YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1996
Teen will stand trial as adult

Gilmer described as 'scared' by attorney

The 17-year-old Selah boy who allegedly fired the shotgun that ended another teen's life on a dark country road was ordered Wednesday to stand trial as an adult Nov. 12 in Yakima County Superior Court.

George Gilmer stands accused of second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Zachary Kellar of Selah. He is being held in Yakima County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Gilmer's court-appointed attorney described the lanky, short-haired teen as being "scared."

Meanwhile, authorities are now discounting as a rumor information that Gilmer once dated the slain teen's 15-year-old girlfriend.

"They went out a few times, but it wasn't formal dating," said Yakima County sheriff's Lt. Dave Thompson. "We've talked to this young gal about it...things like going to football games with friends and sitting together."

In a phone interview, the girl's mother said Gilmer's family lived down the road but the two teens had limited contact and "were not romantically involved at anytime."

Kellar, a 17-year-old senior at Selah High School, and the girl were sitting in the boy's Ford Escort on Huntzinger Road outside Selah late Sept. 20 when a shotgun blast from a passing car hit him in the head. He died the next morning at Providence Yakima Medical Center.

Gilmer was riding around with a group of friends and shot at what he thought was an abandoned car, Thompson said.

The driver of the vehicle and the other teen-age passengers, including at least two girls, are not expected to be charged with anything, authorities said.

A relative of one of the teens called detectives about the shooting. The 12-gauge shotgun, belonging to the parents of one of the teens, has been confiscated.

Superior Court Judge Susan Hahn on Wednesday appointed public defender Rick Hoffman as Gilmer's attorny.

In a brief statement to the news media gathered outside the jail courtroom, Hoffman said he had talked to Gilmer and the boy was scared. "I would be too," he said.

Expressing his frustration with rumors about the case circulating in the community, Hoffman asked that reporters remain cautious of "information that is totally wrong" and sensitive to the feelings of the families.

"I'm hoping we can resolve this in court and not in the media," he said. "It has already generated a lot of emotion. Hopefully that can be harnessed in a way that it can benefit all of us."

Prosecutors initially considered keeping Gilmer in the juvenile system on a manslaughter charge. But damage to the car exceeded the $1,500 threshold for felony malicious mischief, prosecurotrs said.

A death resulting from a felony act is considered second-degree murder under state law, which also requires 16- and 17-year-olds suspected of murder to be charged as adults.

The maximum sentence for second-degree murder