PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The man who police say robbed an Orchards-area convenience store and led Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a chase in late January, which ended with the death of an off-duty Vancouver police officer, is now facing three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, and several other charges.
Previously, on Jan. 30, 20-year-old Julio Cesar Segura was only charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, possession of a stolen vehicle, and attempt to elude. However, the Clark County Clerk’s Office told KOIN 6 News the charges could change.
Investigators say the Yakima resident was armed with a gun when he robbed a Chevron convenience store in the Orchards area the night of Saturday, Jan. 29. He then fled in a stolen vehicle and drove to the home of off-duty Vancouver Police Officer Donald Sahota. At the scene, the suspect and Sahota physically fought and Sahota was stabbed. Investigators say a Clark County deputy mistook Sahota for the suspect and fired several shots.
An autopsy performed by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Sahota died from “gunshot wounds of the torso” and the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, according to authorities on Feb. 1
On Tuesday, new court documents stated Segura is now facing the following charges: three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted kidnapping, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree robbery, one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and one count of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.
The court document listing the charges states that the first first-degree murder charge is a result of Segura committing or attempting to commit burglary in the first degree and in the course of the crime, he caused Sahota’s death. The second first-degree murder charge says that by trying to commit the crime of first-degree attempted kidnapping, Segura caused Sahota’s death.
The third first-degree murder charge states that Segura engaged in conduct that put another person’s life at risk, and thereby caused Sahota’s death. The second-degree murder charge says that Segura tried to commit first-degree assault, and in the course of the crime, he caused Sahota’s death. The attempted first-degree murder charge says Segura tried to kill Sahota and “did an act which was a substantial step toward the commission of that crime.”
All these charges note that Sahota was a law enforcement officer who was performing his official duties at the time he was killed and that at the time of Sahota’s death, Segura was armed with a deadly weapon – a knife.
The court document says Segura is facing a charge of attempted kidnapping because he allegedly tried to abduct Donald Sahota’s wife, Dawnese Sahota, and intended to hold her as a shield or hostage and possibly intended to injure her.
The burglary charge accuses Segura of unlawfully entering or staying in a building that belonged to Donald and Dawnese Sahota while Segura was armed with a deadly weapon and intended to commit a crime.
The robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle, and attempt to elude police charges all stem from the events that led up to Segura’s arrival at the Sahotas’ property.
Details from a new probable cause statement
According to a probable cause statement the Kelso Police Department released Feb. 15, the chase from the Chevron gas station to the Sahotas’ home exceeded speeds of 110 mph. Officers ahead of the chase used spike strips, but said the suspect avoided them, left the roadway and crashed near 219th Street and 72nd Avenue. Deputies shared information that the suspect had likely run away from the scene after the crash.
Soon after, investigators say Dawnese Sahota, Officer Donald Sahota’s wife, called 911 saying a stranger was at her door. The stranger said he crashed his car nearby and needed help.
A Portland Police Bureau airplane responded to the scene and was flying over the home, recording the events, the statement says.
The detective who wrote the probable cause statement said video from the plane and the recording of Dawnese Sahota’s 911 call indicates Segura left the home after his initial arrival and began walking toward a wooded area. At this time, Dawnese learned from dispatch that officers were looking for a man who matched the description of the person who was just at her doorstep.
About 20 seconds later, video shows Segura turning around and heading back to the home. At this time, investigators believe Donald Sahota stepped outside and an altercation between the two occurred. Investigators believe Sahota was trying to take Segura into custody.
During the 911 call, Dawnese Sahota said the two men began fighting and that the suspect was hitting her husband.
Police believe a handgun fell to the ground during the fight and in the video from the plane, they could see one person swinging his arm into the other before one person got up and ran into the Sahota’s home, closing the door behind them.
While the two were wrestling on the ground, responding officers were arriving. One of the responding law enforcement officers was Deputy Jonathan Feller from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
The probable cause statement said that at the same time Feller’s patrol vehicle came to a stop, the man who had been shut outside the home picked up what investigators believe was a handgun and went to the door of the home and began kicking it. A couple seconds later, Feller had gotten out of his vehicle, raised his rifle and fired four shots at the person kicking at the door.
Via the open 911 call, police said they could hear loud banging sounds followed by Dawnese Sahota screaming and then gunshots.
Less than 10 seconds after the last shot was fired, police said Dawnese ran out of the garage door yelling for the officers to help her husband and pointing toward the person who had been shot near the front door.
About a minute later, Segura opened the front door and surrendered.
Dawnese Sahota told investigators that after Segura entered her home, she ran and exited through the main door to her garage before coming outside through the overhead garage door. She said while she was running through her home she could feel the suspect grabbing at her “trying to take her down.” She said, “I thought he was going to get me, and I was going to die.”
She said when Segura forced his way inside the home, the door struck her and injured her forehead.
In an interview with a Kelso Police detective, Segura told investigators he stabbed Donald Sahota at least three times in the torso and that when Sahota contacted him in the driveway, he had a gun and identified himself as a police officer.
He said while they were fighting Officer Sahota lost control of his gun and they were both trying to get it.
In the interview, Segura said he believed his third stab is what took Officer Sahota’s breath away and said, “Now she is a widow because of me, man,” and began to cry. The court document says that Segura said, “They had such a nice home and I ruined that for them. I destroyed that. I’m not a killer, man.”
Segura said he didn’t know why he ran into the home. When he came out, he said he heard police officers say, “Wait, is that the suspect, or is that the suspect?”
The Kelso police detective said he later learned the cashier at the Chevron who had been robbed gave Segura around $400 to $500 from the register.
Deputy Feller told investigators he knew the suspect and homeowner were fighting at the time he was directed to the house. He said he heard updates on the radio that a gun had been dropped and that someone picked it up. At the scene, he believed he saw a man who matched the robbery suspect’s description pick up a handgun, look directly at him, then turn and run toward the house where he tried to force his way inside.
Feller said based on what he was seeing, he was convinced the man kicking at the door was the suspect and that he was trying to get into the house to harm the occupants. Feller said he fired his rifle in an attempt to stop the man from getting inside and killing the occupants. He said he learned he had shot Officer Sahota after Segura came outside and was taken into custody.
The Clark County medical examiner told the Kelso Police Department detective that a stab wound Sahota suffered to his neck was a life-threatening injury and could have caused him to bleed out if he didn’t receive immediate care. However, she said the gunshot wounds to Sahota’s chest were so traumatic that those were the injuries that took his life.