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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for April 2012

Fiberglass cow statue stolen in CdA

Police in Coeur d'Alene are investigating the theft of a large fiberglass cow statue from outside an antique store.

Jeffrey Gagnon, who owns Paris Flea Market at 1815 N. 4th St., has a broken piece of the cow's tail that can be used to positively identify the statue, Officer Bruce Reed noted in his report.

Gagnon said the red and white statue, which was made in the 1940s, was secured with chains that were bolted to the ground but had been cut. The theft occurred between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Gagnon told police.

Gagnon said the statue was worth about $2,300. He obtained it about two years ago and said it'd be easy for someone to carry it away because it only weights about 70 pounds.

Anyone with information on the theft should call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.
  

Burglary suspect’s info leads to 3 raids

An ex-con and suspected serial burglar told detectives he spends about $800 to $1,000 each week on methamphetamine.

 New court documents say Dean Michael Blackford, 50, waived his right to remain silent after his arrest Tuesday and admitted to committing 20 to 25 burglaries over the past year to fund he and his girlfriend's drug habit.

He identified three men as his main suppliers of methamphetamine and also told detectives of a home at 1928 E. Glass Ave. where he trades stolen power tools “straight across for dope,” documents say.

Detectives raided that home and two other locations after Blackford's interview. Blackford said he gave his girlfriend, Tawnya Werre, 43, stolen jewelry to sell at pawn shops.

That matches what prolific burglar Susan Burke told detectives about Blackford when she was arrested last week.

Blackford said he last contacted one of his meth dealers Tuesday and obtained new license plates for his Ford Ranger because “I didn't want to get caught,”according to detectives. Blackford said he told the man he planned to commit another burglary.

He said “everybody takes stuff there (at the meth house). It's common practice,” referring to “stuff” as stolen property. Detectives already were on Blackford's trail - they'd installed a GPS tracker on his car and had been following him for days.

They arrested him in a traffic stop Tuesday and searched his motel room, mother's home and a Spokane Valley storage unit. Read more here.

Detectives also drove Blackford throughout Spokane County as he pointed out homes he'd burglarized.

Blackford's information led detectives and the Spokane County SWAT team to raid the Glass Avenue home Thursday, as well as a shop at 12607 N. Freya in Mead where Blackford said he'd taken stolen property.

Detectives also searched a home at 7722 N. Altamont where Blackfod said he and Werre and traded jewelry for meth within he last couple of days. Werre is in jail on a probation hold and a civil bench warrant. She has not yet been arrested in this case.

Thompson sentencing delayed again

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle agreed to another delay Friday in the sentencing of former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr.

Van Sickle agreed to a request by attorney Dutch Wetzel who is representing video forensic expert Grant Fredericks, who caused the delay when he contacted the judge to allege that federal prosecutors mischaracterized his expected testimony in the trial last fall in which Thompson was convicted of using excessive force and lying to investigators about his confrontation with Otto Zehm.

Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich has claimed prosecutorial misconduct because he says Fredericks’ unused testimony could have helped defend Thompson. Federal prosecutors have argued that Fredericks’ claims are baseless and he has offered misleading testimony in other cases.

Van Sickle instructed Wetzel to prepare a summary of any materials Fredericks might have that would help him decide. Van Sickle scheduled another status conference for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to get an update on Wetzel’s progress.


  

Deputies credited with saving man’s life

Two deputies saved the life of an 84-year-old man who suffered a heart attack Thursday, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

Deputy Ray Miller was patrolling near the area of Thorpe and Assembly roads in southwest Spokane County when he saw the man's car blocking 37th Street.

As Miller approached, Deputy Matt Gould, who was off duty, stopped at the truck and told Miller he thought the man needed medical attention.

The man was in the driver's seat and said he'd eaten oatmeal and coffee at a restaurant and didn't feel well, according to a news release. He couldn't stop vomiting but refused medical assistance. Miller noted the man was sweaty and pale and called medics.

Medics confirmed the man was having heart problems; they later contacted Miller and said the man had just completed open heart surgery and had been suffering a heart attack when deputies contacted him.

Cops: Botched drug deal led to shooting

A shooting on Spokane's lower South Hill early Thursday occurred during a botched drug deal, police said today.

Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, (pictured) was shot in the stomach by an unidentified gunman near 1800 W. Sixth Ave., about 6:40 a.m., then driven from the scene by Alicia M. Favro, 41, according to court documents filed today.

Favro flagged over a police officer to get help for Cardenas near 13th Avenue and South Cedar Street. Officers realized she had a 9 mm .380 semi-automatic pistol in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, police say.

Favro told officers several versions of what happened but admitted to putting the firearm in her purse after finding it on the rear floorboard of Cardenas' white Chevy Malibu, according to police.

Favro has felony convictions for assault and forgery that prohibit her from possessing firearms. She was arrested for unlawful possession on a firearm.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese today ordered Favro to stay in jail on $100,000 bond after a Spokane police detective attended her court appearance and said the shooting was the result of a drug deal gone bad, and that more charges are expected.

Cardenas' gunshot wound is not considered life threatening. He was arrested in 2010 as part of a large gang sweep in Grant and Adams counties.

Police at the time alleged he was the leader of a large criminal gang.

Gang and major crimes detectives are investigating Thursday's shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call (509) 635-GANG or visit www.stopspokanegangs.org to leave an anonymous tip.

Prolific burglar helps bust serial burglar

Watch me discuss this story with KHQ's Dave Cotton.

A prolific burglary suspect arrested for a fuel theft in last week helped detectives identify a suspect in a series of rural Spokane County burglaries, including one that occurred as three children hid in the home

Susan Burke, who is awaiting trial in Kootenai County for a large burglary ring, told detectives that Dean Michael Blackford, 50, burglarized mostly rural Spokane County homes during the day, according to court documents.

Burke, 50, said Blackford targets higher-end homes for jewelry, tools and electronics, and that his girlfriend, Tawnya Werre, 43, sold jewelry at various stores in Spokane.

Detectives used a GPS device to track Blackfod's truck before arresting him on Tuesday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 10: Property crimes frustrate sheriff

Con man stole $2.25M from investors

A Spokane con man had such a good sales pitch that he convinced a physician and a lawyer to take part in his get-rich quick schemes. In the end, some 10 investors lost more than $2.25 million they threw at his false promises.

Robert B. Hiatt, 57, pleaded guilty Thursday to eight felony fraud counts and a single count of intimidating a witness after he threatened to kill a whistleblower. Hiatt’s wide-ranging scheme promised huge returns on investments that never existed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin said.

Read the rest of the story here.

New charge refutes ‘doing good’ claim

A car prowling suspect who begged a sheriff's deputy for leniency earlier this month has been charged with burglary.

Orlando Jaramillo, 21, (pictured) said he had been “doing good” when he was arrested for stealing a cellphone April 3, but new charges filed in Spokane County Superior Court allege otherwise.

Jaramillo and his brother, Angelo Jaramillo, 22, are accused of stealing an air compressor from a truck parked at North Division Street and East Rockwell Avenue in January, as well as burglarizing a home in the 4100 block of East Pacific Avenue.

Tetyana Landrus, 19, is accused of selling the stolen property at a pawnshop.

The Jaramillos pleaded not guilty to the charges this week in Spokane County Superior Court and remain in the Spokane County Jail.

Gunman forces man to ‘moonwalk’

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man has been charged with assault after authorities say he ordered another man to perform the “moonwalk” at gunpoint.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 30-year-old John Ernest Cross was charged with the felony Tuesday in 1st District Court and appointed a public defender.

Police say they were called Monday to Cross' home in Clark Fork after getting a report that he pointed a rifle at another man and demanded that the man perform the dance move popularized by Michael Jackson in the 1980s.

Investigators accuse Cross of using a semiautomatic rifle during the episode, but Cross claimed during his initial court appearance this week that the firearm was simply a pellet gun.

Man hid phone in jail in prosthetic leg

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A county detective says a man serving six months in a southwestern Pennsylvania county jail illegally hid a cellphone and charger in his prosthetic leg.

Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Greer, of Uniontown, faces a preliminary hearing May 22 on a contraband charge filed last week by a Fayette County detective.

The detective says the phone was found during a search of Greer's cell on Feb. 23.

Greer was sentenced to jail after he was convicted in March of driving with a suspended license. Inmates are not allowed to bring their own phones into the jail.

Greer's public defender did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

The Fayette County Prison is about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Cop bumps into cigarette-buying thief

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan detective can credit legwork, luck and one man's bad habit for his latest arrest.

A Traverse City police detective went to a local gas station Thursday to show clerks a surveillance video image of someone accused of stealing a woman's credit card a week before. The man Detective Kevin Gay was looking for was buying a pack of cigarettes there.

Capt. Brian Heffner, who leads the detective bureau, said a chance encounter like this is rare but welcome.

“The odds are definitely against this happening. … On the exact day and time he's in there, the suspect is buying a pack of cigarettes,” Heffner told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story (http://bit.ly/JWEukm) published Saturday.

The man, 51, was arrested and faces charges of unlawful use of a credit card, the newspaper reports.

Police said the suspect had used the credit card at two area stations, including the one where he was nabbed.

$300k verdict in sheriff’s negligence case

A jury awarded an Airway Heights man $300,000 in federal court after he sued a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputy over a traffic stop that ended with the man being tackled to the pavement.

The jury found that Deputy Dale Moyer was negligent in calling in the wrong license plate number when he stopped a car in which John W. Jenkins was riding. The number Moyer called in came back as a stolen vehicle.

Jurors did not find that Moyer or Deputy Mark Speer used excessive force against Jenkins.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Man who shot burglar charged w/ assault

A homeowner in Medical Lake accused of shooting a fleeing 14-year-old burglary suspect in the back last December has been charged with assault.

In new court documents, Spokane County sheriff’s detectives outline a shooting they believe went beyond homeowner Justin Jeffrey Brown defending his property and crossed the line to criminal assault.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man, 20, sentenced for 2nd strike

Dressed in long shorts, sneakers with no socks and a collarless shirt, Cole M. Kendall stood before a judge Wednesday and entered an Alford plea for stabbing two people last year at an underage drinking party.

Still six months shy of legal drinking age, Kendall is now one conviction away from facing life in prison under Washington’s three-strikes law.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

‘Middle-finger salute’ preceded fire

A man accused of trying to light his apartment complex on fire gave a surveillance camera the middle-finger salute before doing so, fire officials allege.

Ian W. Godfrey, 29, said he was angry with a flier being distributed at the HiFumi En Apartments, 926 E. 8th Ave., when he lit one on fire and walked through the building, according to the Spokane Fire Department.

The smoke triggered the apartment's overhead sprinklers. Fire officials suspected arson, and the apartment manager recognized Godfrey from the surveillance video.

Godfrey was arrested that day for attempted first-degree arson. He was released on his own recognizance after appearing in Superior Court Wednesday.

