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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for July 2009

Russell appeals his 3 convictions

Despite apologizing for the drunken crash that killed three Washington State University students and seriously injured three others (shown above), Fred Russell has appealed his conviction and 14-year prison sentence.

Read Tom Clouse’s story here.

Read past coverage of the case here

Courthouse watch: 7.31.09

A man who eluded federal authorities for nearly a month was captured today after U.S Marshals tracked his muddy footprints in northeast Spokane County.

Anthony E. Burke, 21, served time in federal prison for possessing ammunition when history of commitment at a mental hospital prohibited him from doing so.

Court papers filed as part of his federal conviction portray Burke, alias Anthony Garver, as a troubled young man haunted by his step-father’s abuse and angry at authorities for calling him mentally ill.

Burke appeared in federal court today. Read my story here.

Courthouse watch: 7.30.09

No material from convicted killer Shellye Stark’s former lawyer’s files will go to prosecutors seeking a murder conviction against her married boyfriend  because the material could be critical to Stark’s appeal, a judge ruled today.

Spokane County Superior Judge Ellen Kalama Clark dodged a legal debate posed by state appeals lawyer Gregory Link and Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell when she declined to quash a subpoena that she herself had granted two weeks ago.

Instead of addressing the legality of the subpoena, she said she was quashing the subpoena because she’d seen the materials and had decided they couldn’t be used.

In her decision June 22, Clark had said she would sort through Russell Bradshaw’s files to see if there was information pertaining to Moore and private investigator Ted Pulver, the key witness in the case against Moore. Neither Haskell nor LInks has seen the material.

“I have an advantage over you gentlemen,” Clark said to Haskell and Links Thursday. “I have that infomation.”

By deeming all of the material too sensitive to Stark’s case to disclose, Clark avoided a legal debate about, essentially, a decision she’d already made -  whether material in one defendant’s case could be used in another’s.

She told the attorneys of her decisions after the debate because, “I wanted to hear what you had to say.” (Read a blog post about the legal filings here.)

Haskell said he believe the state’s case against Moore,  who’s accused of helping Stark with a plot to kill her husband, then of concocting a sordid tale of abuse to dupe police into thinking the killing was in self defense.

“It’s not helpful, but it is what it is,” Haskell said. “I think he still have a case.”

Moore, who was arrested in Orange County April 27 in a story you can can read here, appeared in court with Link (Stark’s appellate attorney), and Moore’s public defender, Jeff Compton.

“Excellent job,” Moore told the lawyers after the hearing.

His trial is set for Oct. 26. 

More charges expected against alleged robbers

It didn’t take police long to connect the witness to the suspect: they live in the same apartment.

That detail may have helped police solve a series of pizza place holdups over the past two weeks that Spokane detectives think culminated with a robbery at a payday loan center Monday.

Read my story here.

Sting targets Craigslist prostiution

Kootenai County authorities were monitoring local Craigslist postings even before Philip Markoff was charged with murder and with assaulting and robbing women he’d met through the Web site, which offers free classified ads.

Their effort highlights a sex market that thrives online and exists all over the United States, from glitzy East Coast cities to seeminly sleepy North Idaho towns.

Read my story here.

Still wanted: Stoney Boy and Mikey Mike

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that helps arrest two men wanted in connection with a July 24 shooting.

Police say Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious, 38, (left) and Michael “Mikey Mike” R. Gardner, 23, (right) were involved in an early-morning altercation near South Perry Street and Seventh Avenue that began with a fight at a north Spokane bar.

Read about the case here.

Police on Monday searched a 1997 Cadalliac Seville parked near the crime scene for signs of the men, but a Crime Stoppers news relese mailed today said the men have gone into hdiing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit the tip online at

Tipsters do not have to give their name but should provide a code name or number.

Juror’s omission gets West new trial

A judge has overturned a conviction that would have put a registered sex offender in prison for life.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price on Thursday ordered a new trial after a juror acknowledged she knew the defendant, Pierre D. West, prior to his May trial but claimed otherwise during jury selection.

Read Thomas Clouse’s story here.

Read past coverage of the case here.

Courthouse watch: 7.28.09

Two men accused of robbing a payday loan center Monday night met two very different fates today in Spokane County Superior Court.

One was jailed on $100,000 bail. The other was  ordered released after a judge ruled there was no probable cause to hold him on a first-degree robbery charge, but then held when a first appearance was rescheduled.

A probable cause affidavit filed in court today details accusations against Daniel I. Neace, 19, who appeared in court via video on one count of first-degree robbery.

Police say he walked into the Check into Cash at 555 E. Francis Ave. about 4 p.m., pointed a gun at the clerk and fled with money.

A police dog helped track the suspect, leading police to arrest Neace and Nathan J. Molina, 21. A third suspect, Michael J. Anderson, 20, was arrested this afternoon and is in jail on a first-degree robbery charge.

Details of Molina’s involvement aren’t mentioned in the probable cause affidavit, so Judge Ellen Kalama Clark ordered Molina released today.

