North Idaho

Man enters Alford plea to accessory to murder

SANDPOINT, Idaho - A northern Idaho man has entered an Alford plea to an accessory-to-murder charge filed after a 19-year-old man was shot to death last fall and buried in a shallow grave north of Hope.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 19-year-old Christopher Robin Garlin entered the plea Monday in 1st District Court. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction. It is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

Court records say Garlin told investigators he saw Austin Blake Thrasher shoot Michael Wyatt Smith last September.

Thrasher is charged with first-degree murder, but he has been found unable to assist in his own defense due to mental health issues.

Garlin's sentencing is set for Jan. 13.