‘Doomed’ man admits to cop gun theft

A Spokane man who stole a handgun from Spokane County sheriff's detective's squad car has been sentenced to about three years in prison.

A judge recommended James Warren Peterschick, 30, undergo drug treatment and be placed in a federal prison with a medical facility in hopes of addressing what his lawyer described as a lifetime of mental problems.

“Mr. Peterschick was doomed from the start,” his lawyer, Robert Fischer, wrote in a sentencing memorandum. Fischer referenced a doctor's report detailing Peterschick's troubled life.

“Reading this is reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel that tragically doesn’t wind up with a happy ending,” Fischer wrote.

Peterschick was abused by several people as a child and began using methamphetamine when he was 13 or 14, according to the report.

“When James was nine years old his mother moved to Dallas, Texas, taking him with her to “start fresh,” Fischer wrote. “His mother managed to find a new boyfriend that she stayed drunk with for the next fifteen years.”

Peterschick is described as “a functional illiterate with below average intelligence” who suffers from auditory visual and kinesthetic hallucinations.

In addition to 33 months in prison, Peterschick was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation. He still has pending drug and stolen property cases in Spokane County Superior Court; he'll likely serve those sentences the same time as his federal sentence.

Peterschick smashed out a window on Detective Leroy Fairbanks' government-issued vehicle April 21, 2011, at 5830 N. Division St. and stole fishing poles and a backpack containing electronics, a Glock handgun, handcuffs, a flashlight, badge and IDs for the Sheriff’s Office and FBI.

A jail inmate looking for a break on drug charges told detectives of a dumpster at Garland Avenue and Post Street where most of the items had been dumped.

Peterschick also was arrested in February 2010 for a suspected burglary spree in Pullman.

Prints on knife lead to hit-and-run arrest

Fingerprints on a knife left at the scene of a hit-and-run crash last September recently led police to identify a suspect.

 Michael L. Bridges, who was released from prison last year for another hit-and-run crash, is accused of crashing a Chevrolet Malibu into a vehicle at the intersection of Wellesley Avenue and Belt Street Sept. 8. The other driver injured her arms, back and neck.

Witnesses say the at-fault driver run from the crash into a yard in the 4800 block of North Cannon Street. One witness said Bridges, 26, dropped a knife when he heard he witness mention it to a 911 dispatcher.

Bridges' girlfriend at the time, who owns the Malibu, told police he asked her to report the car as stolen so he wouldn't get in trouble.

Police submitted a charging request to prosecutors March 27 after the forensic unit informed them of the fingerprint match on the knife.

Bridges has a previous conviction for hit-and-run related to a crash in 2008 during a police chase. He was sentenced in January 2010 to 30 months in prison. He was sent to work release on Jan. 6, 2011, and was released on probation on July 6, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.

Bridges' freedom didn't last long. He's been in the Spokane County Jail since February on unrelated charges of eluding police and kidnapping.
  

20-year conman headed to prison

A Spokane man convicted of stealing money from a homeless woman who gave him her savings to rent a home is headed to prison.

But it wasn't the theft that earned Unters “Chuck” Love, 58, a 27-month sentence, it was a bail jumping charge he accrued after he bonded out of jail on his theft charges.

A jury recently convicted Love of six counts of second-degree theft, but he faced only 14 months in prison for those charges. He'll serve that sentence the same time as his sentence for bail jumping.

He'll also be credited for 10 months spent in jail and be eligible for typical sentence reductions through the Department of Corrections.

“He'll do another eight months and then be out and about, no strings attached,” said Deputy Prosecutor George Gagnon. “Thanks, state Legislature.”

Gagnon points to Love's long history of cons and is lack of remorse when describing a man he said “was a pleasure to prosecute.”

“He's being doing this or 20 years it's just the first time since 1991 that we have said no you're not getting a deal, you're going to trial”

Love has at least 107 actions against him in civil courts.

Love denied the charges in an interview at the Spokane County Jail, where he is awaiting transport to prison.

“I never did anything to them except help them try to get into a home,” Love said of the victims.

Love said his victims would have been able to move in to their homes had the police not intervened.

But Gagnon said Love is simply a conman who had no problem stealing money from homeless people and trying to sell or rent properties he doesn't own.

Twelve Spokane County residents apparently agreed. They convicted him April 12 after a short trial in Spokane County Superior Court.

Love said his defense was incompetent, and that the truth will soon be known.

“There is a lot of corruption going on and it's going to come out in the appeal,” Love said. “”The courts and the police department, they basically coerced these people to say what they said.”

Love filed a complaint against Gagnon to the state bar association, but it was dismissed.

In the interview last week, Love declined to discuss a stadium project he proposed in Airway Heights back in 2003.

Love had signed a contract with the Kalispel Tribe to lease 20 acres next to the tribe's Northern Quest casino, but he refused to talk to reporters about his bankruptcy filing or earlier felony convictions for theft and check-bouncing.Read more in the story from 2003 here.

Love also was involved in a scheme in Yakima in 2004 involving a football league.

Booze bottles lead to burglary arrests

Empty liquor bottles in the yard of a home that's typically immaculate led to the arrest of two Spokane residents on burglary charges last week, officials said today.

Ashley C. Spencer, 24, and her boyfriend, Zachary T. Harris, 23, had been staying in one of the burglarized homes, which belonged to a relative of Spencer, without permission when Pend Oreille County sheriff's deputies contacted them Friday.

Deputies were investigating burglaries at two vacation homes in the area of South Shore Road near Diamond Lake when they heard a burglary alarm at a nearby residence and found another home that bad been burglarized, according to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies began canvassing the neighborhood and noticed the liquor bottles and clothes in the yard of the normally well-kept home. Spencer and Harris were arrested, and deputies seized items from the burglaries at a family member's home.

They face residential burglary and malicious mischief charges. Harris also faces a marijuana possession charge.
  

Attack suspect to undergo mental exam

A man accused of a bizarre attack in downtown Spokane earlier this month is to undergo a mental health examination.

 Justin T. Betts, 29, is due back in Spokane County Superior Court next month to determine if he's competent to stand trial. An arraignment scheduled for last Thursday was cancelled.

Police say Betts, who had just been released from jail, was high on methamphetamine when the owner of Thompson's Food Mart at 1208 W. 3rd St., saw him get into a customer's car April 7 about 9:30 a.m.

Betts threatened the owner with a gun when confronted, police say, and also threatened several other people in the area. Betts also walked into the nearby Honda dealership and threatened employees, police say.

He told police his name was “Jimmy Jake Franks,” but officers eventually identified him as Betts, whose criminal convictions include third-degree child molestation in 2004.

Betts remains in jail on charges of first-degree robbery, two counts of felony harassment and possession of controlled substance.

Rogue lumber employee guilty in fraud

An unauthorized sales agreement between a rogue North Idaho lumber employee and a Spokane company has led to a felony conviction in federal court.

Trevor Mokry, 32, received about $581,000 from The Pallet Place for lumber he sold them from Stimson Lumber Company in Plummer, Idaho, but he didn't have permission to sell the wood and never gave his employer the money.

Mokry, who was responsible for loading and unloading trucks in the lumber yard, admitted to selling the lumber to the company between June 2007 and June 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office said today.

An employee with Pallet Place drove from Spokane to Plummer to pick up the lumber and give Mokry checks.
Mokry's scheme unraveled June 1 when another employee saw him receive a check for $4,666 from a Pallet Place driver.

Employees noticed that Pallet Place did not appear as a costumer in Stimson's bill records, so they traveled to the Spokane Valley headquarters, where they saw about $200,000 in Stimson lumber.

“Pallet Place was paying Mokry sixty percent or less of Stimson's retail price for the stolen wood products, plus $200 per order,” according to court documents.

Mokry was fired June 2. He pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to aiding the transportation of stolen goods.

Mokry faces restitution of $581,445.24 when he's sentenced, which is scheduled for July 16. He also faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years probation.

2 sentenced in CdA bar cocaine case

A Coeur d'Alene man involved in a large cocaine distribution ring that was based in part out of a Sherman Avenue bar has been sentenced to four years in prison. 

Christopher McFarland, 49, (left) also is to be on probation for five years and has forfeited his ownership interest in the bar.

McFarland worked with James Roy “Slim” O'Neill, who was sentenced in April 2011 to 15 years in prison.

O'Neill's wife, Lecia Donita O'Neill, 46, (right) , also was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in prison, followed by ten months of home confinement and eight years of probation.

 The sentencings in U.S. District Court close a case that began with arrests in May 2010.

“Slim” O'Neill, 50, (left) was the kingpin of a cocaine distribution ring that supplied the drug in North Idaho for at least a decade and operated partly out of Chillers bar on Sherman Avenue near South 20th Street.

O'Neill also grew marijuana near Mineral Ridge, a popular hiking area with a spectacular view of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

The O’Neills used proceeds from cocaine and marijuana sales to finance an expensive lifestyle, including cars, recreational vehicles and annual trips to NASCAR's Daytona 500 race in Florida.

Co-defendant Gary A. Votava was sentenced last year to two years in prison and four years probation. Stephen J. McCabe was sentenced to 18 months in prison and five years probation. Debra L. Margraff was sentenced to five months in prison and three years probation.

Manuel Rivera, who supplied cocaine to O'Neill from Kennewick, was sentenced to 108 months in prison.

“Those who bring cocaine or other illegal drugs into our communities will be brought to justice,” Wendy Olson, U.S. attorney for Idaho, said in a prepared statement.  “Yesterday’s sentencing marks the end of a successful investigation.  It is a victory for our communities.  I commend the cooperative law enforcement work that ended this long-lasting drug trafficking operation.”

Authorities began investigating O'Neill after finding his phone number in former school booster and imprisoned cocaine addict Jerry Carlson's phone records.. Carlson is to be released from federal prison on May 1.

Cops: Assailant requested bigger knife

A woman accused of stabbing her longtime boyfriend said she wanted a bigger knife so she could cut him deeper, witnesses told police.

Cathleen A. Parke, 50, was arrested Saturday at an apartment on North Washington Street in Medical Lake after deputies found her boyfriend, Steven M. Mitchell, 56, being treated for two stab wounds in his upper body about 5:10 a.m.

Witnesses said the couple were arguing outside when they came inside the house and Mitchell was covered in blood. Mitchell said “I can't believe you stabbed me,” and Parke said she wanted to get a bigger knife so she could cut him deeper, according to court documents.

Parke told another witness that she stabbed Mitchell after he hit her. Spokane County sheriff's deputies seized a 3-inch folding knife from the apartment, as well as a bloody blanket, pillow and clothing.

Bearded woman asks for new trial

A woman who wears a beard as a symbol of her activism and lives as a man is asking for a new trial following her conviction earlier this month for grabbing a Spokane Police officer's genitals in 2009 during an arrest.

