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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: career criminals

Tax day can be a bummer for everyone

With tax day looming, career criminals should take note.

The IRS is advising that all earnings, including those obtained illegally, must be reported as income for tax purposes. Additionally, criminal enterprises are ineligible for the types of business deductions enjoyed by companies engaged in lawful activities.

Before simply dismissing this as a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense, keep in mind that uber gangster Al Capone was taken down not for extortion or murder but on tax evasion for failing to report his ill-gotten gains to the IRS.

Here's how the advisory appears on the IRS website:

Illegal activities.   Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.

Potential benefits for disclosing illegal income include the possibility of being able to deduct it from future tax returns if you're ever convicted later and ordered to pay restitution.

Remember, don't shoot the messenger.

51-time felon accused in car prowlings

A 51-time felon who was told by a judge 10 years ago that “the system's had enough of you” is back in jail for property crimes police suspect are related to his severe heroin addiction.

 Brian Lee Danner, 40, was stopped last week in the area of North Cedar Street and Northwest Boulevard while driving a green 1995 Jeep Cherokee belonging to another longtime felon, Johnie Leo Vick, Jr., 42.

Spokane police Officers Nick Geren and Brian Eckersley, along with Sgt. Joe Peterson, were looking for the Jeep after learning of vehicle prowlings in Spokane involving it and a 1984 Chevy Blazer also registered to Vick.

Vick was arrested the same day as Danner, June 26, when police located him working on the Blazer at Auto Zone, 2526 N. Division St. Danner had heroin on him when he was arrested, police say. Also arrested was Rabecca Hearn, 26, who police say received stolen purses from Danner.

Police believe Danner often smashes car windows to steal purses and other valuables. Danner told police he'd been prowling vehicles to support “a severe substance abuse problem,” according to court documents. Vick also told police he's a heroin addict who prowls cars to support his habit.

Vick, who has a neck tattoo that says “Ladies Love Outlaws,” could not be booked into jail because of medical reasons; police sent charging recommendations to prosecutors and expect him to be summonsed to court once charges are filed.

Danner remains in jail on $10,000 bail for charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.

Police searched Vick's vehicles on Monday and seized suspected stolen identifications and credit cards.

Danner's remarkable criminal history, which includes at least 41 adult felonies and 10 juvenile felonies, includes 25 convictions from 2002 for second-degree possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to two years in prison by Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark.

His co-defendant, Shelly M. Ose, received nine years in prison when Judge Greg Sypolt rejected a plea bargain. Their criminal records were similar. (Ose's sentence was reduced on appeal to about four years.)

At the time, Clark said she saw no reason to give Danner, who was returned to prison for the fourth time, an exceptional sentence. She did give him a warning, however: “I'm going to remember you, Mr. Danner. The system's had enough of you,'' she said.

Her warning apparently had little effect on Danner.

He went to prison again in 2006 for property crimes in Stevens County, then returned for his sixth stay in 2010 for - again - property crimes.

Clark isn't likely to see Danner this time around; she's assigned to juvenile court but does sometimes handle adult felonies.

Wanted: Woman w/ 254 police contacts

A 25-year-old Spokane woman who police say they've contacted 254 times is again wanted for violating her probation.

Desarae M. Dawson, a former Crime Stoppers fugitive, was sentenced in February to 17 days in Spokane County Jail after pleading guilty to riot and escape from community custody. She was released right after her sentencing because she'd already served the time.

Dawson apparently didn't stick with her probation requirements for very long. Spokane police Major Frank Scalise, who supervises the patrol division, said she has a Department of Corrections warrant for her arrest.

Dawson has 12 felony convictions and has been arrested 21 times. But police also track contacts, which could include police seeking the person out for interviews or traffic stops in which the person is a passenger, and say Dawson's 254 contacts adds to her status as a repeat offender. (Read about her role in a false report about a stolen car back in May 2011 here.)

Dawson is mentioned in Spokesman-Review writer Shawn Vestal's column on repeat offenders - or ropes, as the police call them.

“That’s their career,” Scalise told Vestal. “Just like you are a journalist and I am a police officer, they are thieves.”

Read Vestal's column here.

Anyone with information on Dawson's location should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Repeat offender sentenced to 4+ years

A repeat offender has been sentenced to about four years in prison for drug and property crimes.

Christopher Bruce Gooch, 35, was given an exceptionally high sentence of 50 months in prison. He's in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

A jury convicted Gooch of two counts of eluding police last month. He then pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle, eluding police, unlawful possession of a payment instrument and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced May 31.

