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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for July 2012

WalMart shoplifter headbutts cashier

Police are trying to identify a man who headbutted a WalMart cashier while shoplifting last week.

An image from a surveillance video shows the man at the store on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley.

A cashier told police he approached the man when he saw him walking toward the west exit with a large bulge in his sweatshirt about 12:45 a.m. July 24.

The man tried to exit, but the doors were locked, so he headbutted the cashier and escaped through a fire exit, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The thief dropped stolen items in the process.

The Sheriff''s Office released the surveillance photo today in hopes someone will recognize the man.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jack Rosenthal at (509) 220-6424 or at (509) 477-3186.
  

Medical pot robbery reported in Valley

Two men were arrested for a gunpoint robbery in Spokane Valley on Sunday that the victim said targeted medical marijuana.

Veniamin Glushchenko, 20, and Krysta Rose Jones, 21, are accused of robbing a man at a home in the 17400 block of East Coach Avenue.

Deputies responded to the home about 6:40 p.m. They located the suspect vehicle at the Hico at 1201 N. Barker Road and were told a man and woman had committed the robbery for a drug debt, according to court documnets.

An employee at Hico reported seeing a man and woman at the store about the time the car was discovered. The employee called 911 about 3 a.m. and said the man and woman were at the WalMart.

Deputies arrested Jones and Glushchenko there and booked them into jail for first-degree robbery, where they remain today.

Victim says sexuality prompted attack

A knife assault that nearly killed a man early Saturday began after the victim described himself as gay, according to Spokane police.

The 28-year-old victim was drinking with a friend at a home in the 400 block of South Fiske Street when a man approached them on the porch and began talking. The victim said he was gay, “and an argument ensued about him being gay,” accordeing to court documents.

The victim said the man, identified by police as Jesse D. Bell, 21, calmed down, and they talked for about 45 minutes, but Bell again got angry and a fight ensued.

Bell walked away, and the man realized he’d been stabbed and his friend was cut on her hand. Another man also sustained a small stab wound.

Police contacted Bell, and he told them he’d told the man he would stab him if he did not get off of him as they were fighting. He said he thought he stabbed the man once but was unaware he’d stabbed anyone else.

Bell was arrested for first-degree assault. He remains in jail on $100,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday.

The victim was treated for stab wounds to his torso, back and arm, including one that punctured his right lung. His heart stopped beating at the hospital but emergency room staff revived him.

Exercising man loses BMW, gun, wallet

A car was recovered minutes after it was stolenin north Spokane recently when the alleged thief’s friend turned him in.

The 73-year-old owner, Robert B. Renz, parked his 2006 BMW at 8121 N. Division St. before exercising at the North Park Athletic Club on Friday.

Renz secured his wallet and keys in a locker, but someone opened the locker and stole them, then stole his BMW with a loaded Smith and Wesson .357 revolver inside, according to court documents.

Before he saw his car was missing, Renz was informed by the front desk that a man called and said he knew where the stolen BMW was.

That man told police his friend Matthew J. Gillette, 23, called him looking to sell a gray 2006 BMW. The man said he knew Gillette stole the car from the athletic club, so he called club employees and returned it to Renz.

But the gun and Renz’s wallet containing $400 still were missing. Soon, a person described in court documents as someone “who has been given special police considerations” told police Gillette was at the McDonald’s parking lot on North Division, near the athletic club.

Police arrested him there, and he told them the gun was in his room at the Howard Johnson Inn. He said he dumped the wallet, which included Renz’s military identification, in a Dumpster behind Jack in the Box and spent the cash on Oxycodone “to keep him from getting sick,” according to court documents.

Police retrieved the gun and booked Gillette into jail on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm, second-degree theft, trafficking in stolen property and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Gillette has felony drug and forgery convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms. He was jailed on $20,000 for the new charges and $20,000 warrant for theft and stolen property charges filed July 10.

Thief strikes children’s music nonprofit

Someone stole about $5,000 in equipment from a downtown cafe and concert house last weekend.

A thief or thieves climbed in an open but barred window in the back courtyard the Village Cafe and Concert House., 171 S. Washington St., and stole recording equipment, guitars, appliances, an air conditioner and power tools, said owner Doug LaPlante.

LaPlante is remodeling the building with a couple of friends and said the bars on the window were so narrow he didn't think anyone could fit through. Apparently he was wrong, and the window has since been boarded up.

“In the last 30 years I don't ever remember it being broken into,” LaPlante said. He recalled playing there in the 1990s. He's leased the space for about a year. It serves as a fundraising spot for LaPlante's nonprofit, the Village Experience, which provides free music lessons, instruments, and recording access to children.

A fundraiser is planned for Aug. 31 at Ugly Bettie's, 211 N. Division St.

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

Memorial today for cop killed in bike crash

A memorial service for a Spokane police officer killed in an off-duty motorcycle crash is set to begin at 10 a.m. in Post Falls.

The memorial for Kurt Henson, 47, is not open to the media.

Henson died July 24 at the scene of a crash near Clark Fork on Highway 200 in North Idaho.

Henson and a passenger, 43-year-old Kimberly Lenox of Post Falls, were thrown from the motorcycle Henson was driving after he struck an abrupt edge in a construction zone. They were hit by a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup, which fled the scene.

The suspected driver, Brianna Knapp, 28, has been jailed on felony charges.

“The officer was very well-liked and very well-respected here in the police department,” Stephens said in a previous news article. “His loss will be a tremendous loss, not only to this department, but to his family, to his friends and to this community that he chose to serve.

“I know I speak for all the officers when I say he will be terribly missed.”

Henson was not wearing a helmet. He was described as an avid and experienced motorcyclist who joined the SPD after leaving the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department in 2000. He worked with the motorcycle unit from 2002 to 2005. Most recently, he worked on overnight patrol and instructed officers at the department’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.
  

Wallace’s alleged accomplice tries suicide

A man accused of helping Charles Wallace, who shot two sheriff’s deputies before shooting himself to death last month, tried to kill himself at the Spokane County Jail on Friday.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, who was jailed last week after his girlfriend told police he’d assaulted her, remains on life support at a local hospital.

Ruth was found hanging unconscious in his jail cell Friday about 8:35 a.m. A corrections deputy cut him down and performed CPR until medics arrived, said Capt. John McGrath.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 5: Recording lends insight into Wallace's release

June 22: Man accused of helping cop shooter to stay in jail

June 21: Man arrested for allegedly helping cop shooter

Woman sentenced for fatal hit and run

A 21-year-old woman who drove away after fatally striking a Spokane pedestrian earlier this year has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Hannah K. Hahn is to serve 31 months behind bars with credit for 180 days already served. She pleaded guilty Friday to vehicular homicide for a crash in January that killed Dennis Burgess, 47.

Police say Hahn smelled of alcohol and had “some small bottles of alcohol” on her when they stopped a 1999 Dodge Durango as it sped north on Market near Hawthorne Road about 2:17 a.m.

Hahn told them she thought she hit someone with her car. The SUV's windshield was broken and its front end and hood were damaged.

Police found Burgess unconscious in the street near Providence and Market with severe head trauma. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was a father of three and worked as a carpenter and landscaper.

In addition to 31 months in prison, Hahn is to pay $4,362 restitution.

Past coverage

Jan. 30: Patrols follow pedestrian-auto crashes

Accused killer attacks cellmate at jail

A mentally ill man accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend choked his cellmate unconscious at the Spokane County Jail Friday, police say. 

Robbie W. Bishop. 22, faces a second-degree assault charge for attacking Terry Ingram, Jr., 33, who is in jail on a $1,000 District Court warrant, according to jail records.

Ingram told deputies that Bishop challenged him to a fight about 12:20 a.m. and said, “I'm going to kill you” before choking him unconscious.

A corrections deputy said he heard someone yelling “guard” and went to the cell, where Ingram said “He tried to kill me; get me out of here! Bishop choked me and I sh*t my pants!”

The deputy said Bishop said, “Yeah, I choked him out.” The men were removed from the cell.

Bishop has been in custody since July 2009 for the stabbing death of 33-year-old Robin M. Anderson, who was pregnant with Bishop’s child.

Bishop had been in jail before the murder but was released because Eastern State Hospital officials said they didn’t have room for him.

Man gets 15 years for child sex abuse

A Wenatchee man who sexually abused a 6-year-old girl and broadcasted it live on the Internet has been sentenced in Spokane to 15 years in federal prison.

Scott J. Martin, 49, abused the girl at the direction of Christian Webb, a former Minot, North Dakota, school district employee who used a school-assigned Internet connection to help facilitate the crimes. Webb was sentenced in May 2011 to 12 years in prison.

News reports say he regularly contacted pedophiles through Internet chat and persuaded them to sexually abuse children while he watched through a web cam. Webb had 75 webcam videos depicting the live sexual abuse of children when he was arrested.

His case led to the arrest of six people, including Martin, in Washington, Kansas, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas, as well as the rescue of eight children from abuse, according to the Minot Daily News.

Martin's lawyer described him as a man with cerebral palsy who is easily influenced by others. He met his wife through a 1-900 number.

“His repeated contact with her through that phone number ultimately led to the development of their relationship and their marriage. Discovery indicates that the computer and the internet were significant parts of both of their lives,” Martin's lawyer wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Based on his deference to others, and the prevalence of the computer and use thereof in the home, Mr. Martin more easily succumbed to Mr. Webb’s requests than might otherwise have been the case.”

Martin was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court last week after pleading guilty to production of child pornography/use of a child to transmit live images of abuse. He'll be on probation for 15 years after his release.

More witnesses sought in hit and run

Investigators are looking to speak with people who were at a party attended by a man accused of a drunken hit and run crash that injured a 2-year-old girl in Spokane Valley last week.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, was at a party at the clubhouse at the Pasadena apartment complex at East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane before he left in a 2003 Honda Element and alleged struck a family riding bicycles near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road.

Danika Packard was riding in a bicycle trailer that police say was flattened by Nguyen's car. A witness followed Nguyen back to the apartment complex, where he was arrested.

Cpl. Dave Thornburg interviewed the witness and said the man doesn't consider himself a hero, rather “he did what any parent or concerned citizen would do in similar circumstances,” according to a news release.

Thornburg is looking to speak to party goers to learn more about Nguyen's actions before the crash.

“Nobody from the party is in trouble or suspected of committing a crime, as it was not underage drinking party or anything along those lines,” Thornburg wrote.

Thornburg can be reached by phone at (509) 477-2710 and email at dthornburg@spokanesheriff.org.

The girl, who has been rewarded for wearing a bicycle helmet, was released from a hospital Wednesday and is recovery well. Thornburg served two search warrants Thursday, one of the car and another for Nguyen's medical records at Valley hospital. Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, was treated there briefly after he vomited in the back of the patrol car and police noticed labored breathing, according to the news release.

Man arrested for unreported robbery

Another suspect in a home-invasion robbery has been arrested after his alleged accomplice told police about a crime that hadn't been reported.

Travis Heath Bertholf, 40, is accused of robbing an apartment in the 2500 block of East Hartson Avenue with David Fredrick Smith sometime in May.

Spokane County sheriff's Detectives Jack Rosenthal and Mike Ricketts were on a tour of home-invasion robbery sites with Smith after his arrest when Smith directed them to the Hartson location.

They identified the resident, Loyalee Elton, through utility records and contacted her. She told them two men wearing bandannas over their faces robbed her of a backpack containing 200 to 300 watches at gunpoint, according to court documents. Her brother also was held at gunpoint.

One of the men threatened to kill her, Elton said. Smith told police he and Bertholf entered the residence through an open back door. Smith had a 9 mm semi-automatic gun; Bertholf had a .380 semi-automatic, documents say.

Smith admitted to pointing a gun at Elton when she pleaded with him not to take the back, police say.

Bertholf was arrested Thursday about 1:30 p.m. He appeared in court today on charges of first-degree robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm. He has 13 felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, including a drug conviction from last October.

Smith also is in jail. He is charged with a series of home-invasion robberies with suspect Flint Fire Herrmann.

Spokane man convicted of $700k fraud

A federal jury convicted a Spokane man of 20 felonies Thursday for a scheme that cost a Coeur d'Alene woman her high-end riverside home.

Samuel Thomas Geren Jones, 31, faces up to 20 years in prison for each of 19 wire fraud counts when he's sentenced Oct. 5, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He's allowed to stay out of jail until sentencing.

Jones was convicted of the wire fraud and one count of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises after a seven-day trial in U.S. District Court.

Jones' co-defendant, Travis “T.J.” Sneed, a former Washington legislative candidate and aide to Jim West, was sentenced last August to about five years in prison.

Sneed, (pictured) who had solicited fraudulent letters of support to present at his sentencing, also is to be on probation for three years, perform 320 hours of community service and pay about $732,000 in restitution. That’s the amount of money loaned to Sneed using victim Dawn Forest’s home as collateral.

“I’ll never see any of it,” Forest said at Sneed's sentencing.

Sneed, 29, is serving his 63-month sentence at a federal prison in Colordao. He testified at Jones' trial.

The scheme developed when Forest allowed Sneed and Jones, who were in a romantic relationship, to live in the basement of her home on South Canal Street along the Spokane River and take out a loan on her mortgage. Forest said she learned her home was being foreclosed by reading the newspaper. Sneed and Jones also bilked three people of about $165,000 by selling them products via the Internet that they never received.

Jones and Sneed were indicted in July 2010.

“This jury's verdict sends the strong message that those who bilk trusting investors will be caught and punished,” Wendy Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho, said in a prepared statement.  “In these difficult economic times, fraud schemes pose an even greater threat to our communities.  I commend the hard and thorough work of FBI Special Agent Bryant Gunnerson, prosecutor Nancy Cook and the many others who brought these two men to justice.”

Cop honored for tracking triple killer

The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Feb. 13. A Spokane police officer who worked to track Gilman will be honored with the Chief's Citation Award. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A Spokane police officer is being honored for his work in the hours after a mother and her two children were found murdered in February.

 Officer Jerry Anderson will receive the Chief's Citation Award for helping secure a federal search warrant that led police to the location of triple killer Dustin Gilman, police announced Thursday in their monthly newsletter.

Anderson and his colleagues were trying to find Gilman, 22, after Tracy Ader, 32, and her two sons, Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8, were found strangled in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. on Friday, Feb. 10.

Anderson worked through the night and into the next day trying to find Gilman. He learned by the middle of the morning on Feb. 11 that U.S. Marshal's Service has superior equipment for tracking cell phone signals.