 Joseph Ali Bin Muhammad, 45, formerly Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas, represented himself at trial in which a jury deliberated just 20 minutes before convicting him April 11. He is scheduled to be sentenced today.

In his motion for a new trial, Muhammad alleged misconduct, “surprise” and jury manipulation by Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Patrick Johnson. He also said Johnson was simply using the assault case as an evidence-gathering mission to charge the two officers, who were attempting in 2009 to take Muhammad into custody for a mental evaluation.

“The defendant felt a great aversion to being misused by the prosecutor to embarrass and humiliate the officers as it is not the defendant's intent or desire to be the target of corrupted officers in Spokane,” Muhammad wrote, referring to himself as “defendant.” “The defendant's safety was being put in jeopardy by a bizzarre, backwards, and most likely illegal strategy of the prosecutor to gain more evidence against the officers, and so the defendant changed his defense strategy to not show the video. Had he entered the video as evidence, the jury may have voted for acquittal as the video gives great suggestion that no charge should have ever been placed on the defendant and that (Officer John) O'Brien and (Officer Jeremy McVay) are blatant liars who violated the defendant that day.”

Johnson had argued that Muhammad was not mentally competent to stand trial. Muhammad, however, successfully argued he was competent despite the fact that him being delcared incompetent would have resulted in dismissed charges.

As part of his seven-page motion, Muhammad also wrote that 20 minutes was not enough time for the jurors to fully consider the case.

“Jurors may have held mulpitle bias against the defendant, including for him being a hermaphrodite and for being a Muslim,” said Muhammad, who gave birth to a daughter prior to changing his name. “Jurors may have been motivated by the second sunny warm day after a long cold winter to disregard their oaths and the United States Constitution … so that they could finish their task before lunch and have the rest of the sunny afternoon to enjoy free from work or juror responsibilities.”
  

Past coverage:

Dec. 14: Fugitive since February jailed on $50k bond

Aug. 11, 2009: Bearded woman back in court

Fire station ‘owner’ accused of assault

A Medical Lake man was arrested for allegedly obstructing police and assaulting a firefighter Saturday after he walked into the fire station garage and claimed to own all the equipment.

Edward John Ramsey, 49, pushed a firefighter who tried to escort him from the garage about 6 a.m., police say.
Firefighters said Ramsey was acting strange when he approached the station at 124 S. Lefevre in Medical Lake.

A sheriff's deputy saw Ramsey walking nearby and tried to talk to him, but Ramsey ran and struggled when the deputy caught up with him and handcuffed him.

Ramsey reportedly told the deputy he'd pushed the big fireman and twisted his tit” because he wouldn't let him look at the equipment for which he claims to have paid.

Ramsey told Judge Annette Plese in court Monday that he had enough money to buy the entire state of Washington and is planning to move to Hawaii.

He has no serious criminal record and was released from jail Monday on his own recognizance.
  

2 more suspects ID’d in drug robbery

Two suspected accomplices have been charged with robbing a Spokane clinic of prescription drugs in December.

 Shawn Savynjo Struck, 41, was arrested this weekend on a second-degree robbery charge for allegedly helping Brian Lee “Rowdy” Riley rob the Spokane Falls Family Clinic, 120 W. Mission Ave. on Dec. 29. He remains in jail on $25,000 bond after appearing in court today.

Riley (pictured) was armed with a paintball gun when he robbed the clinic, police say. Struck held the door open for him, police say, and suspect Mary Jane Eilliot, 30, is accused of driving the getaway car. Elliot is wanted on a $30,000 warrant for second-degree robbery.

Riley pleaded guilty earlier this month to attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree robbery for the December case and for a gunpoint home-invasion robbery last August. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Riley told Elliott he shot the pharmacist with his paintball gun and someone threw a bottle of Hydrocodone at him, according to court documents. Elliott said she drove Riley to the clinic in exchange for 45 pills, police say.

Riley's girlfriend, Erica M. Solberg, is charged with witness tampering for allegedly intimidating a witness in the case.
  

Man gets 8+ years for domestic assault

A Coeur d'Alene man who choked a woman unconscious and caused her severe head injuries is to spend at least eight years in prison.

John Joseph Marr, 57, said he walked in on his victim choking herself when they contacted him at his home last Sept. 25 in response to a domestic violence report, according to the Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office.

The victim was bleeding under her eyes and had bruising on her lip and jaw. Marr first told Ceour d'Alene police officers the injuries occurred as he was trying to restrain the victim, but he later said in court that he walked in on the victim trying to strangle herself, officials say.

Judge John Mitchell sentenced Marr Thursday to 10 years in prison with eligibility for parole after eight years.

Mitchell cited the unbelievability of Mar's story and the need to protect the public from someone with little chance of rehabilitation, the prosecutor's office said.

Marr has four previous felony convictions for making terrorist threats, felon in possession of a firearm, domestic battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh praised the work of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department and of deputy prosecutor Donna Gardner in a prepared statement.

“The long sentence imposed by Judge Mitchell is justified by the nature of this crime and Marr's history of victimization of similar women. Mr. Marr's failure to accept responsibility is troubling,” McHugh said. “The long fixed sentence will prevent similar incidents for at least eight years, and we hope that Mr. Marr will be deterred from similar conduct in the future.”

Uncle in kidnapping jailed on high bond

A longtime Spokane felon accused of kidnapping his 14-year-old niece will remain jailed on $350,000 bond, a judge ruled Friday.

 Steven Norton Tofte, 53, told police he was trying to keep the girl from her abusive family members, but police continue to investigate the circumstances of her disappearance.

“I just wanted to make sure she was safe,” Tofte said, according to court documents. “I always told her that if she was ever going to runaway to call me.”

The girl, who had been missing since Friday, told a friend she was running away with her uncle to Blanchard, Idaho, police say.

Investigators found Tofte and the girl in the Colville National Forest near Cusick Thursday. Tofte was armed with a shotgun but was arrested without incident.

Tofte was arrested on a charge of second-degree kidnapping, residential burglary and felon in possession of a firearm. He has at least 15 felony convictions dating back to 1980, including two for robbing a porn store and a gas station.

Tofte also faces an additional $30,000 bond for an unrelated identity theft case. Even if he posts $380,000 bond, he won't be able to leave prison. Federal authorities have placed a hold on him. Details were not immediately available Friday, but he was arrested on federal land so he'll probably face federal charges.

Gas theft helps cops bust burglary ring

A fuel theft at a Spokane Valley gas station this week led police to uncover a suspected burglary ring, officials said Friday.

 Bojan Derzic, 30, told police he'd committed 10 to 15 burglaries in recent months after he was arrested for allegedly stealing fuel at 411 N. Pines Road on Tuesday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Rick Johnson stopped Derzic driving a van near Mission Avenue and Woodward Road. He had a suspended license and admitted to the fuel theft, police said.

With Derzic in the van were Denis Buljubasic, 27, and prolific burglary suspect Susan Burke, 50 (pictured).

While investigating the gas theft, Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Martin recognized the color of the van listed on the registration did not match the color of the van registered to its license plates. A check of the VIN confirmed the van had been reported stolen in November 2011 in Liberty Lake.

Derzic and Burke also had checks that didn't belong to them. Police say the two stole the checks from a garage on the South Hill and had been forging them and depositing them at local banks. They used the cash to buy methamphetamine and gamble at Northern Quest Casino.

Detectives linked them to garage burglaries in the South Hill, Airway Heights and Otis Orchards area by checking pawn shop histories.

The suspects also directed police to a Toyota truck they'd stolen in north Spokane a week ago and left near East Broadway Avenue and North Madelia Street.

Buljabasic was released at the scene of Tuesday's stop, but Spokane police advised they had probable cause to arrest him for his alleged involvement in burglaries on the South Hill, along with Derzic.

The Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team located Buljabasic in a car parked at the Airway Heights WalMart on Thursday. He was with Derzic, who had been released from jail just hours earlier. Both were arrested on suspicion of burglary. They admitted to other burglaries and crimes, police say, and Derzic was found to be in possession of methamphetamine. A slew of felony charges are expected.

DSHS worker had ‘disturbing’ child porn

A state social services employee accused of distributing child pornography must undergo a mental health evaluation before he can leave jail, a judge ruled today.

A federal prosecutor said the material distributed by Darrell J. Rogers, who licenses foster homes for children, is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.

“This is not normal child pornography,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks said at Rogers' bail hearing in U.S. District Court. “This is child pornography that is very disturbing.”

The material includes a video of a 3-month-old girl being raped by an adult male, Hicks said.

“This is not like trading baseball cards,” Hicks said. “What kind of person would have an interest in this?…Most people are disgusted by it, and most people would ask 'what's wrong with this person?'”

Rogers, 51, is a married father of two with no criminal history. He's lived in Spokane his entire life and has worked for the state Department of Health and Human Services since 1995. Family, friends and coworkers attended his hearing; some left afterward in tears.

Distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for each image.

U.S Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno will review Rogers' mental health evaluation. Rogers and his wife must pay $25,000 bond to secure his release from jail. If he is released, Rogers will be confined to his home and must wear an electric monitor. Firearms that FBI agents found in his home during a search on Tuesday must be removed.

Imbrogno called the conditions “perhaps about as stringent as they get for this type of charge,” she said.

Hicks cited Rogers’ employment as a person in a position of trust with children as further reason for a mental health evaluation.

“He's leading a double life, in effect,” Hicks said.

A DSHS spokesman said Rogers will be reassigned to a position in which he does not have contact with children if he's released from jail pending the resolution of his case. Imbrogno said she'll decide if Rogers can be employed after reading his evaluation.

Rogers has been in the Spokane County Jail since Tuesday, when FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane and seized a computer containing sexually explicit images of children.

The FBI began investigating him in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet Protocol address linked to Rogers' home.

The material features the infant and children up to six years old, Hicks said.

Rogers told the FBI the material was on a computer in the guest bedroom when questioned, Hicks said.

Rogers also told investigators he'd never hurt a child and would contact authorities if he knew of someone who was. He said he wasn't sexually attracted to children but was “trying to figure out” child pornography.

Hicks said Rogers' response was typical “even from people who have been diagnosed as pedophiles.”

“I'm not saying Rogers is; I'm saying that's a typical response,” Hicks said.

He called the assertion that viewing and distributing child pornography doesn't harm children “bunk.”

“Fifty-one-year-olds creating generations of pedophiles. If we look at the facts, that’s what happens in a lot of circumstances,” Hicks said.

Public defender Matthew Campbell said a mental health evaluation isn't necessary and said Rogers is not a danger to the community. “He has no criminal history,” Campbell said.

Campbell said prosecutors have not opposed pre-trial release in other child pornography cases, but Hicks said the cases didn't involve three month olds being raped by adult males.

