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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for May 2013

Dry ice bomb in Walmart parking lot lands man in court

Curiosity led to criminal charges for 27-year-old Damian Eiffert on Thursday.

Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to the Walmart at 1221 S. Hayford Road in Airway Heights. An officer arrived just as Eiffert bolted in a black Ford Mustang, according to a police report. He left behind a water bottle in the parking lot filled with dry ice and lemonade.

The cocktail exploded, but no injuries were reported. While the cap of the bottle shot into the air and wasn't recovered, the aluminum bottle did not shatter.

Eiffert was later discovered at Northern Quest Casino, about a mile north of the Walmart. An officer found an open bag of dry ice on the floor of the 2000 Mustang Eiffert was driving.

When questioned, Eiffert said he made the dry ice bomb because he “wanted to see what would happen,” according to the report. He provided no explanation for why he left before the device exploded.

Eiffert appeared in court Thursday, charged with malicious placement of an explosive in the second degree.

Also on Thursday, a 22-year-old park worker at Disneyland was arrested in connection with a dry ice bomb left in a trash can at the Anaheim, Calif., amusement park. That device caused an evacuation of Mickey's Toontown briefly Tuesday afternoon, but no one was injured.

Shooter exercise at Valley Mall Saturday

Don't panic if you see a lot of flashing lights at Spokane Valley Mall late Saturday and early Sunday — multiple law enforcement and fire agencies are staging an “active shooter exercise” there.

Spokane County Sheriffs, Spokane Police, Spokane Valley Police, Spokane Valley Fire, local hospitals, the local ambulance service provider, the FBI and the Washington State Patrol all will be involved, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

The full-scale exercise will help those agencies evaluate their response plans. Staging will begin at 11 p.m.; the exercise will begin at 2 a.m.

It's not open for public viewing, the sheriff's office notes.

Buquet waives release argument

A man charged with sending a ricin-laced letter to a federal judge waived arguments today about why he should be released from jail pending charges.

Matthew R. Buquet, 38, wore shaded glasses and sported a long beard during his 2 p.m. appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno.

His attorneys, Andrea George and Amy Rubin, of the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, indicated that they could argue for Buquet’s release at a later time.

“It’s too early,” George said after the hearing. Prosecutors will meet the attorneys in the next few days “which will be our first opportunity to know anything.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed, who was standing in for Stephanie Van Marter, confirmed that the search warrants, which were executed earlier this month at 1818 W. First Ave., remain sealed.

Buquet, who was born in Bogota, Colombia, but was adopted and raised by parents in Michigan, is a registered sex offender from a 1998 conviction for indecent liberties, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

In the current case, Buquet is charged with one count of mailing threatening communication to U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle.

The alleged threat was made in one of the two letters seized by U.S. Postal Service authorities during routine screening at a mail facility in Spokane on May 14.

Bird’s eye view of missing man formation

Air One, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter unit, shot this video Saturday of biplanes flying in the missing man formation as they passed over the Torchlight parade in downtown Spokane in honor of the three Fairchild airmen killed in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. Here's the video:

Starbuck children take the stand

Twelve-year-old Marshal Starbuck was called to testify about the death of his mom and what he remembers about the actions of Clay Starbuck on the day Marshal’s life got turned upside down.

Day two of the first-degree murder trial of Clay D. Starbuck also featured photos from the crime scene. The jury for the first time saw how the killer placed 42-year-old Chanin D. Starbuck in a sexually suggestive position.

Based on a brief 911 call on Dec. 1, 2011, investigators believe someone killed the Chanin Starbuck on that day.

Clay Starbuck, who called Crime Check to check on his ex-wife on Dec. 2, told investigators that he texted his ex-wife to take their youngest three children to school after his balky 1988 Toyota Tercel broke down on Dec. 1.

Steinmetz asked 12-year-old Marshal about that day, and he relayed the same story as his father.

He said Chanin Starbuck took them to school that day “because our dad was driving around the golf course to warm it up because it has some problems,” Marshal said. “It always broke down. Honestly, it was a really bad car.”



Reward offered for tips on vacant home burglary

Burglars stole or damaged all the appliances in a home that’s vacant and for sale near the 4000 block of West Richland Road.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the home’s property manager discovered the theft of the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and washer and dryer. The stove and oven had been moved but not stolen, and there was severe water damage to the kitchen floor, according to a news release. The Sheriff’s Office said it’s common for burglars to steal appliances and sell them for scrap.
The burglary was reported on May 6.
Crime Stoppers, a civilian organization that’s not affiliated with law enforcement, is offering a cash reward for information leading to an arrest. Call 1-800-222-TIPS or visit Tipsters don’t have to give their names to collect the reward.