He remained in jail that night, however, and a jail employee said he due in court again Wednesday.

Anderson’s involvement in the heist is unclear, but the affidavit includes a statement from a witness whose last name is Anderson.

That man was cashing a check at the loan center at the time of the robbery.

This isn’t Neace’s first brush with the law. He was arrested last year after a woman said he’d passed her car and fired a pistol out the window at trees.

Neace faces a second-degree assault charge for the incident, which you can read about here. (It’s the second item.)

Suspects being released from jail because of missing paperwork or administrative errors is a problem you can read more about here.

Then and now: Sleepy car thief

A Spokane teenager who fell asleep in a stolen car after asking convenience store customers for help hot-wiring was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for 86 days served.

Cody A. Gronau, 19, (pictured above in 1996 as a Garden Springs first grader) was arrested in May in the parking lot at the Zip Trip at 1523 W. 10th Ave. 

Police say he had problems getting his car started and asked a clerk for a screwdriver and pliers, then tried hot-wiring the car with a customer. 

The car wouldn’t start, and Gronau fell asleep inside until police arrived about 5:50 a.m. and discovered the car had been stolen a few hours earlier, according to court papers.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.

Judge Maryann Moreno ordered Gronau to pay a $500 fine and more than $1,100 in restitution.

A plea deal hatched by Deputy Prosecutor Douglas Hughes and Public Defender Victoria Blumhorst called for Gronau to be sentenced to credit for 86 days served in jail, but Moreno imposed an extra four days.

15 years for meth; 6 months for homicide

A Post Falls man will spend at least five years in prison for selling and possessing methamphetamine.

Donald J. Hall, 42, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison with eligibility for parole after five years. Judge Lansing Haynes sentenced Hall, who was charged after police found meth-making supplies in his hotel room.

Police had responded to a report of suspicious behavior when they saw drug paraphernalia, then searched the room.

Hall had two previous felony drug convictions and several misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1985.

“The long sentence imposed by Judge Haynes reflects the seriousness of the offense and Mr. Hall’s prior criminal history,” Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said in a statement.

Deputy Prosecutor Ann Wick handled the case.

The sentence stands in stark contrast to sentences imposed to three men convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter.

While the three were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, judges retained jurisdiction over their cases and they were released after six months.

Read about that here.

Second mistrial declared in rape case

A mistrial was declared in the trial of a young man accused of raping a woman at a party on Halloween 2007.

Kevin A. Thompson is charged with second-degree rape for the alleged attack at a home in the Whitworth University area.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese declared the mistrial on June 23 after the jury submitted a question, according to court records.

Thompson’s first trial last November ended in a hung jury. The jury was made up of seven women and five men, with one man acting as an alternate juror.

A new trial is set for Aug. 17.

Thompson is represented by Scott Staab. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Edward Hay is prosecuting the case, according to court records.

Read past coverage of the case here and here.

Courthouse watch: 7.27.09

Suspects listed on today’s court docket included a man accused of a jewelry scam.

Christopher M. Lancaster, 26, was charged in February after police raided Clocktower Jewelry in January, where they say Lancaster was selling jewelry he’d stolen from Dodson Jewelry, where he’d work since July 2008.

According to a probable cause affidavit, another jewelry store employee told Dodson’s owner John Fix that she saw Lancaster selling jewelry at Clock Tower and telling the employee it was from “a defunct family jewelry store.”

No family store ever existed, police say.

Fix estimated he was missing more than $50,000 in jewelry, according to the affidavit.
A Clock Tower employee told police Lancaster had sold about $18,000 worth of jewelry at the store since September.

Lancaster, who is represented by Senit Lutgen, had an omnibus hearing scheduled today.

Arizona murder suspect accused of 1997 Douglas Co. killing

A murder unsolved for 12 years in Douglas County may be linked to a man charged in a high-profile Arizona murder linked to a rogue border defense group.

Jason “Gunny” Eugene Bush, Jr., 34, faces a murder charge for the killing Jonathan Bumstead, 18, in the Douglas Creek area on Sept. 21, 1997.

Bush is in the Pima County Jail in Arizona, accused with two others of murdering a man and his 9-year-old daughter on May 30.

One of the suspects, Shawna Forde of Everett, was a one-time member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a citizen border patrol group, before she started her own border enforcement organization.

Bush was also a member of that group. Read a story on that here.

Confidential informants led detectives to Bush, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Bush is also charged with killing a transient, Hector Manuel Lopez Partida, on July 24, 1997, in Wenatchee.

Read a story on that here.

Opera proves an effective crime-repellent

SEATTLE (AP) — The idea of using annoying music to repel loiterers is catching on a some businesses and other locations in the Puget Sound area.

Classical music has cleared the parking lot at Saar’s Market in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle where crowds of up to 25 people would hang out, leading to drug-dealing and fights.

Pierce Transit spokesman Lars Erickson told The Seattle Times that vandalism declined at the Tacoma Mall Transit Center after the classical and country music started playing in 2007.

