Sirens & Gavels

Hate-crime suspect gets 9 years for firearm

One of three Coeur d’Alene brothers accused of racially harassing a Hispanic man last August was sentenced today to nine years in prison for being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Ira Tankovich (pictured), 48, will be eligible for parole in three years. 

Adding to Tankovich’s potential sentence was his status as a persistent violator which gave Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster the option of imposing up to life in prison.

During an Aug. 16 incident at the home of Kenneth Requena in Coeur d’Alene, police arrested Tankovich after seeing him throw his .22-caliber handgun into a nearby driveway. Tankovich later pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Court documents show Tankovich’s previous felony convictions stretch from 1989 to 2001 and consist of voluntary manslaughter, grand theft by possession of stolen property, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property.

In connection with the Aug. 16 confrontation with Requena, a jury found Tankovich guilty on April 19 of conspiracy to disturb the peace, a misdemeanor.

The jury split 11-1 in favor of not guilty on two felony counts of malicious harassment against his brothers, William M. Tankovich, 50, and Frank J. Tankovich, 47.

The latter two are scheduled to be retried in October.

Luster also sentenced Ira Tankovich on Tuesday to six months in prison each for the misdemeanor convictions of conspiracy to disturb the peace and for obstructing a police officer during the Aug. 16 incident.

Tankovich, who has been in the Kootenai County Jail for almost a year, will receive credit for time served.

In the April trial, Ira Tankovich was found not guilty of the more serious felony charge of conspiring to commit malicious harassment.

The jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of not guilty on similar conspiracy counts against his brothers.

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