Charging decision on WSU’s Shalom Luani could come by Monday
COLFAX – Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said Wednesday that, barring any problems, he expects to make a charging decision against Washington State football player Shalom Luani as early as Monday.
Tracy received the felony assault investigation last Friday against Luani, who was arrested Aug. 24 following a fight outside a Pullman Domino’s Pizza that left one man with a broken nose and Luani with a concussion.
Tracy is still waiting on the felony investigations relating to the Sept. 12 arrest of Logan Tago and the Sept. 16 arrests of Robert Barber and T.J. Fehoko. Tago was arrested for second-degree assault and robbery stemming from a June 4 incident in which a man claimed that a suspect, later identified as Tago, punched him and stole a case of beer after the victim refused to hand it over.
Barber and Fehoko were charged in connection to a brawl at a June 23 house party in which one man suffered a concussion and another suffered a broken jaw. A student was also charged with disorderly conduct for provoking another player during the same incident.
Tracy said his charging decision may be delayed if he decides to ask the Pullman Police to do further investigation, or if the case includes legal questions that require further research.
If neither of those situations exist, Tracy said he will determine what charges, if any, to pursue in the cases within a few days.
“That’s the main purpose of my review is to determine what I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “The police make referrals based on probable cause, or what they believe probably occurred based on their perceptions.”
If Tracy does choose to pursue the felony charges, he said the cases would typically take about four months to resolve.
“The football season and the fact that it’s a football player charged doesn’t factor into the time I take to resolve a case,” he said.
Athletics director Bill Moos told The Spokesman-Review last week that coach Mike Leach suspended Luani for the first game because of what appeared to be his rude behavior that started the fight on Aug. 24.
However, Luani played in the loss at Boise State and last Saturday’s win against Idaho. Both Moos and the Washington State Code of Conduct state that a player cannot participate if he or she is formally charged with a felony.
That is the review that Tracy said he expects to have completed by Monday. Washington State has a bye on Saturday before hosting Oregon on Oct. 1.