The McDonald’s restaurant at Third and Pine in downtown Seattle also found that country music moves loiterers. The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle occasionally plays “It’s a Small World After All.”

Courthouse watch: 7.24.09

A former Bonner County Sheriff’s deputy’s sentencing was postponed Friday in federal court in Spokane when the judge requested more information on the man’s health.

Here’s Thomas Clouse’s report:

“James M. Sebero, 59, (shown above in 2008) previously pleaded guilty to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of more than $1.5 million in benefits by claiming to be a paraplegic, according to indictments filed last year in Idaho and Eastern Washington federal courts.

The scheme fell apart after federal agents, investigating Sebero for fraudulently performing annual airplane inspections, learned he’d been receiving VA benefits since 1976, a year after he ended a six-year stint in the Air Force at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Sebero — who later worked as a marine deputy, operated heavy equipment, became a pilot and owned several businesses — has pleaded guilty to the inspection case, lying to the government and 55 counts of wire fraud, which was part of the scheme that netted him about $6,300 a month in disability payments.

He faces up to 20 years in prison. U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush said Friday he needed more information about Sebero’s physical condition before deciding how long a sentence to impose and to which federal facility Sebero will be sent.

No date was set for the sentencing, which includes assurances that Sebero will reimburse the government $950,000 and forfeit his residences in Sandpoint and Spokane. He has already sold four cars, including a Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, a 40-foot boat and helicopter, according to court testimony.

Sebero — who walked with the aid of arm-brace crutches — had no comment after the hearing.”

Read past coverage of the case here.

CdA man gets 43 years for crack dealer’s murder

Here’s Thomas Clouse’s report on a sentencing in a murder case this week.

“A Coeur d’Alene man will spend more than 42 years in prison for the October 2008 killing of a crack dealer in Spokane.

Henry J. Holloway, 26, appeared Thursday before Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen, who ordered Holloway to spend 510 months in prison for the killing of 43-year-old Anthony E. Dennis.

The murder was cracked when detectives tracked a call history on the dead man’s cell phone to Holloway and two other co-defendants, according to court records.

Jalil K. Handy, 21, who was with Holloway that night, told police that the victim had once sold Holloway “bunk” crack and that Holloway needed money because he was a new father.

Dennis was found dead from two gunshot wounds - one in the chest and one in the head - on Oct. 8 in his 1999 Ford Expedition near Grant Street and Pacific Avenue in Spokane.

After the crime, Holloway bragged to the co-defendants, according to court records, that he stole all of Dennis’ money: four $1 bills. ”

Handy remains in jail on a first-degree murder charge.

Samuel Thomas IV, 22, was originally charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 12 months in prison with credit given for 103 days served, records show.

Read an earlier story on the case here. here

Through the years: ‘Stoney Boy’ Lucious

The suspected gunman in this morning’s wild fight in the South Perry Street area has a lengthy criminal history.

Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious (shown above in pictures distributed in, left to right, 2009, 2007 and 2004) has dozens of arrests on his record, including convictions for riot, second-degree assault, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance.

In 2007, bail bondsmen trying to arrest him on misdemeanor warrants backed off when they realized he was armed, triggering a SWAT team stand off you can read about here.

Now he’s wanted for two counts of attempted murder. Read my story here.

The second suspect, Michael R. Gardner, was questioned ina  shooting at a home on North Perry Street four years ago. (Read about it here.)

That home was eight blocks down the street from a fatal gang-related shooting in 2007 that started much like this morning’s chaos did: an altercation at Lefty’s followed by a fight at a house party.

Read a story on that case here.


Career criminal dies in Bonner County Jail

A Bonner County Jail inmate who died last month suffered from an enlarged heart, an autopsy ruled.

Ward David Coble, 50, was found dead in his cell June 18.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death to be from dilated cardiomyopathy, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said today. That means his heart was weakened and enlarged and couldn’t pump blood properly

Toxicology reports showed no drugs in Coble’s system, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Coble, who was from Spokane but lived in Blanchard, was in jail on a charge of eluding police, according to court records.

Coble was also awaiting trial on a domestic violence charge and had a federal warrant in Eastern Washington for violating his probation on a weapons conviction in 1990. 

That conviction earned him a 15-year prison sentence because of seven past felony convictions, included armed robberies of grocery stores, according to a story you can read here.

He unsuccessfully appealed that sentence to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and was released in 2005. Read the court ruling here.

Woman arrested in fatal stabbing

A woman accused of stabbing a Spokane man to death this month was arrested Thursday.

Maggie May Tyler, 24, faces one count of second-degree murder after Spokane police arrested at Walgreens at Crestline and Wellesley at 1:30 p.m.

Read my story here.

Do you know where your kids are?



A woman found her apartment ransacked after a weekend trip earlier this month, and police are looking for two people they say are responsible.

Nathan E. Sumner, 21, and Andrea B. Geier, 22, each face one count of first-degree possession of stolen property after police found items stolen from the apartment, located in the 1800 block of North Hutchinson, in a neighboring apartment, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

A search warrant executed July 17 said they live next door to the victim, but Sgt. Dave Reagan wrote in a news release that they’ve abandoned their apartment at 711 S. Elm.

