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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: cold cases

Gibson’s bravado as robber didn’t help

In the end, Patrick Kevin Gibson's bravado as a professional bank robbery didn't exactly contribute to his defense in the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen said he appeared to be bragging about his exploits and gave more detail than necessary when he testified at his murder trial last week. 

Gibson, 60, also didn't sway Etizen with his claims that the robbery at Cole's Furniture store that ended with the shooting death of Brian Cole was sloppy and likely done by someone other than the man who robbed a children's store in Coeur d'Alene three hours earlier.

Gibson suggested during testimony last week that the robbers were perhaps partners but initiated the heists separately - Eitzen rebuked that theory Thursday when she convicted him of Cole's murder and said the killer was the same man who robbed Teresa and Steve Brenner's store in Coeur d'Alene.

He also theorized that a man named Tim whom he'd hired to assist in bank robberies in Oregon and California in the early 1990s reused a disguise from one of the robberies to commit the Cole's Furniture Store robbery.

Gibson said Tim was one of two men secured a storage facility for him in the Portland area where he disguises and a police scanner to be used in the robberies. He also stored there a bank directory and a mailing list of all the police department sin the United States. He said he used the material to research potential small-town banks to rob. Gibson said he didn't know Tim's last name and Tim did not know his identity.

Gibson described the Cole robbery as “completely inept.”

“The store is supposed to be closed at 5 pm., so this was a spur of the moment crime,” Gibson said. “Both crimes, it's probably the only furniture store and kid's clothing sore that's ever been robbed in either town.”
Gibson described the “personnel” he hired out of Portland, Ore. to assist in the robberies.

“I used a total of eight males and four females for the operation, but only five of the males were involved in the bank robberies themselves. The other people were only involved in obtaining cars or acting as props so that I could stay in that town. Sometimes I had to stay right in the town. There was no way to get out.”

Gibson also described his involvement in the federal witness protection program, which occurred after he shared a federal prison cell with Iowa methamphetamine dealer Dustin Honken and told authorities that Honken had bragged about getting way with the murder of two confidential informants, a mother and her two young daughters. Honken is now on fedearl death row. Gibson said he became a protected witness in 1999.

“They do investigating for a year. Polygraph tests. It's very strenuous. You can't get into the witness protection program unless they verify you're telling the truth,” he said.

Gibson said he would tell the truth if he had killed Cole. He pointed to the fact that he's been diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer.

“I know I'm gong to die from cancer,” Gibson said. “I've almost always pled guilty to everything I have done. If I did this crime, I would give the Cole family some closure. I would admit to it and I would give them closure, because they need closure.”

On cross-examination, Gibson told Deputy Prosecutor Tony Hazel he “learned his lesson” about robbing small places after he robbed a Taco's John's in Portland and a gas station in Carterville, Nevada. (He and his partner also raped two clerks.) Gibson said he only targeted bank in towns with no law enforcement presence whatsoever. Coeur d'Alene had a police department so it “wouldn't qualify,” Gibson said.

Hazel pointed out that Gibson had been laid off just before Cole was murdered and was angry at society. He'd only started planning bank robberies and didn't successful rob one until December 1992. Before then, he'd only targeted small stores like gas stations.

Gibson said he wasn't proud of the robberies but he made about $840,000 in cash and more than $1 million in traveler's checks that he destroyed.

“The FBI said I was one of the most successful bank robbers going, sophisticated bank robbers operating at that time, but I regret it,” Gibson said.

After Eitzen convicted him Wednesday of first-degree murder, as the now convicted killer walked down the third floor hallways of the Spokane County Courthouse, a reporter asked him: “Patrick, did you do it?”

“No I did not,” Gibson replied. “Do I look 5-8?”

Cole's wife, Michele Cole, had described the killer as being about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9. She said she recognized a scar on Gibson's face when she saw a picture of him in 2011. That scar is from being shot by a sheriff's deputy in Utah in 1998. The bullet went though Gibson's face.er it c

Gibson was arrested last year after his DNA was found on a piece of beard worn by Cole's killer.

His bench trial began in May but was delayed after prosecutors learned “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the killer's actual hat in a 1993 reenactment of the Cole murder

Authorities obtained DNA samples from Walsh, actor Trevor St. John and tried sheriff's Detective Mark Henderson and compared it to the hat. Doing so helped forensic analysts determine that the chance of the DNA on the hat not belonging to Gibson was one in 10 million.