Anderson was not familiar with federal search warrants and had never been trained to write one, but he worked with federal agents over the next 22 hours to secure the warrants. His work led police to Gilman's body on Monday, Feb. 13. Gilman had shot himself to death.

“Many officers were outstanding during this investigation, but despite having to take on procedures that he had never seen before, Officer Anderson did not rest until he had done everything he could do to bring justice to a shattered family,” Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens wrote.

Anderson is to receive a plaque at the Spokane Police Department's awards ceremony in 2013.

Though the killer is dead, the investigation into the murders is ongoing, Detective Jeff Barrington said Thursday. Barrington said he's awaiting lab tests.

Past coverage:

April 17: Police recover vest linked to triple murders

Convicted killer will get new trial

A judge on Thursday granted the request for a new trial of a man convicted four years ago of the 2007 beating death of an adult bookstore owner in Spokane following the conviction two weeks ago of another man for the same crime.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Man charged for refusing to leave NC jail

WENTWORTH, N.C. (AP) — A man who'd just been released from jail in northern North Carolina was arrested again for refusing to leave the jail after authorities wouldn't give him a ride to a motel.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports (http://bit.ly/OZm7NK) that 37-year-old Rodney Dwayne Valentine was charged with trespassing.

Valentine was released from the Rockingham County jail Saturday morning after being behind bars since May 22. The sheriff's office says he asked them to drive him to a local motel and they refused. Deputies charged Valentine with second-degree trespassing when he had refused to leave the jail by Saturday afternoon.

He's being held on $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 9. It was not clear if he has a lawyer.

3 police chief candidates visit Spokane

From left facing camera, Spokane police chief candidates, George Markert, Daniel Mahoney and Frank Straub, visit with Spokane Mayor David Condon, left, and police historian, Susan S. Walker, during a meet-and-greet Wednesday in City Hall’s Chase Gallery. (SRphoto/Dan Pelle)

Three men vying to be the city of Spokane’s next police chief touted their experience, integrity, commitment to the job and their ability to solve tough problems in a series of interviews Wednesday with city officials and community leaders.

Only one of the five interviews with each candidate was open to the public, but the candidates said questions largely focused on the same issues: building trust, not just with the community but within the Spokane Police Department.

Read the rest of my story here.

Who is this Coeur d’Alene car prowler?

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Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help identify a man caught on tape trying to break into vehicles at a Coeur d'Alene car lot.

Surveillance video shows the man trying to enter locked vehicles at Midtown Motors, 1008 N. 4th St., July 14 about 4:50 a.m.

Anyone with information on the man's identity is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Accused killer pleads guilty in gun case

A Spokane man accused of murdering a gang rival 2 1/2 years ago has admitted to unlawfully possessing the murder weapon.

Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to felon in possession of a firearm, halting a scheduled trial.

Thomas, who has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, faces up to 10 years in prison when he sentenced, which is scheduled for Oct. 11. The charge stems from a Ruger mini 30 rifle found in a Nissan Altima rental car near the body of John S. Williams, 38, who was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010, outside a party at 5405 N. Crestline St.

The gun had Thomas' fingerprints on it. He was arrested in Los Angeles in September 2010 on a second-degree murder charge and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting trial. Spokane County prosecutors dismissed the murder charge but are expected to refile when the federal gun charge is resolved.

Federal prosecutors had asked a judge to allow jurors in Thomas' gun trial to know about his gang membership and the gun's link to the murder. Thomas' lawyer objected.

Man jumps fences but still can’t escape

A man wanted on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant jumped over fences and made it through six yards before police caught up to him Tuesday. Colton P. Kilgallen, 21, told Deputy Damon Powers he was “just being stupid” and apologized for running after Powers arrested him, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A homeowner in the 12900 block of East Olive Avenue called police about 6:30 p.m. and reported Kilgallen was in the area. Powers knew Kilgallen has a history of fleeing police, so four other deputies and two Liberty Lake officers arrived to help.

The caller allowed Powers into his backyard, and he recognized Kilgallen on the back porch before Kilgallen ran.
Deputy Dale Wells and two Liberty Lake police officers arrested Kilgallen, according to the release.

Kilgallen was arrested on the DOC warrant for fourth-degree assault and new charges of resisting arrest and eight counts of trespassing, apparently for each private property he accessed.

Jury convicts father of severe abuse

A Spokane father has been convicted of severely abusing his infant daughter.

Tyler L. Jamison, 20, has been in the Spokane County Jail since April 2010, when his 2-month-old daughter, SkyeLynn suffered what Spokane police initially feared would be fatal injuries but has since been adopted through a foster family.

A jury convicted Jamison of first-degree assault after a trial before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. The girl has been adopted.

Jamison is to be sentenced Sept. 28. He remains in jail without bail.

Past coverage:

April 12, 2010: Injured baby improving at Spokane hospital

April 8, 2010: Police: Baby brain dead after assault by father

Cop whose daughter shot self suspended

The Spokane police officer whose daughter accidentally shot herself in the leg with his service weapon this spring will be suspended for three weeks wihout pay following an internal investigation.

Officer Barry O’Connell failed to comply with department policy requiring officers to secure their duty weapons at home and with other rules that prohibit officers from acting willfully, carelessly or negligently with city property, Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said in a news release Wednesday.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

May 5: No charges planned against officer whose daughter shot herself

Officer killed in hit-and-run crash in Idaho

Officers in the Spokane Police Department were saddened Wednesday by the death of a fellow officer who was killed in a hit-and-run motorcycle crash.

 Kurt P. Henson, 47, of Post Falls, died Tuesday at the scene of the 10:20 p.m. crash near Clark Fork on Highway 200.

Henson and a passenger were thrown from the motorcycle Henson was driving after he struck an abrupt edge in a construction zone. They were hit by a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup, which fled the scene.

Read the Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Vegas woman accused in OxyContin ring

A Las Vegas woman and her father are accused of helping distribute large amounts of OxyContin that included sales tracked in Eastern Washington.

Tiffany Diane Frehner, 31, and John Lawrence Frehner, 57, are charged in connection with a federal complaint filed in January against Frehner's boyfriend, Robert John Beron.

Beron, owner of a company called Lexxxy Nite Productions, is accused of selling OxyContin to Mitchell Hargan, Marisol Hernandez, Jaime McGahuey and Kim Chavez of Wenatchee.

Beron, who traveled to Washington regularly, told a confidential informant he was still able to get the old OxyContin pills distributed before Purdue Pharma changed the formula to make them harder to abuse, which gave him huge profits, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

He also arranged to sell the informant 400 80-mg pills for $6,000, charges allege. Beron told the informant he had a customer in Wenatchee who bought $100,000 worth of OxyContin a month.

Beron was arrested at his home in Salinas, Calif., on Jan. 12.  Police found a 9 mm handgun and 530 methadone pills.

Beron was out of jail awaiting trial and wearing an electronic monitor, but he was arrested on a warrant July 18 in San Jose.

Frehner was arrested July 19 in Las Vegas.

She and her father each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Where’s the heroin? Oops. Wrong house.

Two suspected serial robbers apparently picked the wrong target back in late May, Spokane police say.

Flint Fire Herrmann, 35, and David Fredrick Smith, 41, are charged with first-degree robbery for an invasion May 29 at a home in the 1900 block of West 26th Ave. Already in jail, they appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on the new charges Tuesday.

A victim told police one of the men “was yelling at the other male telling him they had the wrong people and they should leave,” according to court documents. The other man tried to steal a portable video game player “only breaking it instead,” police wrote

A resident said she awoke about 11:30 p.m. to a masked man standing next to her bed “pointing a large gun in her face.” The woman said the man called her “Chandra” and demanded heroin, hen got very upset when she told him he had the wrong person. The woman feared two other men in the home had been killed , and that she was about to be killed, police say.

Two nights later, Herrmann and Smith successfully robbed a home in the 4400 block of East 46th Avenue of drugs and cash. They're also suspected in a robbery that same night at a home on West Spofford Avenue. Smith also is believed to have shot Robert Ruth during a robbery on West Princeton Avenue on May 29. Ruth is accused of helping cop shooter Charles Wallace.

Police arrested Smith in June and searched his home in the 2600 block of West Dell Avenue, where they recovered bandanas, a ski mask, 9 mm gun and a .380 Revolver.

Herrmann was arrested July 16.
  

Police eluder left prison 3 months ago

A Spokane man released from prison in April is back behind bars after leading police on a chase in a stolen car, authorities allege.

Zachary J. Schackel, 26, is to be arraigned today on charges of theft of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude police after a man awoke to the sound of his vehicle being started up and stolen from his driveway on July 17.

Officer Mario Juarez followed the victim's vehicle and tried to stop it at Mission and Hamilton, but it sped away. Juarez had to stop because he flattened a tire on spike strips meant for Schackel's vehicle, according to court documents.

Officer Ron Van Tassel continued pursuing the vehicle before it spun out near Upriver Drive and Frederick Street and the driver tried to run. Van Tassel chased the driver for a couple hundred yards before the man caught himself on an electric fence and was arrested, police say.

Schackel told police he'd recently smoked marijuana, documents say. He also had a suspended license.

Schackel was arrested on the new charges as well as a Washington Department of Corrections warrant.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison after being found guilty of attempting to elude a police vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, reckless driving, and second-degree operating with a suspended license. He was released on April 21 and is on probation, according to the DOC.

Murdered man’s apartment burglarized

The family of a Western Washington man shot and killed nearly two weeks ago went to his Liberty Lake apartment to collect his things, only to find it burglarized and his newly purchased assault rifle missing.

Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, had been living in the area attending Spokane Community College, according to news reports.

He was shot and killed July 14 at Blue Stilly Park in Arlington in what police described as a dispute over $20 of marijuana. Suspect Dennis R. Watters, 41, of Tulalip, is in jail.

Mumm grew up in Arlington, and his family lives there. His sister, Jessica Olson, traveled to Liberty Lake to remove his items from the apartment at 22809 E. Country Vista Dr. and found it burglarized. An open rifle case sat on the living room floor. Olson said Mumm had bought a firearm at Cabela’s a couple months ago.

Liberty Lake police Detective Ray Bourgeois obtained a search warrant for Cabela’s firearm records that indicated the gun was a Romarm AK-47 assault rifle purchased by Mumm on Feb. 12. He entered the gun as stolen.

Helmet-wearing girl rewarded w/ treat

Spokane police rewarded a 2-year-old girl hit by a suspected drunken driver Monday with free ice cream for wearing her bicycle helmet.

Police said Tuesday that three new helmets already have been given to Danika Parker to replace the one destroyed Saturday evening after a motorist flattened the bicycle trailer she was riding in in Spokane Valley.

Timmy Nguyen, 22, is accused of driving drunk and hitting the trailer near East Maringo Drive and North Argonne Road, then driving away. Witnesses followed him to East Wellesley Avenue and North Pasadena Lane, where he was arrested.

Nguyen, a student at Gonzaga Law School, faces charges of felony hit and run and vehicular assault.

Police said Danika fractured her skull but is expected to recover.

A picture posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday showed the girl with road rash on her cheek but no other obvious injuries. She appeared in good spirits as Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller gave her a coupon for ice cream at McDonald’s.

Reward targets Davenport Hotel thief

A Spokane man who stole laptop computers from a convention at the Davenport Hotel is wanted by Crime Stoppers after ditching drug addiction treatment.

 Sean Alexander Blair, 31, hasn't reported to the Washington Department of Corrections since leaving rehab on April 25. A no-bail warrant was issued July 11 for his arrest.

He already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him last year as a suspect in Nov. 17 thefts at the Davenport Hotel, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane.

Blair was sentenced to drug rehab as part of his sentence for felony property crime convictions. He told his rehab counselor he liked the feeling meth gave him; addiction experts say financial problems and family issues may contribute to his use.

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

Chief finalists to be interviewed today

The remaining Spokane police chief candidates each will have a 50-minute televised interview today on Comcast channel 5.

Daniel J. Mahoney, commanding officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department, will be on at 11:10 a.m., George E. Markert, director of the Office of Public Integrity in Rochester, will be on at 1:15 p.m. and Frank Straub, director of public safety in Indianapolis and former commissioner of the Department of Public Safety in White Plains, N.Y., at 2:20 p.m.

Blair Ulring, retired police chief of Stockton, Calif., dropped out Tuesday, the day The Spokesman-Review published an article questioning his academic credentials.

Past coverage:

July 19: Four police chief finalists named


Program to find reduced-price lawyers

A first-of-its-kind program that pairs lawyers and law students to help middle-class families in need of legal work begins in Spokane this week.

Dignitaries including Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez, Gonzaga Law School Dean Jane Korn and Spokane City Attorney Nancy Isserlis will announce the program at a 10:30 a.m. event today.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Boy home alone meets ‘prolific burglar’

Spokane police arrest burglary suspect Jay M. Shippy, 23, on Monday. (SPDphoto)

A 13-year-old boy home alone came face to face with a man police describe as a “prolific burglar” after the thief smashed in a basement window Monday, authorities allege.

The boy was at his home in the 400 block of West Carlisle Avenue while his mother was at work when he heard a knock on his door about 12:35 p.m. He looked out the window and saw a man identified by police as Jay Michael Shippy, 23, walking away.

Shippy already is charged in Spokane County Superior Court for a string of burglaries, including one in January at the home of prominent lawyer Carl Oreskovich. He was out of jail awaiting trial when he was arrested Monday.

The boy heard another knock a few minutes later, then heard a window being broken. He heard the basement door knob turning and yelled “hello” before running out the front door to his neighbor's home to call police.

The boy saw the burglar running from behind the home, and they met in the driveway before the boy ran to the neighbor's and the man ran eastbound, according to court documents.

Officer Nate Spiering chased Shippy in his motorcycle before arresting him a few blocks from the Carlisle home. Shippy had a backpack with jewelry inside as well as gardening gloves.

Shippy already is awaiting trial on 23 felony charges related to an alleged burglary spree with Randle “Kyle” Phelps, 29, and Jessica L. Davis, 25.

Shippy is accused with Davis of burglarizng Oreskovich's home on Jan. 19. The longtime lawyer told police he arrived home about 5:30 p.m. and saw an unknown man and woman standing in his home, according to court documents. One ran out the front door and the other the back. Oreskovich reported missing $300 in coins, a laptop and gold jewelry. He told police he'd left his door unlocked, according to court documents.