Either way, police are asking for the public’s help finding the two. If you know where either is, call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Courthouse watch: 7.23.09

A man who tried to escape from police by jumping into Latah Creek will spend about five years in prison, a judge ruled today.

As pictured above, Paul J. Reinhardt, 40, was arrested in February on the banks of Latah Creek after fleeing from Spokane police trying to arrest him for domestic violence. 

A railroad crew pointed him out to police, according to a story you can read here.

Reinhardt pleaded guilty today to second-degree assault and attempting to elude police.

He got 63 months for the assault and 22 months for attempting to elude, but the sentences will be served at the same time.

Judge Jerome Leveque sentenced Reinhardt this morning.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Gayle Ervin represented the state; the Counsel for Defense represented Reinhardt.

About those studded tires

If you’ve still got them on your ride, take them off. If Washington’s mandatory April 1 deadline wasn’t reason enough, here’s a reminder of the lack of traction those tires provide on dry roads in the summer heat.

 WSP: Studded tires, negligent driving caused crash

Oops! Police chief cited for speeding

Even the city’s top cop can have a lead foot.

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was ticked for speeding on Saturday as she hunted for a picnic spot along the Spokane River.

The chief was cited for driving 43 mph in a 30 mph zone in the 2900 block of Upriver Drive by Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Thurman.
That’s a $154 fine.

Kirkpatrick apologized for the mishap in an interview with KHQ news. Check that out here.

I posted the ticket, but policy prevents me from redacting personal information, so that didn’t work out.

Courthouse watch: 7.22.09

Arraignment for an accused pharmacy robber was postponed as he applies for a public defender.

Tom E. Snell, 24, appeared before Judge Ellen Kalama Clark via video. Rachel Sterrett represented the state, but Snell didn’t have a lawyer and Clark agreed to postpone the arraignment until August 4 at 10:30 .am.

Snell was arrested July 10 and accused of robbing the Rite Aid drugstore at 29th Avenue and Regal Street of OxyContin on July 6. 

Witnesses identified the robber’s getaway car as a blue Toyota pickup, and a tip based on a news report led police to 7th Avenue and Adams Street, according to search warrant.

There, they found a truck matching the description from the robbery. It was registered to Snell in Nine Mile Falls, according to a search warrant. Snell is in jail on $30,000 bail; $5,000 is for a separate charge of third-degree organized retail theft.

Spokane’s surge in OxyContin-related crime continued this week with a home invasion that saw two men steal OxyContin and hydrocodone from a 54-year-old woman.

On Saturday, a man tried robbing the same Rite Aid that Snell’s charged with robbing.

Read a story on those incidents here.

Sentenced to years in prison, 3 Idaho men are free after 6 months

A man who killed a 10-year-old boy in a drunken driving crash in Coeur d’Alene in May 2008 was released from a correctional facility this month.

Ryan A. Jabaay, 33, (left) will be on probation for five years after serving six months at Cottonwood Corrections Facility, where he underwent treatment for alcoholism.

Jabaay was sentenced in January to 12 years in prison with eligibility for parole after two for a Memorial Day 2008 crash that killed Sawyer Frisbie, who was visiting from Dallesport, Wash., with his family.

But Judge Charles Hosack retained jurisdiction over the case for six months, meaning Jabaay underwent counseling assessments that recommended whether he should be sent to a state prison, and Jabaay was released after a July 9 hearing.

He’d been in custody since May 26, 2008. Read a story about his case here.

The same thing happened to two 21-year-old men convicted of killing a 14-year-old boy during a Coeur d’Alene street race in 2006. 

Daniel W. Cutting (left) and Dominick F. Salois (right) were sentenced to seven and eight years in prison with eligibility for parole after two and three, but Judge Fred Gibler released them last month after six months at Cottonwood.  Read stories about their cases here and here.

They’ll be on probation for four years.

A Rathdrum woman who lost her daugher to an impaired driver condemned the sentences back in February in a letter you can read here.

Man featured on America’s Most Wanted gets 40 years

A sex offender captured after being featured on America’s Most Wanted last year will spend at least 20 years in prison.

Donald L. Fritzsche, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor under 16 in a Shoshone County District Court plea agreement that dismissed two additional counts.

He was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison with eligibility for parole after 20.

Frizsche, who previously served time in prison for child sex abuse, fled the county after being accused and was arrested last summer at his uncle’s house in Bonners Ferry based on a tip provided to the popular television show.

Fritzsche’s charges came after an elementary school teacher told police in 2007 about a 10-year girl she suspected had been abused by Fritzsche, according to America’s Most Wanted.

America’s Most Wanted has been pivotal in solving other cases in the Inland Northwest, including the case of two lesbians accused of killing one’s mother in Post Falls.

The two were found dead from suicide about an hour after their story was featured on America’s Most Wanted last fall.

