Family of victim shot by Auburn police officer feels denied justice after trial delayed again

The family of Jesse Sarey says they are desperately waiting for their day in court, after waiting nearly four years. Sarey was shot and killed by Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson. The Department confirmed to KIRO 7 that he remains on paid leave, while charged with murder and assault.

“I think every family has a right to be able to face the person that murdered their loved one and have a right for a court system to determine whether they’re guilty or not. And that’s not how the system works. not how it works,” says Elaine Simons, the foster mother of Sarey.

She believes the family is being denied justice, as their trial date continues to be postponed. Simons says their court hearing has been delayed more than a dozen times.

“Changing prosecution, changing defense, changing judge. Everything keeps changing to then hold this [case] up from moving forward. And our family’s ready,” says Simons. “We need accountability and we need it now.”

KIRO 7 reached out to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about the delays.

‘We understand the concerns. This is the first time this new statute has been interpreted in King County. As such, it requires novel arguments and new legal research. It is a complicated case with a significant number of witnesses and experts. Our lawyers and defense are working hard on preparing this case for trial.’ writes spokesperson Casey McNerthney.

He’s referring to a 2018 statute that changes the burden of deadly force, making ‘Nelson v State of Washington’ a landmark case when it goes to trial.

This Friday, a judge was supposed to set a trial date, but it was postponed to June.

Simons says the grief and waiting takes a toll on families but remains optimistic that a judge will honor the June date. Bringing the family one step closer to justice, says Simons.

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