‘92 Valley murder case goes to judge

Patrick Kevin Gibson made big money robbing banks. A dozen gunpoint heists in the 1990s netted him $850,000.

He was a professional robber who didn’t need to bother with a small-time holdup at a furniture store, claims the attorney representing him in a murder trial.

Gibson, 60, was arrested in Western Washington last year in connection with the 1992 killing of Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole. The arrest came under unusual circumstances: Gibson had stopped to complain to a police officer about a speeding motorcycle.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 12: Report details Gibson's criminal history

June 11: TV host's DNA sample delays Spokane murder trial

Accused killer gives riveting testimony

In what longtime Spokane County court officials described as riveting testimony, accused killer Patrick Kevin Gibson described Thursday his years as a big-time bank robber who earned about $850,000 before heading to federal prison.

Gibson's 12-year prison sentence led him to the federal witness protection program after he ratted out cellmate Dustin Honken, an Iowa methamphetamine dealer who bragged to Gibson about getting away with the murder of a mother and her two daughters. Honken is now on federal death row. His girlfriend, Angela Johnson, also was sentenced to death for the crimes but her sentence was overturned on appeal.

Gibson, arrested last year after DNA evidence on the killer's beard was linked to him, discussed Thursday taking polygraph tests to be part of a member of the secretive program. He denied murdering Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole on Nov. 7, 1992 - saying essentially that he was a professional robber who wouldn't mess with such a sloppy heist at a place with little cash. He suggested that a partner in his bank robberies might have committed the crime using a disguise from past bank heists.

Gibson said if he killed Cole, he would confess. But prosecutors pointed out that the bank robberies began after Cole's murder, and that Gibson also robbed convenience stores in Oregon. He also did so not just for the money but for the thrill, according to testimony.

Gibson, a level 3 sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder. He made the unusual decision to have his case heard by a judge instead of a jury. Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen is to hear closing arguments on Monday.

The trial began in late May but was delayed when prosecutors discovered at the last minute that America's Most Wanted host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the actual hat worn by the killer during a taping of the show in 1993.

Police obtained a sample of Walsh's DNA, as well as the actor and the detective who handled the hat, and submitted it to the state crime lab for testing.

Report details Gibson’s criminal history

When a man now charged in the 1992 shooting death of a Spokane Valley businessman left prison in the last few years, his brother attended a community meeting defending him. 

Patrick Kevin Gibson's neighbors had been notified of his status as a level 3 sex offender, and Michael Gibson was trying to explain his past crimes and justify his presence in the community.

Michael Gibson told sheriff's detectives he specifically asked his brother if he'd ever killed someone “and Patrick said he had not,” according to a police report.

“Patrick did tell Michael that he was the mastermind of everything he had done and had always acted alone,” the report says. Michael told detectives that his brother liked to flash his money around and may have been attracted to the excitement of robberies.

Patrick Gibson, 60, (pictured) has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His trial was temporarily halted Monday because of the last-minute discovery by prosecutors that “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and an actor had handled the killer's hat after it was left at the scene.

Detectives say Michael was emotional in May 2011 when he learned his brother had been arrested for the nearly 20-year-old homicide.

“His first response was that he would never see Patrick again and that he had placed his own reputation on the line to help Patrick,” according to the report.

Michael said he went to bat for Patrick with concerned neighbors and said he told him if he messed up again, he'd be the first to turn him in, police wrote. Gibson has spent most of adult life in prison.

In August 1978, he fired shots at a Utah highway patrolmen who tried to  stop him for a traffic violation as he drove with his wife and her two children.

In November, he and another inmate escaped from jail, stole a car and traveled to Nevada, where he and an accomplice robbed and raped two convenience store clerks. Gibson was arrested three days later near Vancouver B.C.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in May 1979 but paroled in March 1992, about seven months before Cole was murdered.

Police say Gibson worked at a phone company in Stanwood, Wash., as a voice and data man but traveled frequently without his probation officer's permission. He's believed to have committed robberies in Oregon that same year.

The robberies are similar to gunpoint attacks at a clothing store in Coeur d'Alene and Cole's murder, both which occurred on Nov. 7, 1992.