Read a story about that case here.


Washington woman’s corpse was kept on toilet

MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) — A religious leader accused of hiding the body of a dead follower in a bathroom to keep her social security checks rolling in faces sentencing in Mauston Wednesday.

Fifty-nine-year-old Alan Bushey (boo-SHAY’) of Necedah (neh-SEE’-dah) pleaded no contest to one count of being a party to hiding a corpse in February in a deal with prosecutors. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Prosecutors say Bushey led the Order of the Divine Will. He and another member of the order, Tammy Lewis, were accused of leaving the body of 90-year-old Alvina Middlesworth, another member of the order, on Lewis’ toilet so they could go on collecting her Social Security. Middlesworth moved to Wisconsin from Washington state in 2005.

A deputy checking on Middlesworth discovered the body in May last year.

Courthouse watch: 7.21.09

A college student accused of raping another student is on trial this week in Spokane County Superior Court.

Opening statements were today in the case of Kevin A. Thompson, who’s charged with second-degree rape for an alleged attack at a home in the Whitworth University area in fall 2007.

Thompson’s trial is expected to last at least four days.

Judge Annette Plese is presiding. His first trial last November ended in a hung jury.

The jury is made up of seven women and five men, with one man acting as an alternate juror. Thompson posted a $150,000 bond in June 2008.

He’s represented by Scott Staab. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Edward Hay is prosecuting the case, according to court records.

Read past coverage of the case here and here

Settlement approved for ‘donkey kick’ jail death

The Spokane County Commission unanimously approved a $425,000 settlement today for the children of a man who died following a struggle with jailers.

Benites S. Sichiro suffered multiple Taser shocks, was beaten unconscious and struck with jailer’s “donkey kick” before the 39-year-old died of a lacerated liver on Jan. 29, 2006.

Read Thomas Clouse’s story here.

Man gets life in prison for child porn ring

A Spokane sex offender will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a child pornography enterprise that triggered a worldwide criminal investigation, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Warren King Mumpower, 65, was the last of seven defendants from across the country sentenced to a life term by Senior U.S District Judge Lacey Collier in Florida. He was also fined $25,000.

Mumpower was convicted in January for participating in a complex system of pseudonyms and encrypted files that aided in the distribution of more than 400,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse.

He was arrested in February 2008 by FBI agents who searched his home at 1429 E. Courtland Ave., one of six Spokane locations where Mumpower had lived since moving from Florida in the 1980s, where he served prison time for child molestation.

Five additional defendants in the United States were sentenced in March to prison terms ranging from 164 months to 365 months.

Read past coverage of Mumpower here and here

Caught on tape: thermal imaging

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At today’s quarterly media meeting, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office representatives showed off the thermal imaging capabilities of their helicopter.

Those capabilities help in suspect chases and missing person cases, as seen above.

The first video shows a suspect being apprehended in north Spokane back in January. The thermal imaging device shows the suspect running through yards, then stopping when a police cruiser pulls up and an officer gets out.

The second video is from a July 11 search for a suicidal woman on Browns Mountain. Sheriff’s deputies credit the thermal imaging with finding the woman, who they say was near death.

Courthouse watch: 7.20.09

The legal saga continued today for a couple police believe plotted to murder the woman’s husband then concocted a sordid tale of abuse in an attempt to dupe investigators into thinking the killing was self-defense.

The state filed its response today in Spokane County Superior Court to a motion by Shellye L. Stark’s new appellate lawyers to quash a subpoena of Stark’s case file with lawyer Russell Bradshaw, whom she fired after her conviction.

Stark’s lawyers, Gregory C. Link and David L. Donnan, argued in a motion filed July 10 that the file is protected and shouldn’t be released.

Judge Ellen Kalama Clark ruled last month, as detailed in a blog post you can read here, that she would review the material and hand over anything having to do with the involvement of Stark’s boyfriend, Brian L. Moore, that was not relevant to Stark’s appeal to the state. The file contains crucial evidence for the state’s case against Moore, specifically statements he made to a private investigator, Ted Pulver, who has said he’ll work with the state but only under a subpoena.

The court allowed the file to be released because Bradshaw did not represent Moore, Starks’ lawyers wrote in the motion, which you can read here.

Under that logic, any time co-defendants are charged under different case numbers, they would be able to access each other’s case files, Stark’s lawyers argued in a motion filed July 10.

“That is a nonsensical distinction,” Starks’ lawyers wrote. “Instead, if the information would not have been available to the State had it sought it in Ms. Stark’s case, it does not become available merely because the State has sought it in a separate matter.”

Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell filed his response today, citing two Washington state Supreme Court cases that he argues support Clark’s decision.

Read that response here.

A hearing is set for later this month.

Rental managers accused of big scandal

When a Western Washington real estate owner died in a freak skydiving accident in Texas last year, his children felt his Spokane assets were in good hands.

The couple in charge had worked for Rex Williams for eight years, and his family needed someone trustworthy to handle things as they dealt with his unexpected death.

