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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: beatings

Man gets 6 months in horrific dog cruelty

A Post Falls man who beat his dog with a hammer as his neighbor watched in horror has been sentenced to six months in jail.

 Calvin Franklin Palmer, 53, who served 33 years in prison in Arizona for murder, apologized at his sentencing Friday and said the death of his Akita-pit bull even “traumatized him,” according to court records.

“I was the only one who treated her nicely,” Palmer said.

He told police he killed the dog after she attacked a cat and he feared she would attack him.

“I'm sorry that someone saw me do that,” he said in court Friday, according to a transcript. Palmer was booked into the Kootenai County Jail that day to begin his sentence.

Palmer's neighbors in the 300 block of North Columbia Street in Post Falls called police Dec. 10 and reported the horrific attack.

Tammi Nichols, 40, said her 18-year-old daughter, Carmen Murphy, told her she'd seen Palmer beating the dog with the hammer.

Nichols said she told Palmer “You just traumatized my child,” but Palmer “looked at her with a blank look on his face, then swung the hammer at the dog four more times, striking it in the head,” according to court documents.

Post Falls police arrived to find the dog dead in a trash can, badly beaten with its throat slit.

Palmer initially lied to police and said he didn't own a dog, according to court documents. When they asked him about dog food at the home, he said he fed it to his cats because he can't afford cat food.

Palmer has been out of prison for about three years after being convicted of robbery and murder in Arizona, according to court records. He works at the Sweetgrass Cafe in Worley, Idaho, according to testimony at his sentencing.

His public defender, Megan Marshall, called for him to serve no jail time for the animal cruelty conviction, saying he'll lose his trailer if he can't work. She said his murder conviction “is following him for the rest of his life,” according to court records.

Judge Penny Friedlander instead sentenced him to 180 days in jail but allowed for work release. Friedlander said it was “stunning to the court how anyone could do an act like that to an animal.”

Teen arraigned in veteran’s murder

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage party pleaded not guilty today to second-degree murder.

In a hearing before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese, Treven Lewis was given a pre-trial conference date of May 11 and a trial date of May 21, although the case is expected to take many more months to resolve.

Lewis was ordered to remain in jail on $500,000 bond. He's been in custody since March 12, two days after he's accused of punching Frank J. Motta as Motta tried to clear out an underage drinking party at his out-of-town neighbor's request.

Motta, a patients advocate at the Spokane veterans hospital, died later that week.

Read more about Lewis' background here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

Lewis due in court today for murder

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage drinking party is to appear in court this afternoon on a murder charge. 

Treven Lewis is scheduled to appear before Judge Annette Plese today at 1:30 p.m.

Lewis will formally hear the new charge against him, will be assigned a court date and will have an opportunity to ask for his bail to be reduced.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed the charge on Monday after an autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office concluded Frank J. Motta, 65, (pictured) died of contusions to the brain because of blunt head injuries. His manner of death was ruled homicide.

Lewis had been jailed on a first-degree assault charge since March 13. Lewis is accused of beating Motta and Motta tried to clear out a party thrown March 10 by a neighbor’s son in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Drive in north Spokane County.

Court records show his criminal activities began at a young age. Read much more here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

Man beaten while breaking up party dies

The Spokane veteran’s hospital community is grieving for a beloved employee who died after being assaulted while trying to break up an underage party.

 Frank James Motta, a retired high school principal, teacher and football coach, began volunteering at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2009 and was hired as a patient’s advocate four months ago. His wife, Virginia, and daughter, Jami, also volunteer there.

Motta was attacked by a partygoer while trying to break up a large gathering at his neighbor’s house. The neighor was out of town and had asked Motta to clear out the party, thrown by her teenage son. Motta died Thursday night at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, friends confirmed.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

March 14: Man badly beaten while trying to break up party

Man near death after breaking up party

A man severely beaten at an underage drinking party last weekend was a 65-year-old neighbor who was trying to break up the gathering as sheriff’s deputies stood outside.

Doctors do not expect Frank James Motta to survive the attack.

Witnesses said Treven Lewis, 18, attacked Motta about 10 p.m. Saturday after Motta nudged Lewis’s girlfriend while telling her and other young people to leave the house, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Lewis is accused of pushing Motta to the ground, then punching him in the head once after he stood up.

Read the rest of my story here.

Teen arrested after assault at party

An assault that left a man in critical condition at a large party in north Spokane County led to the arrest of an 18-year-old suspect today.

Treven Lewis is accused of beating a man at a home in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Road Saturday night. Deputies arrived to find the victim badly beaten and more than 100 people still at the property.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and is listed in critical condition, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team located Lewis today. He was interviewed by major crimes detectives and booked into jail on an assault charge. The investigation is ongoing.

Transient faces 10-12 years for slaying

A Spokane transient faces 10 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaguther for the beating death of a man last April. 

Roland E. Benton II pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Douglas J. Klages, 46.

Klages' badly beaten body was discovered by hikers April 30 in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park at Dishman Hills.

 Detectives retracing Klages' final hours found surveillance video of Klages leaving a Spokane Valley Rosauers store with Benton the day his body was discovered. Benton was arrested May 5.

Benton, who appeared in Spokane County Superior Court before Judge Sam Cozza, initially was charged with first-degree murder. The lesser charge to which he pleaded guilty carries a sentencing range of 102 to 126 months.

The deadly weapon adds two years to the sentencing range, and Benton will not be eligible for an early release based on good behavior. His sentencing is set for April 25. “The victim's family members were present and were satisfied,” Deputy Prosecutor Jim Kaufman said. Klages is pictured with his two daughters. Past coverage: May 5: Homicide victim hoped for fresh start

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