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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Fairchild Air Force Base

Bird’s eye view of missing man formation

Air One, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter unit, shot this video Saturday of biplanes flying in the missing man formation as they passed over the Torchlight parade in downtown Spokane in honor of the three Fairchild airmen killed in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. Here's the video:

Jury acquits ex-survival instructor of rape

A former survival instructor smiled Wednesday as a Spokane jury read its decision to exonerate him of three counts of first-degree rape.

Michael W. Fassbender, 32, asked his attorney, Christian Phelps, if he was free to go and left with his friends and family.

Fassbender declined comment, but Phelps said, “The evidence wasn’t there for a conviction. From the beginning, Mr. Fassbender denied these allegations and chose to go to trial despite the enormous penalties he would have received if convicted.”

Most of the 11-man, one-woman jury also declined comment, but one of them said in passing, “It was a difficult decision.”

Read the rest of Thomas Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

June 15: ‘I know I never raped her,’ suspect testifies

June 10: National security issues in rape trial

June 9: Hostage specialist’s trial begins

Dec. 4: Rape suspect faces more charges

Nov. 3: Out on bail, accused rapist pleads not guilty

Oct. 21: Man accused of rape at Fairchild Air Force Base

‘I know I never raped her,’ suspect testifies

When a survival instructor accused of rape broke military policy by bringing a woman into a secure compound, he was in the midst of a “great evening” with a flirtatious date who seemed interested in everything he did, he testified Monday.

“Everything about her was saying she was excited to be here, and she wanted to be here,” Michael W. Fassbender, told jurors in his Spokane County Superior Court trial.

Fassbender, 32, will continue testifying today in what is expected to be the last day of his trial on three counts of aggravated first-degree rape and second-degree assault in connection with an Oct. 19 encounter at a restricted Fairchild Air Force Base facility.

“I know I never raped her. I know that in my heart,” he said. “But it’s pretty apparent from sitting over there watching her that she believes it.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 10: National security issues in rape trial

June 9: Hostage specialist’s trial begins

Dec. 4: Rape suspect faces more charges

Nov. 3: Out on bail, accused rapist pleads not guilty

Oct. 21: Man accused of rape at Fairchild Air Force Base

Rape trial’s crime scene is military facility

National security questions have been raised during the Spokane rape trial of a civilian contractor who, according to court testimony, took a woman he just met over the Internet into one of the military’s most secure facilities.

Asked outside the courtroom Wednesday if the U.S. Air Force had requested that she refrain from talking about features inside the facility, Deputy Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund said: “They are working with us.”

Read Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

June 8: Fairchild survival center rape trial begins

Dec. 4: Rape suspect faces more charges

Nov. 3: Out on bail, accused rapist pleads not guilty

Oct. 21: Man accused of rape at Fairchild Air Force Base

Trial begins today in Fairchild rape case

Opening statements are set for this afternoon in the trial of a man accused of raping a woman in a Fairchild Air Force Base interrogation room.

Michael W. Fassbender, 32, is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree rape and one count of second-degree assault with sexual motivation.

Prosecutors say the alleged Oct. 20 attack was “committed with deliberate cruelty,” and Fassbender “demonstrated an extreme lack of remorse,” according to court documents. Fassbender is accused of raping a woman after meeting her though an online dating service and dining at an Airway Heights restaurant.

The two reportedly drank a bottle of wine before Fassbender showed her torture devices and took her into a room, “where he told her he was such a good interrogator, that he could get information out of anybody,” documents allege. Fassbender is accused of choking the woman into unconsciousness and slapping her during separate sexual assaults in the interrogation room that lasted for “an extended period of time,” according to court documents.

Fassbender is on leave from his job as a civilian instructor at Fairchild’s survival school, where he is employed through SERE Solutions, a Spokane-based company that provides contracted instructors.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last five days.

Past coverage:

Dec. 4: Rape suspect faces more charges

Nov. 3: Out on bail, accused rapist pleads not guilty

Oct. 21: Man accused of rape at Fairchild Air Force Base

Man accused of rape at Fairchild

An employee with Fairchild Air Force Base’s Survival Training Center is accused of raping a woman in an interrogation room.

Michael W. Fassbender, 32, is in Spokane County Jail on $20,000 bail after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court via video Wednesday on one count of first-degree rape.

Deputies responded to Fairchild about 1 a.m. Tuesday, where a woman said Fassbender had choked her into unconscious while raping her and that “she feared for her life,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Deputies found blood on a desk and chair in an interrogation room at the Survival Training Center, and the woman reportedly had red marks and bruises on her arms, chest and legs, according to the affidavit.

Fassbender, who a public defender said has no criminal history, is an employee with SERE Solutions, a Spokane-based company that provides contracted instructors to the military.

A company representative could not be reached for comment.

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