But the couple, Kathy and George Bagwell, now stand accused of trying to dupe Williams’ family out of tens of thousands of dollars in an alleged scheme that triggered a civil lawsuit and a criminal probe.

Read my story here.

Pet lover’s killer, ex-boyfriend gets 20 years

A Stevens County man who killed his girlfriend after she broke up with him will spend the next 20 years in prison.

Preston Lee Rogers, 43, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced on July 14, one year after Cheryl Lynn Hayward’s family reported her missing. (Rogers and Hayward are pictured left with Hayward’s father.)

Authorities believe Rogers stabbed Hayward, 28, to death that day as the two argued, then crashed her care and was in a hospital before telling a Stevens County sheriff’s detective where Hayward’s body was a week later.

The two had been dating since Hayward was 14. 

Rogers underwent tests at Eastern State Hospital before being found competent to stand trial.

“He expressed profound remorse” at his sentencing, according to Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

Hayward is remembered as a pet lover who was looking for a fresh start in a story you can read here.

In a story you can read here, Rogers told deputies he just “snapped,” according to court papers.

Whatever happened to: Strollin’ Nolan

Police couldn’t figure out how he did it.

In a Houdini-like disappearance 12 years ago, a handcuffed suspected burglar walked out of the interrogation room and out the door of the public safety building.

It was the first escape in 25 years, but what happened next was more amazing: the escapee mailed his handcuffs back to the public safety building in a story you can read here.

The stunt earned Fred. W. Nolan the nickname “Strollin’ Nolan.”

He explained himself to SR columnist Doug Clark (read the story here) and vowed to accept responsbility for his actions, but dozens criminal convictions and three stints in prison later, Nolan is back in the court system.

Court documents show a green Otter pop popsicle may help seal a conviction against the career criminal. Police found the popsicle wrapper with green liquid inside on the second floor of an office complex Nolan’s charged with burglarizing.

“I further found green liquid in the other suites that had been entered,” Officer Nicholas Gerene wrote in a probable cause affidavit. “I took the wrapper as evidence and submitted it for fingerprinting.”

Police and jail staff also found prescription drugs in his pocket and underwear, Gerene wrote.

According to the affidavit, “Strollin’ Nolan” broke into the Empire Health Services building at 601 W. Fifth Avenue about 8:50 a.m. on June 21.

He damaged an elevator and rummaged through suites before a security officer found him on the second floor, according to the affidavit.

He’s charged with three counts of second-degree burglary for break ins at the offices of Deaconess Medical Center, OB/GYN Association of Spokane and Northwest Orthopedic Surgery and one count of malicious mischief for allegedly damagingng the elevator. He pleaded innocent to the charges July 7.

If Nolan is convicted and sent to prison, it would be his sixth stay at a Washington State Prison. Here’s a list of his incarceration history, courtesy the Washington Department of Corrections:

11/13/1992 - 8/15/1994

03/02/1995 - 03/01/1997

04/23/1998 - 10/20/2001

07/31/2003 - 08/26/2003

07/28/2005 - 02/05/2009

Check out Nolan’s criminal history here.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens will be seeking aggravating circumstances for Nolan’s current charges that could earn him a maximum 10 years in prison instead of the standard 51 to 68 months.

Courthouse watch: 7.17.09

When a Spokane businesswoman joined the Spokane Country Club nine years ago, she drew curious looks when she played in a members-only tournament dominated by men. ’

The next year, she claims, the pricey private club changed the tournament to a men’s-only tournament, previewing years of alleged gender discrimination that Laura Skaers’ lawyer outlined in a lawsuit filed this week in Spokane County Superior Court.

Read my story here.

Courthouse watch: 7.16.09

A search warrant filed today in Spokane County District Court reveals new details about a bizarre carjacking that led to the death of one of the suspects in a fiery car crash last month.

Marjorie A. “Amy” Harrigan, 24, died when she was thrown from the carjacked 2002 Acura RSX during a police chase you can read about here.

Harrigan’s boyfriend, Michael L. Olson, 31, was arrested later that day and accused of stealing the Acura with Harrigan and assaulting the car’s owner.

Police say he was in a Chevy pickup truck driving near Harrigan in the Acura when police spotted them.

The search warrant filed today shows Olson had another girlfriend who he was cheating on with Harrigan, and that woman told police she’d given Olson a spare set of keys to the truck, according to the search warrant prepared by Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Lyle Johnston.

But that was a few weeks ago when he was working for the owner, she told police, and she knew Olson wasn’t supposed to be driving it the night of Harrigan’s death, Johnston said.

The warrant authorized a search of a backpack found at Olson’s mother’s house. Inside, detectives found cell phones belonging to Olson, Harrigan and the carjacking victim.

Johnston filed another search warrant shortly after asking T-Mobile and Cricket for information on the phones.

Read that search warrant here.

Olson was arraigned last week and remains in Spokane County Jail on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and three counts of driving with a suspended license.

His bail is set at $76,950.

