A Spokane man found with a collection of modified weapons and an extensive journal detailing plots to overthrow the federal government pleaded not guilty to federal stalking charges last week.
Brent Russ, 33, was arrested last month after authorities say he sent a threatening letter and package to a former neighbor, who is also a tribal police officer. The woman reported suspicious activity, including comments made by Russ detailing her daily schedule that led her to believe she was being watched.
When federal agents arrived at Russ' southwest Spokane home to question him, they found reinforced steel plating on the doors and windows, tin foil lining interior walls and a lengthy journal dating back to February in which Russ identifies himself as Azrael, the Archangel of Death. Agents also found weapons featuring after-market modifications including a long-range scope, a fluted barrel to increase firing speed and a flash suppressor with chiseled points on the end, designed “to break glass and cause puncture wounds or lacerations to a target,” according to briefs filed by the FBI.
In the journal, Russ apparently indicated his willingness to die in battle against the forces of evil.
“I will exact vengeance on the wicked, and will free humanity from these demons,” Russ allegedly wrote. He also questioned the authenticity of evidence gathered against Adam Lanza, the shooter who killed 26 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut elementary school in December.
At a lengthy bail hearing later in September, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rodgers ordered Russ held by federal marshals in advance of courtroom proceedings. A grand jury formally charged Russ with one count of stalking on Tuesday, and Russ pleaded not guilty to the charge Wednesday. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for December.
The alleged theft of a $2 bottle of ibuprofen could lead to weeks of legal headaches for a Spokane man.
Michael Ewing was arrested Saturday after an undercover officer at an East Central grocery store said he saw the 52-year-old sneak a bottle of off-brand painkillers into his pants pocket. The officer approached Ewing when he went to pay for other purchases, and several witnesses said when the officer informed Ewing he would be placed under arrest, he began swinging his fists wildly, striking the officer in the eye. Store employees and the officer eventually subdued Ewing by placing him in handcuffs, according to court documents.
Prosecutors initially sought a charge of first-degree robbery for Ewing, who has two prior felony convictions back in the late 1970s. But at a first appearance in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday, Judge James Triplet ruled prosecutors had only proven probable cause for lesser charges of assault and theft.
Ewing was released from custody without bail. He is due in court to address the charges later this month.
A high-speed chase ended in a collision at Perry and Baldwin Streets. The suspect is in custody.
Police report the suspect was wanted in connection to an incident involving a gun yesterday. The suspect fled from police when they began chasing him, striking one car. Police executed a PIT maneuver, stopping him at the corner of Perry and Baldwin.
They were unable to provide more information about the suspect or his identity at the scene of the crash.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Spokane petitioned the U.S. District Court last week to provide more time to investigate the events that led to a National Park ranger shooting a Kettle Falls man on a houseboat last month.
Michael Sublie, the owner of a houseboat currently moored on private property along the Kettle River branch of the Columbia, faces federal charges after Park Service rangers approached him for excessive noise at a remote beach Sept. 14. According to investigators, Sublie was verbally and physically defiant when rangers attempted to board the vessel and turn down the music.
Several demonstrators who turned out for a rally in support of Sublie and Casey Hartinger, the man shot by park rangers, said the incident followed an annual gathering attended by area law enforcement and hospital staff at the beach, and the shooting is just another in a list of grievances they share against the Park Service's law enforcement efforts.
In documents filed Sept. 26, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Tyler Tornabene said his office needed more time to collect investigative reports from various agencies involved in the case. The Washington State Patrol and Investigative Branch of the Park Service are looking into the circumstances leading to the shooting and examining whether there was any professional misconduct on the part of the rangers.
An initial order required the Attorney's Office to provide all discovery to defense counsel within 14 business days of the arrest. Tornabene wrote that timetable would be insufficient to complete the investigation.
“The United States is mindful of its discovery obligations and intends to fully and timely comply with those obligations,” Tornabene wrote.
Sublie is due in court for a pretrial status hearing later this month. Hartinger has not yet been charged in connection with the incident.
A Spokane jury will likely decide this week whether a 56-year-old man with a criminal history of indecent acts with minors will spend the rest of his life in prison.
The trial of Richard Payne, accused of inappropriately touching and exposing himself to a five-year-old girl at a NorthTown Mall arcade in June 2012, began today with jury selection in Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor's courtroom. The proceedings, expected to last a week or less, have been delayed multiple times by defense motions seeking to suppress comments Payne made to investigators and keep some details of his criminal history from jurors.