While prosecutors believe Gibson himself got away with murder for nearly 20 years, Gibson  says he's partly responsible for helping convict a major drug lord who nearly got away with the murder of five people in Iowa in 1993, including two girls, ages 6 and 10.

The situation led Gibson to become a member of the federal government's witness protection program and resulted in death sentences for Dustin Lee Honken, 44, (pictured in 2005 by the Associated Press) and Honken's girlfriend, Angela Johnson, 48, though Johnson's sentence was overturned on appeal because of ineffective counsel.

Gibson told Spokane County sheriff's Detective Michael Drapaeu he shared a prison cell with Honken when Honken bragged about killing government witnesses and executing a family that included children.

“I decided to do the right thing,” Gibson told Drapaeu, according to court records. “I just tried to make amends for my past wrongs.”

It's unclear how exactly Gibson assisted in the case, but media reports say authorities placed an experienced jailhouse informant, Robert McNees, in a cell with Johnson who was able to obtain a map of of the grave sites.

A jury recommended Honken be sentenced to death after a lengthy trial in Sioux City, Iowa, in 2004. News reports at the time say the bodies of his five victims, which included two girls, ages 6 and 10, were found in late 2000 after Johnson drew a map and gave it a jailhouse informant.

Honken, who Iowa news reports say introduced methamphetamine to the state in the early 1990s, already was serving a 27-year sentence for drug trafficking when the bodies were discovered. Gibson was serving a 12-year sentence for bank robbery.

Gibson told Drapeau he would need to be isolated at the jail because he is a protected witness. Drapeau said he informed the jail of that, according to court documents.

Judge in DNA case: ‘I got it wrong’

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen said today that her misunderstanding of how DNA evidence was handled led her to initially make the wrong decision about whether it can be used in a murder suspect's trial.

  Eitzen originally was going to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning the presence of DNA from “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh (pictured right) and actor Trevor St. John unless defense lawyers opened the door for the testimony by questioning the DNA profile of the hat.

But she made that decision under the erroneous belief that the DNA sample from the hat that was tested in 2004 was taken before Walsh and St. John handled the hat. That wasn't the case.

She reversed her decision Thursday, prompting John Whaley, defense lawyer for suspect Patrick Kevin Gibson (pictured left), to file a motion asking her to reconsider, which she denied to do today.

Gibson is charged with first-degree murder for the Nov. 7,1992, shooting death of Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole.

Eitzen today delayed the rest of the trial until July 10 to allow for lawyers to prepare for the newly discovered DNA evidence from Walsh, St. John, and the detective who handled the case. Read much more here.

Eitzen spoke candidly today about her original lack of understanding.

“I just got it wrong,” she said.

“This isn't about retesting the hat,” she said. “It's about for the first time getting the DNA profiles of others who touched it. I did not understand that sequence the first time I rule on this issue.”

“Those profiles are in evidence and I'm going to be really curious what the experts say,” she continued.

She said Whaley's motion implied that she did understand and simply changed her mind.

“I appreciate Mr. Whaley's kindness in thinking I did understand what was going on that day. Because I did not,” she said.

“And that happens,” Eitzen continued. “And courts have to be able to say 'we mad mistake' and reverse themselves. Because it happens everyday. We reverse ourselves on evidentiary rulings every day.”

She said the issue does not warrant a mistrial.

“There has been no prosecutorial misconduct,” she said. “No ineffective assistance of counsel…I don't want to over speak, but these counsels are on the top end of prepared and diligent for criminal cases that I've tried.”

CdA robbery linked to Spokane cold case

Investigators believe a sex offender on trial for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner robbed a children's apparel store at gunpoint three hours before the fatal shooting.

A judge has heard testimony from Steve and Teresa Benner, who owned the Kid's Fair clothing store in the Sunset Mall in Coeur d'Alene.

The store was robbed at gunpoint Nov. 7, 1992, about 5 p.m. The couple's two children, ages five and two, were present. The robber ordered employee Kathy Ward to handcuff Steve Benner, then handcuff herself to Benner. He stole their money and credit cards and left.