After Shippy was arrested in April, he directed deputies to Oreskovich's home while giving a tour of places he'd burglarized. Shippy was released shortly after his arrest because charges weren't immediately filed.

Shippy pleaded not guilty to the charges in June after being summonsed to court and was allowed to stay out of jail on his own recognizance. Now he's back behind bars.

7-Eleven robbery trio pleads not guilty

Three men accused of robbing a 7-Eleven store at gunpoint have pleaded not guilty.

Joseph Taitano, 20; Aleksandr Ampleyev, 20; and Jorell Jones, 21; got about $300 in cash and coins and a felony charge of first-degree robbery for the incident at 1317 S. Grand Blvd. about 2 a.m. July 15.

A woman who said she was sleeping in their getaway van said the men threw the cash drawer out the window and counted the money while talking about “how awesome” the robbery was, according to court documents.

A Spokane police officer spotted the van at a Cenex Zip Trip gas station at 57th Avenue and Regal Street about 20 minutes after the robbery.

Taitano and Ampleyev are in jail; Jones is out on $25,000 bond.

Pot thief shot in head sent to prison

A Spokane man who was shot in the head while trying to steal marijuana plants from a home last fall has sentenced to prison.

Joseph A. Gariepy, 41, was shot by Darcee Kapfer as he and Raymond Paul Bates, 49, tried to steal marijuana plants from Kapfer's home at 1023 E. Gordon Ave. on Oct. 3. He was sentenced to more than 7 years in prison last week after pleading guilty to eight felonies.

Kapfer, who was legally allowed to possess the plants because of a state authorization card, is not facing charges. She did not notify police about the shooing but said in an interview with detectives that she shot the would-be thief after he grabbed a piece of wood. Kapfer reportedly told police, “I'm pretty sure I hit him. I'm a pretty good shot.”

Bates was arrested Oct. 3 with a gunshot wound to his head; a tipster later told police she'd removed a bullet from Gariepy's head shortly after the shooting.

Police compared Gariepy's DNA to blood stains found in the getaway car, a brown 1976 Ford Courier truck located near an alley in the 4500 block of North Division Street three days after the shooting.

Officers noted a wound on Gariepy's right ear consistent with a bullet when he was arrested Oct. 27.

Gariepy was sentenced last week to 87 months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, residential burglary, second-degree theft, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of an unlawful firearm, first-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief.  He is a repeat offender suspect with a 26-year criminal history, according to Crime Stoppers.

Bates was sentenced in December to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance, second-degree robbery and residential burglary.

Woman awakes to stranger in home

A man was arrested after a woman awoke to find him in her home early today.

Jeffrey A. Danielson, 21, told the woman's son “What do you mean? I'm not trying to start anything here” after the man confronted him about 2:30 a.m. at a home in the 1000 block of North Progress Road, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The man's mother awoke o a noise at her front door. When she got out of bed to get a drink of water, she saw a man later identified as Danielson standing inside by the front door.  The 88-year-old woman screamed for her son, who then confronted Danielson. Danielson left and walked to a neighbor's front yard, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies Nathan Bohanek and Cpl. Brad Gilbert found him there and arrested him after Bohanek spoke to the victims.

Due to Danielson's high level of intoxication Deputy Bohanek chose not to ask him any questions about the incident,” according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, sheriff's spokesman.

Danielson was booked into jail for residential burglary an no-bail DUI warrant.

Ax enters neighbor dispute over music

A dispute between neighbors over loud music led to one being jailed for an alleged ax attack Saturday in northwest Spokane.

Brian M. Drake, 40, is accused of hitting Christopher A. Malcom with an ax handle after Maclom told him to turn him music down at their apartment complex at 421 W. Montgomery Ave. and said he would be calling the police.

Malcom told officers that Drake called him names and said “Payback's a b**ch” before swinging the ax at him, handle first, according to court documents.

Malcom reported injuries to his right arm and leg. Police said Drake was “highly intoxicated.”

Drake, who does not appear to have a criminal record in Washington state, was booked into jail for second-degree assault.
  

Commenter in lawsuit identifies herself

A woman who claims to have posted a comment on a Spokesman-Review blog that triggered a defamation lawsuit has revealed her identity.

Linda Cook said her suggestion to ask Kootenai County Republican Party chairwoman Tina Jacobson about alleged missing money in the Kootenai County GOP coffers, which Cook posted under the moniker “almostinnocentbystander,” was based on information she’d heard from a board member.

“At the time that I said it, I was convinced that it was not false, and it certainly wasn’t said with malice,” said Cook, who’s active in Kootenai County politics and was an aide to the late Idaho Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage.

Read the rest of my story here.

Law student arrested for hit and run

As a Gonzaga University law student accused of running over a bicycle trailer carrying a 2-year-old girl made his first appearance in court Monday, the victim remained in intensive care at a Spokane hospital.

Timmy Nguyen, who has no criminal record, is to leave jail tonight after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on charges of hit-and-run and vehicular assault. He’s to stay away from alcohol and is due back in court for an arraignment in early August.

Read the rest of the story here.

Suspect arrested in May home robbery

A fourth suspect has been arrested in a home-invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area that ended with a resident confronting his attackers with a sword.

Erik J. Zacher, 26, is accused of robbing residents in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in May.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested a day after the robbery. McDaniels still is there; Day is out on $25,000 bond.  Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May and remains in jail.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Zacher is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. He was arrested Saturday.

Crime Stoppers seeks drug rehab quitter

A man arrested for breaking into a car in downtown Spokane last summer is wanted by Crime Stoppers for dropping out of drug addiction treatment.

Glen Wayne O'Brien, 35, was jailed earlier this year for failing to comply with a sentence for a felony drug case that requires him to complete intensive treatment.

In a letter to a judge in March, O'Brien asked for a second chance.

“I am struggling with my addiction and it is very hard, but I truly want to get clean so I can move on to a better life,” O'Brien wrote.

O'Brien got that chance, but he left rehab July 2 and hasn't been seen since, according to court documents.

O'Brien was in drug rehab after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance last ear. He was arrested in June 2011 after several people saw him breaking into a car in downtown Spokane.

O'Brien is considered by police to be a repeat offender. His 12-year criminal history includes convictions for forgery, stolen property, drugs, theft and vehicle theft.

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

Tipsters do not have to give their names to receive a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Mail thief fires shot after Taser shock

A convicted mail thief wanted for violating his probation shot a round from a firearm after being shocked with a stun gun today northwest of Airway Heights, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

No one was injured and Tony L. Gust, 33, was arrested without further incident, authorities say.

Marshals were looking for Gust after a warrant was issued today in U.S. District Court. They found him at his home in the 22000 block of West Jacobs Road about 4:20 p.m. and watched as he ran into his trailer and “armed himself with a firearm,” according to a news release.

“Deputies deployed a taser striking Gust. Subsequently a round was fired from the weapon Gust was holding,” the news release said. “The Deputy U.S. Marshals then subdued Gust and took him into custody.”

Gust was arrested in January 2011 after a postal inspector recognized him from surveillance video that showed him breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity post office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave.

He was sentenced in June to three years of probation, but that was revoked in October and he was sent to jail for six months. He left in April and was to participate in a treatment program.

Authorities noted his “troubling history of violence and offenses involving firearms,” in court documents filed in May 2011, which his lawyer attributed to Gust's “physical, mental and dependency problems” and said treatment would serve well.

Gust has previously been employed as a welder and a cook, according to court documents. In 2003, he was arrested for illegally shooting on a property in Liberty Lake, according to news archives.
  

Police push ‘Remove it or Lose It!’

The advice to citizens from Spokane police is simple: Take valuables out of cars or risk being a willing victim of vehicle prowlers waiting to smash, grab and go.

In response to a rash of prowling-related crimes across the Spokane area, police launched an awareness campaign this month called “Remove It or Lose It!” The campaign urges citizens to be proactive by taking possessions out of vehicles, parking cars in well-lit areas and locking doors.

“It’s such an easy crime to commit,” said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, Spokane police spokeswoman. “If people don’t leave their stuff out in plain sight, there is nothing there to steal.”

Read the rest of Sara McMullen's story here.

Man pleads guilty in deadly ‘10 crash

A college student has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for a 2010 crash that killed a Lewis and Clark High graduate and Eastern Washington University student.

Taylor D. Marean is to be sentenced Sept. 20 by Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque. He pleaded guilty before Leveque Thursday morning for the Feb. 14, 2010 crash that killed Jacoby N. Bryant, 19 (pictured).

Marean faces 31 to 41 months in prison under Washington's standard sentencing range guidline, said Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady. The sentence is for someone with no criminal history convicted under the drunken driving prong of the vehicular homicide statute.

Another driver, Brooke A. Reese, was sentenced last November to about a year in jail for vehicular homicide statute under the disregard for the safety of others prong.

Reese and Marean were racing when they crashed on on southbound Hatch Road near 54th Avenue.

Bryant was a passenger in Reese's 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (pictured). Marean was driving a 2005 BMW.

Past coverage:

May 28, 2010: Documents give new details on deadly crash

April 27, 2010: Charges in deadly crash on hold for school

April 5, 2010: Charges recommended in crash that killed teen

McD’s robbery suspect arrested in Calif.

A suspect in a series of armed robberies in Spokane was arrested in California Wednesday - his 26th birthday.

Avery Lee Loring was booked into the Fresno County Jail at 6:23 p.m. on a U.S. Marshals' hold.

He's is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among several suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are accused of robbing the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University. Crime Stoppers had been offering a reward for information that led to Loring's arrest.

A reward still is being offered for tips that help arrest another robbery suspect, Oladejo B. Olajoyegbe, 24.

Woman fails to register as sex offender

A woman convicted of a sexually motivated assault on a teen boy in 2006 is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest Eugenia Ann Reuter, 41, who was not residing at her registered address in the 18000 block of West State Route 902 in Medical Lake when a sheriff's deputy went there on June 28.

A resident told the deputy he had a restraining order against Reuter and that she hadn't lived there in eight months, according to court documents. 

Reuter is required to notify authorities when she moves. She's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

In addition to a third-degree assault with sexual motivation, Reuter has convictions for prostitution, first-degree theft, making a false statement and theft.

Reuter was dating Billy Morris, a custodian at Spokane City Hall, when he arrived home in 2008 and found her in bed with another man.

The man killed Morris in what he and Reuter said was self defense

A $15,000 warrant was issued Monday for Reuter's arrest for failing to register as a sex offender. Anyone with information on her current location is asked 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 give a code name or number.

Gibson’s bravado as robber didn’t help

In the end, Patrick Kevin Gibson's bravado as a professional bank robbery didn't exactly contribute to his defense in the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen said he appeared to be bragging about his exploits and gave more detail than necessary when he testified at his murder trial last week. 

Gibson, 60, also didn't sway Etizen with his claims that the robbery at Cole's Furniture store that ended with the shooting death of Brian Cole was sloppy and likely done by someone other than the man who robbed a children's store in Coeur d'Alene three hours earlier.

Gibson suggested during testimony last week that the robbers were perhaps partners but initiated the heists separately - Eitzen rebuked that theory Thursday when she convicted him of Cole's murder and said the killer was the same man who robbed Teresa and Steve Brenner's store in Coeur d'Alene.

He also theorized that a man named Tim whom he'd hired to assist in bank robberies in Oregon and California in the early 1990s reused a disguise from one of the robberies to commit the Cole's Furniture Store robbery.

Gibson said Tim was one of two men secured a storage facility for him in the Portland area where he disguises and a police scanner to be used in the robberies. He also stored there a bank directory and a mailing list of all the police department sin the United States. He said he used the material to research potential small-town banks to rob. Gibson said he didn't know Tim's last name and Tim did not know his identity.

Gibson described the Cole robbery as “completely inept.”

“The store is supposed to be closed at 5 pm., so this was a spur of the moment crime,” Gibson said. “Both crimes, it's probably the only furniture store and kid's clothing sore that's ever been robbed in either town.”
Gibson described the “personnel” he hired out of Portland, Ore. to assist in the robberies.

“I used a total of eight males and four females for the operation, but only five of the males were involved in the bank robberies themselves. The other people were only involved in obtaining cars or acting as props so that I could stay in that town. Sometimes I had to stay right in the town. There was no way to get out.”

Gibson also described his involvement in the federal witness protection program, which occurred after he shared a federal prison cell with Iowa methamphetamine dealer Dustin Honken and told authorities that Honken had bragged about getting way with the murder of two confidential informants, a mother and her two young daughters. Honken is now on fedearl death row. Gibson said he became a protected witness in 1999.

“They do investigating for a year. Polygraph tests. It's very strenuous. You can't get into the witness protection program unless they verify you're telling the truth,” he said.

Gibson said he would tell the truth if he had killed Cole. He pointed to the fact that he's been diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer.

“I know I'm gong to die from cancer,” Gibson said. “I've almost always pled guilty to everything I have done. If I did this crime, I would give the Cole family some closure. I would admit to it and I would give them closure, because they need closure.”

On cross-examination, Gibson told Deputy Prosecutor Tony Hazel he “learned his lesson” about robbing small places after he robbed a Taco's John's in Portland and a gas station in Carterville, Nevada. (He and his partner also raped two clerks.) Gibson said he only targeted bank in towns with no law enforcement presence whatsoever. Coeur d'Alene had a police department so it “wouldn't qualify,” Gibson said.

Hazel pointed out that Gibson had been laid off just before Cole was murdered and was angry at society. He'd only started planning bank robberies and didn't successful rob one until December 1992. Before then, he'd only targeted small stores like gas stations.

Gibson said he wasn't proud of the robberies but he made about $840,000 in cash and more than $1 million in traveler's checks that he destroyed.

“The FBI said I was one of the most successful bank robbers going, sophisticated bank robbers operating at that time, but I regret it,” Gibson said.

After Eitzen convicted him Wednesday of first-degree murder, as the now convicted killer walked down the third floor hallways of the Spokane County Courthouse, a reporter asked him: “Patrick, did you do it?”

“No I did not,” Gibson replied. “Do I look 5-8?”

Cole's wife, Michele Cole, had described the killer as being about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9. She said she recognized a scar on Gibson's face when she saw a picture of him in 2011. That scar is from being shot by a sheriff's deputy in Utah in 1998. The bullet went though Gibson's face.er it c

Gibson was arrested last year after his DNA was found on a piece of beard worn by Cole's killer.