Spann’s driving record spans many years

A man who injured a pedestrian in a hit and run crash in Post Falls was arrested for drunken driving shortly after the incident, but officers didn’t connect him to the crime until hours later, according to the Post Falls Police Department.

Jade R. Spann, 35, was arrested when he tried to pick up his car from a tow yard Wednesday after police identified him as a suspect in the crash through witness statements, according to a news release.

Police say he hit a 41-year-old man near Third Avenue and Ross Point Road at 11:07 p.m. Tuesday.

The man suffered a broken arm, police said.

Spann has a long history of driving-related arrests, including convictions for drunken driving, reckless driving and driving the wrong way on a highway.

He was booked into Kootenai County Jail.

Alabama man sentenced for sex with teen

An Alabama man who traveled to Eastern Washington to have sex with a 14-year-old girl he met through an interactive video game was sentenced to nine years in federal prison this week.

Morgan D. Jones, 28, wasn’t too difficult for authorities to find - he was driving a bright yellow 2008 Chevy Aveo with the vanity license plate OMGROFL. (That’s Internet for “oh my god rolling on the floor laughing.”)

Campers at Palouse Falls State Park recognized the car from news reports and called the police, according to previously published reports.

Read a story on Jones’ sentencing here.

CdA businessman accused of DUI, public urination

A prominent Coeur d’Alene businessman was cited for drunken driving and public urination after a two-car crash in Coeur d’Alene Tuesday night.

John Beutler (shown above in a 2006 photo) was booked into Kootenai County Jail and bonded out, police said. He’s the owner of Century 21 Beutler and Associates.

Read Alison Boggs’ story here.

Courthouse watch: 7.15.09

A man accused of having sex with two men without telling them he has the virus that causes AIDS is considering pleading insanity.

Zuriel E. Roush, 22, appeared before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark today on a second charge of first-degree assault, which came after family members of an ex-boyfriend recognized Roush from news reports of his arrest in May.

Read my story here.

Check out past coverage of Roush’s arrest here.


One-armed man on scooter leads police on chase

POULSBO, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Patrol says a one-armed man driving a scooter led police on chase in Kitsap County on Tuesday.

State Patrol spokeswoman Krista Hedstrom says the 28-year-old man from Poulsbo, Wash., reached speeds of 80 miles per hour on the highway. He was subsequently arrested.

Before the chase, the man had called police to report he’d been shot. When police arrived, the man took off at high speeds.

Hedstrom says the man didn’t have gunshot wounds, but did hurt himself when he threw the scooter after troopers caught up to him. The man also pulled four U-turns on the state highway.

The man was arrested on suspicion of felony eluding and driving under the influence, but was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Nov. 31? Are you sure?

A Rathdrum man pulled over for speeding Tuesday gave a Spokane Valley police officer good reason to be suspicious: he claimed to have been born on Nov. 31.

Knowing that “30 days hath September, April, June, and November,” (Officer Jack) Rosenthal arrested the man for giving false information and failing to cooperate,” according to a news release prepared by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Brian Lloyd Measel, whose real birth date is March 18, 1985, was booked into Spokane County Jail after police found a scorched metal spoon and a syringe with morphine in his pocket.

Measel, who was driving without a license, faces charges of giving false information and failure to cooperate, as well as possession of a controlled substance, according to police.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court today, records show.

Reagan headlined a news release about Measel’s arrest, “As A Career Choice, Rocket Science Is Out.”

OxyContin robberies hit high

After a relatively quiet period, Spokane has seen a surge in pharmacy robberies.

At least three robberies and one attempted robbery have occurred since the beginning of June.

Nicholas A. Blessing, 28, (right), who’s accused of stealing OxyContin from the Walgreens at 2105 E. Wellesley Ave. on June 16, turned himself in on June 28.

Only July 6, another man robbed the Rite Aid drugstore at 29th Avenue and Regal Street of OxyContin. Tom E. Snell, 24, was arrested Friday for first-degree robbery.

Search warrants show detectives had little trouble solving either robbery.

Tips poured in referencing Blessing after police released a surveillance photo,

A detective contacted Blessing’s family, who agreed to help him turn himself in.

“(Blessing’s father) states that Nicholas told him that five minutes after he had done the robbery he knew he had made a mistake,” according to a search warrant prepared by Spokane police Detective Marty Hill.

In Snell’s case, witnesses and a tipster led police to identify him as a suspect.

Witnesses identified the robber’s getaway car as a blue Toyota pickup, and a tip based on a news report led police to 7th Avenue and Adams Street.

There, they found a truck matching the description from the robbery. It was registered to Snell in Nine Mile Falls, according to a search warrant. Snell was arrested July 10.

Both accused robbers remain in Spokane County Jail.

Man wanted for assault with vodka bottle

The FBI is asking for help finding a man who may be in Coeur d’Alene but is wanted for assault in Missouri.

Trenton Michael Faulkner, 20, is accused of hitting a man in the head with a bottle of vodka after being asked to leave a home in Ashland, Mo., in June 2008, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Faulkner was arrested, but he hasn’t showed up for his court dates and was last known to be living in the Lake City, according to the FBI and North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force.