The Benners told police at the time that he was wearing a fake beard and a black baseball hat that said “Solid Gold.” That hat and a piece of the beard was found at the scene of the murder and robbery at Cole's Furniture Store in Spokane Valley, which occurred about 8 p.m. on Nov. 7, 1992.

Store owner Brian Cole was fatally shot when he tried to overpower the robber after the robber said he might harm Cole's wife, who uses a scooter.

Spokane County detectives submitted that beard for DNA testing in late 2010, and it matched a DNA sample from Patrick K. Gibson, who was arrested in May 2011. The Benners identified him from a photo montage as the man who robbed their store.

Gibson's bench trial resumes today before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Gibson's extensive criminal history includes convictions for rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979, as well as kidnapping in Nevada in 1978. He was convicted of bank robbery in federal court in California in 1996 and served 12 years in prison.

Trial begins in ‘92 cold case murder

Trial began Tuesday for a career criminal sex offender linked to a 1992 Spokane homicide by DNA on a fake beard.

 Patrick K. Gibson, 60, is charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Brian Cole, 48, of Nov. 7, 1992, during a robbery at Cole’s Traditions in Oak, a furniture store on East Sprague in Spokane Valley.

The case was featured on “America's Most Wanted” in 1993, but the investigation went cold until detectives in the last few years re-tested evidence and Gibson's DNA was found on the beard, which was left at the murder scene.

Gibson, a level 3 sex offender living in Stanwood, Wash., was arrested in May 2011.

Records show he was convicted of rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979 after robbing a Portland restaurant, forcing a waitress into his car and raping her at a rest stop. He also was convicted in federal court in Nevada of kidnapping, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to kidnap. He also was convicted in Douglas County, Nev., of robbery after holding up a gas station in 1978, kidnapping a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, then sexually assaulting the woman and leaving both tied up.

He served prison time, then was convicted in 1996 of bank robbery and aiding and abetting in federal court in the Eastern District of California. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

According to previously published reports, on the night of Cole's homicide in 1992, police allege Gibson entered the store about 8 p.m. and demanded money, then became angry when he was told they didn't have any cash.

Cole asked the armed assailant if he would harm a handicapped woman, referring to his wife, who used a scooter due to multiple sclerosis. The man replied he “just might,” the sheriff’s office said.
In an apparent attempt to protect his wife, Cole tried to overpower Gibson, authorities said, who fired three shots, hitting Cole in head and chest.

Gibson chose a bench trial instead of a jury trial, meaning Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen will hear the case against him and decide whether there's enough to convict. Testimony began Tuesday.
  

Man gets 17 years for 1986 murder

A life of crime likely ended Friday as a Spokane judge sentenced a man to 17 years in prison for the beating, rape and slaying of a 62-year-old woman on Christmas Eve 1986 that was solved only through advances in technology.

Gary L. Trimble, 63, gave the family of Dorothy E. Burdette nothing to explain why he attacked the 62-year-old woman, rolled her in a blanket and left her to the December elements under the Interstate 90 overpass near High Bridge Park.

“The DNA caught me,” Trimble said in a soft, almost inaudible voice. “I don’t remember the crime. I’ve seen the results.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Public records portray Trimble as a longtime felon and alcoholic who spent several years in Washington prisons and has a misdemeanor warrant in Spokane County for allegedly stealing his daughter’s car in 2005. Trimble has misdemeanor warrants in at least two other counties for drunken driving and trespassing. Read much mroe about him here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 4, 2011: Suspect in '86 murder headed back to Spokane

Oct. 25, 2010: Montana man arrested in 1986 death of Spokane woman

Man, 20, gets 15 years for ‘07 murder

A 20-year-old man arrested for a 2007 murder was sentenced recently to 15 years in prison.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead (right) also was ordered to pay $6,651 restitution after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel Burgess, 30.

Burgess was killed while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave.

Martin-Armstead, his girlfriend, Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and her brother, Marc A. Anderson, 20 (left), each were charged with a single count of first-degree murder. Martin-Armstead's charge was reduced as part of a plea deal.

The Andersons, who are out of jail on bond, are scheduled to go to trial in June.

Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.

TV show to feature Post Falls murders

In this 2008 photo, Kootenai County sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell stands in the area where newspaper carrier Gary Loesch was murdered in November 1995. (SRarchives)

 A cable TV show on Saturday will feature the case of two fugitive North Idaho women who committed suicide in Arizona after America's Most Wanted detailed their ties to two murders.