His bench trial began in May but was delayed after prosecutors learned “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the killer's actual hat in a 1993 reenactment of the Cole murder

Authorities obtained DNA samples from Walsh, actor Trevor St. John and tried sheriff's Detective Mark Henderson and compared it to the hat. Doing so helped forensic analysts determine that the chance of the DNA on the hat not belonging to Gibson was one in 10 million.

Arrest in attack that nearly severed leg

Two suspects have been identified in a brutal stabbing on Monday that left a woman with a huge cut on her scalp and a right upper leg sliced nearly to the bone.

Marquis D. Jackson, 28, and Kelsey K. Peone, 23, are charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and attempted first-degree robbery for the knife attack at a home in the 4000 block of East Pacific Avenue.

Victim Danielle Bains told police she hard a knock on her front door and opened it only to be punched in the face by Jackson, according to court documents, and Jackson began heaving objects at her, including a coffee table.

An unidentified man pushed her to the floor and held her there while Peone “began to slash and cut Bains with a large knife,” according to court documents. “Bains described this knife as a large fillet knife, similar to one you would cut up fish with.”

Bains said Peone repeatedly asked “where's the money?” while attacking her.

Bains needed 14 staples to close a large cut to her scalp. She also cut her right hand, and police described her right calf as being cut nearly to the bone.

She underwent surgery at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for what were described as life threatening injuries. Police arrived to find blood everywhere and were told by Bains that “Marquis Jackson and Kelsey had done this to her.” Police say Bains' head injury “continued to spurt blood the entire time she was in the emergency room.”

A detective talked to Bains after surgery and said she was in excruciating pain from her injuries and would be in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time.

Peone was arrested Wednesday and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court. Jackson was not in custody as of this afternoon, and the third suspect has yet to be identified.

Peone previously served time in prison for delivery of a controlled substance. She was at Pine Lodge Corrections Center when it closed and women had to move to prisons on the West Side. She described the move as “devastating” during a visit with her mother in May 2010.

“I am trying to change my life,” Peone said, according to the May 2, 2010, article, “and they are taking away my support network.”

Plea hinges on murder trial testimony

A 20-year-old woman originally charged with a death penalty eligible crime for the brutal murder of a Spokane man faces 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 years in prison if she follows a plea agreement approved today.

Breeanna C. Sims (pictured left) is to testify at the trial of accused killer Taylor J. Wolf (pictured right), which is scheduled to begin Aug. 20.

Sims, who was involved in a home-invasion robbery with her mother in 2009, pleaded guilty today to first-degree kidnapping with a firearm. Her plea agreement is sealed and hinges on her future testimony.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza today approved the plea deal negotiated by Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla and Deputy Public Defender Tom Trageser. Sims backed out of a potential plea in May.

Sims' brother, Justice E.D. Sims (pictured left), was sentenced in March to about 33 years in prison for first-degree murder and kidnapping.

The three are accused of the brutal torture slaying of Nicholas J. Thoreson (pictured right), who was found dead in the trunk of his burning Thunderbird on Forker Road April 13, 2011.

Detectives say Wolf made incriminating statements to Britney Bjork, girlfriend of jailed Hells Angel Ricky Jenks, just after his arrest in April, leading them to charge her with conspiracy to commit perjury, rendering criminal assistance and arson. Bjork is scheduled to begin trial Sept. 4.

Detectives say Wolf told Bjork he was going to shoot Thoreson but “I couldn’t do it, so me and Justice did it together,” according to court documents, which cite recorded jailhouse phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”

All three suspects were charged with aggravated first-degree murder. The charge is eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors said from the beginning they would not be seeking that.

Justice Sims is serving his sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Breeanna Sims will stay at the Spokane County Jail without bail. Her sentencing has not yet been scheduled as prosecutors await Wolf's trial.

Thoreson's family and friends attended Sims plea hearing today, including his girlfriend and toddler son.

Past coverage:

Dec. 6: Murder suspect's love letters seized

May 20, 2011: Sibling murder suspects plead not guilty

May 3, 2011: Homicide victim remembered in obituary

April 21, 2011: New details released in Forker Road homicide

Meet your four police chief candidates

City leaders hope one of four candidates for Spokane police chief has the management skills necessary to tackle the challenges facing the department.

The four men from police forces in San Francisco, Indianapolis, Rochester, N.Y., and Stockton, Calif., will be in Spokane July 25 for five interviews, including one that will be open to the public. Panelists for the interviews will include government executives, elected officials, current and retired law enforcement professionals, community and business leaders, members of the Public Safety Committee, the mayor’s transition team and the Police Advisory Committee.

Mayor David Condon said the city remains on track to select a new chief by next month.

Read the rest of my story here.

Council addresses downtown assaults

An ordinance that bans sitting or lying on downtown Spokane sidewalks during a 14-hour period of the day could be expanded to include more hours after a surge of assaults in the area.

“If we can make the environment uncomfortable for people who are committing crimes or are contemplating committing crimes, I think that’s a good thing,” Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said Monday at the city’s Public Safety Committee meeting.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man in Facebook robbery gets 15 years

A 23-year-old man who robbed a boy lured to Spokane through Facebook avoid a life prison sentence recently when a judge approved a plea deal.

David Michael Martinez was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault. He was arrested in June 2011 for first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and faced life in prison without the possibility of parole under Washington's three-strikes law.

Martinez has previous convictions for attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree assault, which are strike offenses. He also has convictions for attempting to elude police.

His lawyer prepared a mitigation package, and prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges “given the difficult circumstances of defendant's childhood upbringing,” according to court documents.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza approved the 180-month sentence on Thursday, which is exceptionally high for the gun and assault convictions.

Martinez admitted to robbing a Post Falls boy who arranged to meet a girl through Facebook.

The victim said he agreed to meet the girl at Corbin Park with $75, but when he got in her Chevy Tahoe, two men later identified as Martinez and Brendan T. Dalla pointed handguns at him and demanded his money, according to court documents.

Dalla was sentenced in November to four years in prison for second-degree robbery. The girl was charged as an adult, but her charges later were moved to juvenile court.

Cops: Security salesmen assaulted rivals

Two young security salesmen assaulted and robbed two men from a rival company in Cheney on Monday, police say.

Suspects Kyle C. French, 18, and Ignatius Tepp, 19, work for Stryker Security Sales. Todd Jensen and James Stoker, who work for Vivint Security Sales, told police they were attacked by the men because he was selling products in their area.

Vivint saleswoman Miranda Hayes said the men were rude and aggressive when they confronted Jensen and stoker and told them to stay out of their area.

French and Tepp were located at their an apartment on Betz Road in Cheney. French “said the Vivint reps were stealing their sales so they confronted one of them to tell them to stop,” according to court documents.
French and Tepp stole paperwork, an ID badge, an iPad, a hat and a carrying case.

“Kyle said he took the property as trophies,” according to court documents.  All the items were recovered except the iPad, which French said he threw in Medical Lake because he knew it could be tracked.

Neither suspect has a criminal history.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese noted the violent nature of the crime and likelihood of prison if convicted when she imposed $5,000 bond for Tepp and $10,000 for French. French just pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge about a month ago. He's been working as a traveling salesman for about five months, according to court testimony.

A reference French gave the court told officials French likely wouldn't show up for court if he was released, which contributed to Plese's decision on bond.
  

Tips sought on missing stabbing suspect

 A 19-year-old Spokane man is wanted in connection with a stabbing at a party in January.

Devenir X. Lewis, 19, was to begin trial July 9 for first-degree assault, but he never showed up. A $15,000 warrant was issued after he failed to show up for a pre-trial conference on June 29.

Lewis is accused of stabbing Michael J. Dowd in the head in the 4100 block of North Nevada on Jan. 28 about 12:59 a.m., according to court documents.

The fight broke out when Michael Langford noticed items in his home that appeared to be staged to be stolen and accused three men, according to court documents. Dowd was treated for injuries to his head and hand.

Lewis had a bloody screwdriver with him when he was arrested, according to court documents.

Lewis, 5-foot-4 and 125 pounds, last gave an address in the 0 block of East Olympic Avenue in Spokane.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his arrest. Anyone with information on his current location.

Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should lave a code name or number.

Man shot in April arrested at CdA Casino

A man shot in what police believe was a drug-related incident on Spokane's South Hill in April was arrested today at the Coeur d'Alene Casino for a brutal assault in Adams County.

Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, has been wanted since July 11 on a $500,000 warrant for charges of first-degree robbery and first-degree assault.

A casino security officer saw him today about 5 a.m. and requested assistance from tribal police as surveillance employees watched Cardenas walk back to his room through the cameras.

U.S. Marshals arrived to help arrest Cardenas, who has been described as a gang leader. He was taken into custody about 9 a.m.Police found drugs and weapons in his room and arrested four other people. Their names have not been released.

“This arrest is the result of great work by one of our very own tribal police officers and a collaborative effort with the U.S. Marshals to bring Cardenas in. I’m very proud of our guys and appreciative to the U.S. Marshals for their cooperation,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Police Chief Cody SiJohn said in a prepared statement.

Cardena's friend Alicia Maria Favro was indicted just two weeks ago on a felon in possession of a firearm charge in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Favro, 42, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing a chrome Walther semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun that was found in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in April. She's in custody at the Spokane County Jail.

Cardenas' gunshot wound back in April  was not life threatening. A medic who treated him was severely burned by a chemical substance while treating Cardenas. Police didn't find toxic substances in Cardenas' car, but they did find large amounts of cash and methamphetamine.

Favro told police she went to Northern Quest Casino with Cardenas after he won $3,000 gambling in Moses Lake, according to court documents.

Another home robbery suspect wanted

A man who was arrested leaving a suspected robber's home with a bag of marijuana is now wanted for a gunpoint home-invasion robbery two days earlier.

Oladejo B. Olajoyegbe, 24 (left), is accused of robbing a home in the 1700 block of East Columbia Avenue July 3 with Derek L. Wilson, 25 (left), and Christopher M. Comer, 24 (right). Wilson and Comer were arrested July 5.

An officer was watching Wilson's home at 2408 E. Francis Ave. as a detective prepared a search warrant when he spotted a man later identified Olajoyegbe, who is Wilson's cousin, knock on the door, then look in basement windows before walking to the side of the house and leaving five minutes later with a large white plastic bag, according to court documents.

Police stopped the car at East Wellesley Avenue and Argonne Road and arrested the driver, Lashanette Beavers, and the passenger, Olajoyegbe.

Olajoyegbe told police his cousin lives at the home and allowed him to take the marijuana, which police say weighed over a pound and consisted of cuttings from marijuana plants.

Olajoyegbe left jail on $5,000 bond for a marijuana charge but is now wanted for first-degree robbery after prosecutors filed charges July 9. He's accused of robbing the East Columbia Avenue home while wearing a mask and brandishing a handgun. A woman and her daughter were ordered to the floor as the home was ransacked.

The robbers stole medical marijuana, a PlayStation 3, and iPad 2 and a cellphone and wallet.

Police believe the robbery was arranged by the girlfriend of Brettly “Nike” Sanderson, who is accused of robberies at McDonald's and at a home on North Hogan Street. The 16-year-old girl knew the younger victim from middle school and was at the home just minutes before the robbery under a ruse of owing her $5.

She told police she arranged the robbery “as a copycat home-invasion robbery to take the suspicion off her boyfriend who is in jail for this kind of crime,” according to court documents.

Comer and Wilson, who faces life in prison under the three-strikes law, are in jail.

Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to Olajoyegbe's capture.

Olajoyegbe, 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, last gave an address in Lynwood, Wash. He has previous convictions for forgery and first-degree armed burglary. Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Rifle halts girlfriend’s unexpected move

Two movers had a rifle pointed at them when they showed up at their customer's boyfriend home to move her stuff out without his knowledge.

Homeowner Jaime R. Stout, 30, was jailed for first-degree assault after  said he'd pointed a rifle at them as they tried to move Stout's girlfriend's things out of his home in the 300 block of West Dalton Avenue on Friday.

Stout's girlfriend was moving out and asked David Smather, 46, and Kyle Parr, 26, of Spokane Movers to move her stuff without Stout's knowledge.

Stout, who told police he had been drinking, was released from jail on his own recognizance after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday.
  

Woman gets 10 years for shooting

A woman who shot a man three times after he accidentally hit her with a half-pint bottle has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Leona Sutton, 34, is a methamphetamine addict who federal prosecutors say is very dangerous.

“Defendant's livelihood has been a criminal one. Daily use of methamphetamine and distributing it to feed the habit,” according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by the U.S. Attorney's Office. “The public is not safe when she consumes alcohol or methamphetamine. It also is not safe when she has access to a firearm.”

Sutton shot the man, with whom she frequently used meth, on Oct. 2 with a .22 caliber rifle in Keller, Wash., on the Colville Indian Reservation.

Family told the FBI she had a history of violence and frequently tried to coerce her ex-boyfriend into assaulting people” and “routinely told him that she wanted “to kick someone's ass,” prosecutors wrote.

U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen on Thursday sentenced Sutton to 120 months and 1 day in prison for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and assault with a dangerous weapon, followed by three years of probation. She also is to pay $5,796.24 restitution. Nielsen recommended she undergo treatment for drug addiction while in prison.

Mike Ormsby, U.S. Attorney in Eastern Washington, praised the sentence in a prepared statement.

“Crimes of violence will not be tolerated in the Eastern District of Washington, particularly those crimes occurring on Tribal lands,” Ormsby said. “The Sutton case is yet another example of the United States Attorney's Office’s commitment to prosecute vigorously violent crimes.”
  

‘92 Valley murder case goes to judge

Patrick Kevin Gibson made big money robbing banks. A dozen gunpoint heists in the 1990s netted him $850,000.

He was a professional robber who didn’t need to bother with a small-time holdup at a furniture store, claims the attorney representing him in a murder trial.

Gibson, 60, was arrested in Western Washington last year in connection with the 1992 killing of Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole. The arrest came under unusual circumstances: Gibson had stopped to complain to a police officer about a speeding motorcycle.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 12: Report details Gibson's criminal history

June 11: TV host's DNA sample delays Spokane murder trial

2 arrested in South Hill home robbery

Two men believed to be serial home robbers are responsible for a takeover-style invasion at a residence on the South Hill in late May.

Flint Fire Herrmann, 35, robbed the home at gunpoint with David F. Smith, already in jail for a May 31 robbery at a home on West Spofford Avenue, according to Spokane police.

