MOSCOW Guy W. Broncheau Jr. of Lapwai was found guilty by a jury Wednesday afternoon of the First degree murder of Richard L. Bear.

But the jury of six men and six women was unable to reach a verdict on the murder count against co-defendant Michael S. Barros. Federal prosecutors say they will file for another trial against Barros.

Broncheau was also found guilty of intimidating a witness. Sentencing of Broncheau on both convictions is scheduled for Nov. 14. He faces possible life in prison.

The two men, both 43, were led away from the Federal Building here in handcuffs and shackles, bringing an end to a weeklong trial that resulted in the jury deliberating for more than 17 hours.

As has been their demeanor throughout the trial, neither defendant showed much emotion or interacted with the other after the verdict was announced.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge polled the jury twice, once at the request of Broncheau's attorney, Everett Hofmeister of Coeur d'Alene, and another time to make sure the jurors were indeed deadlocked on the charge against Barros.

About one hour before, the jury sent a note to Lodge, telling him they had reached a verdict on two counts, but were hung on the third. Lodge called the panel into court and encouraged them to deliberate further. About one hour later, the jury returned with the final decision.

Attorneys for the defendants maintained throughout the trial the cases should have been severed. Hofmeister moved for a mistrial a number of times, claiming Barros' attorneys, Judy Clarke and Roger J. Peven of Spokane, had essentially joined the prosecution in pointing an accusing finger at his client.

Evidence against both men swirled around statements they allegedly made to other people.

Broncheau told at least two people, according to trial testimony, that he stabbed Bear five times during a fight. Barros told investigators he helped dispose of the body, but did not kill Bear.

Skeletal remains of Bear began to show up in the Snake River below Lewiston in 1990, some two years after Bear was reported missing in April 1988. Bear's disappearance became a topic of discussion and rumor around Lapwai for years.

The case was tried in federal court because the killing took place on the Nez Perce Reservation and both defendants are members of the Nez Perce Tribe. Bear was also a Nez Perce.


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