Gooch was arrested in February after a police chase while driving a stolen vehicle.

Police issued a news release today about his prison sentence that included information on a serial burglar sentenced last month to 108 months in prison. Read more about Donald Myhren here.

“These arrests and convictions are part of an extensive effort by Spokane Police to investigate property crimes and arrest the ROPs responsible for the majority of these crimes,” wrote Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Myhren was actually arrested by Spokane police last summer, well before the department announced they would only be investigating about 5 percent of property crimes. He was out of jail awaiting trial - and committing more crimes - when the Spokane County Sheriff's Office connected him and his brother to a series of burglaries.

Spokane police helped with that arrest, DeRuwe said today, which occured one day after the City of Spokane and Spokane Police Department announced a renewed focus on property crimes.

Hitchhiker steps in front of wrong vehicle

A Spokane Valley hitchhiker looking for a ride downtown got what he wished for when he stepped in front of what turned out to be a patrol car belonging to a sheriff's deputy.

 David Carson Cooke, 51, was standing in the middle of East Sprague Avenue near Vista Road looking for a ride when Deputy Tyler Kullman was driving westbound on Sprague and encountered him about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Cooke told Kullman “he was looking for a ride downtown and did not realize he had stepped out in front of a police officer,” sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release.

Cooke is considered by law enforcement to be an armed career criminal. Kullman said Cooke allowed him to search his belongings and said he didn't have anything illegal on him, but Kullman found a white plastic baggie in his backpack that contained methamphetamine. Cooke said he had no idea where it came from.

Kullman provided Cooke a free ride “downtown” and booked into the Spokane County Jail on a felony drug charge.

13-time felon accused of gun burglary

A burglary suspect accused of stealing a truck and gun from a northwest Spokane home is a repeat offender with a 19-year history of property crimes, police say.

 Grant Douglas Brough, 35, was one of two men who ran from a traffic stop near East Sanson Avenue and North Mayfair Street late Tuesday, according to Spokane police. Police dog Leonidas tracked Brough to a garage in the 100 block of East Everett Avenue.

Read the rest of my story here.

Police ‘had no idea’ fugitive was in court

 Spokane police were surprised to learn that a fugitive captured by a police dog on Wednesday had been in court the day before.

“We had no idea he was in court,” Sgt. Tracie Meidl said of Mark W. Bush, 36.

Meidl says Bush, who has at least four felony and 23 misdemeanor convictions, had been eluding police for weeks and knew about his wanted status before he was arrested Wednesday on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant for failing to check in with his probation officer. He also was arrested on Nov. 21 but posted $2,500 bond. Another warrant was issued Dec. 30, according to the DOC.

On Tuesday, Bush attended an arraignment on an unrelated felony marijuana charge at 1:30 p.m. before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke.

Court officials apparently did not know of Bush's fugitive status - he was allowed to stay out of custody and ordered to be back in court Jan. 24 for an arraignment under the early-case resolution program, which allows suspects charged with low-level felonies to resolve their cases quickly.

Now he's back in jail on a no-bail DOC hold.

Fugitive was in court day before arrest

A man who Spokane police say has 167 criminal charges in 15 years appeared for a court hearing Tuesday and was allowed to stay out of jail despite a felony warrant for his arrest.

 Mark W. Bush, 36, was captured Wednesday night by a police dog after the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team received a tip that he was near the 400 block of North University Road.

Sgt. Tracie Meidl said in a news release that Bush knew about his wanted status and had been eluding them “for several weeks” before he was arrested on a Department of Corrections warrant for failing to check in with his probation officer. He was arrested on Nov. 21 but posted $2,500 bond. Another warrant was issued Dec. 30, according to the DOC.

On Tuesday, Bush attended an arraignment on an unrelated felony marijuana charge at 1:30 p.m. before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke, a clerk confirmed.

Court officials apparently did not know of Bush's fugitive status - he was allowed to stay out of custody and ordered to be back in court Jan. 24 for an arraignment.

Police say Bush has been booked on 17 charges in the last 11 months. He has three times been captured by a police dog - each time a different dog.

Bush has at least four felony convictions, including third-degree assault in 2008, and 23 misdemeanors, including three counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting arrest.

His most recent felony charge stems from a traffic stop in September initiated by an officer who knew Bush had a DOC arrest warrant. Bush's probation officer found jar with 61 grams of marijuana in the car, according to court documents.

