COQUILLE — A Coos County judge ruled Monday that a victim’s photo identification will be admissible in the trial of a North Bend tattoo artist charged with attempted murder.
Judge Richard Barron ruled that Brian Graham’s identification of defendant David Wonnacott will be admissible at trial, even though police showed Graham a single photo instead of using a lineup.
Wonnacott is charged with attempted murder, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree assault, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, menacing, pointing a firearm at another and reckless endangering.
The charges stem from a July 2013 incident when prosecutors allege Wonnacott, attempted to kill Graham, a competing tattoo artist, in front of Graham’s Broadway Avenue shop.
Wonnacott also faces two counts of tampering with a witness. Those charges stem from letters to another jail inmate that prosecutors say are evidence of a conspiracy to keep witnesses from testifying.
Graham reported the murder attempt to the North Bend Police Department within a half hour of when it allegedly occurred the morning of July 31.
He said he knew the man who approached him that night, wearing rubber gloves and carrying a handgun, as David Pierce, the owner of Bay Area Ink.
Officer Milo Arnesen, who interviewed Graham at the police station, said a records check for David Pierce turned up a Department of Motor Vehicles record for Wonnacott.
Arnesen told the court that he had folded over the portion of the record with Wonnacott’s name, showing Graham only the man’s photo.
“I saw his face several times throughout the incident,” Graham said. “I never had any doubt whatsoever who he was.”
Wonnacott’s attorney, Mark Hendershott, argued that the single-photo identification was prejudicial and should be suppressed.
Barron ruled that since Graham had already identified Wonnacott’s alias and provided a description, showing him the single photo was only confirming what police already determined.
“The photo had no impact on Mr. Graham,” he said.
Barron also ruled that testimony regarding Wonnacott’s statements about an earlier fire at Graham’s former storefront on Virginia Avenue may be admissible if it contributes to establishing motive.
Wonnacott has not been charged in connection with the fire, which has not been determined to be arson.
He’s scheduled to stand trial May 20-23 on the attempted murder charges, and June 3 on the tampering charges.