Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Idaho State News


Spokane, WA – Senior United States District Judge William Fremming Nielsen sentenced Felipe Tapia-Perez, age 29, of Othello, Washington, to 168 months in federal prison after Tapia-Perez pled guilty on October 27, 2022, to being an Unlawful Alien in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Judge Nielsen ordered that Tapia-Perez’s federal sentence be served concurrently to an 86-month sentence for manslaughter in the first degree imposed by the Adams County, Washington, Superior Court. After his release from confinement, Tapia-Perez will also serve three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, on February 24, 2021, eleven firearms were stolen during a residential burglary in Spokane County, Washington. At least one of the stolen firearms was purchased by Tapia-Perez shortly thereafter. On February 27, 2021, Tapia-Perez was involved in a domestic dispute with his intimate partner in a vehicle parked outside her residence in Othello, Washington. Tapia-Perez was barred from contacting his intimate partner due to a domestic violence protective order. During the argument Tapia-Perez was holding the stolen firearm. As Tapia-Perez’s four-year-old child was waiting outside the front passenger door window, the pistol discharged, and the bullet struck the child in the head. The child was driven to the Othello Community Hospital where the child passed away. Due to his lack of lawful immigration status, Tapia-Perez was prohibited from possessing firearms within the United States.

In announcing today’s sentence, Senior Judge Nielsen expressed the seriousness of this tragic case directly to Tapia-Perez: “You should not have had a firearm. The firearm was loaded. You were in an argument with a woman you are prohibited by a no contact order from being with, but you were with her anyway. You were waiving a firearm around, and it resulted in tragedy.  The tragedy could not have been worse.” 

After Tapia-Perez was sentenced, United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref stated, “Through the Eastern District of Washington’s Safe Homes, Safe Community Initiative, we are hoping to stop another tragedy like this from occurring again.”

“This is a significant sentence and one that is well deserved by Mr. Tapia-Perez,” said ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “He knew he shouldn’t have had firearms to begin with, let alone a stolen firearm, but the resulting horrific loss of his child for something so senseless makes this even more than tragic.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Othello Police Department, the Moses Lake Police Department, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol. This case was prosecuted by Michael J. Ellis, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.