YAKIMA, Wash. -- Kevin Harper's defense attorney made a surprising announcement, moments into a Tuesday status hearing for a special prosecutor's investigation.
"We have been extended an offer," said defense attorney Pete Mazzone. "We were hammering it out last night. Mr. Harper knows nothing about it because we haven't had a chance to tell him."
Word of the offer stopped the hearing cold and sent it into recess. Harper walked back into court an hour later smiling and gesturing to his supporters.
Pete Mazzone told the court his team and prosecutors worked out a tentative plea deal but remained tight-lipped.
KIMA reached out to all sides for information but no one is talking.
"No comment on anything right now," said Mazzone.
Before the deal, Harper was being tried on three counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Bill, Pauline and Elizabeth Goggin in West Valley last year.
This plea bargain could very well lower those charges.
The defense wanted the case thrown out altogether over claims prosecutors withheld documents and that detectives eavesdropped on Harper's jail conversations with his lawyer.
Those eavesdropping claims prompted the special prosecutor's investigation.
The allegations were brought to light when the case's prosecutors revealed detectives and jail workers accessed those recorded calls.
The plea deal could also mean the end of that.
The triple murder trial was forced to start at the end of August because of Harper's right to a speedy trial. But, a jury wasn't expected to be seated until November.
Any details about the plea agreement have yet to be released.
More information is expected to come Wednesday, at a second status hearing being held in the afternoon.