Okanogan Prosecutor Branden Platter “recognizes – and understands –
claim of self defense,” but pushes life sentence anyway
Claims Faire did not act in a reasonable manner
By Ron Lee
With Edward Snook Contributing
Okanogan County, WA – Ever since June of 2015 James and Angela (Nobilis) Faire have been vilified by a government that is supposed to protect innocent victims of crime. The Okanogan Sheriff’s Department, their investigators, and the Prosecutor’s office all share culpability in the continued victimization of the Faires. These agencies, along with the true perpetrators of crimes against the Faires, continue to collude in pressing charges based on fabricated accounts, false reports and prejudiced investigations. Yet, the evidence, and the one-and-only impartial eye witness account, tell the true story; James and Angela Faire are innocent. Even the current Okanogan County Prosecutor, Branden Platter, has admitted, “I do not feel there is sufficient grounds to proceed on an intentional murder basis…” Still, the Faires are up against a renewed list of serious charges, with James facing the potential punishment of a life sentence – all for crimes they did not commit. It has to make any prudent person ask, is that reasonable?
As previously reported by the US~Observer:
On June 18, 2015, an incident occurred at the Sourdough Ranch in Aeneas Valley, Washington, that resulted in the loss of one person’s life. In a rush to judgment, the Sheriff, investigators and the prosecuting attorney (then Karl Sloan) bought into a narrative created by a gang of witnesses who were factually the perpetrators of the only crimes committed… The deceased was none other than their ringleader. The crimes this gang carried out together and individually were: Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, Filing a False Police Report, Kidnapping, and Attempted Felony Assault in the First Degree. It was only because of their conspired efforts that one of their own was killed while attempting to kidnap the two people who have ultimately been paying the price for this gang’s crimes.
James and Angela were arrested for murder and a litany of other concocted crimes. In the ensuing weeks, Angela’s murder charge disappeared, and she was released on bail.
James languished in jail for over eight months while the system churned slowly through its processes, much of that time spent without any legal representation. Eventually, with the help of attorney Stephen Pidgeon, James secured an incredibly low bail amount – not typically given to one facing a 1st degree murder charge unless the judge questions the merit of the prosecution’s case.
Even now, almost 3 years after the incident, the Faires’ lives are dedicated to working to fight their false charges and repair their reputations from the state’s spurious allegations.
New Prosecutor in Town, Means New Charges
On August 29, 2017, Branden Platter replaced Karl Sloan as Okanogan County’s Lead Prosecutor. The Faires, their attorneys and the US~Observer all hoped Platter would take a fresh look at the evidence. His subsequent review and decision to simply amend the charges leave little doubt he is just trying to cover the county from liability and has little interest in serving actual justice.
As of January 11, 2018, Platter amended James Faire’s charges from First Degree Murder, Assault in the First Degree, Theft in the First Degree, and Criminal Trespass in the First Degree to Vehicular Homicide or Manslaughter in the First Degree, Vehicular Assault, and Theft in the Second Degree. He has dropped the Criminal Trespass charge completely as there is no misconstruing the evidence that shows James and Angela did in fact have permission to be on the Sourdough Ranch property – which is the key to this entire case. If they had a right to be there, why were they being set-up as “squatters”?
Buying the Lies
Emails received by the US~Observer show that Platter purports to consider Richard Finegold to be a victim, instead of the criminal who filed the initial false police report that attempted to incriminate the Faires for something they never did. Also, Finegold is somehow accredited by Platter with being the victim in the theft crimes James and Angela are being falsely charged with. In fact, Angela created a GoFundMe account in her own name, but for the benefit of her dying friend, Michelle St. Pierre. Finegold who was St. Pierre’s live-in boyfriend and owner of the Sourdough Ranch property, never had any right to any funds from the GoFundMe account, yet Angela Faire maintains Finegold received the bulk of the funds. Finegold admitted in a deposition that he received $5,750.00 in cash. Finegold further admitted that Angela Faire provided more than the cash he received. Were the cash funds Finegold received used for Michelle, or some other purpose? Who is the thief? Other indisputable evidence shows that the Faires spent well over the $9,200.00 that Angela raised from her GoFundMe efforts on behalf of St. Pierre and her household.
