Salem house explosion suspect rejects plea deal, trial likely
Stephen McComsey, 33, of North Creek is facing six counts of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, felonies. Prosecutors allege he discharged propane into the basement of a rental property he shared with six people at 4383 Route 29 in Salem.
The house was leveled when police say a spark from a water heater ignited the propane, killing McComsey's 16-year-old nephew, Robert Sanford; Tammy Palmer, McComsey's fiancée; her son, Lawrence Berg Jr. and his girlfriend, Clarissa Porlier, both 19; Darrell Durham, 20; and his two-month-old daughter, Niah Lynn Durham.
McComsey was outside the home when it exploded.
His bail was reduced Friday for the second time to $5,000 cash or $10,000 bail bond, according to Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright. It was set at $75,000 cash or $250,000 bail bond when McComsey was first arrested.
Bail would be contingent on McComsey agreeing to house arrest, but he was still in Washington County Jail as of 6 p.m. Friday.
The defendant also rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors Friday. Kortright said his office offered McComsey one to three years in prison if he pleaded guilty to one felony count of reckless endangerment in satisfaction of all charges.
Kortright would not comment on why McComsey, who is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was offered a deal with so little time in prison.
McComsey's attorney from the public defender's office did not return requests for comment.
"It was not accepted, so it looks like we are heading to trial at this point," the district attorney said.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 24. Kortright said he expects the trial to take place in December.
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