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Sirens & Gavels

Split justices uphold murder convictions

In a split decision, the Washington Supreme Court has upheld the murder convictions against two Spokane men who were convicted in connection with the kidnapping, torture and execution-style killing of another man in 2005 over $800 worth of methamphetamine.

The court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the aggravated first-degree murder conviction of Theodore M. Kosewicz, 44, and felony murder conviction of Robert A. Brown, 47, who were both convicted of killing 25-year-old Sebastian Esquibel.

His badly decomposed remains were discovered on Jan. 16, 2006, under a wood pile. He was bound by jumper cables and shot in the head. Testimony indicated that he had been kidnapped and tortured for two days before he was killed.

While upholding the Kosewicz conviction, four justices dissented on the murder conviction against Brown after the Division III Court of Appeals earlier had dismissed the first-degree kidnapping convictions against both men.

Since Brown did not take part in the killing, four justices questioned the legal basis for his conviction and instead would have sent the case back to Spokane County for a new trial.

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Thomas Clouse
Thomas Clouse joined The Spokesman-Review in 1999. He currently is an investigative reporter for the City Desk and covers federal, state and local courts.

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