Bush was out on $2,500 bond when he showed up for his arraignment on Tuesday. Now he's back in jail on a no-bail DOC warrant after his arrest Wednesday.

Man who died after fleeing hospital ID’d

A hallucinating man who died early Saturday after fleeing a Spokane hospital has been identified as Steven Edward Escallier, 42.

Escallier was taken by ambulance to a hospital after police found him “suffering from hallucinations” at East Wellesley Avenue and North Standard Avenue Friday about 9:30 p.m.

Hospital staff called 911 at 12:04 a.m. Saturday and said Escallier had fled the hospital and that security was following him.

When police arrived, Escallier “had stopped breathing,” according to a news release.

Officers administered CPR and Escallier was taken back to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy confirmed his identity Monday, but the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has not yet determined his cause of death.

Escallier is a longtime felon who has at least 40 criminal convictions dating back more than 25 years.

He was sentenced to a year of prison and year of drug treatment in 2009 after posing as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and trying to rob two men he thought were drug dealers.

The men were actually trying to complete a cell phone sale advertised on Craigslist. Escallier told Judge Maryann Moreno at his sentencing in August 2009 that he was a longtime drug addict who was ready to change.

Moreno was skeptical.

“I bet you’ve said all these things in court before,” the judge said at the time. “I hear it all the time…You’re going to figure it out or you’re probably going to die.”

A multi-agency team is investigating Escallier's death.

Police seek man who skipped own trial

A Spokane man who was convicted of robbery and assault after skipping the last part of his trial is now being sought by Crime Stoppers.

Larry Allen Powell, 54, was in Spokane County Superior Court for the first two days of his trial last week, but he didn't show up for the final day and hasn't been seen by authorities since.

Judge Greg Sypolt continued the trial one day to allow Powell's public defender, Brooke Hagara, time to find him, but court proceeded without him when he didn't show up the next day.

A jury last Thursday convicted Powell of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault for a theft turned robbery at Kmart last fall, and a no-bail warrant was issued for his arrest.

Crime Stoppers offered a reward on Monday for tips that lead to the arrest of Powell, who is described as an armed career criminal with a 36-year arrest history and convictions for third-degree theft, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

Powell, 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, last gave a home address in the 3200 block of North Velox in Spokane Valley. Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Arsonist, career criminal gets 10 years

A serial arsonist’s criminal past earned the wrath Friday of a federal judge who sentenced the man to 10 years in prison.

Anthony W. Sotin, 42, previously agreed to accept responsibility for setting his own car on fire on Jan. 12 and torching a commercial building at 13412 E. Nora Ave. on Feb. 9.

U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush was reluctant to accept the terms of the agreement, noting that Sotin’s first criminal conviction came at age 14.

“I have been on the federal bench from Houston, to Las Vegas to San Francisco and thousands of cases in my home district,” he said. “I don’t know that I have ever seen as an egregious criminal history as with you. A rational judge could conclude that Mr. Sotin should be locked up for the rest of his life to protect others.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

March 1: Arsonist pleads guilty after just 13 days

Feb. 19: Arrest made in building, vehicle fires

Aug. 8, 1997: Latest antics add to Sotin's long rap sheet

Eddie Ray Hall: Man or myth?

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“Goodbye Eddie Ray Hall”
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“On the Lam Again”
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“The Ballad of Eddie Ray Hall”

Eddie Ray Hall's lawyer, Ron Van Wert, said at sentencing last week that he was concerned about bias in the community regarding his client's perceived criminal history.

Van Wert said Hall's history has been well documented by the media and referenced a song by Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark, “The Ballad of Eddie Ray Hall.” 

But Van Wert said he's had no trouble getting along with Hall, and he questioned why the man was facing such a longer prison sentence than his codefendent, Ron Hipkiss, who led the meth distribution and pleaded guilty to more serious charges than Hall.

I've always thought of Hall as a great example of a media-made celebrity. His rise to fame can be traced to this 1998 newspaper article.

Authorities used him as an example of how much criminals cost society, estimating Hall had cost about $1 million.

Frankly, having seen quite a few criminal histories over the last couple of years, I was surprised when I looked at Hall's. It really wasn't as bad as I expected, and compared to some of the histories I've seen, Hall is a lightweight (granted, this doesn't include his misdemeanor history.)

Guys like Casey Beckham have more convictions than Hall.

