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Plea deal: Tennance Buckingham to testify against Kevin Harper

Plea deal: Tennance Buckingham to testify against Kevin Harper

YAKIMA, Wash. --  Prosecutors struck a deal Thursday with a man suspected of involvement in the West Valley triple murder case. Tennance Buckingham pleaded guilty to helping Kevin Harper get rid of a stolen laptop that belonged to the Goggin family.

Police found the family brutally murdered in their home back in 2011. Buckingham initially lied about knowing Harper or ever receiving the computer from the Goggins house.

According to the agreement, Tennance Buckingham will testify against Kevin Harper who prosecutors said is once again the main suspect in the case.

Buckingham pleaded guilty to 1st degree trafficking stolen property and 1st degree rendering criminal assistance.

He agreed to an eight-month jail sentence. Prosecutors agreed to give him credit for time served. That means he will not be sent back to jail unless he fails to testify against Harper.

Buckingham will be sentenced in September.

Prosecutors said they are working to refile murder charges against Harper. They struck a deal with Harper last October when they said a new witness came forward that changed the timeline of events.

Per the agreement, Harper would have pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a firearm, and possession of stolen property, for having the Goggins' stolen credit cards.

In February, prosecutors dismissed their case against Tracy Culton, another suspect who was being held in connection with the murders. Since then, nobody has been charged with the Goggins' murders.

Friends of the Goggin family said they're still waiting for justice.

"There's a wonder if, does he know something more than they've been able to learn?" said Ray Vanderwall, a family friend.

What happened to the other players in the case?

»Crystal West, Kevin Harper's wife, was charged with rendering criminal assistance and attempted rendering criminal assistance. Those charges were dropped as part of her husband's plea deal.

»Grady Mitchell was arrested on unrelated charges last year, but has no charges pending in the Goggin case. He's not in custody.

From then to now: Timeline of events

A quick look at the twists and turns which all began more than two years ago.

  • February 18th, 2011: The bodies of the three victims were found inside the gated community of Falcon Ridge.
  • March 2nd, 2011: Kevin Harper was arrested for the crime.
  • April 2011: Investigators said Tennance Buckingham was caught with items stolen from the Goggin home. He was arrested.
  • May 2011: Harper's wife Crystal West was accused of destroying evidence.
  • June 2011: Tracy Culton first came into the picture. Investigators initially arrested her for burglary. She was charged with the murders by August.
  • August 2012: Kevin Harper's trial started and stopped on the same day when his attorney said they'd no longer waive the right to a speedy trial.
  • October 2012: The move that no one saw coming. Harper makes a plea deal with prosecutors who dropped all murder charges against him. He has not been sentenced, but is likely to get seven-years for the lesser crimes he agreed to.
  • February 8th, 2013: Murder charges dropped against Tracy Culton. Leaving no one on the hook for this triple murder.
  • April 16th, 2013: KIMA speaks exclusively to Tracy Culton. Watch: Part 1 | Part 2
  • April 19th, 2013: Prosecutors said they planned to revoke the plea deal with Kevin Harper and refile charges against him.
  • May 9th, 2013: Prosecutors strike a plea deal with Tennance Buckingham who agrees to testify against Harper.

Action News has been tracking the Goggins' murder case since the day it happened. Stay with KIMATV.com, Facebook & Twitter for the latest on the West Valley triple murder investigation.

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