‘48 Hours’ to feature Reynolds case

Ronald Reynolds, left, returns to his seat as his wife, Linda Reynolds, looks on and his son Jonathan Reynolds, right, steps up to speak during a news conference at an attorney's office Nov. 10, 2011, in Olympia. Jonathan and Ronald Reynolds say they did not kill Ronda Reynolds in 1998, disputing the conclusion of an inquest jury. They said the accusations against them have been wrecking their lives. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The TV show “48 Hours Mystery” on Saturday will feature the 1998 death of Cheney native Ronda Reynolds, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in her Toledo home.

The former state trooper's death was ruled a suicide, but her mother, Barb Thompson, (left) who lives near Spokane, never believed it. Last year, an inquest jury ruled it was a homcide, and her death certificate was changed.

That was after famed crime author Ann Rule released her book “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth.”

Reynolds graduated from Cheney High School and Eastern Washington University before spending several years as a state trooper. She was considering transferring to a security position with a Spokane department store when she died.

For Reynolds, “Spokane was home,” Rule told The Spokesman-Review in October 2010.

“If she’d just gotten away that night, she was planning to fly to Spokane early in the morning, she would still be alive,” Rule said.

Jurors in October named Reynolds' husband, Ronald Reynolds, and her stepson, Jonathan Reynolds, as suspects, but authorties say there is not enough evidence to charge them. They deny involvement and are interviwed by CBS correspondent Peter Van Sant in the “48 Hours” episode, which airs Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Warrant issued for ‘80s ‘mountain man’

This Dec. 18, 1984 file photo shows Don Nichols, right, standing with his son, Dan Nichols, left, as they pled not guilty in court in Virginia City, Mont. Standing with them is attorney, Steve Ungar. (AP Photo/File)

By MATT GOURAS,Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — One of the infamous “mountain men” who in the 1980s eluded authorities for five months by living in the wilderness is on the run from the law again — and considered “armed and dangerous.”

The U.S. attorney's office in Montana has filed federal drug and weapons charges against Dan Nichols, who with his father was convicted in kidnaping a world class athlete in 1984, killing a would-be rescuer and hiding in the remote mountains northwest of Yellowstone National Park.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges Nichols and two other men were involved in a statewide marijuana distribution ring that netted nearly $1.8 million. The news comes as his 81-year-old father, Don, comes up for a parole hearing next week.

Federal marshals said they are now looking for the younger Nichols, who was previously wanted in state court for not appearing earlier this year on relatively minor drug charges filed after his arrest at a rock concert. The new federal charges allege a much larger conspiracy.

“He should definitely be considered armed and dangerous,” said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for Montana, Rod Ostermiller. “He is obviously someone who hasn't been compliant with law enforcement in the past.”

Ostermiller wouldn't say whether authorities believe Nichols has taken to the woods again. But he warned the public to be wary of the 5-foot-11, 150-pound Nichols.

“I think there is some definite safety issues involved regarding this individual,” the marshal said. “That is just one thing we can't stress enough.”

The original, bizarre crime gripped the state and the nation when the father and son abducted world-class biathlete Kari Swenson in 1984 while she was on a training run in the mountains above the resort town of Big Sky. The elder Nichols was reportedly looking for a wife for his then 19-year-old son.

The so-called mountain men had been living continuously in the woods for a year prior to the abduction, growing hidden makeshift gardens, poaching game and generally staying out of sight.

The scheme quickly fell apart when would-be rescuers stumbled upon the camp. In the melee, Dan Nichols accidentally shot Swenson. An armed standoff ensued, and the elder Nichols gunned down Alan Goldstein.

The Nichols evaded capture by living in the Madison Range, until they surrendered when a Madison County sheriff caught up with them.

Swenson, despite diminished lung capacity from the gunshot wound, went on to win a bronze medal in the world biathlon championships.

The new charges against Nichols include allegations the felon illegally amassed dozens of rifles, assault weapons, pistols, and shotguns while engaged in drug crimes. Christopher Wayne Williams and Christopher Lindsey, two of the five co-founders of the now-shuttered Montana Cannabis statewide medical marijuana operation, are also charged, but they are not on the run.

Drug Enforcement Administration agent Wesley Smith said Thursday at a sentencing of Richard Flor, another Montana Cannabis co-founder, that Nichols worked for Williams at the operation's Helena marijuana nursery overseeing the care of hundreds of pot plants.

Federal agents raided the nursery as part of a crackdown on medical marijuana operations last year, and Smith said agents found a handgun in the camper that Nichols had been living in next to the nursery.

Federal authorities say the trio was involved in an operation that grew and sold marijuana in several Montana cities from 2006 until 2011. This came at a time when many in the state thought they were legally running medical marijuana businesses under a state law.

All of the Montana Cannabis co-owners, who also ran the Montana Caregivers Association, have been indicted or pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

Pic shows possible child luring suspect

Spokane police are trying to identity a person of interest in an attempted child luring.

The incident occurred April 11 at the Shadle Park WalMart on West Wellesley Avenue, police said today.

Anyone with information on the man's identity is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Lawsuit says circumcision ‘robbed’ man

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota prison inmate is suing the hospital where he was circumcised as a newborn, saying he only recently became aware that he'd undergone the procedure and that it robbed him of his sexual prowess.

Dean Cochrun, 28, is asking for $1,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks in the lawsuit that his foreskin be restored “in the hopes I could feel whole again,” though he acknowledged that he didn't expect such a restoration to be anything more than aesthetic.

Cochrun, who is imprisoned in Sioux Falls on a kidnapping conviction, filed the federal lawsuit Friday against Sanford Hospital. Cochrun claims that an “unknown doctor” at the then-named Sioux Valley Hospital misled his mother to believe that the procedure was medically necessary. Cochrun argues that the procedure was unnecessary, unethical and without medical benefit.

“I was recently made aware of the fact that I had been (circumcised) and that … I was robbed of sensitivity during sexual intercourse as well as the sense of security and well-being I am entitled to in my person,” he argued in the lawsuit, adding that neither he nor his partners would “have that sensitivity during sexual intercourse and have a normal sex life.”

Cochrun isn't represented by a lawyer in the lawsuit, which includes a letter from Sanford officials responding to a letter requesting that his foreskin be replaced. Patient relations representative DyAnn Smith replied that Sanford would not pay for the procedure.

“There will be no further correspondence about this matter,” she wrote.

‘Baby’s momma’ call helps nab suspect

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — Thanks to a ringing cellphone with an incoming call from “Baby's momma,” police in Michigan say they were able to track down a suspected robber.

Investigators in Bay City said a cellphone was found on the ground of a convenience store following a break-in last September. When it rang, officers glanced at the odd caller ID and answered the phone.

The female caller said the phone belonged to Kyle Schmiege but had recently been stolen. But during their investigation, police linked Schmiege to a February 2011 home burglary.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree home invasion. MLive.com reported Wednesday ( http://bit.ly/IKyTwr ) that the 20-year-old Schmiege was sentenced to between 23 months and 15 years in prison, with credit for about four months served.

Bay City is about 115 miles northwest of Detroit.

Pic of cop car gas theft leads to arrest

JENKINS, Ky. (AP) — There it was on Facebook for all to see — Michael Baker with a gas can, a siphon hose stuck into a police cruiser in eastern Kentucky and a middle finger raised.

Among those who saw it were Jenkins police, who arrested 20-year-old Baker on Monday and charged him with theft by unlawful taking.

Baker told WYMT-TV ( http://bit.ly/HUTwfV ) in Hazard there wasn't much fuel in the car to siphon and the stunt on Friday was intended as a joke. Baker's girlfriend took the photo and posted it.

Police didn't laugh. Chief Allen Bormes says that if Baker would steal from police, he'd steal from “just about anybody.”

Authorities say they plan to buy lockable gas caps.

Stolen property seized. Is it yours?

All photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is trying to identify the owners of suspected stolen property seized Tuesday after a resident reported suspicious activity north of Spokane Valley.

Officials found the items, which include silverware, jewelry and medical cards, in a car that Curtis McKelvey, 28, was driving when sheriff's Deputy James Ebel stopped him for driving with expired tabs near Liberty and Argonne roads about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said today.

Ebel was looking for the vehicle after a neighbor in the area of 7900 East Gunning Drive in the Bigelow Gulch reported two suspicious men who'd walked into a backyard after backing a vehicle into a driveway.

McKelvey told Ebel he and his friend were in the area looking for work, Chamberlin said. He later said he was a heroin addict who needed money to buy more.

He allowed members of the sheriff's office burglary task force to search his car, where they located the suspected stolen property, along with bolt cutters, gloves and shaved car keys.

McKelvey was arrested on a felony warrant out of Adams County.

Photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page. Victims who can identify their belongings should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 with the number o their theft report. You must provide proof of ownership to get your items back.

Felon leads police to guns, stolen car

Deputies in Spokane Valley found two suspected stolen firearms Tuesday while contacting a woman who was driving with a suspended license, officials said today.

Jill A. Benton, 27, told deputies she placed a backpack in the bed of a truck next to her vehicle in the area of 400 North University Road and that there were two guns inside, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Benton allowed deputies to search the backpack, and they recovered a KSI Pomona 9mm handgun and a 16-gauge Westpoint shotgun.

Benton allowed deputies to search her storage unit in Spokane Valley, “where there were several items that she said were more than likely stolen,” according to a news release.

Benton also told deputies she'd picked up a “felon” associate who had been driving a Honda, the sheriff's office said. She took deputies to the Honda, which was listed as stolen. Benton was booked into jail on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Police are asking property crime victims to review photos of the seized property from this case and from other investigations on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

“Citizens are required to call Crime Check with their original theft report number and must show proof of ownership for the items they recognize,” according to a news release.

Benton is prohibited from possessing firearms because of felony convictions, which include riot, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance related to a medical marijuana robbery in January 2011.

Man gets 3 years for drug robbery

  A man who robbed a former sheriff's deputy with long intoxicated driving history has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Matthias “Payback” Piggot, 30, (right) robbed James L. Crabtree (left) on Jan. 21, 2011, at an apartment in the 12700 block of East Shannon Avenue with a woman Crabtree said had been at his home two days earlier.

That woman, Sandy K. Perreira, 30, was sentenced to 15 months in prison in November after pleading guilty to residential burglary, third-degree assault and three counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Crabtree told police he grabbed a folding knife but dropped it after he was threatened with the hammer. He told his attackers he didn't have any drugs or money, so the two left with his checkbook, wallet and credit cards, according to court documents. Crabtree suffered a concussion in the attack.

Piggot's criminal history includes convictions for domestic violence and attempting to elude police.

In June, he was suspected of stabbing a man in Spokane Valley but an uncooperative victim halted the police probe. He also was present when Andrew T. Burns allegedly shot a man in June 2010.

CdA man arrested w/ 10 lbs of pot

A Coeur d'Alene man was arrested in southern Oregon Wednesday with 10 pounds of marijuana.

Robert J. Nuszkiewicz, 50, was stopped for a traffic violating about 9:30 a.m. on Interstate 5 near milepost 90 in the Canyonville area.

