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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for December 2013

Police arrest man for indecent exposure on Christmas Day

Police say Jack Frost was nipping at more than Spokane man Lance Emigh's nose Christmas Day.

A taxi driver headed westbound on Sprague Avenue spotted Emigh, 46, standing near the Spokane Amtrak Station, standing completely naked and waving his arms, according to a probable cause affidavit. The taxi driver told police he believed Emigh was “making sure everyone was seeing him as they went by.”

The taxi driver circled back to Emigh's location and stopped, according to the affidavit. Emigh continued his behavior for a while longer before putting his pants back on. The driver waited until police arrived.

Spokane police arrested Emigh on charges of indecent exposure. Emigh was previously convicted of indecent exposure on Oct. 9, 2012.

Liberty Lake man disputes money owed to tow truck driver

A Liberty Lake patent holder whose allegations of police brutality were thrown out by a federal jury last month is continuing his protracted legal fight, appealing a judge's order he pay $10,000 to the tow truck driver whose repossession sparked a February 2010 spat.

Franklin Duncan filed paperwork in U.S. District Court earlier this month launching the appeal of an order from Judge Thomas O. Rice that he owed Victor Grant restitution. Duncan argued at trial that Grant entered the gated community where he lived near Liberty Lake golf course unlawfully to repossess his son's sports car. During their scuffle, Grant said Duncan tried to strangle him, while Duncan said Grant crushed his hand in the tow truck's winch.

A jury ruled unanimously in November that Duncan was at fault in the episode but awarded no damages. Following the ruling, Grant asked Rice to reconsider his request for compensation based on the Washington state strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute, which also mandates a penalty of $10,000 in addition to legal fees. Duncan argued that Grant's account of his behavior, which included punching a pillar and grinding his hand into a tree, amounted to a false report that prejudiced officers against him. Rice disagreed and granted Grant's request, prompting Duncan's appeal.

The case now heads to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered in California.

 

 

Man who robbed woman at nail salon, threatened to shoot grandma sentenced

Kyle Henriksen, 23, will spend the next seven years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this month to first-degree robbery of a woman at gunpoint in a Spokane Valley nail salon last December.

Henriksen pleaded guilty to the robbery in September, but his original sentencing date was pushed back because of an October incident when the 23-year-old allegedly threatened to kill his grandmother. That incident does not appear to have affected Henriksen's plea deal. According to court records, Henriksen received an 87-month sentence, the lowest end of a sentencing range dictated by his criminal history.

Henriksen is currently being held at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, Wash., according to prison records.

The salon robbery took place Dec. 28, 2012, when Henriksen - clad in a black sweatshirt and wearing sunglasses - walked up to a woman he knew and demanded her purse, which contained $150 in cash. The woman tried to hit the gun out of Henriksen's hand, then he fled on foot before an arrest a few days later when a search during a traffic stop turned up drugs. Henriksen also pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from a 2009 incident in which he pistol-whipped a man trying to return a stolen purse to Henriksen's girlfriend, according to court records.

Nicholas Richardson, 24, told police he'd driven the getaway car for Henriksen after the salon robbery. He pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in March and served three months in prison, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Henriksen told police who responded to the alleged death threat made in October that his grandmother had misunderstood what he said. The grandma told police she tried to keep Henriksen from pawning her big-screen television, prompting the spat.

Man who denies selling cocaine found with cocaine

A 31-year-old man arrested at the Spokane Valley Mall with cash and cocaine in his pockets faces more jail time after twice denying to officers he possessed drugs.

Johnnie Counts is being held in Spokane County Jail on drug sale and prisoner possession charges after his arrest around 2:30 p.m. Friday by a deputy assigned to the mall, according to court documents. Deputies placed Counts under arrest on an outstanding warrant and searched his pant pockets, revealing more than $700 in cash. Counts was asked if he was holding drugs and given a warning their discovery at the jail would bring “more trouble,” according to the deputy's sworn statement.

Counts told the deputy, “I used to use and sell cocaine; not anymore,” according to court documents.

Searched before booking, Counts was given another chance to inform officers of drugs. Again he declined, according to court documents. Jail officers then discovered a substance that tested as crack cocaine falling to the floor during a strip search. According to investigators, the drugs were packaged for sale. Because he was being detained by jail officers when the drugs were found, prosecutors are pursuing a prisoner-in-possession charge for Counts.

Counts is being held in lieu of $15,000 bond on the two felony charges, according to jail records.

 

Western Washington home tests positive for meth

A trio of college students on the West side are apartment hunting after health officials condemned their rental home, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

The whole story from The Associated Press, based on reporting from Seattle TV station KOMO News, follows:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A health official in Bellingham, Wash., says three college students who began to feel dizzy and lethargic after living for several months in a rental house have been told to find a new home after the house tested positive for methamphetamine. 
KOMO-TV reports (http://is.gd/5u36Oo ) that Whatcom County Health Department supervisor Jeff Hegedus says the Western Washington University students contacted the health department to ask that the home be tested. 
Hegedus said Friday that an initial health department test found meth contamination well above Whatcom County’s legal limit. A second test done by a decontamination contractor came back with an even higher meth reading. 
The health department official says the house was marked “unfit for occupancy” and the owners were told to hire a licensed decontamination contractor, which they did.

© Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

String of laundry machine robberies ends for Spokane Valley man

Authorities hope a recent arrest will convince a suspected frequent laundry room burglar to change his ways.

Jason Amyot, 32, is being held at the Geiger Corrections Facility near Spokane International Airport, facing 17 counts of second-degree burglary. Police say Amyot went on a “crime spree” in Spokane Valley from September through October, breaking into laundry facilities at apartment complexes and busting open the machines to steal the coins within.

The thefts ranged in value from $12 at a complex on South Whipple Road late in September to a relative heist at a commercial laundry facility on East Sprague Avenue on two days earlier in the month, in which Amyot is thought to have stolen more than $2,000. Surveillance footage from that scene led officers to suspect Amyot, who has a long criminal history during which he's established a pattern of stealing from laundry machines, according to investigators.

Amyot said he was responsible for all but one of the 18 incidents police have linked to him. On some occasions, Amyot broke locks to get into the private laundry facilities; in others, he pried open windows from the outside or used keys that were hidden nearby. In at least one of the incidents, Amyot stole from facilities where friends were living, according to court documents.

One attempt, at a complex on Argonne Road, proved unsuccessful because the landlord had removed the change the day before the break-in, according to investigators.

Amyot has been in police custody since mid-October. He is being held on multiple warrants.

‘Archangel of Death’ stalking suspect remains in custody

Though a clinical psychologist concluded he was not a danger to the community, a Spokane man facing a federal stalking charge who was arrested after a cache of weapons and a disturbing journal was found in his home will remain in jail until his scheduled January trial date, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Brent Russ, 33, has remained in the custody of U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. Federal agents searched Russ' southwest Spokane home and discovered several guns modified to inflict greater harm, as well as photos of weapons on the man's computer that have yet to be located, according to subsequent briefs from investigators.

The search was prompted by a complaint from a female tribal police officer and former neighbor of Russ'. According to a now-sealed affidavit, Russ allegedly made statements indicating he had the woman under surveillance and sent her a threatening package when she approached mental health experts about his erratic behavior.

Among the written materials discovered by investigators were claims Russ was slaying nocturnal demonic creatures by slicing their brains with a sword and the construction of a “kill room” like something you would see in the television show “Dexter,” which details the exploits of a forensics investigator who moonlights as a serial killer.

Defense attorneys have elected not to pursue an insanity plea in the case, however they have signaled intentions to prove Russ was not fully aware of the consequences of his alleged criminal acts through a diminished capacity argument. United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled the evaluation of Mark Mays, a psychologist who examined Russ, that the 33-year-old was not a danger to the community was not enough to release him from custody.

“… the Court still has reasonable concerns about the Defendant's competency,” Rice wrote.

A trial date in late January has been tentatively scheduled. Russ faces a maximum five-year prison term and a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted on the stalking charge.

Wiretaps scrutinized in multi-state drug case

A case involving 62 defendants and allegedly $20 million worth of California drugs sold on the West Coast continues its circuitous trek through the federal courts, with some suspects objecting to the government’s use of wiretapping in the investigation.

 

Federal authorities announced raids in February that ended in the apprehension of what investigators said were dozens of members of a sophisticated drug delivery ring, including at least nine people in Spokane. Among those arrested was Sally Guthrie, a restaurateur who owned three Flamin’ Joes locations in the county at the time she was booked.

Suspects in California and Western Washington were also arrested, all charged with peddling OxyContin, an oft-abused prescription painkiller. Illicit use is so prevalent the Food and Drug Administration announced in September new labeling guidelines for the drug and ordered studies by pharmaceutical companies into its long-term effects.

 

Investigators allege five people oversaw the operation, charging them with monitoring a continuing criminal enterprise. Prosecutors announced their intentions to prove Gilbert Leroy Madison, currently listed in custody of the Yakima County Jail, as “a leader and supervisor” of the plot, which allegedly ran from 2008 through January.

 

Defendants are so numerous they have been grouped into three parties by the court. Some have been housed in the Spokane County Jail, others in Benton and Yakima counties, while some remain out-of-custody throughout the West Coast. The case has kept court schedulers busy, with expected trial dates of May, then December, pushed to May 2014 and likely headed for further delays. Release of more than 100,000 pages of investigative discovery hit a snag when the government inadvertently released information that compromised one of its undercover informants, according to court documents.

 

Shindona Jones, a Los Angeles woman currently in custody of the Kittitas County Jail, has requested the government turn over the details of its wiretaps in the case. Investigators bugged the cellphones of the defendants, producing hours of recorded phone calls that prosecutors plan to admit as evidence. But Jones’ attorney says the government is remaining tight-lipped about the technology involved, potentially infringing on the woman’s Constitutional rights.

 

In retort, the government has said keeping such information confidential serves a public safety interest and should remain secret.

 

A federal judge ruled last month that the details of wiretapping technology used by investigators should be made available to defense attorneys. Officials briefed attorneys of their methods during a hearing held Tuesday in Spokane.

 

 The distributors in the case face potential fines of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison, while those allegedly in charge of the operation could be sentenced to life in prison.

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