Van Wert argued that Hall's history didn't even qualify him as a career criminal. U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley never ruled on that because even without the classification, Hall's standard sentencing range called for more than the 15 years mandated for career criminals.

Here is Hall's criminal history from 2006, which doesn't include four felonies to which he pleaded guilty that year. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison for two counts of bail jumping and single counts of possession of meth and second-degree possession of stolen property and was back in trouble again right after his release.

But compare Hall's history to that of Jody A. Miller, a suspect in the stabbing death of a Spokane man in Plummer, Idaho, April 17. Miller has a rival number of felonies, and far more violent crimes.

Friends and family spoke at Hall's sentencing said they hopes he gets the help he needs in prison.

“I watched Eddie go from being an inspiring athlete who should have had a good career ahead of him to where he is now,” said Sue O'Brien.

But, she added, “Eddie is not a violent person. He never has been.”

Judge Whaley took exception to that. Read more from the sentencing here.

Eddie Ray Hall sentenced to 16 years

One of Spokane’s most notorious career criminals is headed to federal prison for 16 years.

Eddie Ray Hall, who turns 47 next month, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Spokane to 195 months in prison.

He cried as family members spoke of their support for him, and he read a letter to Judge Robert Whaley in which he apologized and said he’d changed.

He said he hopes to get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, which doctors have told him stems from a 1987 burglary in which he was shot. Hall said he also once saw a friend shot to death.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 26, 2011: Eddie Ray Hall pleads guilty

June 14, 1998: Eddie Ray Hall is Spokane's $1 million man

After lock up, teen killer arrested 67 times

A Spokane man sentenced for murder as a juvenile because a judge thought he could be rehabilitated marked his 67th arrest in the last five years last weekend.

Nicholas A. Limpert, 25, was released from jail last week after prosecutors failed to file charges within 72 hours of his arrest for burglary.

A felony burglary charge was filed just after his release, so the Spokane Police Department's new anti-crime patrol team, which focuses on crime trends and fugitives, tracked him down Saturday night. He's now jailed on a $100,000 bond and a Department of Corrections probation hold.

Officer Brian Eckersley said Limpert is very well known to police and often cries when he's arrested. (It shows in his mug shots. Check out two others here and here.)

Limpert was convicted of accomplice to first-degree murder when he was 15 and was in juvenile detention until he was 20. Limpert was to be incarcerated until he was 21 but was released early after being credited for time already served.

His release angered the family of his victim, Kenneth D. Brown, a 59-year-old mentally disabled janitor who was robbed by Limpert and Brandon R. Molony in November 2000 before being stabbed to death by Molony. 

Limpert smirked and laughed during his sentencing in 2001, (pictured left) and Brown's family doubted he could be rehabilitated.

His adult criminal history began shortly after his release and includes at least eight felony convictions and eight misdemeanors, including theft, malicious mischief domestic violence, vehicle prowling and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Eddie Ray Hall pleads guilty

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On the Lam Again
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“The Ballad of Eddie Ray Hall”

One of Spokane's most notorious career criminals has pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge.

 Eddie Ray Hall, 46, (right) faces five to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to distribution of 50 grams or more of a mixture of substance containing methamphetamine.

He'll remain at the Spokane County Jail until sentencing, which is scheduled for April 21 at 9:30 a.m.

His lawyer, Ron Van Wert, said he'll likely seek a much different sentence than federal prosecutors.

“We do know that Eddie's going to spend a substantial amount of time in prison,” Van Wert said.

The longtime felon originally faced seven other meth charges under a grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court in August 2009. 

Van Wert said the other charges were dismissed because “when coming to a resolution that was reasonable and really best for everyone involved, it came down to that one count.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Duggan, who is prosecuting the case, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

 A co-defendant, Ronald Hipkiss, 49, (left) was sentenced to 10 years in prison in September after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture continuing meth and conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of meth.

Police searched Hipkiss' home at 2803 E. 4th Ave., on Oct. 8, 2008 after drug transactions with a confidential informant. They recovered 123 grams of methamphetamine, of which 49 grams was pure, according to Hipkiss' plea agreement.

Investigators believe Hall was working with Hipkiss to sell the methamphetamine for about three weeks before the raid. Hall met with

the informant at Hall's home at 3712 E. Pratt and provided a total of about 80 grams of meth, court documents say.

Hall escaped a Yakima jail about a month after his arrest and headed to Spokane, where the sheriff's office nabbed him following a six-day manhunt.

