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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Christopher Devlin

Charges sought in inmate’s drug death

Detectives are seeking a manslaughter charge against a former Spokane County Jail inmate they believe provided prescription drugs used in another inmate's suicide.

Ronald F. Edwards, 41, could be charged with delivery of a legend drug and second-degree manslaughter under a charging recommendation sent  to Spokane County prosecutors.

Detectives believe Edwards provided the prescription antidepressant amitriptyline to Christopher H. Devlin, a convicted killer who died of an overdose on Sept. 20, five days after being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Edwards was one of two jail inmates prescribed the drug.

Investigators believe Edwards gave his daily dose to Devlin after hiding the pills in his mouth so jail employees would believe he'd ingested them.

DNA on a pill hidden in Devlin's mattress matched a DNA sample taken from Edwards at state prison in Forks, Wash., May 6, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office announced today.

Edwards is serving 25 months for third-degree assault. Detectives say Edwards frequently spent time with Devlin when the two were out of their cells.

Devlin was convicted last August of the May 2008 shooting death of 52-year-old Daniel Heily, who was to testify against Devlin in an assault case.

Overdose traced back to inmate’s pills

A convicted killer who committed suicide at the Spokane County Jail did so using pills prescribed to another inmate. 

Now detectives are investigating whether the pill provider could be at least partly responsible for the suicide of Christopher H. Devlin, who was found dead in his jail cell Sept. 20, five days after being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

An autopsy determined Devlin, 58, died of an overdose of amitriptyline, an antidepressant prescribed to only two jail inmates.

Detectives are awaiting test results comparing inmate Ronald F. Edwards' (pictured) DNA to the DNA found on a pill hidden in Devlin’s mattress.

Read the rest of my story here.

Dead killer’s accomplice gets 27 months

An accomplice to the murder of a state witness in 2008 has been sentenced to just over two years in prison.

Carl A. Hoskins, 58, will receive credit for time served in jail, where he was incarcerated from May 2008 until August 2009, when prosecutors allowed him to leave jail after agreeing to a tentative plea bargain.

Hoskins agreed to testify again Christopher Devlin but never was called to the stand during the trial last summer. Devlin died at the Spokane County Jail in September in an apparent suicide. He’d been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole a few days earlier.

Devlin was to go to trial for allegedly assaulting Daniel D. Heily, 52, of Chattaroy, when Heily was found shot to death in the cab of his pickup truck behind a Deer Park liquor store in May 2008.

Hoskins originally was charged with first-degree murder but instead pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, intimidating a witness and first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque sentenced him Monday to 27 months in prison and ordered him to pay $1,434 in restitution.

Hoskins, who was close friends with Heily, apologized at the hearing. Heily’s family declined to submit a victim impact statement for Hoskins, saying they felt he, too, was victimized by Devlin, a court clerk said.
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Convicted killer found dead in Spokane jail

A man sentenced to life in prison last week for murdering one of his accusers in a 2007 assault case was found dead in the Spokane County Jail early Monday.

Christopher H. Devlin, 57, didn’t get out of bed when served breakfast about 6:30 a.m., but a jailer thought he saw his leg move, assumed he was refusing to eat, and removed the meal, said sheriff’s Lt. Aaron Anderton.

Another employee found Devlin dead about 8:30 a.m., Anderton said.

Devlin was found face down in his bed. There were no obvious signs of violence.

Anderton said Devlin’s death appears to have been self-inflicted or from natural causes but said investigators are awaiting an autopsy. An estimated time of death will help investigators determine if procedures were followed when Devlin didn’t retrieve his breakfast at 6:30 a.m., Anderton said.

The situation is similar to the Nov. 11 death of Fredrick James Juhnke, who had died from a burst artery but lay in his cell for eight hours before jail deputies found him. Two deputies were disciplined in that case: one was fired and one resigned, including a deputy who falsified jail logs to try to hide the fact that they didn’t make half-hourly checks on inmates as required.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 16: Killer gets life in prison after contradictory verdict

Aug. 18: Jury convicts Devlin in Stevens County slaying

Aug. 11: Hoskins doesn’t testify; defense rests

July 26: Trial opens in murder of crime witness

Feb. 3: Prosecutor’s mix up takes death penalty off the table

Oct. 31, 2009: County balks at case transfer

May 18, 2008: Homicide victim was Chattaroy man

Killer gets life after contradictory verdict

A Stevens County man who murdered a man he was already accused of assaulting will spend the rest of his life in prison under a sentence imposed Wednesday.