Herrmann and Smith, 40, are accused targeting two safes with cash, coins and narcotics inside when they knocked on the door of a home in the 4400 block of East 46th Avenue about 12:30 a.m. 

A sleeping resident, Gordon Lagasse, III, awoke and answered the door but was knocked to the ground, then held at gunpoint while the other gunman stole the safes, according to court documents. The robbers also made Lagasse's father get on the floor at gunpoint.

The victims said they believe a family member “either intentionally or unintentionally informed another person” of the lock boxes, according to a search warrant filed last month by Detective Jack Rosenthal.

A cousin who admitted to detectives that she was a prostitute and a heroin addict said she knew of two men who commit robberies with shotguns while wearing black clothes and ski masks, according to the search warrant.

Smith also is believed to have shot Robert Ruth during a robbery on West Princeton Avenue on May 29. Ruth is accused of helping cop shooter Charles Wallace.

Members of the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team located Herrmann at his home in the 4200 block of West Everett Avenue in Spokane Sunday. His mother allowed police to search the home, and she showed Rosenthal where Herrmann's girlfriend had asked her to store a gun so he wouldn't go back to prison.

Rosenthal found the Glock 17 9 mm gun, which was loaded with hollow-point bullets, in a shed in the backyard, according to court documents.
  

Owner, neighbor stop church car thief

Two men stopped a car theft in progress and held the suspect until police arrived, authorities say.

Brandon A. Huffman, 30, is accused of trying to steal the car after finding it parked and running in back of a church at 728 E. Rich Ave. about 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Victim Terry Palmer said he was sitting on the front porch of the church when a neighbor ran up and told him a man was stealing his car

Palmer ran to the car and grabbed the driver's side door but flew off when the thief hit a curb while driving in reverse. Palmer and the neighbor, Jay Gillette, pulled Huffman from the car and held him until officers arrested him.

Reward targets suspect in McD’s robbery

A reward is being offered for tips that help arrest a a suspect in a series of armed robberies in the Spokane area.

Avery Lee Loring, 25, is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., at gunpoint on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among seven suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are believed to have robbed the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University involving his now former girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, then a high school honor student. Loring assaulted the victims with a tire iron after hiding in a bush while Anderson put on a ski mask and pointed a shotgun at them and demanded money, according to previously published reports He earned his GED while in jail.

Now Loring is wanted on new robbery charges and, like the other suspects, could be facing further charges as the investigation into the robbery spree continues. Police have been searching for him but were told he may have fled to California.

Anyone with information on Loring's 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 give a code name or number.

Bad Hair Bandit suspect charged in Calif.

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A former Kootenai County Jail nurse who also worked in elementary schools has been charged with robbing 21 banks in Washington, Oregon, California and Montana.

Cynthia Lynn Van Holland, 48, is accused of being the “Bad Hair Bandit,” a serial robber nicknamed by the FBI because she wore a variety of ugly wigs during the heists, which authorities allege netted about $42,000.

Van Holland has been in jail in California since Placer County sheriff's deputies arrested last August after a robbery in Auburn, about 35 miles northeast of Sacramento. Her 26-year-old husband, Christopher Alonzo, an ex-con whom Van Holland met while working as a nurse in Idaho prisons, also was arrested.

Police say the couple had a cat and litter box in their car, as well as more than $8,000 in a Victoria's Secret bag. They also had two wigs and a receipt indicating the items were purchased in Oregon on July 1 - the same day Van Holland is believed to have robbed a bank in Lake Oswego.

Van Holland confessed to the four-state robbery spree in an interview with an FBI agent at the Placer County Jail the day of her arrest, according to court documents. The Bad Hair Bandit had been on the FBI's most wanted list since May.

Placer County District Attorney Ronald Owens commended the Placer County Sheriff's Department for quickly responding to the robbery in Auburn and arrested Van Holland.

“I want to comment the rapid response and diligence of the Placef County Sheriff' Department following he Auburn robbery, for their work in quickly locating and arresting this pair of bank robbers and putting an end to their crime spree.

Van Holland worked as a contract nurse in jails and prisons and met Alonzo, a convicted felon from North Idaho, when he was an inmate. She was working at the Kootenai County Jail until about a week before her arrest and also worked as a school nurse in Western Washington during the robbery spree.

Van Holland is charged with the following robberies:

Dec. 22, 2010: U.S. Bank, Tacoma $2,072
Jan. 5, 2011: Key Bank, Tumwater $1,285
Jan. 12, 2011: Key Bank, Tacoma $1,214
Jan. 14, 2011: Wells Fargo Bank, Spanaway $1,050
Jan. 26, 2011: Cathay Bank, Kent $0
Jan. 27, 2011: First Security Bank, Redmond $441
Feb. 10, 2011: U.S Bank, Auburn, Wash. $965
 Feb. 19, 2011: Wells Fargo Bank, University Place $619
March 25, 2011: Sound Community Bank, Tacoma $1,960
April 9, 2011: Wells Fargo Bank, University Place $440
April 21, 2011: Cathay Bank, Bellevue $2,300
April 26, 2011: Wheatland Bank, Ellensburg $714
April 27, 2011: Key Bank, Moses Lake $2,938
May 9, 2011: Chase Bank, Spokane $1,920
June 7, 2011: Sterling Bank, Moses Lake $6,384
June 28: East West Bank, Sacramento, Calif. $671
June 28: U.S. Bank, Davis, Calif. $1,967
July 1, 2011: Key Bank, Lake Oswego, Ore. $1,600
July 18, 2011: Yakima Federal, Richland, Wash. $3,152
Aug. 11, 2011: Bank of Butte, Butte, Mont. $1,600
Aug. 15, 2011: Bank of the West, Auburn Calif. $8,722

Van Holland had been named a suspect in Jan. 21, 2011, robbery at Heritage Bank in Tacoma but is not charged. She remains in federal custody in California.

Past coverage:

May 12, 2011: Did the Bad Hair Bandit rob two Spokane banks in 2010?

Gun suspect arrested after shooting

Gunfire at a party in Spokane Valley early Sunday led to the arrest of a 24-year-old suspect.

Edgar Ambriz Viveros is accused of firing a pistol at a home in the 15000 block of East Mission Avenue, where sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a shooting about 4:50 a.m.

No one was shot but on person cut his hand on broken glass during the altercation, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses said Viveros fired the gun and fled in a vehicle before deputies arrived. Deputies found a vehicle matching the description in the area of Pines and Cherry roads.

Two men were detained for questioning after the vehicle was stopped at Pines Road and Maribeau Parkway. Major crimes detectives identified Viveros as a suspect and arrested him for first-degree assault.

Ex-NFL player hopes for return of rings

Police recovered this 1985 Super Bowl ring belonging to to Stefan Humphries after it was stolen in a burglary in June. Other memorabilia still is missing. (SPDphoto)

A former pro football player whose championship rings were stolen when his home was ransacked in Spokane says he’s hopeful he’ll see the memorabilia again.

“But we’ll see,” said Stefan Humphries, former director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. “It’s like a nightmare.”

Humphries, who played on the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl championship team, said he’s devastated by the loss but won’t let it sour his outlook on Spokane, where he lived for seven years before accepting a job in Nevada last month.

Read the rest of my story here.

Lawyer cites Pirtles’ ‘victim mentality’

A member of a Spokane family that claims police target them because of their relation to a notorious double murderer is heading to federal prison, and his lawyer says his parents' “victim mentality” is partially to blame.

Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle, Jr., 24, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Pirtle is the nephew of Blake Pirtle, who murdered two Burger King employees in Spokane Valley in 1992. Blake Pirtle's death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled law enforcement violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles said in 2009 that police unfairly target them because of that case. They vowed to move out of Spokane. Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe says the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns law enforcement attention.

Pirtle's lawyer, Roger Peven, said Pirtle's parents' insistence that they have been unfairly targeted has not helped their son.

“The combination of parental neglect, abuse, enabling and perpetuating a victim mentality clearly has been devastating to this twenty-four-year-old's development,” Peven wrote.

Pirtle, a father with a girlfriend of seven years, had a troubled childhood that included reporting to authorities his father nearly killing his mother when he was just nine-years-old, according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by his lawyer, Roger Peven.

Pirtle's father went to prison, but, Peven wrote, it's clear “that the abuse and neglect continued throughout Mr. Pirtle's youth.” Pirtle later hid stolen property and a firearm with his father in 2005, Peven wrote.

“The public is better served by addressing the neglect and violence that this young man was subjected to so that Mr. Pirtle has a better chance of being a better parent and functioning member of society,” Peven wrote. “It is clear that Mr. Pirtle is in need of some counseling or treatment to address the family issues he has encountered over the course of his life in order to get a grip on himself, be a functioning member of society, and be a parent to his children.”

Pirtle was indicted in November for a handgun, two rifles and 175 rounds of ammunition found in his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave. on July 8, 2011.

The guns were stolen in a burglary.

Pirtle was arrested the day of the search on a second-degree assault charge for an alleged baseball bat beating that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement in May 2011. He still is charged with second-degree assault in Spokane County Superior Court. He has previous convictions for second-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping.

Accused killer gives riveting testimony

In what longtime Spokane County court officials described as riveting testimony, accused killer Patrick Kevin Gibson described Thursday his years as a big-time bank robber who earned about $850,000 before heading to federal prison.

Gibson's 12-year prison sentence led him to the federal witness protection program after he ratted out cellmate Dustin Honken, an Iowa methamphetamine dealer who bragged to Gibson about getting away with the murder of a mother and her two daughters. Honken is now on federal death row. His girlfriend, Angela Johnson, also was sentenced to death for the crimes but her sentence was overturned on appeal.

Gibson, arrested last year after DNA evidence on the killer's beard was linked to him, discussed Thursday taking polygraph tests to be part of a member of the secretive program. He denied murdering Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole on Nov. 7, 1992 - saying essentially that he was a professional robber who wouldn't mess with such a sloppy heist at a place with little cash. He suggested that a partner in his bank robberies might have committed the crime using a disguise from past bank heists.

Gibson said if he killed Cole, he would confess. But prosecutors pointed out that the bank robberies began after Cole's murder, and that Gibson also robbed convenience stores in Oregon. He also did so not just for the money but for the thrill, according to testimony.

Gibson, a level 3 sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder. He made the unusual decision to have his case heard by a judge instead of a jury. Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen is to hear closing arguments on Monday.

The trial began in late May but was delayed when prosecutors discovered at the last minute that America's Most Wanted host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the actual hat worn by the killer during a taping of the show in 1993.

Police obtained a sample of Walsh's DNA, as well as the actor and the detective who handled the hat, and submitted it to the state crime lab for testing.

7th suspected brothel owner arrested

The owner of two Spokane businesses suspected of being prostitution fronts was released from jail Thursday after being arrested Wednesday.

William R. Westover, 41, faces money laundering and promoting prostitution charges after a 14-month investigation culminated in raids at eight suspected brothels.

Westover owns the Far East Oriental Spa, 213 E. Sprague Ave., and the Asian Spa, 3130 N. Division St. Investigators with the Airway Heights Police Department developed confidential informants after a prostitution sting at Northern Quest Casino.

One of those informants applied for jobs with Westover and told detectives he had her display her naked breasts. Another informant said she gave Westover a massage and had sex with him, accepted payment, then declined his job offer.

Also, according to court documents, “during an interview with a confidential informant, Westover told the confidential informant that she could use a condom for a client the first time she saw the client but was not permitted after that.”

Police reviewed Westover's bank records and found he'd made 41 large deposits between January 2010 and April 2012 totally $165,000.

Six people connected to five other suspected brothels were released from jail Wednesday.

Suspected card cheaters face felonies

Small bets at poker games at the Hooters casino in Spokane Valley have led to felony charges against two North Idaho men accused of the rarely prosecuted crime of cheating while gambling.

“Part of our mission is to keep gambling legal and honest so when the public goes in there to play, they know we have done everything in our power to make sure the game is fair on both sides,” said Gary Drumheller, spokesman for the Washington State Gambling Association in Spokane. “That the house is doing their part but also that the players aren’t in there doing things they shouldn’t.”

Read the rest of my story here.

La. cop fired for stealing suspect’s phone

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A 27-year-old police officer in Louisiana has resigned after authorities say he stole an iPhone from the scene of a drunken-driving crash.

Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, a police spokesman in Baton Rouge, says the phone wasn't in the car when the driver got out of jail. Stubbs says a tracking feature showed that its name had been changed to “Jake Chustz's iPhone,” and the driver recognized the name as that of an officer who had worked at the wreck June 2. He filed a complaint.

Stubbs says Chustz (SHOOTS) was booked late Wednesday with felony theft and malfeasance in office, and resigned early Thursday. He had worked for the department for five years.

An online jail listing shows he's free on $10,000 bond. A message left at a listing for Jake Chustz wasn't immediately returned.

Rose Bowl ring stolen in Spokane found

A Rose Bowl championship ring belonging to former Spokane doctor and ex-pro football player Stefan Humphries was among items recovered during a recent police investigation into a series of burglaries in the Spokane area.

But police still are looking for a Denver Broncos AFC Championship ring and a gold and diamond 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl pendant belonging to Humphries, the former medical director at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute now working in Nevada. (Humphries was the drummer in the team's Super Bowl Shuffle video.)

Members of the Spokane Police Department's targeted crimes unit located the ring and other stolen property in a hotel room in Post Falls, Idaho, after arresting repeat offender Jonathan R. Andersen, 24, on June 21. Anderson was driving a vehicle stolen from Dishman Dodge on East Sprague Avenue that contained thousands of dollars worth of stolen gold, silver and diamond jewelry.

Then on July 3, Joseph Whipple, 24, (pictured) Solomon Monkiewicz, 20, and a juvenile were arrested for a burglary in the 2300 block of West Rainer Court. Police linked the three to a home in the 1800 block of East Decatur and found tens of thousands of dollars in stolen property there.

High-end watches and firearms remain missing, along with the NFL ring and pendant.

Whipple, Monkiewicz, Andersen, Milo Laulaulo, 25, and Kelsi Bendewald, 22, faces a slew of felony charges for the burglaries, including property and gun charges. Bendewald and Laulaulo were with Anderson when he was arrested last month.

Gun trial linked to murder, gang rivalry

Federal prosecutors want jurors in an upcoming gun trial to know about the suspect's gang membership and the gun's link to a 2010 murder in northeast Spokane.

Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm for a Ruger mini 30 rifle found in a Nissan Altima rental car near the body of John S. Williams, 38, who was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010, outside a party at 5405 N. Cresline St.

The gun had Thomas' fingerprints on it. He was arrested in Los Angeles in September 2010 on a second-degree murder charge and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting trial. Spokane County prosecutors dismissed the murder charge but will refile once Thomas' federal gun charge is resolved.

Trial on the gun charge is set to begin July 23 in U.S. District Court in downtown Spokane.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a motion asking that jurors be allowed to hear testimony about the shooting. Thomas' lawyer, Bryan Whitaker, has objected and points to the fact that Thomas hasn't even been convicted of murder.

“The logic here is flawless: since John Williams was shot with a firearm, Mr. Thomas could only have shot him while in possession of a firearm,” Whitaker wrote in a response to the motion. “The fallacy of this logic is that it relies completely on Mr. Thomas being the person who shot John Williams. The jury, therefore, would be invited to convict Mr. Thomas of Felon in Possession of  Firearm because the Government believes he shot John Williams.”

Thomas is accused of shooting Williams multiple times, including a final shot to his face. Police and prosecutors say the shooting stemmed from a gang rivalry, and prosecutors want to experts to tell jurors about Thomas' ties to the Atlantic Drive Compton Crips.

Police say Thomas acquired the firearm after a dispute with Jerome Danner, a member of the Grape Street Crips. The groups were at a birthday party for Ronald L. “Heavy” Shuler when a fight broke out. Williams, who was linked to Danner, punched out a window to a car in which Thomas was before he was shot by Thomas, police say.

But Whitaker said the relationship between Thomas and Danner was not based on gang member but on the fact that they each have a child with the same woman.

“The acrimonious relationship between gangs has no bearing on issues in this case. The theory here is that gang membership is the motive for possessing a firearm. That logic would permit the admission of gang-related testimony in EVERY case involving a gang member,” Whitaker wrote.

U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle has not yet ruled on the motions.

Six other men were charged in connection with the homicide, including Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton, who was sentenced to five years in prison for driving Thomas from the murder. Police say Thomas went to Antonio Cook's house after the shooting and stayed there until the next day. Cook, who reportedly supplied the murder weapon, also has been charged.

Wrong man may be jailed for murder

The lead investigator in the 2007 beating death of an adult bookstore owner in Spokane now is questioning whether the wrong man was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Spokane Police Detective Tim Madsen, in new court documents, acknowledges that 41-year-old Jeramie R. Davis may have been telling the truth when he claimed that 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen already was dead on the floor when he arrived at the adult bookstore and made a series of return trips throughout the night to burglarize it.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 11: Trial opens for second suspect in same murder

March 11: DNA evidence in 2007 murder points to new man

Aug. 5: New suspect charged in porn shop owner's murder

July 28: Convicted killer hopes for freedom

July 26: DNA reveals new suspect in 2007 slaying

Trial begins in horrible child abuse case

A jury trial began this week for a young man accused of brutally assaulting his infant daughter.

Tyler L. Jamison, 20, has been in the Spokane County Jail since April 2010, when his 2-month-old daughter, SkyeLynn suffered what Spokane police  initially feared would be fatal injuries but has since been adopted through a foster family.

Jamison is charged with first-degree assault. Police say he described weeks of horrible abuse that was sparked by the baby's crying.

He cut off her breathing until she turned pale “a couple times a day until his fingernails started leaving scratches and cuts on SkyeLynn’s skin,” according to court documents. He didn’t want anyone to notice what he was doing, so “he started cupping his hand over SkyeLynn’s nose and mouth when she would cry.”

Jamison also reportedly told police that he sometimes squeezed SkyeLynn and may have broken ribs. Medics said the girl’s ribs appeared to have been broken at different times.

Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno is presiding over the trial, which began Monday. Sharon Hedlund is prosecuting. Jeff Compton is defending Jamison.

Past coverage:

April 12, 2010: Injured baby improving at Spokane hospital

April 8, 2010: Police: Baby brain dead after assault by father

Suspected brothel owners released

Five women and one man arrested in a sweeping anti-prostitution investigation at Spokane-area spas and massage parlors have been released from jail.

The suspects, who own four of eight suspected brothels raided Tuesday, have no criminal records and were allowed to leave without posting bond. Prosecutors did not object to their release, and they were ordered to return to court July 23 to be arraigned on charges of second-degree promoting prostitution and money laundering

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 10: Eight suspected brothels raided in Spokane

Charges filed in Hillyard animal cruelty

A Spokane woman who had 50 dogs and cats packed into a squalid bungalow in Hillyard has been charged with animal cruelty.

Laneva Marsha Erskine, 57, faces nine misdemeanor charges stemming from a February raid at her home at 3622 E. Crown Ave. in which workers wore hazardous material suits and respirators to combat the heavy stench.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 8: Animals seized from squalid Hillyard home

Police arrest robbery, eluding suspect

A Spokane man suspected in recent robberies and of eluding police at least twice was arrested Monday after ramming a police cruiser.

Shane Lawrence Hagedorn, 30, was driving a red Oldsmobile Achieva on West Wellesley Avenue about 9 p.m. when members of the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team tried to block him at a red light at North Division Street, according to court documents.

Police say Hagedorn and his car are linked to at least two police chases and several robberies. He packed up his car and collided with Officer Jeremy Daniel's cruiser, then rammed the passenger side of Officer Sean Wheeler's cruiser before again striking Daniel's car.

Hagedorn was pulled from his vehicle and booked into jail on assault charges. He also faces drug charges for OxyContin and methamphetamine found on him after his arrest.

Hagedorn nearly died in 2008 after he was shot several times in his stomach during a fight at the West Wynn Motel, 2701 W. Sunset Highway.

It was described as a confrontation over a girl that started with threats on the phone. The gunman, Anthony R. Covert, then 19, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a jury convicted him of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two weapons charges.

Covert's lawyer said Hagedorn instigated the fight.

“This is a case where somebody (Hagedorn) thinks he has the upper hand and he’s going to wreak havoc on someone else and he miscalculates,” Assistant Public Defender Al Rossi said at Covert's sentencing in November 2009.

Covert is serving his sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

2 arrested in Spokane Valley burglary

Two men were arrested on suspicion of burglary Monday after a Spokane Valley man and his daughter arrived home in the middle of the day to find a possibly armed burglar walking from their backyard.

Nathanial Brooks Hubbard, 20, and Robert E. Best, IV, 25, are accused of ransacking a bedroom in the home in the 3500 block of South McDonald Road and stealing a gun and several 50 cent and $1 coins.

The homeowner said he'd left about 10:45 a.m. and returned about 2 p.m. to find his back slider door partially open then saw a man later identified as Hubbard outside.

A sheriff's deputy responded and located the suspect vehicle near East 40th Avenue and South Woodlawn Drive, east of the Painted Hills Golf Course. The deputy and Valley police corporal stopped the car and identified the driver as Best and Hubbard the passenger. Sheriff's K-9 Ekko searched the car for others passenger; Ekko's handler found the stolen handgun under the front seat.

Hubbard and Best had the stolen coins in their pockets. They were booked into jail for first-degree burglary.

3 plead not guilty in downtown assault

Three men accused of a brutal beating in downtown Spokane late last month have pleaded not guilty.

Clayton M. Cotter, 21; Schuyler Ray Cotter, 19; and Michael W. Baesman, 34; are accused of beating a man unconscious June 27  near West 2nd Avenue and South Jefferson Street.

Clayton Cotter remains in jail on $10,000 bond. His younger brother is out of jail and was summonsed to court this morning for his arraignment before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

Baesman is at Geiger Corrections Center on $10,000 bond. He and the elder Cotter were arraigned Tuesday
Just after the brothers were arrested, prosecutors charged them with unlawful possession of a firearm for a case from December.

Police searched a home in the 1600 block of East Glass Avenue Dec. 8 after reports that the brothers lived there and had been possessing firearms. One witness said the men and their friends shots into a diaper box in the basement on a daily basis. Police seized a .22 caliber Mossberg 702 Plinkster rifle, along with rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and shotgun ammunition.

The downtown beating came at a time of concern from businesses and city leaders about roving packs of violent young people. Police have made several arrests.

On June 16, 18-year-old Eric James Smith was arrested for allegedly beating a bouncer at Jimmyz, 521 W. Sprague, who had just left work. David Reynold said he was surrounded by a large group of men who were “getting mouthy” and “getting in my face,” according to court documents.

Reynolds said the men retreated when he showed them his handgun. He was treated for a head injury at a hospital. Smith pleaded not guilty June 26 to second-degree assault and remains in jail on $20,000 bond.

Police say an increased focus in the downtown area has aided in the arrests.

Second trial begains for same murder

From the visitation room at the Spokane County Jail in July 2011, Jeramie R. Davis talks about the recent break in his case where DNA on a murder weapon was matched to a different man. (SRPhoto)

A first-degree murder trial began Tuesday in the 2007 bludgeoning death of an adult-bookstore owner, even though another man already was convicted for that crime.

 The man on trial now, Julio J. Davila, 46, (pictured right) became a suspect last year after DNA evidence was re-run on the murder weapon. Davila’s name came back as a match in a computer database of convicted felons.

No witnesses can put Davila at the scene, however, and the man previously convicted of killing 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen told authorities he didn’t know Davila.

Jeramie R. Davis, 41, remains in jail after having served more than four years of a 40-year prison sentence from his murder and property crime convictions.

Read the rest of the story here.

Past coverage:

March 11: DNA evidence in 2007 murder points to new man

Aug. 5: New suspect charged in porn shop owner's murder

July 28: Convicted killer hopes for freedom

July 26: DNA reveals new suspect in 2007 slaying

Judge orders SR to help ID commenter

The Spokesman-Review must provide information that could identify an anonymous reader who typed a disparaging online comment about the chairwoman of the Kootenai County Republican Party in February, an Idaho judge ruled Tuesday.

The attorney for the chairwoman, Tina Jacobson (pictured), subpoenaed information about the identities of three Huckleberries Online readers who commented under assumed names below a photograph featuring Jacobson.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Join the discussion about the ruling at Dave Oliveria's Huckleberries blog.

Past coverage:

June 1: Idaho judge considers anonymous comments lawsuit

Suspected area sex houses raided

Eight suspected brothels, including the Oriental Spa South at 515 S. Maple Ave., were raided across the Spokane area Tuesday by a multi-agency law enforcement task force. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A yearlong investigation into widespread prostitution in Spokane County culminated Tuesday with raids at eight suspected brothels in what authorities say is an attempt to permanently close the longtime businesses.

Complaints from Northern Quest Casino officials about prostitution activity prompted the Airway Heights Police Department to conduct undercover strings of suspected prostitutes who in turn agreed to work as confidential informants.

Read the rest of my story here.

Feds oppose Thompson prison delay

Federal prosecutors appear to be growing frustrated with the ongoing delays that have kept convicted Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. out of prison.

Eight months have passed since a jury convicted Thompson of using excessive force and lying to investigators in the 2006 fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm, an unarmed janitor erroneously implicated in a possible theft. But court-ordered delays have postponed sentencing indefinitely as he seeks a new trial.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Burglar shoots at elderly woman’s home

A Spokane burglary suspect believed to have fired several rounds into an elderly woman's front door was arrested after a sheriff's corporal shot him with bean bags in front of another would-be victim's home early Saturday.

Ernest Earl Strebeck, 46, was armed with a handgun when members of the sheriff’s SWAT team confronted him as he sat on a porch of another home at 6536 N. Freya St.

Strebeck refused commands to lower the gun and instead stood up and stepped down from the porch, then tossed the firearm back onto the porch and walked away with his hands in his pockets. Cpl. Jeff Shover used a shotgun to fire three bean bags at Strebeck to subdue him enough to be handcuffed. He was transported to a hospital before being booked into jail.

Read the rest of my story here.

Spokane felon found asleep in stolen car

A repeat offender with a history of car theft was arrested after being found asleep at the wheel of a stolen car that was still running.

 Eric T. Clapper, who turned 28 on Friday, was inside a 2006 Subaru Legacy that was blocking traffic in a parking lot at 2110 E. North Crescent Ave. when Spokane police Officer Casey Jones arrived about 8:45 a.m. on Saturday.

Clapper told police a woman named Christine let him use the car and that if it was stolen, “I didn't do it,” according to court documents.

Clapper “pleaded to be let go and that he didn't do anything wrong,” Jones wrote.

Clapper, a former Crime Stoppers fugitive, was booked into jail on a felony charge of possession of a motor vehicle. He has previous convictions for driving on a suspended license, vehicle theft, assault, drug possession, attempting to elude police, theft, violating court order, obstructing a police investigation, minor possessing alcohol and probation violations.

Letters address cop shooter’s release

Three recent letters to the editor address the case of Charles Wallace, who shot two sheriff's deputies last month after being released from jail on federal heroin charges.

Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ordered Wallace to report to a drug rehab center in Spokane Valley on May 31. He shot shot Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway on June 19 after authorities said he escaped from the facility.

Imbrogno has fallen under much scrutiny - scrutiny that longtime defense lawyer Mark Vovos said is undeserved.

Wallace “faced one count that had a sentencing guideline range of 24-30 months when he was released with conditions,” Vovos wrote. Read the full letter here. (Wallace was indicted the day of the shooting on charges that carried a potential life sentence, but that wasn't filed when he was released.)

In a letter published Saturday in response to this letter from lawyer Jeffry Finer, anti-drug war activist Chuck Armsbury suggests Wallace was released from jail not to actually complete a drug rehabilitation program but to work as an informant for drug detectives.

“The deal offered Charles Wallace, most likely, was to troll for more heroin users, to be an informant and possibly avoid going to prison,” Armsbury wrote.” Wacky idea? No: About 97 percent of federal drug cases are handled by guilty pleas and agreements to cooperate. Prosecutors justify routine use of informants as necessary and won’t reveal facts the public should know.” Read the full letter here.

Imbrogno and Wallace's lawyer, Jaime Hawk, have refused to comment on the case.

An audio recording of a 10-minute hearing held 15 days before Imbrogno issued her ruling is the only public information available regarding the federal magistrate's decision. Read my story on the recording here.

Man arrested w/ stolen SUV after chase

A man was arrested at gunpoint early Sunday after leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase from Interstate 90 to the Gonzaga University area.