An Oregon State Police drug dog discovered the marijuana inside the van. Nuszkiewicz was the only occupant.

He was booked into the Douglas County Jail, then ordered to appear in Douglas County Circuit Court at a later date for unlawful possession and delivery of marijuana.

He has no serious criminal record in Idaho or Washington.

Wigged felon with gun, drugs charged

A fugitive felon arrested in Spokane with drugs and a gun while wearing a wig and sunglasses has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

James Anthony Stinson, 41, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Stinson was arrested Jan. 16 after a Spokane police officer spotted him driving a blue Ford Explorer while wearing the disguise, according to court documents.

Stinson had an escape warrant from the Washington Department of Corrections. Police arrested him in a motel parking lot at 4301 W. Sunset Blvd., and found methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in a black case.

Stinson also had a black and silver Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in the car, police say. He's prohibited from possessing guns because of six felony convictions, all drug related.

Stinson was charged in Spokane County Superior Court with three counts of possession of a controlled substance. He's out of jail on $10,000 bond with trial scheduled for June.

The federal gun charge in U.S. District Court was filed Tuesday. He has not yet been arrested in that case.

Sex offender posing in park arrested

A Spokane sex offender is in jail after police say he posed for sexually explicit photos in Riverfront Park Tuesday afternoon.

James Ray Febus, 36, told police that “there was really no full nudity” involved, but Spokane police Officer Shawn Pegram showed him photos to the contrary, and Febus asked for a warning and said it had been an “error in judgment,” according to court documents.

Febus was arrested for indecent exposure, which is a felony because he has previous sex offense convictions for third-degree rape of a child and failure to register as a sex offender.

Police were called to the park about 3:45 p.m. after a security officer on a bicycle saw Febus exposing himself to another man who was taking photos in the seating area overlooking the falls and gondola route adjacent. The officer said anyone in the area could have seen Febus' genitals.

The photographer, Richard Craven, told police he took pictures as Febus exposed “his penis, testicles and buttocks,” according to court documents.

Febus was sentenced in April 2009 to prison for failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted of the same crime in 2002 and 2005. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison in 1997 for third-degree rape of a child.

Tips sought on CdA gymnasium thefts

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 Coeur d'Alene police are asking for help identifying men believed to be responsible for thefts at local gymnasiums.

At least two gyms have reported at least four thefts since March 20 in which thieves walk into the gyms and help themselves to keys and wallets in the men's locker rooms, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

They use the keys to prowl vehicles in the parking lot.

Surveillance video released today from 360 Fitness, 410 W. Neider Ave., on March 20 shows one of the suspected thieves.

Photos from video at Safeway in Liberty lake show two men believed to be connected to the use of a credit card stolen from Peak Fitness on April 16.

The men are driving a dark-colored compact car.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.

Scantily clad man flashes garbage man

A man wearing nothing but a wig and bra near Manito Park has reportedly been flashing a garbage man, “as well as leaving cards and notes for him,” according to the latest Spokane Police Department weekly report.

Police told KXLY-TV the man denied doing so, and that he can only be arrested if officers witness the act.

The news station called it a case of a man showing the trash man “the wrong kind of junk.”
  

FBI arrests social worker for child porn

A state social services employee who licenses foster care homes was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child pornography possession.

Darrell J. Rogers, 51, is in the Spokane County Jail without bail after appearing in U.S. District Court Tuesday afternoon. FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane, where he lives with his wife, Kim Rogers, 49.

Kim Rogers also is a social worker with the state Department of Social and Health Services who specializes in finding homes for children who are wards of the state. Her husband licenses those homes, a neighbor said.

Darrell Rogers told FBI agents his wife had nothing to do with the child pornography they were investigating, according to court documents. The FBI began investigating Rogers in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet user in Spokane.

The material includes children as young as approximately three months old being sexually assaulted by men and women.

Darrell Rogers was a social worker for 10 years beginning in 1995, said Thomas Shapley, DSHS spokesman. He began licensing foster homes in 2005, Shapley said.

Rogers is barred from entering his workplace, and his computer access has been locked. Should he be released from jail pending the resolution of the case, “we've already prepared an alternative work assignment for him where he would not have any contact with children,” Shapley said.

FBI agents say Rogers admitted Tuesday to using Internet file sharing programs and said no one else in the home, including his wife and two sons, would have used the screen names associated with the explicit material.

“Agents asked if he knew of any really bad people who he traded with that specifically harmed children,” according to court documents. “Rogers responded that he did not know of anyone who was abusing children, and had he known he would have reported it.”

Rogers told federal agents he had had no sexual interest in the material but was “trying to figure it out,” documents say.

“When asked about how long he had an interest in child pornography, Rogers stated that he did not know, and that he would never touch a child, and would never molest children,” agents wrote.

Rogers is due back in court Friday for a hearing to determine if he can be allowed out of jail on bail pending trial.

Man gets 31 years for wife’s murder

A Stevens County man who shot his wife to death was sentenced Tuesday to 31 years in prison.

Craig Raymond Cosby, 70, called 911 on Oct. 2, 2009, and said he'd shot his wife, Susan May Cosby, 53.

Susan Cosby (pictured) was found dead of gunshot wounds in the home in the 1200 block of Overlook Boulevard in Marcus, a small town along the Columbia River in northern Stevens County. Craig Cosby was arrested in the front yard and underwent mental evaluations before being declared competent to stand trial.

A jury convicted him of first-degree murder March 30, rejecting his claims of self defense.

Cosby said at his sentencing in Stevens County Superior Court that he did not plan or prepare to murder his wife, and that he did have remorse but hadn't shown it “due to the way he was raised,” said Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said neither drugs nor alcohol, which are common in violent crimes, were a factor. He said Judge Nielson imposed the maximum sentence of 380 months as recommended.

“Previously Judge (Allen) Nielson stated that from what he had heard, Susan was a caring compassionate person who was loved by many people,” Rasmussen said in an email. “The fact that she had raised good children was a testimony to her character and nature. ”

Past coverage:

Dec. 11: Murder trial delayed for months while judge, prosecutor squabble

Cops recover vest linked to triple murder

Preston Kahanu is pictured in this Feb. 28 photo with his girlfriend, Saundra Warrington, and their baby, Mason, at their home on North Howard Street. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

Spokane police today seized a bullet proof vest and video game console from the home of a Spokane man who was one of the last people to see triple homicide suspect Dustin W. Gilman alive.

No one was arrested today, but Detective Jeff Barrington said the investigation into the items, which were stolen from the home of triple murder victim Tracy Ader, 32, and her sons, as well as the location of other stolen property, is ongoing

Police located the vest and gaming machine in a home at 4108 N. Howard, where Gilman played video games with Preston Kahanu on Feb. 10, just hours after Gilman is believed to have strangled Ader and her sons, Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8.

Kahanu, 25, told The Spokesman-Review today that he found the vest in a duffel bag in his garage a few weeks ago. He brought into his house but didn't contact police because he says he was scared to talk to them about it. He suspects Gilman, 22, left in the garage and insists he never saw Gilman with it.

Kahanu said police obtained a search warrant for his home after tracking the Internet Protocol address being used by a PlayStation 3 stolen from the Ader home.

Kahanu said Gilman brought that console to his home when he stopped by to play Call of Duty. Kahanu said it was common to do that, and that Gilman said he would pick it up late. So when Gilman was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Feb. 13, Kahanu just figured he would keep it.

“I thought I'd scored a free PS3, but it ended up being stolen,” Kahanu said.

Kahanu said police were looking for guns stolen from the Ader home, but they didn't find any at his house. He said Gilman showed him a .357 pistol but no other weapons.

Barrington declined to discuss details of the investigation but said it's ongoing and arrests are possible.

Past coverage:

Feb. 15: Gilman used victim's phone to contact her family

Feb. 14: Gilman called father before bodies were found

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Bizarre stabbing leads to $250k bond

A bizarre stabbing at a north Spokane apartment late Saturday led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man.

Spokane police say the woman Kurt J. Clausen is accused of stabbing has no idea why he attacked her. She said Clausen said nothing during the incident, which occurred as she exited her bathroom at 49 E. Pine Ridge Ct., according to court documents.

The woman said Clausen was waiting for her with a knife and stabbed her in the upper chest, then dropped the weapon and ran from the apartment about 11:30 p.m., police say.

A Washington State Patrol trooper contacted Clausen just after midnight near West Main Avenue and North Lincoln Street in downtown Spokane. Police responded and arrested him on a first-degree assault charge.

Officers say Clausen admitted to stabbing the woman and said he told her there was something in a room in the apartment, then attacked her as she exited that room, according to court documents.

Clausen remains jailed on$250,000 bond after appearing before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on Monday.
  

Wedding ring set recovered in bike theft

The Spokane Sheriff's Office is looking for the owner of a wedding ring set that was found after two suspected bicycle thieves were arrested Monday.

Corrections deputies recovered the rings from the front pants pocket of Damen J. Banning, 34, while booking him into jail on suspicion of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Deputies arrested Banning and Colleen Sue Janson, 52, (pictured) after responding to North Division Bicycle, 10503 N. Division St., for a report of a stolen bicycle.

The two told Deputy Terry Liljenberg they were trying to sell the bicycle for a friend. Janson gave Liljenberg a false name, but Deputy Jeff Shover arrived and recognized her, then dispatchers confirmed she had a warrant for misdemeanor theft, according to the sheriff's office.

Employees realized the bicycle was stolen after their mechanic noticed it was purchased at Bicycle Butler, 6520 N. Ash St., in February and called the shop to obtain the purchaser's information, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Liljenberg contacted the owner, who said he didn't know his bicycle was missing. He left it in his garage on Saturday but accidentally left door open overnight, the sheriff's office said. The bike was returned.

Banning, whose previous convictions include theft and vehicle prowling, was booked on the trafficking charge; Janson was booked on the theft warrant as well as new charges of making false and misleading statements and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Anyone who has had a wedding ring stolen and has made a report is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and provide the report number. You must provide proof of ownership to get the ring back.

Janson has a long criminal history and was a witness in a 2008 drug-fueled murder that police say was over $7.25.

Crime Stoppers targeted her in February 2010 to ensure she would be available to testify at trial.

She didn't end up needing to - the killer, Terry L. Conner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 31 years in prison. His accomplice, Aaron Lyons, received 10 years.

Man gets 6+ years for gunpoint robbery

A Spokane man who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint after avoiding prison time for a theft and burglary case is now headed to the big house.

Anthony D. Fuerte, 19, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay $99 in restitution - the proceeds of a robbery at the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., in January.

Police found Fuerte hiding in a carport just west of the store. They say he had an Airsoft gun with him, along with money stolen in the robbery.

Fuerte had been given drug treatment instead of prison for a felony theft and burglary case involving nearly $200,000 in stolen goods.