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The 19-year-old Spokane man suspected in a June fatal shooting has been implicated in a series of computer armed robberies originating on Craigslist and dating back to March.
Issiah Schauman appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Friday facing two counts of first-degree robbery for his involvement in separate incidents at area parks where thieves posing as prospective buyers of Apple products brandished guns and made off with the loot. The appearance came several weeks after Schauman appeared on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Fabian McBride, 27, on June 12.
According to court records, Schauman was involved in an armed robbery taking place less than 24 hours before police say he shot and killed McBride then sped off, eventually turning himself over to authorities in Pierce County two weeks later. Schauman initiated the June 11 robbery in Liberty Park because he didn’t have money, according to an unnamed police informant. He pulled a .45 semiautomatic pistol on the female victim while another suspect, Michael Garner, snatched the woman’s Macbook laptop and ran.
Schauman was also involved in a March robbery at the same park, according to court records. He was not present for a May robbery that took place at Franklin Park, which involved Garner and Curtis Cyrus, also arrested for his role in the three burglaries.
According to Jenny Ludwig, an apartment manager where McBride lived, the spat that ended in the June shooting began when McBride accused Schauman of burglarizing a home McBride was watching for a friend.
The state requested $100,000 bond for the two robbery counts Schauman faces. He remains in Spokane County Jail awaiting an expected murder trial date of Oct. 7.
A Wenatchee lawyer was nominated Thursday to become Eastern Washington’s newest federal judge, the White House announced Thursday.
Stanley A. Bastian, managing partner of Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward law firm, will replace U.S. District Judge Edward Shea, who has been placed into the federal judiciary’s senior status. He's been a finalist for two previous positions on the federal bench.
Bastian was among eight judical nominations President Barack Obama made Thursday. All are subject to Senate confirmation.
A 1983 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, Bastian has served as an assistant city attorney in Seattle and as a law clerk in the state Appeals Court. He joined the Wenatchee law firm in 1988 and specializes in civil employment cases.
Among his most notable cases was the civil litigation surrounding the widely discredited Wenatchee sex ring investgations of the mid 1990s. Bastian was hired to defend prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators who had been sued for their roles in the controversial investigations.
A Spokane teenager has been missing for ten days.
Carolyn JoAnn Toner, 17, was last seen on Sept. 3, according to a Washington State Patrol report. She is a white female, about 5-feet-9-inches and 125 pounds. She has blue eyes, red hair and wears glasses.
She also goes by the nickname Poptart.
Anyone with information about Toner's location is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233, the WSP Missing Persons Unit at 1-800-543-5678 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).
Clad in a white Spokane County Jail jumpsuit and sporting a long, black beard, the Spokane man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to a federal judge and President Barack Obama appeared in court Wednesday to set a tentative timeline for his legal proceedings.
Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, was mostly silent during an appearance in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington on Wednesday morning, conferring in whispers with his attorneys and sipping water from a styrofoam cup. Buquet has been in federal custody since he was arrested shortly after mailing letters containing the biological toxin derived from castor seeds in mid-May. His case was recently transferred to District Judge Ancer Haggerty of Portland, Ore., because Buquet allegedly mailed one of the poisioned letters to Eastern Washington District Judge Fred Van Sickle.
According to a federal indictment filed earlier this summer, each of the letters Buquet sent read, “We have a bomb placed, we are going to Kill you! Hezbollah.”
Though the FBI has said field tests have produced positive results for the presence of ricin in the letters, Eastern Washington Assistant U.S. District Attorney Stephanie Van Marter said Wednesday the government expected to have final, peer-reviewed test results by the beginning of October. Judge Haggerty set motion hearings for January and February ahead of Buquet's expected trial date, to begin in May of next year.
The FBI discovered a total of five ricin letters mailed from Spokane in May, including missives directed to Fairchild Air Force Base, the CIA and a post office. Buquet's legal team declined comment on the pending investigation Wednesday. No one was injured as a result of the poisoned letters.
Buquet has pleaded not guilty to the three counts against him: one charge of developing, producing or possessing a known biological toxin and two counts of mailing a threatening communication. The first count carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Mailing threatening communications carries a maximum penalty of five years under federal law.
Remember: Just because your little one is back in the classroom, it doesn't mean they all are. Here's a gem from yesterday's Pullman police log.
13-P07307 Juvenile Problem 12:02:24 09/04/13 Aaron Breshears ACT
Reaney Park, PULLMAN, WA 99163
RP reporting a child at the park that should be at school. Officer responded. Child is homeschooled.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is hosting an eight-week citizen's academy designed to provide an overview of what law enforcement officers do and some of the issues they face.
