Paperwork nearly delays Booth murder sentence

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Booth

COEUR d'ALENE — Justin Roy Booth’s sentencing for murder will not be delayed despite a paperwork muddle that had prosecutors seeking a judge’s assurance Monday to keep the hearing on schedule.

First District Judge Scott Wayman said the sentencing will remain on the July 31 calendar, despite the lack of a presentence report for Booth, who faces life in prison for his part in the 2016 murder of Coeur d’Alene resident Bo Kirk. A presentence investigation report, called a PSI, which is based on defendant interviews, criminal history and counseling reports, is often ordered by a judge and used in sentencing decisions. In Booth’s case, the PSI had not been completed as ordered.

Usually it takes several weeks to prepare a report. With less than 21 days before sentencing, prosecutors wanted to know why a report had not been scheduled, and whether defense attorneys could expedite the process to ensure the hearing will not be postponed.

Deputy prosecutor Rebecca Perez said Kirk’s family, his wife and children, have waited almost two years for closure.

“I really don’t want this sentencing to be moved out,” Perez told the court. “I really want to get this behind them.”

Perez said presentence investigators were willing to work after hours and next weekend to conduct the interviews and prepare the report in time for sentencing.

Defense attorney Jed Nixon said the time squeeze is not optimal, but he would also push to get the paperwork completed.

“It’s going to be tight,” Nixon said. “We could use more time.”

Booth pleaded guilty to robbery and first-degree murder in April as part of a plea agreement on the eve of a jury trial. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed three felonies, including second-degree kidnapping, arson and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Co-defendant David Hutto was sentenced last year to back-to-back life sentences with no chance for parole for his role in the October 2016 murder of Kirk. Both men were accused of kidnapping Kirk from his Ramsey Road driveway, and stealing his money and pickup truck before killing him by shooting him in the back and dumping his body along a national forest road north of Hayden Lake.

Booth’s sentencing is scheduled at 9 a.m. July 31 at the old federal courthouse in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

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