Fuerte also was arrested in December 2010 on suspicion of theft and harassment after a deputy followed his shoe prints through snowy woods.

Fuerte pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery Friday and was sentenced to 80 months in prison by Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Shari’s customers robbed of laptops

Two customers at Shari's restaurant in northwest Spokane had their laptops stolen out of their hands Sunday, police say.

The women were sitting in a booth about 4:50 p.m. when a man walked up, slammed a MacBook shut and grabbed it from one of them, then grabbed the other laptop that was nearby.

The thief, identified by police as Tyler C. Berens, 20, ran from the restaurant but was arrested minutes later at the McDonald's across the street. A McDonald's employee told police Berens walked into the store on a cellphone and said “I'm going to jail” before locking himself in the bathroom, according to court documents.

Police found Berens in the bathroom and recovered the laptops from a garbage can. Officers said Berens had two Xanex pills on him, which earned him drug possession charges in addition to second-degree robbery and second-degree theft charges for the laptop heists.

Berens already has a trial scheduled in May for property crimes charges related to a counterfeit check ring.

Chronic drunken driver gets 17 months

A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide has been sentenced to 17 months in prison for drunken driving.

A jury convicted David W. Batty, 56, of drunken driving after a short trial in Spokane County Superior Court earlier this month.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Friday, where he's awaiting transport to prison to begin his sentence. He'll be credited for time already spend in jail, which includes the month he was there after his arrest in January.

Batty had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. in January 2011 at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2.  Batty told police that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications, according to court documents.

The charge was a felony because Batty has a previous conviction for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash in 1993.

Batty was rehired by the Spokane Fire Department after serving time in prison for vehicular homicide but was on medical leave when he caused a crash in January 2007 that killed three people. He was not charged in that crash but never returned to the Fire Department.

Then in 2009, he was sentenced to nine months in jail after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol.

Boy faces arson charge for house fire

A 13-year-old boy has been arrested allegedly setting fire to a vacant home in north Spokane last month.

The boy was booked into Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center after being arrested at Glover Middle School. He was to appear before a judge on Monday, officials said.

Investigators with the Spokane Fire Department say the boy confessed to setting fire to a home at 4218 N. Ash St. on March 30. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze, which was confined to one bedroom and the roof area above that room. The rest of the home suffered extensive heat and smoke damage.

The suspect faces a charge of first-degree arson.

Burglar strikes while woman showers

A 75-year-old woman found a burglar in her home after getting out of her shower this morning, sheriff's deputies say.

The woman heard loud banging on her front door in the 600 block of West Regina Drive about 10:30 a.m. and found the man standing insider her hallway after she got dressed and walked toward the front door, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The man ran out of the home then ran westbound on Regina toward Mill Road. Deputies say he forced his way into the home through the front door.

The man is described as white, 18 years old with an average build and wearing blue jeans and a blue coat.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Boy arrested for DUI after police chase

A 17-year-old boy in a stolen van was arrested for drunken driving after running into a fast food restaurant, then disabling his front tires by running over a curb.

The boy also faces charges of attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen vehicle, hit and run, possession of marijuana and driving while license suspended after deputies were dispatched to a van driving recklessly Saturday about 7:30 a.m. in the area of East Bigelow Gulch Road and North Argonne Road, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses called 911 to report the van, and sheriff's Deputy Matt Spink caught up with near Highway 2 and Day-Mt. Spokane Road.

Spink followed the van and was told by dispatchers that it had just run into the Zip Trip nearby, according to the sheriff's office. He tried to stop the van, but it sped away before the boy drove it over a curb near Lane Park and Chesapeake Road, which disabled the front tires.

Spink arrested the boy. The owner of the van said he'd parked it in front of his home about 11 p.m. the night before and did not know the boy or that his van had been stolen.
  

Valley police arrest 4 burglary suspects

Police on Friday arrested four men considered to be “well known burglars” responsible for crimes in Spokane Valley, officials said today.

A Spokane Valley night-shift patrol platoon led by Sgt. Don Manning focused on the area of 400 North University Road and the area of 13500 East Rich Road, which police say “have been notorious for criminal activity for some time.”

Arrested were Damian M. Plumley, 22, on warrants for three counts of second-degree theft and one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property; Steven D.T. Devitt, 42, on a warrant for second-degree theft and vehicle prowling; Christopher Michael Stoddard, 20, on new charges of second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property; and Mark William Bush, 37, on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant for failure to comply.

 Bush (pictured) is a repeat offender who was targeted by Crime Stoppers in February even though he already was in DOC custody.

Police recovered a large amount of stolen property during the arrests Friday, which property crimes detectives identified and returned to their owners.

“The return of these items took longer than normal because none of the high value items had been reported stolen,” sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release. “When detectives asked the property owners why they did not report the thefts, the property owners said they had not gotten around to it.”

“Citizens are asked to report any type of theft, suspicious vehicles or persons to either 911 or Crime Check,” Chamberlin continued. “This information is extremely valuable and played a vital role with the multiple arrests made this weekend in Spokane Valley. The Sheriff's Office has devoted extra resources to focus on burglaries in unincorporated Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley.”

Murderer with 60+ arrests back in jail

A Spokane man arrested more than 60 times since avoiding prison as a teenager for his role in a murder is back behind bars.

Nicholas Adam Limpert, now 26, is jailed on an unusually high bond of $250,000 for two counts of residential burglary after Spokane police arrested last week him and two other suspects last week for burglaries in the Indian Trail area of north Spokane.

 Limpert’s criminal history began at age 15 with the murder and robbery of a disabled janitor in northwest Spokane. The decision to allow him to be charged as a juvenile angered the victim’s family, who said they doubted he could be rehabilitated. After hearing news last year that he'd been arrested 67 more times, the judge who sentenced him as a juvenile said Limpert “probably should have been tried as an adult” for the murder.

Limpert was arrested for burglary in February 2011 for breaking into a garage to take back items he said were stolen from him when he was beaten, tied up and robbed at a motel earlier that week, according to court records.

Limpert's latest arrested occurred last Wednesday after Spokane police followed a silver Buick Riviera that had been seen in the area around the time of the burglaries.

Officers with the Patrol Anti-Crime Team watched Limpert and suspect Matthew R. Dobson, 24, approach several homes and quickly leave the area. One of the burglarized homes belongs to a clerk for a Spokane County Superior Court judge, according to court documents. They watched the men pick up Nicole Phillips, 29, then drive to the area of 1600 South Perry Street, where the suspects approached another home and left a short while later.

Officers followed the suspects to a home near 39th and Regal and watched the three unload suspect stolen property into a detached garage. The suspects were arrested at the scene.

Even if Limpert does post the $250,000 bond imposed at his first court appearance Thursday, he won't be able to leave jail. The Washington Department of Corrections has a no-bail hold on him for violating his probation for previous property crime convictions.

Limpert's demeanor seems to have changed since he was a boy. He was described as smirking and laughing (pictured left) during his sentencing for first-degree murder in 2001; Spokane police say he’s now well known for crying upon arrest.

Past coverage:

Nov. 30: Repeat offender's arrest reunites family
  

Tips sought on coffee shop vandal

 The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying two men involved in the vandalism of a Spokane Valley coffee shop.

Surveillance video shows two men walk in front of the Whistle Shop coffee stand in the 16900 block of East Sprague Avenue on April 2.

One of the men threw a large rock through a window, which smashed not only the window but destroyed a granita machine inside the coffee stand.

View the video here.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Charges dropped in biker gang case

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SANDPOINT — A North Idaho county is dropping criminal gang-recruitment charges against five people following an Idaho Supreme Court decision making it more difficult to prove the law was broken.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank has moved to dismiss the charges against five people associated with the Hermanos Motorcycle Club, the Bonner County Daily Bee reports.

The Supreme Court upheld the recruitment law in January but said prosecutors would have to prove a person was drawn to a gang specifically to engage in criminal activity.

Read the rest of the story here.

Past coverage:

July 5: Biker cites gender disorder at sentencing

Jan. 18, 2011: Sandpoint bikers indicted in Montana

Oct. 11, 2010: Biker gang arrested in Bonner County drug sweep

Missing man’s body parts found in 2 locations

Police in Seattle have a mystery on their hands.

According to The Associated Press, authorities say DNA testing has confirmed that body parts found in two separate Seattle-area locations are from the same man, 53-year-old Donald Meyer who was reported missing in June 2011.

Last July, his torso was found at a recycling plant and traced to a bin near Meyer's apartment in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Last December, a group of homeless outreach volunteers stumbled across other parts of Meyer's body under a bridge.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb told KING-TV the killing appears to be isolated and not the work of a serial killer.

Bearded woman guilty of assaulting officer’s genitals

A jury today took 20 minutes to convict a woman, who wears a beard and lives as a man, of assaulting a Spokane Police officer in 2009.

 Joseph Ali Bin Muhammad – formerly Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas — represented himself in the trial after Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor last month ruled that he was competent to stand trial despite objections from the prosecution.

Muhammad’s charge stemmed from an incident on July 25, 2009, in which Muhammad, 45, grabbed a police officer’s genitals as he attempted to detain Muhammad for a mental evaluation.

Muhammad previously told The Spokesman-Review that he was born a woman, had a child and considers himself transgendered.

He previously said he wears a full beard as a symbol of his activism. O’Connor scheduled his sentencing for April 24. He faces about 90 days in jail.

Warning: Light posting ahead

I will be out of the office until Monday, April 16. My colleagues may update this blog occasionally.

St. Maries woman admits killing uncle

A North Idaho woman who killed her uncle and burned his body has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Melisa R. Bates, 28, is to be sentenced May 18 for the murder of Robert D. Marek, 43, last May at his home eight miles south of St. Maries, where Bates had been staying.

Bates originally was charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was reduced as part of a plea deal approved Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Bates shot Marek with a handgun before beating him with a metal rod, Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne said.

She underwent a psychological evaluation that declared her to fit to stand trial.

Thieves strip home of copper piping

Thieves stripped a near-empty north Spokane home of copper piping on Tuesday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A neighbor who watches the home in the area of 8700 N. Country Homes Blvd. said the home appeared normal when he left for work about 5 a.m., but when he returned about 4 p.m., the garage door would not open.

He saw several items piled on the floor. Sheriff's deputies say thieves forced their way into the home and tore copper piping from the laundry room and bathroom walls, as well as from a crawl space and from the basement ceiling. Dry wall was damaged extensively.

Another neighbor said he drove past the home about 7 a.m. and saw two men on opposite sides of the street wearing hoodies and carrying large garbage bags.

The man said he saw an older gray Ford van parked on Weipert Road that he'd never seen before. The first three digits of the license plate possibly were 730.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Related coverage:

Dec. 23: Suspected copper thieves had business licenses
  

Video questions account of shooting

Watch me talk about the story in the video above with KHQ's Dave Cotton.