 Tina R. Loesch (left) and Skye M. Hanson (right) were wanted for the 1998 murder of Loesch's mother, Barbara, and suspects in the 1995 murder of her father, Gary, when America's Most Wanted spotlighted them in November 2008.

Gary Loesch, who was killed while delivering copies of The Spokesman-Review, had written his daughter out of his will after she told him she was in a lesbian relationship with Hanson, according to previously published reports.

Detectives believe the women hired Bradley Steckman to kill Barbara Loesch, who was found dead in her hot tub with the TV inside. Steckman is serving life in prison for Loesch's murder and for the 1996 murder of an 89-year-old Pullman woman.

Police have long suspected the father-daughter rift and a $500,000 life insurance policy Tina Loesch took out on her mother were motives in the killings.

Post Falls police had been trying to find the women for years - they were last seen with Loesch's son, Kristopher, in Spokane in 2000. The night the program aired, Loesch and Hanson were found dead of suicide in their SUV northwest of Tucson. Police had no idea the women were in Arizona.

Lt. Greg McLean said Thursday that detectives still are trying to find Kristopher Loesch, who would be 21. Cadaver dogs have searched for his body in Arizona amidst rumors the couple had killed him, but his location still is unknown.

“We're not sure if he was dropped off somewhere before they decided to end their lives,” McLean said. “if he was, we haven't been able to find him yet.”

“It's just been a long-term investigation that in my opinion still hasn't been closed because we're still missing Kristopher,” McLean said.

The show airs at 9 p.m. as part of Investigation Discovery's new series, Deadly Sins. It features interviews with Loesch's brother, Charles Loesch, Paul Farina of the Post Falls Police Department and Brad Maskell of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. A channel finder is available here.

Past coverage:

Nov. 18, 2008: Murder suspects found dead in Arizona

Jan. 6, 2008: Missing women remain key in 2 murders

Fla. murder suspect arrested in Spokane

A man wanted for murder in Florida was arrested in Spokane today.

Federal agents found Demarcus R. Ledent, 31, in the 8000 block of North Hill N Dale Street, just north of East Magnesium Road off North Division Street.

A warrant for Ledent's arrest was issued Jan. 4 in Pensacola, Fla., for the July 2007 homicide of Barry Shipp, 48.

The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force learned Ledent had fled Florida and was living in Spokane, according to a news release.

According to a 2007 video from WKRG TV in Pensacola, which is posted above, Shipp, who was married with children, was shot to death at a family-owned barber shop.

Cops hope colonial ties reheat cold case

Forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick poses with her laptop showing two composite sketches of a suspect in the 1991 killing of a Washington teenager, in Huntington Beach, Calif., Wednesday. The analysis on a DNA profile from the suspect shows that he is distantly related to three passengers who arrived in what is now Plymouth, Mass., on the Mayflower in 1620.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

By GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — William S. Fuller followed the news with interest this week when detectives announced a strange new lead in the search for a man who killed his friend's daughter two decades ago.

 Relying on a new DNA analysis, the detectives said the unknown suspect is a distant relative of Edward and Samuel Fuller, who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620 — and that he might even share their last name.

It was an awkward coincidence, the present-day Fuller told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The 68-year-old worked for many years with the father and grandfather of Sarah Yarborough, a 16-year-old girl who was raped and strangled in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way in 1991. His daughter was one of Yarborough's best friends, and he spearheaded the effort to build a memorial for her. Fuller said he doesn't know if he's related to the Pilgrims, but he is certain that no one in his family could be the culprit.

“Is it something we're worried about? No, not at all,” Fuller said. “Because they know how close we were to the Yarboroughs, some people have asked about it jokingly, but they know it's not a good question.”

The King County Sheriff's Office, long stymied by the case, announced this week that it had sent the suspect's DNA profile to forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, who runs Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Identifinders International. Fitzpatrick noticed that the killer's DNA strongly correlated with DNA profiles published as part of a genealogical study of the Fuller family.

Specifically, she said, the killer is a descendant of Robert Fuller, who arrived in Salem, Mass., in 1630. Fuller was not himself on the Mayflower, but he was related to three passengers: Edward Fuller, as well as Edward Fuller's brother, Samuel, and 12-year-old son.

