Suspect list grows in Nampa killing

Documents indicate the alleged shooter believed the victim had broken a woman's jaw.

krodine@idahostatesman.comJuly 16, 2014 

From left: James Whitewater, Natalie Whitewater, Wayne Canaday, Allison Yancey and Joshua Wasserburger.

  • WHAT'S NEXT?

    James Whitewater, Natalie Whitewater and Wayne Canaday are scheduled for preliminary hearings July 29. At that time a magistrate judge will decide whether there is probable cause to forward their cases to District Court, where felonies are tried.

    Joshua Wasserburger and Allison Yancey have not been arraigned. Yancey was booked into the Ada County Jail on Tuesday and will be sent to Canyon County, Nampa police said.

Circumstances leading to the weekend shooting death of a 25-year-old Nampa man began to take shape Tuesday as three suspects were arraigned in court and two more were apprehended.

James Whitewater, 28, is accused of beating Pedro Martin Jr. with a beer bottle at a Nampa residence early Sunday morning and then fatally shooting him outside a nearby Walgreens store about 20 minutes later. He faces first-degree murder and aggravated battery charges.

According to court documents, a bloodied Martin went to the Walgreens and told an employee who asked about his condition that "it was just kids' drama." The employee offered to call 911, but Martin said no.

A short time later, about 2:40 a.m., shots rang out near the store and a witness called police, saying they saw someone fall near a garbage can. Officers arrived to find Martin with a gunshot wound to his chest and having difficulty breathing. He was taken to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Nampa, where he died. Investigators noted bruises, abrasions and other injuries on Martin's face, head, arms and legs.

Three people - Wayne Canaday, 32, of Emmett; Allison Yancey, 34, of Middleton; and Natalie Whitewater, James' 27-year-old wife - are accused of aiding and abetting the beer-bottle battery. Probable cause affidavits show that a witness told police all three participated in the altercation, hitting and kicking Martin.

A fifth suspect, not publicly identified until Tuesday, is Joshua Price Wasserburger. The 26-year-old Nampan is charged with aiding and abetting murder. Investigators believe the gun that was used to kill Martin belongs to Wasserburger, Nampa Police Sgt. Joe Ramirez said.

In the affidavits, police report that a witness to the battery said James Whitewater demanded Wasserburger's gun and took it against his will, then left the house. That witness identified James Whitewater from a photo lineup, according to the documents.

Two witnesses told police that Martin's assailant talked about "hitting women with a beer bottle" when he was hitting Martin with a bottle.

The second witness - a woman - told police that Martin struck her in the face with a beer bottle on July 5, breaking her jaw. Court records show no indication that Martin was charged with an attack on that date, and a witness told police that the woman reported that someone else had struck her.

RAPID ARRESTS

Citizen tips and assistance from other agencies "led to the identification of suspects and the capture of all fugitives in ... a rapid and well-organized manner," Nampa police said.

Police put out a call for information on four suspects Monday morning and arrested James Whitewater during a traffic stop Monday evening. Natalie Whitewater and Canaday were arrested at a Caldwell residence a short time later.

Police tracked Yancey down in Horseshoe Bend, where she was arrested Tuesday.

Wasserburger was already in jail in Canyon County on an unrelated warrant that was served during the initial homicide investigation, police said.

CONFLICT COUNSEL

The three suspects who have already been arraigned will be assigned public defenders, and a deputy prosecutor told Magistrate Judge William Dillon that conflicts of interest among the suspects should lead to the appointment of "conflict counsel."

Natalie Whitewater, who was booked into jail under the last name Shubert, actually asked for conflict counsel during her brief video arraignment.

She listed an Emmett address; James listed a Notus post office box. The couple have four children together and James has two other children, according to court officials.

James Whitewater told the judge Tuesday that he works at a tattoo shop. When asked how much money he makes, he said "none now." He appeared irritated and restless during his brief arraignment questioning, switching from "yes, sir" to "yeah" after Dillon repeated a question.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Whitewater could face life in prison or even the death penalty. He is being held without bond in the Canyon County Jail. His wife and Canaday had bond set at $1 million each. Bond has not been set for Yancey or Wasserburger.

Kristin Rodine: 377-6447

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