Okanogan County Prosecutor Branden Platter “recognizes – and understands – claim of self-defense,” but pushes life sentence anyway. Says Faire did not act in a reasonable manner.
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, tells 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?
After attending the Faire hearing on January 23, 2018, a professional associated with this case stated, “Prosecutor Branden Platter is not a human being, he’s just an academic process. He doesn’t care about the truth, he’s only concerned with protecting his office from liability and from looking bad publicly. He’s had overwhelming, factual and conclusive evidence of [the Faires’] innocence right in front of him for many months. This is the exact reason he has lowered all of their charges.”
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 days, 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?
That must be a serious question facing the judge, too, and any potential jury. How can Angela Faire be charged with Felony Theft in the first Degree for over two years and then have it reduced by Platter to Misdemeanor Theft III, without their being serious questions to the validity of any charge? We’d also like to point out the fact that Platter should have no jurisdiction in the theft charge. The alleged crime happened in Snohomish County – her case in Okanogan should be dismissed on this fact alone!
Interestingly, it was Angela’s attorney, Richard Gilliland, who answered the question about continuing to charge the Faires at all 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 but without any admission of guilt. If you successfully complete the SOC terms, your case goes away. Angela’s SOC was a “deal” Platter had put together that included a fee, lawyer’s fees, restitution in the amount of $2,500.00 to be paid to Michelle St. Pierre’s estate, no jail time, and an agreement to drop the charges after two years of Angela being crime-free. 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…
A New, Unbelievable Deal – Platter Shows His Hand
As noted above, Platter offered Angela an SOC which Angela refused. He subsequently sent another offer, which on its surface, seems like a “sweetheart deal”, but as with all things contractual there is a give and take, and Platter shows how conniving he can be “on the take”.
According to the SOC terms, Angela Faire would have to remain free from any “criminal law violation” for a period of one year for her charge to be dismissed completely. Again, it sounds reasonable, but considering that almost any incident can escalate into a criminal law violation, it isn’t much of a jump to suggest entrapment. Take for example being pulled over by an officer and asked for your ID. In many states you can simply decline and ask if you are being detained. However, in Washington State it is a misdemeanor to decline. It’s also a criminal violation to protest the government in groups of 3 or more and not disperse when told to. Almost anything can become a criminal law violation if they are looking for a reason to get you.
Angela has a lifetime of flying straight and narrow. But it isn’t the amount of time she faces having to live as she always has – without being a crook. It’s about what she would give up if for some reason the system found a way to criminalize her once again.
According to the SOC, “Upon a determination that the Defendant has breached the terms of the Stipulated Continuance, the Court shall immediately conduct a trial. The parties stipulate that the police reports and documents attached hereto and all documents provided in discovery, physical evidence seized in this case, and any expert analysis of that physical evidence and lab reports, shall be admitted and considered by the judge without objection and, that the Court, without a jury, shall conduct the trial. Defendant waives the right to testify, call witnesses or conduct cross examination.” (Emphasis Added)
Angela would have no right to defend herself from the allegations, no way to present her own evidence; she could, however, remain silent and face the determination of a judge who is part of the same system that has railroaded the Faires this entire time.
It just doesn’t sound reasonable, and it didn’t to Angela either, who turned down Platter’s offer.
(The 1st SOC was offered to Angela Faire in a conversation with her attorney. The 2nd SOC was presented in written form, which was acquired by the US~Observer, and can be read here.)
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 deadly weapon consisting of 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? Mr. Platter, why do you continue to buy into Finegold’s cunning deception of using his moderate Asperger condition to cover-up the crimes he has committed? Finegold was the boyfriend of the very astute Michele St.Pierre. Finegold is a property owner, and he is a computer expert. Finegold completely understands the crimes he has committed, and he needs to be held responsible for those crimes.
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.
BREAKING: Desperate to Score, Branden Platter Offers Angela a New 3rd Deal
Knowing that he has no evidence to convict Angela (or James, for the matter) on the Theft charge, Branden Platter makes a last-ditch effort to get Angela to sign a “Deal”.
Just hours before going to press, we received information that Platter has agreed to drop the time that Angela is required to be “law abiding” down to six months. He will also drop the attorney fee requirement if she will accept this third SOC offer.
Now, let’s recap Platter’s attempts to extort an SOC deal from Angela Faire. First, she would have to be on semi-probation for two years, pay an undetermined amount for fines and attorney fees, and pay $2,500.00 in restitution. Angela refused this deal.
In the second deal, Platter was willing to drop the semi-probation period down to one year. He also dropped the restitution stipulation completely, and set the fine at $250.00 with $400.00 ordered for attorney fees. Angela rejected this offer.
Platter’s third deal only requires Angela to be on semi-probation for six months and Platter will eliminate the attorney fee requirement. So, if Angela will pay a $250.00 fine and be good for six months, “benevolent” Okanogan County Prosecutor Branden Platter will dismiss the false Theft charge against her.
The US~Observer would suggest to any guilty party to take this kind of a deal, but Angela isn’t guilty, and we can see no reason why Angela would take it. It is expected that she will reject it summarily, seeking her day in court when it can be determined once and for all that the Okanogan prosecutor’s office falsely and maliciously pursued her for over two years.
At this juncture Mr. Platter needs to dig deep for a bit of intelligence. He should realize that he wasn’t the one who manufactured the false criminal charges against James and Angela. Former corrupted prosecutor Karl Sloan and his incompetent detective brother Kreg are responsible for starting this tragic ordeal. I should add that when things began to get hot in Okanogan for these two crooks, they skipped town and left a very young and inexperienced Braden Platter “holding the bag”.
If Platter is able to drum up enough smarts he will immediately drop all of the ludicrous charges against James and Angela Faire and he will file the appropriate criminal charges against Richard Finegold, George Abrantes and others. If not, he will wear this case like an albatross around his neck for the rest of his life.
One thing is certain, while Platter “make[s] an offer in every case,” this is one case where we are confident no offer will be accepted. The Faires are innocent.
See you at trial.
Editor’s Note: Since reporting on Branden Platter becoming the Lead Okanogan County Prosecutor, the US~Observer has been contacted multiple times with information regarding his personal behavior.
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.
If you have information regarding Branden Platter, or the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s Office, please contact us immediately by calling 541-474-7885.
Edward Snook contributed to this report.