Fitzpatrick's analysis followed the Y chromosome — the male line of the family — and therefore, there's a good chance the killer's last name is or was Fuller, she said.

Detectives searched through their tip database following Fitzpatrick's finding, but no one named Fuller has ever been fingered as a potential suspect in Yarborough's death, King County sheriff's detective Jim Allen said.

Today, there are tens of millions of people descended from the 102 passengers and about 25 crewmembers who arrived on the Mayflower, according to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Nine presidents have been related to those original Pilgrims.

Yarborough was last seen alive on a Saturday morning in December 1991, when she left home to take part in a dance team competition. Her body was found later that morning.

There were plenty of people at the high school that day. In addition to those arriving for the dance competition, there were some school-related activities and people out running or walking their dogs, Allen said. About six people saw the suspect — including two kids, a jogger, a man who helped create a sketch of the suspect, and a girl on the drill team.

They described him as being in his 20s, white, 6 feet tall or just under, with shoulder-length blond hair, a trench coat and dark pants. One saw the suspect interacting with her, and some saw him leaving the brushy area where her body was found.

In the months after the slaying, more than 3,000 tips poured in, students began packing pepper spray, and parents marshaled in the hallways outside of classes to reassure their children they were safe.

Allen said he is interested in speaking with William Fuller, who still lives in Federal Way, a south Seattle suburb, and who was 48 at the time of the killing.

Fuller, a longtime coworker and friend of Yarborough's father and grandfather at Weyerhaeuser Corp., told the AP he has five daughters and no sons, and he himself was an only child, so he has no nephews that could have matched the description. His family has been able to trace their lineage no farther than a great-grandfather in Idaho, he said.

Fuller said that when Yarborough was killed, he was only about one-third of a mile away, running on the track at the junior high school.

“I remember that back then I was running — I ran 20 to 25 miles per week,” Fuller said. “Periodically I'd run at the high school track, but during the time she was killed I was running at the junior high. What if I had decided to go run at the high school? Knowing I was so close when it happened really bothered me for a long time. But you can't beat yourself up like that.”

If he had been at the high school track, he said, “certainly if she had screamed or yelled I would have heard it. But the Lord works — well, that wasn't where I was supposed to be.”

After the killing, Fuller said he joined other parents in roaming the hallways of the school during and between classes, as a way to reassure their children that they were safe. Weyerhaeuser gave him time off to raise money to build a memorial on the school's campus, and he commissioned an artist to sculpt a bench accompanied by a pile of books, a pair of ballet slippers and a necktie — the last because the week before she died, Yarborough won an ugly necktie contest.

The idea for the memorial came about “simply from talking to the parents and saying we ought to do something,” Fuller said.

When the news about the apparent Mayflower link came out, Fuller spoke with his daughter Elizabeth, who was one of Yarborough's best friends and who now lives in Kentucky.

“It's encouraging, but she has mixed emotions,” Fuller said. “It's emotional when you bring it up. We've been hoping and praying for a break in the case.”

Skeleton’s poor teeth could be clue to ID

Grant County detectives are asking for help identifying a man found dead with a single gunshot wound last month.

The man's skeletal remains were found Nov. 23 near O'Sullivan Dam in southeast Grant County. Detectives believe he may have been there for more than a year.  Forensic artist Natalie Murry produced a sketch of what the victim may have looked like based on an analysis by The King County Medical Examiner's Office.

The man is believed to have been white or Hispanic, about 35 years old and 5-foot-1 to 6-foot-1, according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office. His teeth were in poor condition and his two front teeth were affixed with silver dental caps. One tooth was broken beneath the cap.

The victim was wearing a Phat Farm long-sleeved shirt and short-sleeved shirt, as well as Route 66 dark denim jeans with a 28 waist size. He had an insulated, tan and orange vest and wore a black stocking cap and size 8 1/2 block shoes with Velcro closures.

“Please keep in mind the man's actual hair length and color, facial hair or skin complexion may have been different since it was not possible to determine those features,” according to a news release.