Hall's rise to fame can be traced to this 1998 newspaper article. Authorities used him as an example of how much criminals cost society, estimating Hall had cost about $1 million. He gave an extensive interview to the newspaper, and the power mullet showcased in his portrait (shown above) lives on in our archives.

Enjoy columnist Doug Clark's tributes to Hall, posted above.

Jury convicts felon in Blockbuster caper

A career criminal already on probation was convicted this week of robbing a Spokane Valley video store in April. 

Shaun L. Rockstrom, 38, faces 10 years in prison for second-degree robbery when he’s sentenced Nov. 19, a court clerk confirmed.

Rockstrom was arrested on April 8 after employees at Blockbuster Video, 11510 E. Sprague Ave., identified him as the man who stole DVDs and punched an employee on April 2.

The punched employee lost his prescription glasses, which Rockstrom then ran over with his car as he fled, court documents say.

Police found some of the stolen DVDs in a truck parked at Rockstrom’s home, 12919 E. Forrest Road.

Prosecutors had sought a first-degree robbery against Rockstrom, who has more than 30 convictions, including felony convictions for leading organized crime, theft, burglary, possession of stolen property, escape and forgery.

Prosecutors will ask for a 10-year prison term; Rockstrom had already turned down a plea offer for seven years, a court clerk said.

The trial before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza went to the jury late Tuesday, and a verdict was returned Wednesday afternoon. Jury selection began Monday.

Fugitive’s claim to fame: 21 mug shots

Fourteen years ago, a fugitive apprehension organization touted a suspect’s 36 convictions in 10 years when asking for tips on his location. 

This week, it focused on his impressive number of mug shots: 21. 

Frank Anthony Orden, 42, is wanted for possession of a controlled substance (heroin) after he failed to show up for court last month.

Orden is an armed career criminal with a 26-year history that includes at least 14 drug and property crime-related felonies. A news story about a reward for his capture in 1996 said Orden, then 28, had been convicted of 36 crimes since he’d turned 18.

Court documents show one of his most recent convictions came in 2009 for possession of a controlled substance.

He was riding a bike June 26 near East 5th Avenue and South Lacey Street when a police officer said he had to swerve to avoid hitting him because he rode through a stop sign. The officer found heroin in Orden’s pocket, according to court documents.

Orden, 5-foot-4 and 180 pounds, last gave 1924 E. Riverside Ave., as his address. Anyone with tips on his location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Repeat offender jailed after SWAT standoff

A repeat offender was arrested early today after he surrendered to a SWAT team outside a northeast Spokane apartment. 

Dustin C. Rauscher, 25, was booked into Spokane County Jail on a felony arrest warrant for attempting to elude police, and new charges of unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault. 

The arrest occurred after the Spokane Violent Gang Enforcement Team received an anonymous tip that Rauscher was at an apartment at 2309 E. Euclid Ave.

While officers tried to get someone to open the door about 8 p.m. Wednesday , they heard a woman screaming for help. Officers forced their way inside and found Rauscher assaulting the woman, then got her out while Rauscher ran upstairs.

Police said Rauscher threatened to kill officers if they tried to arrest him and “made it clear” he would not go back to jail. He surrendered about 1 a.m.

Rauscher was arrested in 2007 after found him with 27 shaved Nissan keys and a sawed off shotgun. He was sentenced to 43 months in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and first-degree possession of stolen property.

Rauscher also has convictions for attempting to elude, hit and run collision, reckless driving, domestic violence assault and interfering with reporting of a domestic violence assault. He has multiple convictions for possession of stolen property, according to Crime Stoppers.

Vehicle thefts part of wide Spokane web

The truck engine began rumbling at about 5 a.m., and Carlyne Tabler ran outside her Spokane home to find a thief inside her truck. It had been stolen just weeks earlier, but had been recovered. Now it was about to be stolen again.

He sped away on East Columbia Avenue in her truck and disappeared, but not before Tabler and her son got a good look at him. They’d seen him at the house next door, they told police, a house they’d been complaining about for months.

That December theft led investigators to a career criminal considered a suspect in a car theft rings: Shawn A. Barton (right).

It’s also one piece of an investigation into a web of property, drug and violent crimes driven by a crime more prevalent than ever in Spokane: car theft. Among the incidents possibly connected: a double murder, a shooting that injured a driver in traffic, and a series of thefts in which stolen vehicles were rammed through storefronts to steal ATMs.

Read the rest of my story here.

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