The program is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 with sessions each Monday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and sheriff's organizers are actively trying to get the word out.
Those interested in attending should contact Deputy Travis Pendell at (509) 477-6044 or by email at TPendell@spokanesheriff.org.
Investigators discovered fingerprints linking two teenagers to an 88-year-old World War II veteran murdered two weeks ago.
Police say Demetruis Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, beat Delbert “Shorty” Belton to death Aug. 22 while he sat in his car, according to an affidavit. Investigators found Glenn’s prints on the exterior read driver’s side door and the interior of the rear driver’s side passenger door. Adams-Kinard’s prints were on the exterior driver’s door and the interior of the rear driver’s side passenger door.
Belton’s body was found wedged between the front bucket seats, with his lower body from the neck down folded into the back seat area, according to the affidavit.
Friends said Belton was in his car near the Eagles Lodge, waiting to meet a friend for a game of pool. Adams-Kinard claimed in a letter that the teens were planning to meet him there to purchase crack cocaine, but Belton “tried ripping them off.”
Glenn and Adams-Kinard will appear for an arraignment on Sept. 12 at 3:30 p.m. Both face charges of first-degree murder and two charges of first-degree robbery.
Spokane Police detectives need the public's help identifying a man who ran from a security guard last month, abandoning a backpack full of drugs as he fled.
The suspect was seen in the downtown area on Aug. 1 at 2:30 p.m., according to a news release. Police did not indicate the exact amount or how many drugs were in the man's backpack.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Drug Tip Line at 509-625-8210.
Halloween came early for a Kellogg man accused of impersonating a police officer, but the trick ended with no treat.
John A. Mendy was arrested by the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, according to a news release. For about two weeks, Mendy would dress in a green law enforcement uniform, telling citizens he was an Idaho Fish and Game officer. Mendy also wore a gun that shot plastic BBs.
During that time, Mendy issued several suspicious-looking citations, but those who received them weren’t fooled, according to the release. The sheriff’s office received several reports of the questionable officer and investigated, along with Idaho Fish and Game, for about two weeks.
On Friday, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Mendy’s residence, finding the fake uniform and law enforcement duty gear, according to the release. He faces charges of unlawfully exercising the functions of a peace officer.
Spokane developer Greg Jeffreys, who is jailed on federal charges alleging that he defrauded investors of millions of dollars, has asked a judge for a change of venue for his trial, arguing that local media “has saturated the Spokane area with prejudicial and inflammatory remarks.”
Citing primarily Spokesman-Review coverage, Jeffreys argued that half of the county’s potential jury pool had been tainted with information unrelated to the trial. The motion also cited the case against former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, in which Thompson’s trial was moved to Yakima in 2011 after five years of “intense media coverage.” Thompson was found guilty of excessive use of force for his role in the death of Otto Zehm in 2006.
In a response to Jeffreys’ request, the government, through U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby, said claims of a prejudiced jury pool were “wholly overstated” and asked the judge to reject the request.
U.S. District Judge Rosanna Peterson will hear the request on Sept. 10 at 10 a.m.
The judge will also hear a motion from Jeffreys to suppress evidence, including oral statements from Jeffreys, because they were a “direct result of an illegal search and seizure” of Jeffreys’ 10,000-square-foot home by 24 law enforcement agents on July 19, 2012, as well of Jeffreys’ person when he was arrested at the airport on Jan. 30.
Jeffreys is known for his central role in a development plan of the Ridpath Hotel. He faces 73 felony charges ranging from bank fraud to theft, though none relate to the shuttered downtown high-rise.
After violating previous orders by a judge and threatening a business associate and FBI special agent, Judge Peterson ruled that Jeffreys must remain in jail until his January trial.
Suspected teen-age killer Kenan Adams-Kinard appears to be getting a digital makeover.
The boy's FaceBook page, which earlier this week featured divisive messages of support from friends and relatives, has been spruced up and apparently locked down.
The new cover photo shows Adams-Kinard with his basketball team and his new profile photo shows him in glasses and wearing a breast-cancer awareness cap. There's also baby photos and he's listed as currently living in “South Seattle,” though his hometown is still listed as Spokane.
Gone from public view are things like the linked rap video that features explicit lyrics critical of police and the criminal justice system, multiple postings referring to partying and drug use and messages from supporters urging him to stay strong and fight the charges.
