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Beyond Wonderland Alleged Shooter Pleads Not Guilty to All Charges

The military member charged in the deaths of two people outside the Beyond Wonderland festival has pleaded not guilty to five counts in connection to the shooting.

James M. Kelly, an active member of the U.S. military, entered the not guilty plea of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and one count of first-degree domestic violence assault Wednesday at a hearing, the Seattle Times reported. Kelly is currently being held without bail.

Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz, an engaged couple who lived in Seattle, were killed and three more injured when Kelly allegedly opened fire in Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre’s campgrounds outside the Beyond Wonderland EDM festival on June 17.

Court documents stated that Kelly returned to the campgrounds from the festival proper, where he allegedly grabbed his handgun from his pickup truck, loaded it, and fired at Escamilla and Ruiz, as well as two other people responding to the gunfire. Kelly then allegedly attempted to fire at a Grant County Sheriff’s Office drone and later shot at his girlfriend, Lily Luksich, in the foot and upper leg.

Upon arrest, Kelly told police that he was hallucinating on mushrooms and believed the world was going to end.

Kelly’s next hearing is scheduled for July 25, with his trial expected to begin in late August. If convicted, Kelly faces life in prison.

Attended Val Flores, who witnessed the mass shooting, told Rolling Stone she heard the gunman’s rage before she saw the danger, claiming she heard Kelly yell to Luksich, “Lily, get the fuck back, I want you back here.” When Kelly allegedly opened fire, “We were crouching and getting into my car. That’s when we felt the bullets going right past us and we heard them right next to us.”


“[Kelly] was just screaming, and then he’s also mumbling and kind of ranting to himself, like laughing to himself the entire time,” Ben Hazard, another witness, told Rolling Stone. Hazard also recalled hearing the shooter declare, “Lily, this is it. They’re coming for us.” 

The second day of Beyond Wonderland was canceled following the incident.

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