Anyone with possible information on the man is asked to call Detective Kim Cook at (509) 754-2011 ext. 471, or email crimetips@co.grant.wa.us. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Suspects plead not guilty to ‘07 murder

Three young people arrested for the 2007 shooting death of a 30-year-old Spokane man pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday in Superior Court.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead, 20; (left) Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and Marc A. Anderson, 20, (right) each are charged with a single count of first-degree murder.

  Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder of Daniel J. Burgess during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.

Burgess was shot to death on Nov. 12, 2007 while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave. The three suspects remain in jail.

The murder investigation has led to two search warrants targeting controlled substances this month.

On. Nov. 3, detectives search a 2000 Buick LaSabre belonging to Martin-Armstead as part of a crack cocaine investigation. A confidential informant had bought crack cocaine from Martin-Armstead in July and August.

Martin-Armstead was driving the Buick when he was arrested on the murder charge. He told Detective Jeff Barrington that “he did sell crack cocaine but that he was not involved in any homicide,” according to a search warrant.

Barrington and Detective Kevin Langford seized only a box for a scale from the Buick. Five days later, Barrington went to an apartment at 202 E. Wedgewood Ave. to talk to Tyrone J. Carell about the homicide investigation.

Barrington said he saw a drug scale, marijuana bud and bong in the apartment, which smelled of marijuana. He came back less than two hours later with a search warrant, seizing suspected marijuana, paraphernalia, and a semi-automatic handgun.

Carell, who was targeted in the Hoopfest shooting in June 2010, has not been charged.

3 suspects appear on murder charges

Three young people arrested for the 2007 shooting death of a 30-year-old Spokane man appear in Superior Court Tuesday on first-degree murder charges.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead, 20; (left) Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and Marc A. Anderson, 20, (right) remain in Spokane County Jail after appearing before Judge Harold Clarke. 

Martin-Armstead was arrested last week after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder of Daniel J. Burgess during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008. Burgess was shot to death on Nov. 12, 2007 while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave. 

He already has felony convictions for a marijuana robbery that occurred two weeks before Burgess’ death. In that case, Martin-Armstead shot a juvenile in the buttocks with a .22 revolver. Burgess was shot in the chest with a .22 caliber bullet, according to court documents,

After Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24, police say he said things that were inconsistent with what he told detectives in 2008. He said he'd previously lied to police but still insisted that another man was responsible for the shooting, according to court documents.

He said he told people he and Anderson did the shooting “only to get some static,” or respect, documents say.

Martin-Armstead's lawyer, Kevin Griffin, said he plans to request a substantial reduction in his client's $1 million bond based on the facts of the case. Jaleesa Anderson's bond is $100,000. Marc Anderson's $250,000.

Man, 20, arrested for 2007 homicide

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a 2007 homicide.

 Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead remains in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond after appearing in court on Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel J. Burgess, 30.

An informant told detectives this month that Martin-Armstead had talked about his involvement in the case while in custody at the Spokane County Jail.

Read the rest of my story here.

Jury: Husband, stepson killed Reynolds

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The 1998 shooting death of a Washington state trooper was a homicide and the woman’s husband and stepson were responsible, an inquest jury concluded today.

The verdict drew gasps in a small Chehalis courtroom. It also ended a long campaign by Ronda Reynold’s mother, Barb Thompson, of Spokane, to prove her daughter’s death was not a suicide, as it was initially ruled.

Jurors did not specify why they suspected Ronda Reynolds’ husband, Ronald Reynolds, and her stepson, Jonathan Reynolds. The jury’s rulings were unanimous.

Read the rest of the story here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 4: Ruling changes in ex-trooper's death

Oct. 15, 2010: State trooper's death focus of Ann Rule book

Tips sought on prosecutor’s ‘01 slaying

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder walks into the Thomas C. Wales Conference Room at the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Wednesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder sought help from the public on Wednesday in renewed efforts by federal authorities to find the killer of an assistant U.S. attorney who was fatally shot through a window in his Seattle home.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales is believed to be the only federal prosecutor to die in the line of duty, although authorities have not established a motive in the 2001 slaying.

“We will never give up our search for the truth,” said Holder, who came to Seattle to reassure friends and family of his former colleague that the investigation remained active, even after 10 years.

He emphasized that new information was coming in on a regular basis. But law enforcement officials believe witnesses who hold the key to solving the crime possibly are too afraid to come forward.