A jury convicted Christopher H. Devlin, 57, of aggravated first-degree murder last month for the May 2008 slaying of Daniel Heily, who was shot to death a day before he was testify again Devlin in an assault case.

But the jury ruled Devlin was not armed with a firearm - a contradiction that Spokane County Superior Judge Jerome Leveque said may affect the case upon appeal.

“Whether or not the verdict is going to survive challenges, I don’t know,” Leveque said.

Defense lawyer Mark Vovos said Wednesday that he intends to appeal.

Heily’s family spoke at the sentencing, describing Heily as a loving man and calling Devlin a “psychopath,” “thug,” “despicable individual” and “tyrannical plague.”

The only sentences for aggravated murder in Washington are life in prison or the death penalty. Leveque ruled out the death penalty in February because prosecutors withheld from defense lawyers information about where the murder was committed.

Devlin had no prior criminal record. He remains in Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

Past coverage:

Aug. 18: Jury convicts Devlin in Stevens County slaying

Aug. 11: Hoskins doesn’t testify; defense rests

July 26: Trial opens in murder of crime witness

Feb. 3: Prosecutor’s mix up takes death penalty off the table

Oct. 31, 2009: County balks at case transfer

May 18, 2008: Homicide victim was Chattaroy man

Despite deal, murder witness doesn’t testify

COLVILLE – Spokane County prosecutors ended their first-degree murder case against Christopher H. Devlin without calling the only person they believe witnessed the killing.

Defense attorneys Mark Vovos and Roger Hunko implored Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque to allow them to tell jurors that prosecutors Larry Steinmetz and Dale Nagy agreed to give Carl A. Hoskins a deal in exchange for testimony – that as it turns out never came.

“He’s the only guy who saw anything, supposedly,” Vovos said. “If they didn’t believe him, why would they give him the 27 months?”

Steinmetz refused to comment about why he didn’t call Hoskins as a witness in the trial against the 57-year-old Devlin, who is charged with the May 2008 slaying of 52-year-old Daniel Heily.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

July 26: Trial opens in murder of crime witness

Feb. 3: Prosecutor’s mixup takes death penalty off table

Oct. 31, 2009: County balks at case transfer

May 18, 2008: Homicide victim was Chattaroy man

Defense calls murder case ‘classic cover-up’

COLVILLE – Defense attorney Mark Vovos on Monday told a jury of Stevens County residents that the murder trial they are about to decide amounts to a “classic cover-up” by detectives who willingly bought the shaky story of a co-defendant.

But Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Dale Nagy said 57-year-old Christopher Devlin killed a longtime-friend, 52-year-old Daniel Heily, who was just about to testify against Devlin in a trial where he was charged with breaking into Heily’s home and assaulting him on Aug. 2, 2007.

“Mr. Devlin told people that he was looking at four to eight months in prison if he was convicted in that case,” Nagy said. “He told people, ‘Mr. Heily will be 6 six feet under before I ever go to jail.’”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 3: Prosecutor’s mix up takes death penalty off the table

Oct. 31, 2009: County balks at case transfer

May 18, 2008: Homicide victim was Chattaroy man

Accused witness killer on trial in Colville

Opening statements are expected today in the case of a Deer Park man accused of murdering a witness in an assault case against him.

Christopher H. Devlin had faced the death penalty for the May 2008 shooting death of Daniel D. Heily, 52, of Chattatory, but a judge took it off the table last February because of mismanagement by prosecutors.

Devlin now faces life in prison without parole if he’s convicted of aggravated first-degree murder.

A co-defendant, Carl A. Hoskins, had faced the same charge but has been offered a plea deal for second-degree assault if he testifies against Devlin. He left jail on Aug. 31 and will be sentenced to 27 months in prison with credit for time served if he continues cooperating, according to court documents.

Heily, who was disabled, disappeared on May 13, 2008, the night before he was to testify against Devlin at a second-degree assault trial.

Heily’s body was found in the cab of his pickup truck behind a Deer Park liquor store the next day. Hoskins and Devlin were arrested that night. The slaying qualified for the death penalty because the victim was a state witness.

A jurisdictional squabble broke out between Stevens and Spokane counties regarding where the murder took place. Spokane County prosecutors are handling the case, but the trial will be held before a Stevens County jury in Colville.

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