COULEE CITY, Wash. – The 17-year-old accused of stabbing and killing his twin brother in Coulee City had his charges dropped this month.
Shawn Wachter had faced charges of manslaughter and assault – domestic violence following the death of his brother, Shane Wachter. Shawn Wachter was charged as an adult at the time, even though he was 17. Prosecutors said it was due to the severity of the crime.
Thursday, prosecutors announced they had dropped the charges after determining Shawn had stabbed his brother in self-defense.
Around 2:30 a.m. a Sunday morning in February, deputies were called to a home near West Washington Street for a report of a stabbing. Investigators said there were three to five people in the home at the time of the stabbing. Shane Wachter, the victim, was taken the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Court documents said the two got in to a fight early Sunday morning at their family home. The brothers had adjoining bedrooms that shared a sliding door between the two. Shawn told investigators that he was woken up by his brother Shane who was trying to get in to bed after a night of drinking. According to court documents, Shawn told Shane that he was being loud, and the two then started to throw punches.
The fight then spilled into the family kitchen where Shawn told detectives he grabbed a kitchen knife to keep his brother away. At one point, he allegedly hit him with the back end of the knife handle. After that, he said that his brother still came towards him, and charged into the knife.
“Statements from family members and others who witnessed the incident describe the deceased brother as the aggressor in the fight,” officials wrote in a release. “That Wacher had attempted to get away from his brother when the stabbing happened.
Shawn told authorities, "Shane kept walking into it or something and that he didn't purposely push the knife into him." Shane was then rushed to a hospital where he later died. The Wachter family at the time said that Shane's death was an accident and asked for prayers for both boys.
“The initial information justified charging Shawn with the killing,” said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Anna Gigliotti in a press release. “However, after reviewing all of the evidence we concluded Shawn’s claim of self-defense was compelling and the correct thing to do was to dismiss that case against him.”