Man gets nearly 9 years in prison for shooting two men outside Spokane Valley bar

·3 min read

Aug. 6—A man who shot and wounded two people in November outside a Spokane Valley bar will spend 8 1/2 years in prison.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren sentenced the man , an illegal immigrant who has been deported three times, to 102 months of confinement after he pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and alien in possession of a firearm.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense.

While the man, through an interpreter, told the court Wednesday his name is Rafael Castellano De Paz and he is 40 years old, U.S. Customs and Border Protection used facial recognition software and fingerprint comparison to identify him as Bayron A. Aguilar-Lemos, 37. He said Aguilar-Lemos was the name he used before he was detained by immigration officials.

Aguilar-Lemos, with his wife and other loved ones sitting behind him, apologized for the shooting.

"I am not a troublemaker until this thing happened," he said.

The two victims, Victor M. Alejandro Juarez and Antonio Amador Villasenor, told detectives they left Marandos Bar and Restaurant, 11420 E. Sprague Ave., shortly before 2 a.m. Nov. 28, according to court documents.

As the two men drove away from the bar parking lot in a silver Nissan Frontier, they said they heard what sounded like gunfire behind them. Villasenor, who was 33 at the time, said a bullet possibly struck the back of his Nissan.

They said they returned to the lot in the Nissan and confronted two males, one of whom had a pistol.

During the confrontation, Juarez, who was 32 at the time, said he got out of the car and one of the men, later identified as Aguilar-Lemos, started shooting at him, striking him in the upper right chest. Villasenor said he was sitting in the Nissan and ducked to avoid the gunfire. He was grazed on the chin by a bullet.

Juarez got back into the Nissan and the two friends headed to MultiCare Valley Hospital, documents said. Both told the sheriff's office they had not interacted with Aguilar-Lemos prior to the shooting.

The bar's surveillance cameras showed Aguilar-Lemos leave the bar shortly after both victims and then shooting at them as they drove out of the parking lot, and again when they returned to the lot. Both men were struck during the second volley of gunfire.

Aguilar-Lemos' attorney, Mark Knapp, told the court his client consumed a great deal of alcohol that night and "we know things can go sideways" when that happens.

The sheriff's office located six .22 caliber cartridge cases in the bar parking lot. Bullet holes consistent with .22 caliber bullets were also found in the windows of a business across the street from Marandos, according to documents.

A deputy found Aguilar-Lemos and another man nearby in the area of the 300 block of Skipworth Road. Deputies also found a .22 caliber semiautomatic Ruger pistol and a box of .22 -caliber bullets on the front lawn of 303 S. Skipworth Road.

A check of the pistol's serial number showed it was stolen out of Moscow, Idaho, in November 2020.

The 102 months in prison was the low end of the standard sentencing range for first-degree assault. The maximum punishment for the charge is life in prison and a $50,000 fine.

The one-year prison sentence Bjelkengren imposed for an alien in possession of a firearm will run at the same time as the 102-month sentence.

Aguilar-Lemos will serve three years of community custody, or probation, when he is released from prison.

Bjelkengren said his "actions had the potential for killing somebody" and it was very fortunate no one died.