Keller man admits cousin's 1991 slaying; will lead FBI to body 5-25-07

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A Keller man agreed Friday to show FBI agents where he buried his cousin after killing him in 1991 for urinating on his infant daughter.

James H. Gallaher, 49, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Edwin “Eddie” Pooler, on the Colville Indian Reservation. Pooler's body has never been found.

Gallaher, who had been scheduled to be tried next month for first-degree murder, agree to lead FBI agents to a remote site on the 1.4 million acre reservation where he said he buried Pooler after punching him in the head on April 14, 1991.

“Ed Pooler was my cousin, and I did kill him, sir,” Gallaher told U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley. “I feel I should be punished for what I've done.”

Gallaher told the judge he fatally punched Pooler, a smaller man, in the head and drove his body to a remote area.

Gallaher and a woman companion had a child together and allowed Pooler to stay in their home in Keller on occasion.

Court documents say witnesses told FBI agents that Gallaher broke Pooler's neck after having him in a headlock. Pooler had arrived drunk at Gallaher's home, and passed out or fell asleep in the living room, the documents say.

“At some point, Pooler roused himself, stood up, unzipped his pants and urinated on the living room floor,” court documents say. “It appeared he was so drunk that he did not fully realize what he was doing.”

The 11-month-old child was hit by the spray, leading to the confrontation between Gallaher and Pooler.

A federal grand jury indicted Gallaher, who has a lengthy criminal record, of first-degree murder in December 2005. Gallaher faced the possibility of life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, but will receive a maximum of six years at sentencing Aug. 27.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said the U.S. attorney's office agreed to the plea because investigators never located Pooler's body and would have had to rely on the testimony of witnesses whose credibility likely would have been attacked.