A reward is offered for information that helps arrest Faulkner. Anyone with information is asked to call (208) 665-1471. Tipsters will remain confidential.

Courthouse watch: 7.14.09

A man who convinced his girlfriend he was a covert military agent and swindled thousands of dollars to fund his gambling habit will spend the next six months in jail.

The woman felt so bad about her bank losing money she repaid them.

Now her ex-boyfriend, Thai M. Cao, is required to pay her back after he’s released from jail.

Appearing before Judge Maryann Moreno, Cao thanked the court before he left the defendant’s table.

“I’m planning to work for the public defender’s office when I get released because I want to give something back,” Cao said.

The nine felonies to which Cao pleaded guilty today may affect that aspiration.

Read my story here.

Humane Society launches animal fighting hotline

 Know of an animal fighting operation in the Inland Northwest or elsewhere?

A national tip line launched recently by the Humane Society of the United States wants to hear from you.

The organization started the tip line after busting a multi-state dogfighting ring.

Read a story on the raid, which the Humane Society said was the largest dogfighting raid in the nation, here.

Dogfighting gained national attention when NFL star Michael Vick was convicted in 2007.

All 50 states now classify the crime as a felony. But less than two years ago, Idaho was one of two states that didn’t. The Idaho Legislature changed that last year in a story you can read here.

A dogfighting ring busted in Spokane Valley in April 2007 underscored the presence of the problem in the area.

The Human Society is offering rewards of up to $5,000 for tips that lead to convictions for dogfighting or cockfighting.

“Animal fighting is a cruel, criminal activity, and we plan to root it out in every dark corner where it festers,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, said in a news release. “We encourage anyone with information about animal fighting crimes to call this tip line to help us put violators in jail and to put a stop to cruelty.”

The hotline’s number is 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787).

Spokane sees two homicides in one week

A lot happened in the past two weeks, and I’m still catching up.

Most notable is two homicides. Seven months into a year with an unusually low murder rate, the city recorded two homicides in one week: the stabbing death of Vitaly M. Shevchuk, 24, Monday night (he died Tuesday) and the police shooting of Jason M. Poss, 23, Friday morning.

Two men interviewed in the Shevchuk case, Nathan D. Gilstrap, 28, and Matthew M. Nedeau, 24, remain in jail on unrelated charges.

Maggie May Tyler, 24, (right) is wanted for second-degree murder, police say. Read past coverage of the murder here and here.

Read coverage of Poss’ death, which is still under investigation, here and here.

Police responded to 5th Avenue and Green Street on July 6, where they found Shevchuk with a stab wound to his neck. He died the next night at Deaconess Medical Center.

Shevchuk was walking with a friend to buy cigarettes when a red car drove by with its windows down and he made a comment, according to a search warrant filed last week in Spokane County District Court.

The car stopped and two men and a woman exited the vehicle, witnesses told police.

An argument ensued and Shevchuk picked up a large rock, witnesses said.

One witness recalled Shevchuk saying, “I have a brick and you have a knife. What are you going to do?” according to the search warrant.

Police on Friday released a photo of Tyler and named her as a suspect in the murder.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111 or 1-800-222-TIPS, or submit tips online at

Courthouse watch: 7.13.09

A man accused of having unprotected sex without telling his partner his was HIV positive faces an additional first-degree assault charge after the family of his former lover recognized him in news reports of his arrest, according to court papers filed recently in Spokane County Superior Court.

Zuriel E. Roush, 22, (left) was on the docket today but his first appearance was pushed to Wednesday.

Roush was arrested in May after a man he had sex with in April learned Roush had the virus that causes AIDS but told him he didn’t at the time of the encounter, according to police.

A former boyfriend who lived with Roush from spring 2008 until late November learned Roush was HIV positive through an anonymous phone call in late November.

The man’s mother recognized Roush from news reports as her son’s former roommate who ate Thanksgiving dinner at her home, according to court papers.

Roush, who remains in Spokane County Jail on $150,000 bail, is due in court Wednesday on the additional charge.

He told police he had sex with 120 people since he was diagnosed with HIV and said two-thirds were unprotected, according to court documents.

Sheriff’s Office: Coldplay “a very enjoyable” concert

Grant County officials reported few problems at the Coldplay concert Saturday at the Gorge Amphitheatre.

More than 20,000 people attended the concert, which the Grant County Sheriff’s Office described as “a very enjoyable concert experience.”

“The biggest issue reported was a traffic delay on the incoming traffic,” according to a news release.

Sheriff’s deputies reported 21 criminal contacts and complaints and booked one person into jail on an outstanding warrant.

Here is a list of incidents reported at the concert:

2 Alcohol Offenses

1 Driving Under the Influence

1 Driving While License Suspended

1 Extra Patrol Request

9 Minor in Possession

1 Traffic Accident

1 Threat

1 Traffic Offense

2 Vehicle Prowls

2 Vandalisms

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