Yakima gang member gets nearly 17 years in prison for 2017 Wapato shooting

<p><p>A 24-year-old Yakima gang member has been sentenced to almost 17 years in prison for shooting a man in Wapato nearly five years ago.</p></p><p><p>James Matthew Seaunier pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault Tuesday in Yakima County Superior Court. Judge Richard Bartheld sentenced him to 101 months on each count and ordered the sentences to run consecutively for a total of 202 months, or 16 years and 10 months.</p></p><p><p>In return for Seaunier’s plea, prosecutors dropped five counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree unlawful firearms possession and one count each of attempted first-degree murder, witness intimidation, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.</p></p><p><p>Prosecutors made the offer after contending with witness availability issues, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic said, as well as the length of time between the initial crime and a trial date.</p></p><p><p>“It’s a gang case. We had difficulty on a number of levels with cooperation,” Brusic said. “It was not the best solution, but we believe that justice was served.”</p></p><p><p>Clark’s accomplice, Edgal Herman Keona Clark, 23, was sentenced to 25 years after pleading guilty to first-degree assault in 2019. <span class=”print_trim”>Five of those years are a firearm enhancement that cannot be reduced through good behavior.</span></p></p><p><p>Prosecutors say Clark and Seaunier went to a home in the 200 block of West Elizabeth Avenue in Wapato on Jan. 14, 2017, and shot a man in the leg, arm and back. A witness told police that the man had been shot because he gave a statement to police about a Norteño gang member, according to court documents.</p></p><p><p>Clark and Seaunier are both documented gang members, according to court records.</p></p><p><p>The man survived the shooting, court documents said.</p></p>