Rules outlined for coroner's inquest

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WALLA WALLA -- Seating will be limited to 30 people for the inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira, scheduled for Aug. 8 by Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood.

Chavira was shot May 4 by New York Store owner John Saul after Chavira broke into the store. The shooting sparked public reactions from community members and family and friends of Chavira, who staged several protests in the weeks following Chavira's death.

"A public inquest is held as a vehicle by which the public can ascertain the facts related to a death," Greenwood wrote in a news release. "It is a means for satisfying the community that the circumstances surrounding the death of one of its members will not be overlooked, concealed or ignored."

In the release issued Monday, Greenwood said 30 members of the public will be allowed to attend the inquest, along with a limited number of news reporters.

Tickets, according to Greenwood, will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and spectators will be subject to searches.

Spectators will also be expected to adhere to a dress code, including collared, long-sleeved shirts and pants for men, and dresses, blouse and skirts or long pants for women. Shorts, sandles and T-shirts are not acceptable, according to instructions posted on the coroner's website.

Spectators will not be allowed to wear buttons, ribbons or other items that show support for any of the "parties of interest," including Chavira and Saul.

In an interview Monday, Greenwood said Walla Walla police and the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office will cooperate for security during the event, and interruptions or disturbances will not be tolerated.

Greenwood and former Walla Walla County Coroner Stephen Ames will assist Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel, who will preside over the inquest,

Jury selection from the county jury pool will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 and the inquest will begin at 1 p.m. at the Walla Walla Police Department, 54 Moore St. The public is invited to attend both. For more information visit the Walla Walla County Coroner website at ubne.ws/N90tar.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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