State pays $9 million to settle case over killer Isaac Zamora

MOUNT VERNON -- The state has agreed to pay $9 million to the families of the victims of Isaac Zamora, who went on a deadly 2008 shooting spree after the Department of Corrections misclassified him as a nonviolent offender and failed to properly supervise him, the victims' lawyer said Wednesday.

The amount resolves a civil suit filed by the victims' families.

Zamora shot to death six people, including a sheriff’s deputy, and wounded four others with a knife on Sept. 2, 2008, in Skagit County, not long after he had served time for a felony drug conviction and was released by the DOC as a nonviolent offender. He was 29 at the time and described by his family as mentally disturbed and violent.

“Under the DOC risk assessment standards, Zamora was supposed to be under supervision by the Department of Corrections as a mentally ill, high-violent offender – the most likely to reoffend.  Unfortunately, he was misclassified by the DOC and then the DOC officer assigned to his case failed to follow DOC directives, and failed to supervise,” victims’ lawyer Jack Connelly said in a news release.

Victims killed by Zamora included a man who had accused Zamora of trespassing, a woman who lived near him in the town of Alger, two construction workers, a driver on Interstate 5, and Skagit County sheriff’s deputy Anne Jackson.

Zamora was captured after a police chase and later told investigators, "I kill for God. I listen to God."

In November 2009, Zamora pleaded guilty to 18 counts, including aggravated murder, and was sentenced to life in confinement. He was initially confined to the Western State Hospital for the mental ill.

Last December, Zamora became the first state mental patient to be moved from Western State Hospital to a state prison under a 2010 law that allows such a transfer without court approval.