Adams-Kinard and another 16-year-old boy, Demetruis Glenn, are accused of killing 88-year-old World War II veteran Delbert “Shorty” Belton during a robbery last week outside the Eagle's Ice Arena in north Spokane. They are charged as adults with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. Adams-Kinard claims Belton was a drug dealer who had shorted him in a crack cocaine deal, which the retiree's friends and family members say is preposterous.
It's unclear who is making the changes to Adams-Kinard's FaceBook page, since he's being held at the Spokane County Jail in lieu of $3 million bond since being found by police Monday hiding in a friend's apartment. Glenn, who went by the nickname “D Money” and turned himself in to police last week, is being held in lieu of $2 million bond.
Playboy models Shane and Sia Barbi, more popularly known as the Barbi Twins, have joined the call for justice in the beating death of WWII vet Delbert “Shorty” Belton last week in Spokane.
And they quickly called BS on claims by one of the accused teen-age killers that Belton was a geriatric crack cocaine dealer: “I'm blonde but not that stupid! .. ,” one of the identical twins declared yesterday via their shared Twitter handle, @Barbi_Twins.
Last week, the sisters were among the first celebrities to begin using social media to call attention to the brutal North Spokane robbery-turned-homicide.
“Let's all give final salute to #DelbertBelton-WWII veteran hero-killed by teens! Prayers to your family … ” the models tweeted as news of the tragedy began sweeping the nation.
Other celebrities taking up the cause include actor James Woods and country singer Charlie Daniels.
Woods (@RealJamesWoods) called his push to bring national attention to the Belton case, “Best thing I've done all week” and declared coverage of his efforts as “better than any movie review.”
On yesterday's claims by accused killer Kenan Adams-Kinard that Belton had been selling crack cocaine, Woods dismissively tweeted: “Riiiiight.”
The three Spokane men implicated in a drug-selling operation based out of a repair shop near Grant Elementary School remain mired in legal proceedings, as the building — sold in May — falls into disrepair.
Gerry Elerding, 41, was in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday after failing to meet with his attorney as scheduled ahead of a court date later this month. Elerding faces a charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance after undercover informants reportedly bought hydrocodone pills from him in March at Lonnie's Auto Repair, 826 S. Perry Ave. Elerding initially pleaded guilty to the charge, earning a year in prison, but he asked for that pleading to be thrown out in July. The state asked Elerding be held without bail Wednesday.
The previous owner of the property, Lonnie Sandros, 59, was arrested in a police bust that occurred May 15. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes and is set to appear at trial in September. Sandros sold the garage, which was closed for code violations early in May, to R & G South Perry, LLC, shortly after his arrest, according to tax documents filed with the Spokane County Assessor's Office.
Police arrested Joseph Johnson, 52, in the raid and found a white pill on him later identified as hydrocodone, according to court documents. Detectives say Johnson sold crystal meth to an undercover informant at the body shop in March. Johnson pleaded not guilty to possession of the hydrocodone and delivery of the methamphetamine. His trial is set for October.
Elerding, Sandros and Johnson have lengthy criminal histories, according to court records. Elerding was accused of attacking a police K9 unit in August 2011.
The Lonnie's sign still hangs above the building at 826 S. Perry, though it is unoccupied and the walls show signs of wear.
Last night was a big one for Tim Burns, the Spokane Police ombudsman.
He was reappointed for another one-year term, setting him off on his fifth year as the civilian watchdog for Spokane police. Burns was appointed for a three-year term in 2009 by then-Mayor Mary Verner. His one year extension last night came from Mayor David Condon and a unanimous vote by the City Council.
Burns also unveiled his 2013 mid-year report, which contained some surprising numbers.
First, of the 142 complaints against the department in the first six months of the year, 75 were classified as formal. Of those 75, 15 came from within the department. This is a huge jump when compared to the same time period last year, when just three complaints were internally generated, of 46 total complaints.
Burns told the City Council the increase was notable, but he was unable to say what might be driving the change.
Burns also noted a decrease in taser use by police, which happened 14 times in 11 incidents this year. In the first six months of 2012, a taser was used 25 times in 21 incidents.
Finally, Burns said he was concerned by the increase in SWAT activations. In the first half of 2012, SWAT was called out 21 times. This year, it happened 29 times.
Check out the whole report on the ombudsman's website, or read it here.
Vandals appear to have taken aim at developer Dave Black, who is developing a 15-acre site at South Regal Street and Palouse Highway for a new Target store. Black woke up Friday morning to find the familiar logo spray-painted on the sign for his housing subdivision. The project has drawn opposition from the Southgate Neighborhood. We asked for your responses, and you came out in full force to share your thoughts. Check out some of the responses in this Storify.