Even though Platter continues to use Finegold’s deceptive assertion, that a large sum of money was not handed over, to justify the Faires’ charges, Platter readily admits, “I do recognize difficulty proving amounts…” Not only that, but by all accounts, Finegold was reportedly so out-of-touch with what went on during that time, Platter’s use of Finegold’s recollection for the sake of prosecuting the Faires should almost be considered criminal in and of itself. So, if he doesn’t know the amounts, and he knows his “victim” to be an admitted liar, how can he charge James and Angela with any level of theft?
Interestingly it was Angela’s attorney, Richard Gilliland, who answered the question during a phone conversation he and Angela had regarding her theft charges and a Stipulated Order of Continuance (SOC) Platter was offering her that would eventually dismiss the theft charge against her. An SOC is essentially a plea contract. If you successfully complete the SOC terms, your case goes away. Angela’s SOC was a “deal” Platter had put together that included no jail time, an agreement to drop the charges after two years, and sought no restitution. According to Angela she asked Gilliland, “Why doesn’t he just dismiss everything? Why do we have to go the SOC route?”
“Because…” Gilliland started. “Because he has to. Because he’s got political pressure … He’d get creamed as a prosecutor if he just gave everything away completely. I mean, he wouldn’t have the job very long.”
And there it is; the million-dollar answer. Prosecutors, like Platter, will refuse to do the right thing, for the sake of their political careers. So much for justice…
With a statement in one of Platter’s emails that reads, “I certainly recognize [James Faire’s] claim of self-defense and understand it; however, I believe there is evidence that Mr. Faire did not act reasonably and that a dismissal would not be appropriate in this case,” it begs the question: just what is reasonable when faced with an angry mob and an extremely large man violently attacking you with a deadly weapon?
Is it reasonable to conclude that when defending yourself, the first thing that is taught to people is to remove yourself from the situation if you can, before all else? So, was it reasonable for James to get back in his vehicle and attempt to flee the attack rather than using his gun to end the violent confrontation? Was it reasonable that the Faires called 911 as soon as it was possible to do so, to report the attack? Was it reasonable that James and Angela waited a lengthy time for police to arrive? Was it reasonable, after learning that an individual was killed during their escape, to remain silent and no longer talk with police?
Or, Mr. Platter, is it your opinion that it was simply unreasonable to have not known, in the craziness of the moment, that the woman James lost sight of ended up underneath his tires as he tried to protect his wife and escape? Tell me, would you have let the group beat you; pummel you with weapons – sticks (with foul slogans written on them), scissors, and a lock on the end of a large chain – just to make sure no one was bent down under your field of view? Or, would you have tried to get out of there, just like James?
Let’s hope you never have to find out. And, let’s hope you never have to face the injustice of being falsely prosecuted, all because an investigator and his brother prosecutor decided to accept a story rather than the evidence; a slanderous story that the number one law enforcement officer parroted to the public without checking its validity. It’s a deceitful story that still haunts the Faires to this day, vilified as murderous squatters.
Okanogan County should be ashamed of their officials.
There was never a moment when the Faires stole money or intended bodily harm to anyone. There was never any type of homicide or manslaughter. It was just an unfortunate accident brought on by the actions of the group that attacked James and Angela. James was just trying to flee the mob whose obvious intentions were to harm his wife and himself.
Where are the charges on the individuals who factually and admittedly committed crimes – like Richard Finegold and George Abrantes?
Tell me Mr. Platter, is it reasonable to continue to waste the tax payer’s money in an attempt to unjustly prosecute the Faires just to extend the short duration of your career? The US~Observer would like to bet that the public doesn’t think it is.
One thing is certain, while you “make an offer in every case,” this is one case where no offer will be accepted. The Faires are innocent. See you in court on the 23rd.
Editor’s Note: Since reporting on Branden Platter becoming the Lead Okanogan County Prosecutor, the US~Observer has been contacted multiple times by individuals who suggest Platter is quite the womanizer. If you feel you have been violated in anyway by Branden Platter, please contact the US~Observer immediately, you are not alone, and you should have a voice.
Those of us who have investigated the Faire case find it more than reasonable to believe that Brandon Platter would “womanize”, “date a married woman” and worse. If a person would attempt to destroy an innocent, just to save face and civil liability, then that person is quite capable of doing anything.
For a full account of the Faire case, please watch the following video: