Man convicted of manslaughter a decade ago pleads guilty to same charge for fatal road-rage shooting

Sep. 27—An already convicted killer pleaded guilty Friday to shooting and killing 34-year-old David Knoepfle during a road-rage incident last summer on Interstate 90 in Spokane Valley.

As part of a plea agreement, Treven Lewis, 30, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Lewis was originally charged with second-degree murder.

The incident started near downtown Spokane and involved three vehicles, according to court documents.

Nicole Wiens told Washington State Patrol her boyfriend, Knoepfle, was following her home after the two had dinner at a Spokane restaurant.

During the drive, Wiens encountered a white four-door Chevy sedan near the intersection of Maple Street and Fifth Avenue. Wiens said either the suspect's sedan or her vehicle, a silver 2015 Hyundai Sonata, drifted into the other person's lane. She told police the driver of the sedan honked his horn.

The three vehicles got on I-90 when Lewis threw something at Wiens' Hyundai, started brake-checking her and pointed a black handgun at her, Wiens told police.

She changed lanes, and said Knoepfle drove between her and the other car in his gray 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer and then she heard a pop.

After that, she lost sight of the two cars. She said she heard at least four gunshots behind her when she was by the pedestrian overpass near Havana Street. She told police she saw Knoepfle's vehicle crash into a fence.

She told 911 that a white Chevrolet Malibu left the scene. She found Knoepfle with a gunshot wound, and he died at the scene, documents say.

WSP located six 9 mm Luger casings on the right shoulder of the freeway.

The original 911 caller told police she was a passenger in a truck on eastbound I-90 when she saw three vehicles racing and one vehicle shooting at another.

A woman told police she worked with Lewis' wife and that the wife admitted to her that Lewis was the shooter from the freeway the previous night.

The woman said Lewis' wife told her Lewis used her gun and that he was trying to protect the children in the vehicle as the other car was trying to run him off the road, according to court records.

Lewis was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison after fatally punching 65-year-old Vietnam veteran Frank Motta at a 2012 party. Lewis was released from custody in 2021.

Spokane County deputy prosecutor Sharon Hedlund declined to explain reasons for the plea agreement, citing the upcoming sentencing Oct. 27 in front of Spokane Superior Court Judge Michael Price.

Lewis' standard sentencing range for the manslaughter charge is about 15 1/2 to 20 1/2 years in prison, according to documents. Court records show the prosecuting and defense attorneys will recommend an 18-year prison sentence with credit for time served .