Wales was 49 when he was killed on the night of Oct. 11, 2001, as he sat at his computer in the home in the Queen Anne neighborhood. The shots went through a window from his backyard.

The longtime federal prosecutor mostly handled white-collar crimes and had been active in a gun-control group.

His son, Tom Wales, told The Associated Press that anniversaries, like this 10th one, are for the public. They remember their dad every day, especially at happy times such as his sister's wedding earlier this month, he said.

“We're patient,” he said, a reference to the time that has passed since his father's death. “We know this kind of complicated investigation can take a very long time indeed.”

“Things have been progressing every year,” added Amy Wales, his sister.

In a video created for the case and in their comments to the media, both children said Wales was respected in his community and at his job, but he was primarily a great father.

Amy Wales urged witnesses to be brave and make an effort for justice, just as her father did during his career.

Tom Wales compared his father to the character Jimmy Stewart played in “It's a Wonderful Life,” and talked about the ways he affected other people's lives, from planting trees on the top of Queen Anne hill to climbing mountains with his children.

For a time, police and FBI focused on an airline pilot who was bitter over being prosecuted by Wales in a case involving the sale of helicopter parts. His home in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue was searched three times, but he was not charged.

A Bellevue gun dealer also was arrested as a material witness in the case because he had purchased parts for a handgun like the one used to kill Wales. A unique gun barrel had been used in the shooting.

The gun dealer was convicted in 2007, but the conviction was overturned in 2009.

Wales' killing remained a top priority of the FBI, said Gregory Fowler, the head of the bureau's office in Portland. The Justice Department has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to a conviction of the shooter.

“We know there are people out there who haven't come forward,” Fowler said. “Even the smallest clue may help.”

Cable TV show to feature Spokane case

The case of a retired Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who killed himself in Spokane after being accused of a 14-year-old murder will be featured on a cable TV show next weekend.

 A TV news crew found the body Ted Eugene Kirby, 54, in a pasture near his home at East 16th Avenue and South Carnahan Road in Spokane in July 1999. He was last seen alive on June 30, 1999, shortly after Los Angeles detectives investigating a 14-year-old murder came to Spokane to collect a saliva sample from him.

California investigators believe Kirby shot a sergeant, George Arthur, 37, to death in June 1985. Kirby was working as a deputy at the time.

The two men were reportedly romantically involved with the same woman at the time of the shooting, which occurred as Arthur was pulling his van onto southbound Interstate 5 in Los Angeles. Investigators believe Kirby was in the van with Arthur.

Arthur lost control of the car after he was shot, and it slammed into a freeway divider. Witnesses reported seeing someone crawl out of the wreckage and run away.

The crime remained a mystery until investigators were able to match DNA evidence discovered near Arthur's wrecked van to Kirby and obtained a new sample in 1999.

Kirby worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department until 1996, when he retired to south Spokane with his wife.

He had been working part-time as a baggage handler at Spokane International Airport when Los Angeles detectives approached him.

Los Angeles issued a warrant days before his body was found charging Kirby with captial murder.

Sunday at 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery will air “Blood on the Badge,” an hour-long episode of “Unusual Suspects” that explores the Kirby case and includes interviews with the victim’s coworkers and fellow officers with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.Find the channel here.

Past coverage:

July 15, 1999: TV crew finds suspected cop killer's body

July 14, 1999: Local man flees Los Angeles murder probe

Donations wanted for fatal fire victim

An account has been created to raise money for the family and funeral expenses of a 67-year-old woman killed in a fire at her northeast Spokane home last week.

The fire at 4128 E. Princeton Ave. destroyed the home where Inez L. Williams lived.

Family members are hoping to raise funds to pay for Williams' memorial service and burial and for the clean up of the charred remains of Williams’ home.

“Everything’s for Grandma,” said Melissa Hebert, 19.

Williams was an animal lover who knew tragedy well - her other son, Terry Palm, was killed in 2002 in a murder case that remains unsolved.

Williams is pictured in 2008 with a photo of Palm.

Fire officials say Williams died of smoke inhalation July 15 after her cigarette ignited her oxygen supply. Several pets, including at least two dogs, died in the fire.

Donations can be made at any Numerica Credit Union under the account “Memorial account for Inez Williams.”

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