The Washington State Patrol has concluded its investigation into the Airway Heights inmate murder, determining that there was little the guards could have done to prevent the June killing.
25-year-old Shane Goldsby has been charged with first-degree murder for the beating of 70-year-old Robert Munger in a common area of the Airway Heights Corrections Center.
Munger and Goldsby were both residents of Cowlitz County before their incarceration, and Munger was serving a 43-year sentence after he was convicted of child rape, child molestation and possession of child pornography.
Surveillance footage showed Goldsby punching, kicking and stomping on Munger’s head, and Goldsby later stated that he did it because Munger abused his younger sister.
The state Department of Corrections called in the WSP and asked the agency to conduct an independent investigation shortly after KHQ released a report of the murder and called into question why Goldsby and Munger had been housed together.
An agency spokeswoman stated that the DOC’s internal investigation found that Goldsby had not mentioned Munger during his intake screening at the prison, and none of the documents reviewed as part of the cell assignment process indicated a conflict between the two.
In a WSP report, Lt. Scott Davis of the WSP Investigative Services Bureau determined that “there is no evidence suggesting that screening staff should have known about the conflict between Goldsby and Munger.”
The report noted that that the girl identified by Goldsby as his sister goes by different last name, as does Goldsby’s mother. This further complicated any effort to screen for family relationships.
According to the inmates interviewed by WSP and Airway Heights police, Goldsby and Munger seemed to recognize when they were housed together, but Goldsby stated that he did not immediately identify Munger as his sister’s abuser.
While at Spokane County Jail, Goldsby told KHQ that he was outraged when he figured out who Munger was, adding that he approached prison staff in an office ask them to assign him a different cellmate but was told to leave. He stated that he attempted to contact prison staff by pushing a button in his cell but received no response.
The WSP report states that Goldsby was caught on surveillance camera entering a foyer and looking at a closed office door before turning to look into an adjacent medical office where a correctional officer and another employee were working. Both employees told WSP that they had no recollection of seeing Goldsby in the foyer.
“There was no conversation observed on video between Goldsby and any staff in the foyer or offices,” the report notes.
The report does not mention WSP’s attempts to interview Goldsby, who is now at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, housed in the “intensive management unit.” However, the report states that in his interviews with the Airway Heights police, Goldsby “did not mention any desire or attempt to request movement to a different cell.”
The DOC stated that all agency protocols appeared to have been adhered to in the events leading up to Munger’s death.
In a statement, DOC Secretary Stephen Sinclair said: “While the Patrol’s independent investigation found the department properly followed all procedures in place to protect our incarcerated population, this is an unfortunate and complicated incident and we are always reviewing procedures to identify areas for improvement.”