Charles A. Castro, 31, was driving a black SUV east on the freeway when he changed lanes to take the Division Street exit about 3:45 a.m., then suddenly swerved back and continued driving erratically, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The trooper tried to pull him over, but Castro continued driving on the shoulder before exiting the freeway

Its doors sprung open but the SUV, which had been stolen in Sandpoint, continued driving; the trooper believes the passengers were thinking about jumping from the vehicle but decided against it.

The SUV sped north on Hamilton through flashing red lights and a cross walk before driving in the wrong lanes and coming to a stop in the middle of the intersection of East Cleveland Avenue and North Dakota Street.

Castro told police he had a warrant for missing court and had meth in his front pocket. He said he his passengers didn't know the car was stolen and that he was giving them a ride from the casino.

Police found meth in the SUV's center console. Castro was taken to jail, then to a hospital after he told officers “that he had swallowed a bunch of meth during the pursuit,” according to court documents.

Castro was treated at a hospital, then booked into jail on eluding police and stolen vehicle charges, as well as two Spokane County warrants for drug and stolen vehicle charges.
  

Man arrested in stolen lawnmower caper

A man wanted for violating his Department of Corrections probation was arrested after escaping a garage burglary in Greenacres on a stolen lawnmower, police say.

Robert G. Morey, 22, is accused of stealing firearms and valuable coins from a home in the 5500 block of South Conklin Road before riding away on the Craftsman riding lawnmower.

The homeowners called police Thursday evening and said they'd returned from the lake for the holiday to find their home burglarized.

Earlier, about 9 a.m., Spokane County sheriff's deputies had responded to a report of a man armed with a rifle or shotgun riding a lawnmower in the area of Linke and White roads.

Deputies found the lawnmower about seven miles away in the 19200 block of East Belmont Road. Then about 1:30 p.m., deputies heard reports of a suspicious person walking in the area where the lawnmower was recovered.

Deputies located Morey sitting on an embankment and confirmed he had a DOC escape warrant.

Morey was arrested and told deputies his girlfriend had dropped him off on “some road” after an argument, so he saw an open garage door and took the lawnmower as well as the guns and coins, according to the sheriff's office. Morey showed deputies where he'd ditched the guns.

The burglary was reported later that night, and deputies realized the stolen items matched what Morey told them he'd stolen. He was interviewed again at the jail and admitted to stealing a shotgun, rifle and pistol though he said he dropped the pistol when he stolen the lawnmower because he could' carry everything.

“Morey told deputies he took the guns because he was prohibited from having firearms and wanted one,” according to a news release by sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Morey said he abandoned the lawnmower when it ran out of gas.

He was booked into jail on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm and second-degree theft.

Morey is on probation after pleading guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by forged prescription and second-degree burglary last year.

McDonald’s robbery suspect still sought

Tips from surveillance photos of the McDonald's takeover robbery helped police identify four suspects, including Avery Loring. (SPDphoto)

An eighth suspect in a series of armed robberies still is being sought by Spokane police. 

Avery Lee Loring, 25, is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., at gunpoint on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among seven suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are believed to have robbed the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Sanderson also is accused or robbing a home in the 2900 block of North Hogan Street June 6 with Derek L. Wilson, 25, and Christopher M. Comer, 24. Wilson faces life in prison without the possibility of parole under Washington's three-strikes law if convicted of first-degree robbery (or second-degree robbery). He was just released from prison April 25 after completing a 17-month sentence for third-degree assault.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University involving his now former girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, then a high school honor student. Loring assaulted the victims with a tire iron after hiding in a bush while Anderson put on a ski mask and pointed a shotgun at them and demanded money.

Anderson was an honor student at Rogers High School and volunteered on Saturdays helping with the youth at her church. Loring moved to Spokane a couple of years earlier from Los Angeles and had dropped out of Ferris High School, according to previously published reports He earned his GED while in jail.

Now Loring is wanted on new robbery charges and, like the other suspects, could be facing further charges as the investigation into the robbery spree continues. The Spokane police SWAT team searched a location for him Friday with no success.

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

Jury indicts woman in April shooting

A Moses Lake woman has been indicted by a grand jury for illegally possessing a firearm after her friend was shot in what Spokane police believe was a drug-related assault.

Alicia Marie Favro, who turned 42 last week, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing a chrome Walther semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun that was found in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in April.

Favro was at the hospital to see Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, who was shot in the stomach April 26 by an unidentified gunman near 1800 W. Sixth Ave. Favro drove Cardenas from the scene and flagged over a police officer near 13th Avenue and South Cedar Street.

Favro, who has felony convictions for assault and forgery that prohibit her from possessing firearms, told police 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 court documents.

Cardenas' gunshot wound was not life threatening. A medic who treated him was severely burned by a chemical substance while treating Cardenas. Police didn't find toxic substances in Cardenas' car, but they did find large amounts of cash and methamphetamine.

Favro told police she went to Northern Quest Casino with Cardenas after he won $3,000 gambling in Moses Lake, according to court documents. She said two women needed a ride home from Cardenas because they were worried about their kids not making it to school. Favro said Cardenas was driving the woman home when the shooting occurred.

Cardenas 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. Spokane police continue to investigate the shooting and the possible drug connections.

A detective filed a search warrant late last month for phone records related to the case. A grand jury indicted Favro July 3 in U.S. District Court on one count of felon in possession of a firearm. She remains in custody at Geiger Corrections Center.

Dumpster dive leads to felony arrest

A man arrested for being inside a dumpster outside a drug store was booked into jail on a felony charge after police found methamphetamine in his backpack.

Darrell Leon Brunson, 47, told Deputy David Westlake he believed it was legal to be inside a store dumpster when Westlake found him hiding in the dumpster outside Walgreens, 7905 N. Division St., about 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

“When Deputy Westlake asked why he was not making a noise as he approached, Brunson did not have an answer,” according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Walgreens employees requested trespassing charges be pursued against Brunson. Westlake found the meth in a plastic baggie inside Brunson's backpack and says it tested positive for the drug.

Brunson has previous convictions for drugs and trespassing.

Wallace contested Edwards’ ‘02 search

Ten years before Charles Wallace shot two Spokane County sheriff's deputies, he had an encounter with a now former Spokane police officer who's the subject of a criminal probe regarding his search and seizure procedures.

Wallace contested the search of his car and home conducted by Officer Alan Edwards on May 13, 2002. His public defender asked a judge to throw out the evidence on the grounds it was obtained illegally. 

But Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly, now retired, denied the motion to suppress, and Wallace ended up pleading guilty and going to prison for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver cocaine and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver heroin, as well as second-degree escape for escaping from Geiger Corrections Center.

When still fighting the charges, Wallace signed an affidavit supporting his lawyer's efforts to suppress the evidence obtained by Edwards, who was fired last February for lying to an on-duty officer to obtain contact information for a woman he'd met at a bar.

Edwards was suspended for two weeks last fall after being on paid leave for seven months amidst a criminal probe into his use of an unlicensed bounty hunter to catch fugitives. That probe was recently reopened, and Edwards remains a target.

In the affidavit filed Nov. 27, 2002, Wallace stated he was driving his 1988 Toyota MR2 with a valid driver's license, valid registration and valid proof of insurance in the car when he was stopped about 11:30 p.m. “for no apparent reason.”

Wallace said his power window was not working, so he opened the door and started to get out of the car until Edwards ordered him back inside.

Wallace said he held his license, registration and insurance through the open window when Edwards said to Officer Greg Thieschafer “That's him. Take him out,” according to the affidavit.  Thieschafer handcuffed Wallace and placed him in the back of a patrol car while Edwards started searching through the car. Edwards located heroin in the trunk.

Police also found heroin, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at Wallace's home in the 1200 block of West Alice Avenue. Wallace's wife at the time, Jessica Wallace, signed an affidavit contesting the legality of that search, too.

Jessica Wallace said she was home with her two-week-old baby and her younger brother when police officers, including Edwards, arrived and told her her husband had been arrested. One of the three officers said they needed to search the home.

Jessica Wallace said she was told police would get a search warrant for the home if she didn't let them in.

“In my mind, I felt I had no choice other then to let them enter and search my home,” according to the affidavit. “I was extremely frightened fearful and did not know what to do. As I result, I let them into the house.” The officers found something, then returned with a search warrant for a locked bedroom, according to the affidavit.

Reilly denied the motion to suppress in December 2002. Charles Wallace pleaded guilty in January 2003.

Past coverage:

July 5: Wallace's wrist, risk factors at hearing

June 25: Wallace had been to drug rehab before

Reports of gunman led to SWAT standoff

Spokane police arrest Maceo L. Williams, 27, after a SWAT team standoff on Thursday. (SPDphoto)

A SWAT team standoff in West Central Spokane Thursday was spurred by reports that a suspected drug dealer with a gun had told people he wasn't going back to jail without a fight.

Maceo L. Williams, 27, was arrested for violating his Department of Corrections probation after police pumped pepper spray into a home at 2301 W. Broadway Ave. Williams had refused to come out of the home for hours.

Williams is a reputed gang member who told people in the neighborhood about his arrest warrant, according to court documents.

Police were watching a home at 2415 W. Dean Ave., Thursday where Williams was said to be living when they saw him leave on a bicycle. He ended up at the West Broadway Avenue apartment.

Four occupants exited at the request of police, including Candice Lyons, who described herself as Williams' “street sister.” Amanda Tucker, who identified herself as Williams' girlfriend, told police Williams had a BB gun that he used “so no one disrespects us,” according to court documents. Lyons said Williams had a 9 mm handgun.

The SWAT team used a siren and bullhorn to try to contact Williams. They also used a robot to try to establish phone contact with him before pumping pepper spray into the home.

Police seized two BB guns and baggies of suspected methamphetamine or other white drugs at the home, according to a search warrant filed Friday.

Williams was arrested last December after a SWAT team standoff at 13110 N. Addison St., in north Spokane.

Police then were looking for him and a reputed Sureno gang member, Bobby S. “Angel” Decaney (pictured left), after a woman was assaulted and robbed of methamphetamine. 

Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza in April sentenced Williams to four months in jail with credit given for about four months already served for riot and second-degree attempted theft. He also was sentenced to two years probation.

Judge Greg Sypolt sentenced Decaney, who faced life in prison if convicted of his third violent felony, to nine months in jail and two years probation in April for the same charges. He remains in jail.

Suspects arrested in brazen robberies

Seven people have been arrested for a series of brazen gunpoint robberies that targeted not only drug homes but a fast food restaurant with customers inside.

  More arrests are expected as part of an ongoing investigation that began May 25 when four masked robbers burst into the McDonald’s at 4647 S. Regal St. and robbed four employees and six customers of cash, phones and other valuables.

“It’s not like an organized crew of the same four people doing robbery after robbery, but a loosely knit group,” said Spokane police Major Frank Scalise. “I am confident that the overwhelming majority of this group is behind bars.”

Read the rest of my story here.

 Suspects Derek L. Wilson, Christopher M. Comer and Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert are pictured above, clockwise starting with Wilson in the left corner.

Lawsuit filed over ‘09 police shooting

Spokane police and sheriff's investigators examine the scene and cover the body of Jason Poss, who was shot on July 10, 2009. (SRphoto/Jesse Tinsley)

A federal lawsuit has been filed by the parents of a man shot and killed by Spokane police in 2009 after he attacked a woman with a skateboard and stabbed a dog.

The suit alleges that either Spokane police Officer Kellee Gately or Officer Jason Curtis fired the fatal bullet – testing apparently was not able to determine the gun of origin – after 23-year-old Jason Poss had already been shot once, knocked down and disarmed of his knife.

The suit alleges that Gately and Curtis violated Poss’ civil rights by using “excessive force, deadly force, and/or inadequate training.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 10, 2009: Spokane police kill knife-wielding man

Public’s help sought in cat cruelty probe

Spokane County animal protection offers are asking for the public's help as they investigate a horrendous case of animal cruelty.

A cat had to be euthanized on Monday after SCRAPS officers found it shot in the head in a dumpster at the Viewpoint Villa Apartments, 5911 E. Woodlawn Ave., in Spokane Valley.

A woman had reported a cat screaming from the dumpster, and the apartment manager found the bleeding, injured feline inside a garbage bag wrapped in a blanket.

The cat was taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Investigators say the cat also sustained traumatic injuries to its body.

Anyone who may have seen or heard something is asked to call (509) 477-2532 immediately. Your name and contact information will remain confidential with SCRAPS.

Men accused of extorting grandmother

A 22-year-old Spokane man is accused of extorting his grandmother by conspiring with his friend to tell her he was being kidnapped for ransom, police say.

Tevan T. Williams and his alleged accomplice, Riley D. Hull, 22, were arrested Wednesday after Williams' grandmother said she'd received text messages from a stranger “saying Tevan was being held against his will and would not be released until she paid a ransom,” according to court documents.

The 61-year-old woman had been contacted at her north Spokane home on Monday by an unknown man who said Williams owed him money and he planned to rob the home if he didn't get his cash, police say.

The woman said she continued receiving text messages Wednesday saying her grandson would be killed if she didn't pay $500.

She agreed to meet the man at a restaurant near Francis Avenue and North Division Street. The woman and a relative contacted Spokane police, believing Williams “was possibly in grave danger,” police say.

Police traced the text messages to a phone belonging to Hull and arrested him and Williams near the planned meeting spot.

Hull and Williams each were ordered to stay in jail on $7,500 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court Thursday on a first-degree extortion charge.

Wallace’s alleged accomplice free on bond

A Spokane man accused of helping the fugitive who shot two sheriff's deputies is out of jail after posting $100,000 bond this week.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, posted the bond through Bulldog Bail Bonds on July 2 after being in the Spokane County Jail since June 20, according to court records.

Ruth appeared before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Members of the drug task force were looking for fugitive heroin trafficking suspect Charles Robert Wallace at Ruth's family's property on North Alcan Street on June 19 when they followed Ruth's SUV and a Chevy Tahoe with a young couple and a man in a disguise they believed could be Wallace.

The SUV stopped at Roundy’s Kawasaki on North Newport Highway for about a half an hour before Ruth drove north and the Tahoe went south.

Task force members directed Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway to identify the passengers of the Tahoe and warned that Wallace “was believed to be armed and had made statements that he was not going back to jail,” according to court documents.

