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Sirens & Gavels

Thu., Oct. 6, 2011, 3:48 p.m.

Report: Murder suspect declined meds

A triple-murder suspect from Montana who was arrested in Spokane Valley will be returned to the Big Sky state as soon as possible to face federal charges, a fedearl judge ruled today.

Sheldon Bernard Chase, 22, faces a mandatory term of life in prison if convicted of murdering his 80-year-old grandmother, Gloria Sarah Goes Ahead Cummins; his cousin, 21-year-old Levon Driftwood; and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Rueben Jefferson.

Authorities say Chase has a history of mental illness and was not taking his medications when he used a rifle to kill the three victims Tuesday, southwest of Lodge Grass on Montana's Crow Reservation, then drove to the Spokane area. Two small children witnessed the killings, authorities say.

He was arrested Wednesday about 4 p.m. during a traffic stop near the Spokane Valley Mall.

Chase appeared before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno this afternoon in a hearing that was delayed an hour because Chase "felt faint," court officials said.

Clad in a yellow Spokane County Jail jumper, Chase remained seated during the hearing instead of standing before Imbrogno as is typical. Chase waived all future hearings in Spokane and is to be transported back to Montana shortly.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a 3-year-old, one of two child witnesses, told investigators that Chase and Jefferson were fighting when Chase shot the three victims.

A neighbor who reported the shooting said she saw Chase driving from the home about 12:10 p.m., then went to the home and saw two of the victims.

Chase's mother in North Dakota told FBI agents that Chase took a commemorative gun with him when he left her home on Monday. Investigators found a text message on Driftwood's phone about 20 minutes before Chase was spotted leaving the home Tuesday that indicated he had arrived, according to the affidavit.

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