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Press Release

Nespelem Man Sentenced to Twenty-Two Years in Federal Prison for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Arson, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Discharging a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and for Violating His Federal Supervised Release.

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that John Edward McGinnis, age 35, of Nespelem, Washington, was sentenced in federal court in Spokane for Assault with Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country, Arson in Indian Country, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition, and Discharging and Using a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence. McGinnis had entered a guilty plea on May 21, 2021.

At today’s sentencing, United States Senior District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson ordered McGinnis to serve a total of 264 months in federal prison to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release. In this regard, McGinnis was sentenced to 240 months on the charges set forth above and to an additional 24 months for violating his federal supervised release. These sentences were ordered to run consecutively for a total of 264 months. McGinnis also was ordered to pay $9,919.03 in restitution. In announcing the sentence, Judge Peterson stated, “My heart goes out to the victims” in this case. She also emphasized that “the offense was really terrible” for everyone involved.

According to court documents, McGinnis kidnapped four people at gunpoint in early June 2020. During the ordeal, which lasted several hours beginning on the evening of June 1 and continuing into the morning hours of June 2, 2020, McGinnis held his victims at gunpoint and even fired several gunshots in the immediate area of these victims. At the time of these offenses, three of the victims were minor children – ages 9, 13, and 17. After holding three of his victims at gunpoint inside their home on the Colville Indian Reservation, Defendant forced these victims into a truck, which McGinnis later stole. McGinnis then forced the victims to drive to McGinnis’s trailer, which McGinnis lit on fire, causing the trailer to burn to the ground.

At one point during the ordeal, three of the victims were able escape. McGinnis, however, was not finished. He found another victim in the Grand Coulee area – robbing her at gunpoint and forcing her into the stolen truck. After he kidnapped this victim, McGinnis sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she tried to escape. Ultimately, this fourth victim did manage to escape at a gas station in Spokane, Washington by causing McGinnis to believe she was going inside to pay for gas. Instead, the victim told the gas station attendant to call 911 and then locked herself inside the bathroom in fear McGinnis would come after her.

Shortly after this fourth victim escaped, Spokane Police saw the stolen truck near Second Avenue in Spokane, Washington. When officers tried to stop the truck, McGinnis led police on a high-speed chase that ended near Liberty Park, where McGinnis attempted to drive the truck off-road, and the truck became high centered. McGinnis was then taken into custody. Inside the stolen truck, police recovered a .22 caliber revolver, which McGinnis was not able to lawfully possess because of his prior convictions for second-degree burglary and assault with a dangerous weapon. Notably, McGinnis was on federal supervised release at the time of these offenses.

The case involved multiple federal, state, and local agencies, each of whom played significant roles in prosecuting the case, which began on the Colville Indian Reservation, continued into Grand Coulee Washington, and ended on the South Hill in Spokane.

“The facts of this case are shocking: Mr. McGinnis assaulted several minor victims, kidnapped them at gunpoint, sexually assaulted one of the minor victims, set fire to a trailer, and led police on a car chase that endangered even more lives,” U.S. Attorney Waldref stated. “The emotional trauma to each of these victims is real and will continue far longer than the twenty-two year sentence imposed today.” U.S. Attorney Waldref continued, “Today’s significant sentence is necessary to prevent Mr. McGinnis from harming others, including young children, but that is not all. By prosecuting cases such as this one, our office reaffirms its commitment to prioritizing and vigorously pursuing those who commit violent crimes on the Colville Indian Reservation, especially when the victims include some of the most vulnerable and innocent members of our community.”

“We feel for the victims,” said Michael Heiler, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, “and are thankful the subject was apprehended before he was able to do more harm. I would like to thank all of our law enforcement partners for working together to bring this horrible situation to some level of closure.”

Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Haskell added, “The convictions in this case showcase the success of multiple agencies collaborating and communicating with one another to make our communities safe. But more importantly, this sentence directly addresses the egregious conduct carried out by this individual and is a testament to the courage of the brave crime victims who survived their encounter with McGinnis.”

“The Spokane Police Department appreciates our partnerships with area law enforcement agencies, especially given that criminals frequently commit crimes that cross jurisdictional lines,” Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl stated. “In this incident, the suspect had already victimized multiple people in two other jurisdictions and traveled to Spokane, where he put the public and our officers in danger with a high-speed chase through the city. We commend our criminal justice partners at the federal, state, and local levels for their strong work in developing this case and providing some measure of justice for the victims.”

“It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward and confront the person who hurt them,” stated Assistant United States Attorney Richard R. Barker, who led the federal prosecution of McGinnis. “I’m grateful for the victims’ courage in this case, and I commend the individual agents and officers, who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.”

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tribal Law Enforcement Department of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Police, the Grand Coulee Police Department, and the Spokane Police Department. Richard R. Barker, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, prosecuted this case. Spokane County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Preston McCollam led a parallel prosecution of Mr. McGinnis, which is being resolved as part of the federal prosecution.

Updated August 9, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 2:20-cr-00091-RMP