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Sandpoint woman sentenced in Hurst murder

February 26, 2022

Brandon Hurst
Cantrip Gatens
Neal Mouser
Cantrip Velite Gatens, a Sandpoint woman born in 1992, will serve at least seven years in prison for her role in the November 21, 2020, murder of Brandon Hurst, 38, a good-hearted man from  Bonners Ferry who didn't always make the best of decisions but who forever put friends ahead of himself. He died expecting to help the woman whom he thought once loved him.

Gatens was charged December 22, 2020, with conspiracy to commit murder and second degree kidnapping after Hurst's body was found by a jogger about 20-feet down an embankment off Caribou Creek Road in the Upper Pack River area in Bonner County December 10, 2020. He'd been shot multiple times, wrapped in a tarp and dumped down a steep embankment.

The charge of conspiracy to commit murder was dismissed and Gatens pled guilty to kidnapping, having convinced Neal Aaron Mouser, Spokane, born in 1961, to kill Hurst, her former boyfriend, for allegedly beating her up. She traveled to Spokane with another former boy friend who later told investigators that she spoke of Hurst's alleged abuse along the way and accused him of being an informant.

Leaving Mouser, Gatens and former boyfriend #2 walked to a nearby property owned by Scott Kachel, born in 1958, from where she called Hurst, telling him her car had broken down and asking for help. When Hurst arrived in a white PT Cruiser, he picked Gatens up and she directed him to a vehicle with the hood up on the killing ground, where Mouser was waiting.

Emerging from an adjacent wood line per plan, Mouser opened fire on Brandon, still sitting behind the wheel.

Mouser, charged with first degree murder, pled not guilty but on January 5, 2022, as trial loomed, accepted a plea deal, admitting to second degree murder. He was sentenced January 21 to a $245.50 fine, $1,625.50 costs and a prison sentence of 20 years to life ... with credit for 395 days served.

On Tuesday, Judge Barbara Buchanan convened the sentencing hearing on the kidnapping charge against Gatens, and, giving her credit for 428 days served, laid down a seven year sentence, determinate, before she can be considered for parole, and eight years indeterminate, during which the Idaho State Parole Board can consider her case, meaning she could spend just under the next 14 years in prison.

Kachel, who allegedly cleaned up the scene and dumped Hurst's body, was charged with accessory to first degree murder December 23, 2020. He posted $50,000 bond January 12, 2021.

On February 14, his jury trial was vacated. At 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, Judge Barbara Buchanan will consider his request for a change of plea.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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