SPOKANE, Wash. - A 51-year-old man is dead, a 72-year-old man is in jail and a family is now shattered with feelings that sadly are too familiar.

The Stevens County Sheriff's Office says 72-year-old James Gates shot and killed 51-year-old Michael Leland following an argument at a home near Colville on Dec. 28.

Gates is in jail right now, but as we looked into the story we learned Gates' family has harbored a dark secret that has now come full circle.

It's started in the late 1970's. Leland's wife, then known as Michele Gates, had her first known encounter with death at just 11-years-old when her mother was murdered by her grandmother's husband.

From then on, death's shadow was cast over her future.

At 13-years-old, in 1980, Michele was arrested in Portland, Oregon for holding a 4-year-old girl underwater in a backyard pool.

When the girl stopped thrashing, Gates threw her body over a neighboring fence.

The case moved through the Oregon court system for the next half decade - a time when Gates also admitted to drowning her 3-year-old cousin in a pond in 1978.

When Gates was 18-years-old she was convicted of murder and diagnosed as a sociopath.

But Gates wouldn't face jail time because Oregon state law prevented female juveniles from being incarcerated past the age of 18.

The conviction was expunged and Gates' past could be kept a secret. But her record wouldn't remain unstained for long.

In 1992, at the age of 26, Gates was indicted by a federal court and sentenced to 15 years for hiring a hitman to kill her fiancés ex-girlfriend.

After her sentence ended roughly a decade ago, Gates laid low, got married, and moved to California.

But on Dec. 28, 2018, death came knocking once again - only this time it was by the hands of her father.

James Gates is behind bars at the Stevens County Jail, accused of shooting and killing Leland at a Colville home.

Gates' violent-filled past is now circling back, her choices catching up with her in a way no one could have predicted.

James Gates will be arraigned in the Stevens County courthouse this Friday at 9 a.m. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.

KHQ Local News Reporter

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