A homeowner says his surveillance video brings into question the official account of why law enforcement shot and killed a North Idaho fugitive three weeks ago, though police warn against drawing too many conclusions from the footage because it captures just a portion of the chaotic 20-minute chase and final encounter.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

March 12: Man killed by Post Fall police identified

Car prowling suspect begs for leniency

A 21-year-old vehicle prowling suspect chased down by a Spokane County sheriff's deputy Tuesday night begged for leniency and said he had recently been released from prison, officials say.

Orlando Jaramillo, who was a Crime Stoppers fugitive just two months ago, told Deputy Robert Satake he was on probation and had been “doing good” but needed a cellphone, didn't have money and decided to steal a phone from a car in a North Division Street parking lot, according to a news release.

Satake was patrolling the area of Division and Cascade Way about 10 p.m. when he heard yelling about a robbery and saw a man chasing another man through the parking lot of Tire O Rama.

Satake turned into the Costco parking lot, exited his patrol car and ordered Jaramillo to stop, but the suspect continued running before Satake caught up with him and detained him.

The male victim said he and his friend were getting fuel and a soda at a gas station when Jaramillo asked for a cigarette, according to the sheriff's office. They told him no, and when they exited the store they found their cellphones missing and saw Jaramillo running across the street.

Jaramillo was booked into jail on charges of vehicle prowling, third-degree theft and obstructing. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison in December 2010 for second-degree robbery and attempted residential burglary.

Crime Stoppers was offering a reward for tips that led to his capture back in January when he was wanted for violating his Department of Corrections probation. He was arrested on a new residential burglary charge Jan. 30 but prosecutors have not yet filed charges.

Police: Woman had meth in body cavity

Police said a Coeur d'Alene woman was arrested with methamphetamine inside her vaginal cavity this morning, but they later said the woman only said meth was located there, and none was found.

 Detectives with the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force located Christine R. Davis-Jasinki, 35, at the Coeur d'Alene Casino and searched her home at 114 Borah Ave. in Coeur d'Alene about 5:30 a.m. today, where they found a surveillence system and other drugs.

Davis-Jasinki was booked into jail for drug charges for meth and drug paraphernalia found in the home. A SWAT team used an armored vehicle to approach the home.

Police used the extreme measures because of “information about several weapons inside the residence as well as four pit bull dogs,” according to a news release by Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood.

A SWAT member used a dog snare to control  “a large, vicious pit bull,” but the other dogs were cooperative and none were injured, Wood said. The dogs were seized by animal control officers.

Police found what they described as a sophisticated video surveillance inside the home that monitored the street and included audio capabilities and a view of the home's entrance. They also found a large amount of suspected stolen property, including jewelry and power tools. Police are working to identify the owners.

Arrested at the home were Coeur d'Alene residents Chase A. Nutting, 21, on a failure to appear warrant for attempted robbery, and a warrant out of Kitsap County, Wash., and Stevan E. Hemming, 25, on a warrant for violating his probation and parole for aggravated assaulted.

Davis-Jasinki has been booked into the Kootenai County Jail 30 times since 1996, said Major Ben Wolfinger.

Related coverage:

July 21, 2011: Woman with $26,000 in bra pleads guilty

March 25, 2011: Pa. cavity search produces 50 bags of heroin

Sept. 17, 2010: Police get search warrant for man's rectum
  

Owners of stolen sports cards sought

Sports cards were recovered during a recent investigation into a burglary ring, and detectives are looking for their owners.

Detectives believe the cards were stolen in the last six months during residential burglaries in Spokane County.

Suspects Dustin J. Myhren, 26, and Donald G. Myhren, 30, were arrested Saturday after a detective reviewing burglary reports noticed that the description of suspects in a series of burglaries matched the brothers, and that a suspect vehicle was registered at their address, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Burglary victims missing sports cards are asked to call the sheriff's Investigative Task Force at (509) 477-4778.

$250k bond for child abuse suspect

A 22-year-old Spokane man accused of assaulting his infant daughter will remain jailed on $250,000 bond, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Joshua E. Gillis is in the Spokane County Jail after he was arrested in Texas last week by federal marshals at the request of Spokane police.

Gillis is accused of assaulting his daughter in January. He and the girl's mother, Ashley B. Huston, brought the girl to a hospital with multiple skull fractures, a fractured right shoulder and a spiral fracture to her right thigh, police say. They told doctors the girl was anemic.

GIllis is charged with two counts of second-degree child assault.

Plea replaces life sentence w/ 3 years

A Spokane man whose three-strikes trial was halted because of concerns about racist comments made by jurors has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

 Bobby S. Galloway, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for third-degree assault after pleading guilty last week before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.

Galloway already has two convictions for violent felonies. Had he been convicted of first-degree assault as originally charged, a judge would have no choice but to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Galloway was arrested last May after stabbing a man outside the Top Hat Tavern, 6412 N. Division St.

He was on trial in February, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen declared a mistrial after a juror reported inappropriate, racially toned comments being made in the jury room, court officials say.

3rd man arrested in Rosalia murder

In this January 1997 photo, Marcus Schur, then eight-years-old, uses a wet-vac to suck up the remaining water in a family friend's kitchen after homes along Pine Creek in Rosalia flooded. Schur was murdered in Whitman County in December 2011. (SR archives)

A third suspect has been arrested in the December murder of a 23-year-old Rosalia man whose body recently was recovered from a Whitman County creek.

Lorin Travis Carlon, 35, is accused of helping murder suspects Frank Lazcano, 24, of Pine City, and Daniel Lazcano, 20, of Spokane, try to avoid arrest after the shooting death of Marcus Allen Schur, officials say.

Whitman County sheriff's deputies arrested Carlon Monday on a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

The Lazcano brothers were arrested Friday and remain jailed on murder charges.

Schur's body was pulled from the creek at the south end of Bonnie Lake March 25 after a fisherman spotted his body. An autopsy showed he was shot to death.

Schur had been missing since a dinner party on Dec. 27.

Host Nick Backman told The Spokesman-Review last week that Schur fled the rear door of a home in Malden when one man burst in and chased him out.

Backman said Schur's arms and legs were bound when his body was removed from the lack. He said the chase may have proceeded a home burglary.

Detectives still are investigating a motive, Whitman County Undersheriff Ron Rockness said today.

“Of course, the whole town of Rosalia assumes they know the motive,” Rockness said.

Rockness said the suspects knew Schur since childhood.

Schur's mother, Grace Schur, said memorial service plans are not yet finalized. A donation fund to help with expenses has been set up at the Bank of Fairfield.

Schur's uncle, Gene Schur, of Spokane, said he was shocked to learn of his nephew's murder from a TV news station.

“It happens to other people, but when it actually hits home it makes you more aware of what's going on in the community,” he said.

It's the first mruder arrest in Whitman County since 2005. A murder-suicide was reported there in 2010.

Fugitive arrested for alleged ring heist

A property crime suspect sought for weeks by Crime Stoppers and Spokane police was arrested Friday after stealing an expensive ring from Fred Meyer, officers say.

Taylor Aleck Contos, 29, was a passenger in a black truck matching the description of the vehicle used in he theft when sheriff's deputies stopped it on Highway 395.

An employee at Fred Meyer at 12100 N. Division St., identified Contos as the man who was looking at rings and left with a Kathy Ireland 1 Karat white gold anniversary ring valued at nearly $4,000.

Deputies recovered the ring from Contos' right shoe after he confessed to stealing it, according to court documents.

Contos had been wanted on six felony property crime cases since he left the Pioneer Center East drug treatment center on Feb. 20.

He was to begin trial this month on charges related to alleged thefts at stores last summer, as well as methamphetamine, heroin and unlawful issuance of bank checks charges.

Now he's in jail on those charges and a new charge of second-degree theft.

Fugitive arrested in Center of Universe

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man who failed to appear in court on charges he caused a disturbance at a Missoula hotel was taken into custody by a bail bond company after a standoff at a Wallace, Idaho, hotel.

Michael Dell Babinski, 42, was booked into the Missoula County jail early Tuesday, the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/HHBR9U) reported.

Chase Investigations owner Kelli Martin told the newspaper her team took Babinski into custody at about 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Wallace Inn. She said he raved about bombs and the federal Department of Homeland Security during the standoff.

Babinski initially was arrested Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn. He had been kicked out of the Missoula hotel on Thursday for having a dog. He returned on Friday. On Saturday, prosecutors said Babinski was again asked to leave and threatened to “take down” the hotel. Officers said he was carrying several knives, a semiautomatic handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray and had a large dog with him.

Officers who searched Babinski at the jail Saturday reported finding eight hydrocodone tablets and 7 ½ tablets of lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug.

Babinski was released from jail Sunday after posting bond on $50,000 bail. Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech issued a $100,000 bench warrant Monday when Babinski failed to appear in court on two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal trespass and carrying concealed weapons.

A records check showed he had four restraining orders in Spokane County, Wash., and Shoshone County, Idaho, according to the affidavit. Two of those orders prohibit him from possessing firearms, it said.

Brothers suspected in big burglary ring

Two brothers already facing trial for a burglary last year are suspected of a series of burglaries in Spokane and Stevens counties.

Dustin J. Myhren, 26, and Donald G. Myhren, 30, were arrested Saturday after a detective reviewing burglary reports noticed that the description of suspects in a series of Spokane County burglaries matched the brothers, and that a suspect vehicle was registered at their address, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives began following the brothers and noted as they drove slowly through residential neighborhoods and even knocked on a door to see if anyone was home.

The brothers are believed to have burglarized a home on 51st Street of about $15,000 in jewelry March 26.

Detectives tried to contact them during a traffic stop Saturday near North Perry Street and Half Moon Road. The men fled on foot but were quickly arrested. Katrina Soto, 24, also was arrested.

Detectives say Donald Myhren admitted to being part of a burglary ring with his brother involving seven or eight people.

He also knew of another burglary March 26 in which a homeowner was threatened with a gun, according to the sheriff's office.

In addition to the brothers' upcoming burglary trial, Dustin Myhren also is facing a felony drug charge for an arrest in February. He also was just sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to a drug felony in Superior Court.

Man, 20, gets 15 years for ‘07 murder

A 20-year-old man arrested for a 2007 murder was sentenced recently to 15 years in prison.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead (right) also was ordered to pay $6,651 restitution after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel Burgess, 30.

Burgess was killed while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave.

Martin-Armstead, his girlfriend, Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and her brother, Marc A. Anderson, 20 (left), each were charged with a single count of first-degree murder. Martin-Armstead's charge was reduced as part of a plea deal.

The Andersons, who are out of jail on bond, are scheduled to go to trial in June.

Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.

Suspect’s dad has choice words in court

The father of a man suspected of robbing elderly women gave him a message of tough love Monday in court.

“When you start a new life, I will invite you back as my son,” Terry Stefan told Jared A. Stefan, 27. “The stuff you pulled…is not acceptable to me. I need you to be a clean person. Totally drug free. I love you, Jared.”

