Prosecuting Attorney

Posted on: November 7, 2016

Bonney Lake man charged in the stray bullet killing of neighbor

TACOMA, WA – Today the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office charged Tobin Panton, 40, with one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree for the death of Linda Green, 61. Panton fired his gun at a car thief who was driving away in his Jeep. A stray bullet traveled two blocks and struck Green inside her home. She died a short time later.

 “If you use deadly force it has to be reasonable under the circumstances,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, “Generally speaking, in Washington you cannot use deadly force to stop a non-violent crime.”

On November 3, 2016, deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the 12000 block of Prairie Ridge Drive East, regarding a car theft. Deputies contacted Tobin Panton, the defendant, who reported that his Jeep had been stolen from his driveway. Panton said that he had just gotten out of the shower and noticed his Jeep was leaving the driveway. He said that he retrieved his .40 Glock and positioned himself on his front porch. Panton says he saw his Jeep traveling away from his home and fired at the vehicle in an effort to stop the theft. He says he fired until the gun was empty.

 A short time later, deputies received a call for aid from another home in the 12000 block of Prairie Ridge Drive East. The caller reported that Linda Green had fallen and hit her head. When first responders examined Ms. Green, it was determined she had been shot in the head. Deputies located a bullet hole in Ms. Green’s window that faces Mr. Panton’s porch, from where he discharged his handgun. Detectives were able to locate several strike marks in the area of Ms. Green’s and her neighbor’s house consistent with gunshots from Mr. Panton’s porch.

Bail is set at $200,000.00

Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, jlynch@co.pierce.wa.us.
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