband, Gary Frost, who fled to a neighbor's house and called police.
Appearing before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno, Ault pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.
His sentencing was scheduled for July 26. Prosecutors are recommending at least 75 years.
||Teen pleads guilty to double murder
By Thomas Clouse
June 20, 2007
A simple signature Tuesday transformed Travis R. Ault from a teenager seeking his GED to a convicted double murderer who likely will never spend another day outside of prison.
Ault, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the Nov. 18, 2005, double slaying of his friend and his friend's mother. Prosecutors will recommend he serve at least 75 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 26.
Ault was 17 on that night when he "marked" or killed 18-year-old Wesley Myers because Myers had badmouthed one of Ault's friends over the telephone, according to court records.
After beating Myers with a baseball bat and stabbing him to death, Ault walked downstairs and shot Myers' mother, 52-year-old Doreen Britt, with a .30-30 lever-action rifle. He tried, but failed, to also kill Gary Frost in an attempt to cover up the killing, according to court records.
Ault didn't speak Tuesday at his court hearing, other than to give simple answers to the questions from Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. But he did provide a written statement that Moreno read aloud to the nearly filled courtroom.
"On Nov. 18 of 2005, I did something completely beyond reason. I killed a friend, who stood by me, Wesley Myers. I panicked and became an animal and shot his mother, Doreen Britt. I then tried to kill his stepfather. I wish I could explain why or how this happened but I cannot. Nothing I can say will make up for what I did. I am sorry. I wish it was me and not them."
Ault had been facing a potential sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Deputy Prosecutor Matthew Duggan said. But he and Assistant Public Defender Kari Reardon agreed to the plea agreement which calls for Ault to serve 75 years in prison.
"Based on our analysis of the case and the agreed recommendation," Duggan told Moreno, "we believe … that it was a fair result."
Reardon did not make any statements in court.
Duggan escorted several members of Myers' and Britt's family out a side door of the courtroom, making them unavailable for comment. Many of them cried during the hearing as Ault four times said "guilty" to the listed charges.
Ault's mother, Laurie Crow, also cried as her son pleaded guilty. She declined comment, saying Tuesday was not the day for such things.
The case began with a frantic call at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 from Gary Frost, who had survived Ault's attack
Frost told police that Ault was in Myers' upstairs bedroom in the house at 5203 S. Stone Lane. Britt, Frost and another family member were downstairs watching television.
At one point, Britt asked Myers to turn down the music, which he did. No altercation resulted from the request, Spokane police Detective Brian Hamond wrote in his report.
When the TV program ended, the third family member left the house. Moments later, Ault came downstairs with the rifle.
Ault pointed the rifle at them and told them not to move, Hamond wrote. "As Frost stood up, Travis pointed the rifle at Doreen and shot her in the face," according to Hamond.
But Ault had trouble reloading the lever-action Marlin, the detective wrote, and "Frost then began struggling with him. (Frost) briefly wrested the rifle from Travis' grip as Travis dazed him with a punch.
"Travis then picked up a baseball bat he had also brought downstairs with him and hit Frost in the head twice and in the arm as he was trying to defend himself."
Ault chased Frost from the home before reportedly returning to get the gun and a large, double-bladed knife he had used to stab Myers.
A day after the slaying, officers received a phone call from a woman who said she was giving Ault a ride to apartments at Richard Allen Court.
Officers converged on the area and took the woman, Ault and two juvenile males to the Public Safety Building for questioning.
All three told police that Ault told them he beat and stabbed Myers, shot Britt and beat Frost with a baseball bat, Hamond wrote.
"One of the juvenile males said Ault told him he had accidentally left someone alive," Hamond wrote. "He also told that juvenile that he had 'marked' Wes following a verbal dispute over the telephone with a friend of Ault's. The juvenile said 'marked' meant killed."
According to the juvenile, Ault said he shot Britt because he didn't want to get caught for killing Myers "and that he was going to kill Wes' stepdad, but the gun jammed so he beat him with a baseball bat," Hamond wrote in court records.
The other boy in the car told police that Ault said he and Myers had gotten drunk and smoked sherm – slang for a marijuana cigarette laced with PCP or angel dust.
Ault told the boy that "Wesley was talking trash to him and over the telephone to a mutual friend," Hamond wrote. "Ault also told that juvenile that he stabbed Wes about 16 to 17 times."
Ault refused to waive his Miranda rights and was not questioned. However, "he stated initially that he could not remember what happened and then said, 'Can I tell you what I do remember, because I want to cooperate?' " Hamond wrote.
Hamond reported that he again offered to read Ault his rights, but Ault again refused to waive them. Ault then asked under which charge he would be booked into jail, Hamond wrote, and he answered first-degree murder.
"Ault responded, 'One count or two?'" and Hamond told him two counts.
"Ault did not respond verbally other than to cry and say, 'That's my whole life.' "