Stefan said his son doesn't need a 90-day drug treatment program, he needs a year-long program and needs to start his life over somewhere else.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno said she took not only the seriousness of the charges but Terry Stefan's words to heart when she decided to set Jared Stefan's bond even higher than that requested by prosecutors.

He remains jailed on $125,000 for two robbery charges, and $10,000 bond for an unrelated burglary and stolen property case from last year.

“He's basically out of control and seems to have some real drug issues,” Moreno said. “I'm more concerned about the safety of the community right now.”

A second suspect, James L. Francis, 25, also is in jail.

Spokane police arrested the men Friday after a woman was robbed of her purse outside Bed, Bath and Beyond at 5628 N. Division St. by a man driven from the scene by another man.

Witnesses remembered the license plate of the car, which is registered to Terry Stefan. Police went to the Stefan home and arrested Jared after his father called him.

Francis was arrested after his mother called 911 and said he was trying to get her to pick him up at the McDonald's at Division Street and Longfellow Avenue.

Police believe Francis also robbed a woman of her purse outside DSW Shoes at 4727 N. Division St., on March 11 and was driven from the scene by Stefan. The woman was injured after being thrown to the ground and dragged, police say.

“Jared admitted to him and Francis specifically singling out elderly females because they cannot put up a fight,” documents say.
  

Valley man gets 4 years for child porn

A Spokane Valley man was sentenced Monday to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

Jonathan Stocker, 30, was indicted September after a May 31 federal search of his home found 24 videos and images of children engaged in sex acts, according to court records.

Stocker is not in jail and is being allowed to self report to federal prison. A sentencing memorandum described him as a man who “pays his taxes and his bills and lives modestly.”

“He has no history of abuse of children and in fact, his friends and family who have children, report that he acts appropriately,” according to the memo prepared by his public defender. “There is no indication that Mr. Stocker presents a danger to anyone.”

Stocker was prosecuted under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said in a news release.

  

Bounty hunter in Edwards case jailed

An unlicensed bounty hunter facing criminal charges for his work with Spokane-area law enforcement is to remain jailed on $250,000 bond, a judge ruled today.

Dennis J. Kariores, 42, returned to Spokane this weekend after he was arrested Feb. 9 in Pensacola, Fla., on a $150,000 warrant for first-degree burglary, unlawful imprisonment and second-degree kidnapping for allegedly using illegal apprehension techniques.

Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno increased Kariores' bond today after Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy said he was a flight risk with connections to the bail bond industry. Nagy called for $500,000 bond; Kariores' lawyer, Mark Hodgson, objected, saying Kariores is presumed innocent and had been planning to turn himself in.

 “Mr. Kariores was actually at the airport coming back to Spokane to deal with these charges,” Hodgson said. “He got picked up before he could get on the plane.”

Karories is to be arraigned April 10 at 9 a.m. If he does post the $250,000 bond, he's prohibited from contacting Angels or All City bail bond companies, whose employees are involved in Kariores' criminal case.

Kariores left Spokane last year after learning of the investigation, according to court testimony.

Former Spokane police Officer Alan Edwards, who was fired last month, was suspended for two weeks for arranging a ruse with Kariores that involved using a fugitive to help them gain access to a home they were otherwise not legally authorized to enter.

Kariores' criminal charges stem from allegedly unlawful contacts with citizens in February 2010 and August 2010. Other law enforcement officers have admitted to working closely with Kariores. Read much more here.

Kariores has told The Spokesman-Review he was only doing as the police told him.

Teen arrested after 2 drive-by shootings

A 17-year-old Spokane boy has been charged with attempted murder for a drive-by shooting last week at a north Spokane home.

Travis W. Wood is accused of shooting out the front window of a home in the 500 block of East Maxine Avenue about 4 a.m. on March 26.

Another shooting was reported at the home March 2 - the same day the homeowners' granddaughter reported Wood to police as the suspect in the theft of her cellphone, according to court documents.

No one was injured in the shootings.

Wood was arrested on a juvenile warrant at his apartment at 202 E. Wedgewood Ave. hours after the March 26 incident. Police found a .380 caliber pistol in the apartment, as well as a box of ammunition with 11 rounds missing.

Police also obtained a search warrant for Woods' mother's 1991 Chevy Blazer that revealed a .380 shell casing. Wood was charged Friday with first-degree attempted murder and drive-by shooting.

Also charged in the case is Thomas J. Jones, 21. He is not yet in custody.

Woods' mother, Tonya Wood, said at his court appearance today that she's tried to get him help.

“I've tried since he was 16… to prevent this from getting as far, and here we are,” Tonya Wood said.

Car in road reveals stolen truck, warrants

A police corporal located a vehicle stolen from Lincoln County early today in Spokane Valley.

Cpl. Dave Ellis arrested four people on warrants with the help of sheriff's deputies after he contacting a man and woman triyng to move an Olds Cutlass from he middle of Valleyway Road near University Road about 2:18 a.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A man standing next to a truck in the driveway of a home believed to be connected to the Cutlass walked into the backyard, and deputies determined the truck was stolen. They contacted the home and found four people with warrants.

Arrested were David B. Buswell, 31, on a misdemeanor warrant for third-degree malicious mischief; Amanda M. Powers, 28; for felony escape from community custody; John P. Oak, 44, for misdemeanor failure to transfer title and Ronald E. Martell, 50, for a warrant for third-degree driving while license suspended.

Oak also was arrested in January for allegedly forging a $15 Spokane County Jail check for more than 200 times the amount.
  

2 arrested after chase w/ stolen truck

A sheriff deputy's attempted traffic stop led to a chase with a stolen truck Sunday night.

The driver and his passenger fled the truck near Haven Street after city police officers disabled its front and rear passenger tires at the intersection of North Market Street and East Euclid Avenue.

Suspect Gary A. Patterson, Jr., 34, was arrested near the truck and admitted he was a passenger, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's K-9 Brax found the suspected driver Kyle A. Costello, 26, hiding on top of a six-foot tall roof.

Deputy Shawn Audie had been pursuing the truck since trying to pull it over for a defective taillight near East Francis Avenue and Market about 10:15 p.m. Dispatchers told him the truck had been stolen in Spokane earlier that day.

Audie terminated the pursuit when the truck continued to travel recklessly with sparks flying from the front and rare passenger tire rims. He thought he saw a crash on Haven Street but arrived to see Patterson and Costello running from the stolen truck. There was no crash.

The men were booked into jail for possession of a stolen vehicle. Costello also faces a felony eluding charge.

Patterson was arrested about a month ago on suspicion of burglary after he requested - and was given - a bottle of wine when he unlawfully entered a home at at 828 E. Joseph Ave., allegedly.

More charges for back-to-back arrestee

A teenage burglary suspect arrested for another alleged burglary just hours after he left jail is now charged in a third case. 

Reshawn S. Zinnerman, 18, is accused of burglarizing a home in he 1600 block of North Napa Street Feb. 8.

Police say he stole a digital camera, iPod, camcorder and jewelry, then sold them at a pawn shop.

Jyreel D. Brandom (pictured), 18, and Andrea R. Gallardo, 26, are charged with trafficking in stolen property for allegedly helping Zinneman sell the items.

Police say Zinnerman admitted to the burglary and several others after he was arrested Feb. 29. Zinnerman described his back-to-back arrests as a “learning experience” in an interview with The Spokesmen-Review. He remains in jail.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that led to Brandom's arrest.

Police consider him a repeat offender; he pleaded guilty to to felony second-degree theft and resisting arrest in January and was credited for three days spent in jail. He also has two juvenile felony convictions for theft.

Brandom, 5-feet tall and 160 pounds, is a transient.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Reward targets property crime couple

Crime Stoppers is targeting a couple accused of stealing more than $40,000 in guns, jewelry and electronics from the wife's mother.

Tiffany N. Russell, alias Thompson, and Kevin C. Russell, both 34, are accused of burglarizing her mother's storage unit at 11018 E. Sprague Ave. and her apartment at 6010 E. Sixth Ave. while her mother was out of town.

Her mother let her stay at her home periodically since she was released from prison about two years ago, according to court documents prepared by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

She said only her daughter and her daughter's husband knew where the stolen firearms, including a sniper rifle, were located, and knew of the jewelry and electronics that turned up missing from the home. The woman learned her daughter sold some of the items at a Spokane Valley pawn shop.  She also found surveillance video at the storage center showing her daughter loading items into her car.

Kevin Russell is charged with second-degree burglary and nine counts of theft of a firearm. Tiffany Russell is charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, three counts of trafficking in stolen property in the first degree and nine counts of theft of a firearm. Prosecutors charged the couple March 23.

Kevin Russell, 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, last gave an address on East 32nd Avenue in Spokane Valley.

Tiffany Russell, 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, last listed her mother's apartment in Spokane Valley - one of the crime scenes - as her address.

Anyone with information on their current locations is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Woman sought in meth-fueled robbery

A new suspect has emerged in a meth-fueled robbery that led to a police SWAT team standoff at a north Spokane apartment last December.

Allison Elaine Hubbard, 30, (right) is wanted on first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping charges for the Dec. 1 assault of a 22-year-old woman who was choked unconscious with her own necklace.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to her arrest. 

Hubbard is accused of robbing Jennifer M. Taylor of methamphetamine on the South Hill with the help of Bobby S. “Angel” Decaney, 35, and Maceo L. Williams, 27, who were arrested later that day.

A police dog found Decaney (left) inside a couch in his apartment at 13110 N. Addison. A SWAT team had pumped tear gas into the apartment, but Decaney, a reputed Sureno gang member, refused to exit. He faces life in prison if convicted because he has two previous convictions for violent felonies.

Williams and Decaney have pleaded not guilty.

Decaney left jail early February after posting $50,000 bond. His trial is set for April 16. Williams remains in jail awaiting an April 23 trial.

Police used cell phone information to identify Hubbard as the woman who was with Decaney and Williams that night. Messages on Decaney's phone from Hubbard discussed robbing Taylor, police say. A witness also identifed Hubbard from a photo montage.

Prosecutors filed charges March 22.

Hubbard, 5-foot-7 and 220 pounds, has a criminal history that includes convictions for assault, burglary theft and drug possession. She was a Crime Stoppers fugitive in November 2010 when police identified her as a marijuana growing suspect with a “shopping list.”

Hubbard last gave a home address in the 10000 block of East Sixth Avenue in Spokane Valley.

Anyone with information on her current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Feds dispute Zehm trial defense claims

The forensic videographer whose allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have indefinitely stalled the sentencing of former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. is depicted in new court documents as an attention-seeking police apologist who lied to federal investigators.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed filed scores of pages Friday detailing the pre-trial and post-trial dealings with forensic video expert Grant Fredericks, who approached U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle with concerns only after a jury convicted Thompson in November of using excessive force and lying to investigators to cover-up the 2006 fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

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