Tattoo-covered shooting suspect calls in sick for court

A man suspected of pulling the trigger in a fatal shooting at a north Spokane home last week will appear in court Friday afternoon.

The tattoo-covered accused killer, Joshua T. Tillery, 33, was expected in Spokane County Superior Court, but a court clerk said he didn't show up because he was sick.

Spokane Police Department detectives learned Tillery was hiding at 2012 N. Ruby Street on Wednesday and organized surveillance with U.S. Marshals agents at the address, prior news reports said. 

A quick swoop of authorities took Tillery into custody within five minutes, police said.

He's accused of shooting Devon Mack, 33, in the head following a heated argument with a struggle at 4508 N. Lincoln last week. 

Spokane man wins new trial

The Washington State Supreme Court today overturned the second-degree rape conviction of a Spokane man, saying the trial judge violated the man’s right to a fair trial by including a jury instruction that the defense didn’t want.

In the 6-3 decision, the state’s high court ordered a new trial for Brandon S. Coristine, who was 22 when he was convicted in January 2010 of second-degree rape following an incident in 2009.

Spokane County prosecutors charged Coristine under the argument that the victim was too intoxicated to give consent for sex, which the defense argued was consensual.

At the end of the trial, Superior Court Judge Michael Price agreed with the prosecutor to give an instruction to the jury stating that the defendant reasonably believed that the woman gave consent. The instruction further stated that it was the burden on Coristine to prove that the woman gave consent for sex by a preponderance of the evidence.

But in the 6-3 decision, the majority of justices ruled that offering the jury instruction violated Coristine’s right to a fair trial. They reversed a decision by the Division III Court of Appeals and sent the case back to Spokane County Superior Court for a new trial.

The oldest trick in the book

We heard this gem on the scanner. Apparently this isn't the first rodeo for a dispatcher looking up a suspect's information for an officer. 

5-3-2013 @ 9:01 PM

Dispatcher: Not only did he give a bad phone number, but he gave a bad birth date.

Officer: I'm shocked.

Man steals Seattle Police patrol car

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a man who appeared very intoxicated took off for a short time Thursday afternoon in a Seattle police car.  

The incident began with a report the man had assaulted several people on a bus and then fled on foot through the Battery Street tunnel.  
Two officers found the man in the tunnel and attempted to stop him. He fought them off, jumped in a patrol car and took off.  
Police chased their own car about a mile until the driver crashed into a retaining wall the Queen Anne neighborhood where the 35-year-old Seattle man was finally taken into custody.   

Paintball gun triggers nine Spokane Valley school lock downs

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe a man working on his paintball gun triggered lock downs at nine Spokane Valley schools Thursday morning.

A woman told deputies she saw a man carrying a gun and shooting it into the ground near 28th Avenue and Blake Street around 10:45 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s Office news release, but authorties could not locate a suspect.

Several Central Valley School District schools were briefly locked down during the extensive search, the release said.

Later that day, a man called deputies to say he was in the area taking a CO2 cartridge off his paintball gun – an action that creates a loud popping noise. He realized the woman likely heard this sound.

No shots were fired, deputies determined.

Regarding clown cars

Here's one of the best things we've heard on the scanner in recent weeks: 

5/2/2013 @ 5:51 p.m. - “Not sure if clowns are involved, but all the subjects are leaving in a vehicle.”

Unfortunately, we lack further information to provide context to the quote. 

“John Doe” apprehended near Canadian border

Border Patrol agents found a man sleeping inside a stolen car near Sullivan Lake Tuesday after authorities were tipped to suspicious activity over the weekend.

A man told a Pend Oreille County Sheriff's deputy a stranger parked on his property near Ione on April 28 and said he ran out of gas. The man noticed some unusual behavior by the stranger and wrote down his vehicle's license plate number while his father bought him gas, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

The deputy later learned the 2001 Ford Expedition was reported stolen out of Hubbard, Oregon on April 7, the release said. The deputy notified U.S. Border Patrol and an agent spotted the vehicle on April 29 during a foot patrol near the Canadian Border. The stolen vehicle's driver saw the agent and fled the area, the release added.

Border Patrol agents found the stolen vehicle around 10 a.m. on Tuesday and found the man sleeping inside. He did not have identification on him and refused to tell authorities his identity. The Sheriff's Office described him as a white male in his late 20s.

He's being held at Pend Oreille County Jail on charges of possessing a stolen vehicle and stolen property.

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