Just after the Tahoe stopped on Elm Road just off the highway, Wallace exited and opened fire on Spink and Northway. Spink was struck once in the leg; Northway was hit four times and may have bled to death had a citizen not helped control heavy bleeding from an artery in his left arm, police officials say.

The driver of the Tahoe and a passenger, Joshua Vincent Fowler and Brittany A. McCullough, sped away and Wallace ran away, stole an 87-year-old woman’s Honda Accord then fled the area before shooting himself after a 21-mile chase.

Officer Beau Brannon, who owns a home on Princeton Avenue that was rented by Ruth, called Ruth right after the shooting and told him what happened.

Police say Ruth lied to the officer and said he hadn’t talked to Wallace since June 14, then changed his story and said he’d seen Wallace but didn’t know where he was. He then hung up on the officer and refused to answer his phone.

Ruth and his girlfriend and their infant son moved out of the Princeton home after a home-invasion robbery on May 29 in which Ruth was shot in the leg. David F. Smith, 40, is suspected in that case.

Ruth has seven felony convictions; his last occurred in 2000.

Couple convicted, acquitted in murder

Three witnesses put the gun in her boyfriend’s hand either during or immediately after a Spokane man was shot last December following a bizarre altercation.

But Melinda R. Barrera, 32, admitted pulling the trigger and a jury convicted Thursday her of second-degree murder while acquitting her boyfriend of all charges.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

June 22: Trial starts for couple in shooting death

May 8: Murder suspect now facing meth charges

Dec. 10: Shooting suspect recalls chaos

Ice cream used as excuse in Ark. crash

VAN BUREN, Ark. (AP) — A woman accused of leaving the scene of a minor traffic crash in western Arkansas told police she did it because she didn't want her ice cream to melt.

Van Buren police say one vehicle rear-ended another on Arkansas Highway 59 on Sunday evening, but that the driver of the second car didn't stop to check on the vehicle she had hit. The other driver called police and set off in pursuit.

Fort Smith television station KHBS reports (http://is.gd/GSXrgK ) that Flora Burkhart told police she didn't think there was enough damage to merit stopping — and that she didn't want her ice cream to melt.

Burkhart was cited for following too closely and leaving the scene of an accident.

Cops: Pa. inmate hails cab from hospital

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies say a western Pennsylvania county jail inmate wearing an orange-and-white striped uniform tried to hail a taxi to escape from a hospital where he was taken for medical treatment.

The Beaver County Times (http://bit.ly/OipJ1g ) reports Tuesday that 23-year-old Holden Wooley was taken to Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital on Saturday night after a reported seizure. Deputies say at one point during his four-hour hospital visit, Wooley went outside to hail a cab — but the driver refused to pick him up.

When hospital security officers tried to grab him, Wooley ran into the woods. Police say he was arrested a couple hours later when officers used a dog and a stun gun to subdue him. He was treated for a dog bite at the hospital and returned to jail.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Wooley.

NorthTown Mall sex offender arraigned

A Spokane sex offender out of jail on $250,000 bond pleaded not guilty today to charges related to an alleged incident with a 5-year-old girl at the NorthTown Mall last month.

 Richard Michael Payne, 55, faces a potential life sentence if convicted of indecent exposure and two counts of first-degree child molestation after a girl and her 11-year-old sister told their mother he'd exposed himself in an arcade area at the mall June 21 while rubbing the younger girl's back. The girls' mother said in an email that the girl's 19-year-old brother was in the arcade at the time, too. She said the family was vacationing in Spokane.

Police obtained surveillance video of the incident and identified Payne as a suspect through the sex offender registry. He was arrested June 26 and left jail June 27 after posting the bond through Smith Family Bail Bonds.

Owner Chris Smith attended today's arraignment before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque. Payne is represented by lawyer David Hearrean.

He's wearing a GPS ankle monitor through the bond company that tracks his movements and is prohibited from contacting children or visiting places where the gather, including the NorthTown Mall.

Payne is a level 3 sex offender who served about 3 1/2 years in prison for grabbing a 9-year-old girl's crotch and buttocks while at a North Division Street store in 2001.

He also has two convictions for fourth-degree assault that stem from child molestation claims, as well as a public indecency in Oregon in 1985 for fondling himself at a Sears store. He has no further criminal history in Washington state.

Payne left the Spokane County Courthouse today without speaking to media. Hearrean has said he's worried citizens may seek vigilante justice and his client may not get a fair trial.

Man in Hooters bomb case to stay in jail

A man arrested with about 5,400 small explosive devices in his van outside Hooters in Spokane Valley last week will stay in jail without bail.

Peter Ward Westhaver, 53, pleaded not guilty today to a grand jury indictment charging him with dealing in explosives materials, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years on prison.

Investigators believe Westhaver was selling the devices. Two undercover agents met with Westhaver June 28 at the restaurant near the Spokane Valley Mall and listened as he discussed his manufacturing operation.

They were leaving the restaurant when Westhaver told the men he actually had the devices in his Ford Windstar van in the parking lot, according to court documents.

The investigators, who work for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, broke their cover and arrested him for officer safety purposes, then searched the van. The devices are described as red plastic balls filled with a flash-like explosive powder with a fuse inserted.

The indictment returned by a grand jury on Tuesday calls for Westhaver to forfeit ownership of the devices. He appeared in U.S. District Court today for his arraignment. He isn't even trying to get out of jail: His public defender waived his bail hearing.

Federal agents began investigating Westhaver in late May, about the same time a suspicious device was found in a home in northwest Spokane.
  

Wallace’s wrist, risk factors at hearing

Five weeks before Charles Robert Wallace shot two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies, he sat in a federal courtroom in downtown Spokane, his hand in a cast, as his lawyer told a judge he needed drug addiction treatment instead of jail.

The 41-year-old suspected heroin trafficker’s wrist had been broken in a fall at the Spokane County Jail, and it took five days to get it set in a cast.

“It’s been a pretty painful and pretty difficult couple of weeks,” Wallace’s federal public defender, Jaime Hawk, said during the May 10 hearing as she urged U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno to allow Wallace to leave jail for drug rehab.

“He can’t leave there. He’s not a danger to the community and will be engaging in the needed substance abuse treatment,” Hawk said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 25: Wallace had been to drug rehab before

June 21: Woman, 87, describes fight with Wallace

June 22: Task force directed deputies to stop SUV

‘Take a Midol’ remark leads to assault

A dispute over a dinged car in a parking lot led to an assault arrest when a woman brandished a weapon after being told to “take a Midol,” Spokane police say.

Shawna M. Sweet, 23, is accused of striking Derek Boyer’s hand with the butt of a large hunting knife that was still in its sheath.

Boyer was sitting in a parked car outside the Smoker’s Outlet, 928 W. Indiana Ave., on Monday when Sweet opened the passenger door to the car she was in and it struck the car Boyer was in, according to court documents.

A verbal confrontation ensued, and Boyer told Sweet to “take a Midol” and called her a derogatory term that refers to her sexual orientation. Boyer told police that Sweet charged at him and pounded his hand with the butt of the knife. He struggled to get free and Sweet hit the car roof, denting it.

Police reviewed surveillance video that shows the incident happened how the victim and witnesses described.

Sweet told police she struck Boyer's hand with her fist, according to court documents.

51-time felon accused in car prowlings

A 51-time felon who was told by a judge 10 years ago that “the system's had enough of you” is back in jail for property crimes police suspect are related to his severe heroin addiction.

 Brian Lee Danner, 40, was stopped last week in the area of North Cedar Street and Northwest Boulevard while driving a green 1995 Jeep Cherokee belonging to another longtime felon, Johnie Leo Vick, Jr., 42.

Spokane police Officers Nick Geren and Brian Eckersley, along with Sgt. Joe Peterson, were looking for the Jeep after learning of vehicle prowlings in Spokane involving it and a 1984 Chevy Blazer also registered to Vick.

Vick was arrested the same day as Danner, June 26, when police located him working on the Blazer at Auto Zone, 2526 N. Division St. Danner had heroin on him when he was arrested, police say. Also arrested was Rabecca Hearn, 26, who police say received stolen purses from Danner.

Police believe Danner often smashes car windows to steal purses and other valuables. Danner told police he'd been prowling vehicles to support “a severe substance abuse problem,” according to court documents. Vick also told police he's a heroin addict who prowls cars to support his habit.

Vick, who has a neck tattoo that says “Ladies Love Outlaws,” could not be booked into jail because of medical reasons; police sent charging recommendations to prosecutors and expect him to be summonsed to court once charges are filed.

Danner remains in jail on $10,000 bail for charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.

Police searched Vick's vehicles on Monday and seized suspected stolen identifications and credit cards.

Danner's remarkable criminal history, which includes at least 41 adult felonies and 10 juvenile felonies, includes 25 convictions from 2002 for second-degree possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to two years in prison by Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark.

His co-defendant, Shelly M. Ose, received nine years in prison when Judge Greg Sypolt rejected a plea bargain. Their criminal records were similar. (Ose's sentence was reduced on appeal to about four years.)

At the time, Clark said she saw no reason to give Danner, who was returned to prison for the fourth time, an exceptional sentence. She did give him a warning, however: “I'm going to remember you, Mr. Danner. The system's had enough of you,'' she said.

Her warning apparently had little effect on Danner.

He went to prison again in 2006 for property crimes in Stevens County, then returned for his sixth stay in 2010 for - again - property crimes.

Clark isn't likely to see Danner this time around; she's assigned to juvenile court but does sometimes handle adult felonies.

End to tumultuous life saves four others

Ashley Johnson keeps a quilt with a handprint taken from Marquis Johnson moments before his organs were donated. (SRPhoto/Dan Pelle)

When her husband died, Ashley Johnson knew how some people were bound to remember him. His picture was published and broadcast as one of four men arrested for a shooting at Hoopfest in 2010.

 Police called it a gang-related shooting, and prosecutors charged the four suspects with about a dozen counts of attempted murder for the number of bystanders who could have been struck by the gunfire.

But in the end, the gunman went to prison and Ashley’s husband, Marquis Johnson, was released from jail.

Now, two months after he died in a car crash, Ashley, 23, wants people to know who her husband truly was, and what his final gift to the public was.

Read the rest of my story here.

Car stolen at knifepoint during cleaning

A woman was carjacked as she vacuumed her Chevy Camaro at a car wash near Browne's Addition Saturday night, Spokane police say.

Larry D. Vermillion, 43, is accused of stealing the woman's car at knifepoint from the Brown Bear car wash, 1821 W. Sunset Ave., about 8 p.m., then drunkenly driving through downtown Spokane before colliding with a taxi cab.

Phyla J. Beell flagged down police and said the man told her “Steve” sent him before he threatened her with the knife, according to court documents. Beell told police she climbed out the driver's window of her 1993 Camaro because the driver's door doesn't open.

Beell contacted a friend inside the Sunset Junction, and the two chased the stolen Camaro down West Third Avenue before losing site of it on South Howard Street.

Police say the Camaro crossed lanes, went the wrong way and slowed down to about 5 mph to drive through a parking lot before running a red light at Third and South Browne Street and being struck by the taxi.

Vermillion was booked into jail on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and attempting to elude police.
  

Prints, Facebook aid in shooting probe

A Montana man charged in connection with a February shooting outside a Spokane Valley tavern thanks in part to evidence on Facebook is back in Spokane. 

Jarrod E. Veilleux, 29, is accused of shooting a man in the stomach as he smoked in an outside area on the east end of the Oasis Tavern, 14913 E. Trent Ave., about 9 p.m. Feb. 24. 

The victim told police he'd been beaten up at the same bar two years ago but had no idea if it was related, according to court documents. He said he was going through a contentious divorce but he had no idea why anyone would want to shoot him.

Detectives identified fingerprints on a pint glass and on a glass whiskey tumbler as belonging to Veilleux and Terrance D. Riley, 33.

The men were on probation in Montana and prohibited from leaving the state. They were jailed in Montana.

Veilleux appeared in Spokane County Superior Court today on charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault. Riley is charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Veilleux has the word 'Pile' tattooed across the knuckles of one his hands, which matches witness descriptions of the shooter. A sheriff's detective also reviewed the men's Facebook profiles and noted Veilleux with a blue Ford Explorer that matched the vehicle described as fleeing the shooting scene.

The multiple-time felon was convicted of burglary and theft charges in Gallatin County, Mont., in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended.

Riley remains in prison in Deer Lodge, Mont.

Straub tapped for Spokane police chief

The embattled top law enforcement official in Indianapolis will be among those considered for Spokane’s next chief of police.

Mayor David Condon confirmed to The Spokesman-Review that he asked Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub to apply for the opening here, and Straub has told Indianapolis media outlets that he’s taken Condon up on the offer.

Read the rest of my story here.

Straub is pictured in April courtesy of the The Indianapolis Star.

Man arrested for November robbery

A suspect has been arrested for a knife-point robbery at a northwest Spokane convenience store last November.

Christopher Jeremy Jay Eby, 35, is jailed on a first-degree robbery charge for a Nov. 13 hold-up at Zip Trip, 2020 W. Francis Ave, that netted $58.

Police identified him as a suspect through witness reports of a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am in the area. Police say Eby and his wife drove the car to the area earlier that day from a home in Nine Mile Falls.

The couple were living at a home in the 6200 block of North Maple Street.

Spokane police Detective Jeff Barrington said in court documents completed June 14 that Eby matches surveillance video of the robber. Deputy Prosectuor Mark Cipolla charged Eby with first-degree robbery on June 19, and he was arrested Thursday night.

Eby's last felony conviction in Spokane County was for possession of heroin in 2009. He also has convictions from the early 1990s for third-degree assault, first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree burglary and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

The same Zip Trip was robbed at gunpoint May 31. A man who robbed the store at gunpoint in January was sentenced in April to 6 1/2 years in prison.

TSA settles lawsuit from prosecutor

The Transportation Security Administration has paid Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen $225,000 for medical bills resulting from a fall in 2008 during an airport screening.

Rasmussen, who walked with a cane following childhood polio, filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in 2010 following an incident on April 4, 2008, at the Spokane International Airport. As he was being screened, Rasmussen alleged that he was told to sit but didn’t know a chair had been pulled away. As a result he fell, causing back and hip injuries.

Rasmussen said government attorneys disputed the hip injuries but agreed the fall caused back injuries, which in turn required surgery. Since the fall, Rasmussen often now relies on wheelchair for mobility, he said.

The case went to mediation and an agreement was reached in May, but order for negotiated dismissal wasn’t entered until this week.
  

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