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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: family ties

Charge dropped against 1 Pirtle brother

A Spokane man once accused of a baseball bat attack last May has been cleared of wrongdoing after several people said he wasn't present during the assault.

Prosecutors moved to dismiss a second-degree assault charge against Andrew Lee Elias Pirtle, 21, after detectives interviewed witnesses and found evidence supporting his alibi, said his public defender, Kevin Griffin.

Pirtle “wasn't even there” when a young man was beaten in Cannon Hill Park, 800 W. 19th Ave., on May 14, Griffin said. A judge agreed to the prosecution's request earlier this month.

Pirtle's older brother, Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle Jr., 23, still is charged with second-degree assault for the attack. He faces life in prison if convicted because of Washington's three-strikes law. He posted bond Nov. 16 but was arrested again last week on a new federal indictment charging him with felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of stolen firearms.

U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno on Monday ordered Jayce Pirtle to stay in jail without bail after hearing testimony from his mother, Debra Pirtle.

The Pirtles are the nephews of Blake Pirtle, who murdered two Burger King employees in Spokane Valley in 1992. His death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled law enforcement violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles claim police unfairly target them because of that case.

Grand jury indicts Pirtle for stolen guns

A member of a Spokane family that claims police target them because of their relation to a notorious double murderer was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury - the same day he left jail on $25,000 bond in an assault case.

Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle Jr., 23, who already is facing life in prison under Washington's three-strikes law for an assault charge, now faces two federal felony charges for three guns and 175 rounds of ammunition found in his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave. on July 8.

His probation officer found a .357 handgun after learning police were investigating Pirtle for a burglary, according to court documents. Spokane police obtained a search warrant and seized the handgun, along with two rifles.

Pirtle was arrested that day on a second-degree assault charge for an alleged baseball bat beating that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement in May. His brother, Andrew Lee Elias Pirtle, also is charged.

He has not yet been arraigned on the federal charges of felon in possession of firearms and ammo and unlawful possession of stolen firearms and ammo. The charges carry up to 10 years in prison, or at least 15 years if Pirtle is found to be an armed career criminal.

The Pirtles are the nephews of Blake Pirtle, who killed two Burger King employees in Spokane Valley 1992. His death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled law enforcement violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles claim police unfairly target them because of that case. Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe says the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns law enforcement attention.

Spokane dad arrested for selling coke

An unemployed Spokane father was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs after police found cocaine in his car during a traffic stop.

Thomas J. Boring's 7-year-old son was with him in his gray Ford pickup when a Spokane County sheriff's deputy stopped the vehicle near East Sprague Avenue and South Chronicle Road about 3:45 p.m., according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Deputy Jeff Thurman said Boring, 56, had tried to turn south on Chronicle in front of eastbound traffic but lurched back into the two-way turn lane to avoid a collision, Reagan said.

Boring was sweating and “extremely fidgety” with rapid speech when Thurman contacted him, Reagan said. He was arrested for driving with a suspended license, and Thurman found cocaine on him, then discovered a bag with another four packages of the drug on the truck's back floorboard.

Thurman also found a drug ledger in the vehicle; he says Boring lost his job in January and began selling cocaine in July to pay bills.

Boring said he'd just picked up his son “and that no drug sales occurred in his presence,” Reagan said.

Boring, who has a previous felony conviction for manufacturing a controlled substance, was booked into jail for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, third-degree driving while suspended. He also was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and failure to provide insurance. His brother picked up his son.

Brothers accused of gunpoint drug rip

Two brothers are accused of robbing a man at gunpoint after arranging a drug deal in a grocery store parking lot.

Jason D. Pegram, 30, and Kyle E. Pegram, 29, are in jail on robbery charges after they were arrested Sunday after a man told police he'd been robbed in the Fred Meyer parking lot at 400 S. Thor St. about 8:25 p.m.

Pegram told police he gave the victim a bag of white flour instead of drugs and received $180, but police believe he also threatened the victim with a gun.

Police searched an apartment at 803 E. Hartson Ave., where Jason Pegram lives with his mother. Police recovered a black BB gun from the home, which they say resembles a semi-automatic handgun.

Kyle Pegram denied involvement, but police say they developed information that connected him to the crime.

The brothers remain in jail on first-degree robbery charges.

Brothers charged in baseball bat attack

 Two brothers from a notorious Spokane family are accused of a baseball bat attack in a park that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement.

Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle Jr., 23, (right) and Andrew Lee Elias Pirtle, 21, (bottom left) were charged this week with second-degree assault for allegedly beating Luke Coulson with a bat in Cannon Hill Park, 800 W. 19th Ave., just after midnight on May 14. 

Coulson and his girlfriend were at the park with a group of friends when men approached with baseball bat and began striking him in the face. Witnesses told police the attack was retaliation for a previous assault.

Witnesses also told police that Jayce Pirtle picked one victim up by his neck and threw him backward before striking another man and breaking his right wrist, according to court documents.

Jayce Pirtle was arrested Friday when law enforcement searched his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave.

Pirtle's probation officer had found a .357 handgun in his apartment after learning that police were investigating him for a burglary. Spokane police obtained a search warrant and seized the handgun, along with two rifles.

Jayce Pirtle has previous convictions or second-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault and is in jail on $50,000 for the new charges. He's also held on a DOC warrant for violating his probation. Pirtle's previous convictions count against the three-strikes law. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on his latest assault charge.

Andrew Pirtle has been summonsed to court for an arraignment on the assault charge and is not in custody.

The Pirtles are the nephews of notorious Spokane double murderer Blake Pirtle, who killed two Burger King employees in 1992. His death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled Spokane police had violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles claim police unfairly target them because of that case.

Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns police attention.

“If they made a significant effort to clean up their act, then they wouldn't be getting our attention,” DeRuwe said. “Historically, some member of the family is committing a crime so they're receiving our attention.”'

Read more in tomorrow's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Charges: Thefts cost Seattle stores $6M

SEATTLE (AP) — The crime appeared petty on the surveillance video: a mother-daughter team of heroin-addict shoplifters nonchalantly wheeling a cart of boosted items through the open sliding doors of a grocery store.

But their arrest early last year led investigators to the organizers of a major, international theft operation, prosecutors say — one of two unrelated rings that cost Seattle-area stores an estimated $6.1 million in lost merchandise, money the chains try to recoup by raising prices for everyone else. The busted rings represent just a tiny fraction of what is an enormous regional and national problem, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told a news conference Thursday.

“What we are talking about today are people who direct armies of shoplifters,” Satterberg said.

Jason Moulton, a former FBI agent who heads local loss-prevention efforts at the Safeway grocery chain, has spent years lobbying law enforcement on the problem, and it was a workshop he conducted that prompted local police departments, including Normandy Park south of Seattle, to start paying closer attention. When a QFC grocery store reported thefts by the mother-daughter team, investigators from Normandy Park arrested them and joined police from neighboring Burien in launching an investigation.

Read the rest of the story by Associated Press writer Gene Johnson by clicking the link below.

Mud thwarts father-son theft suspects

A father and son became stuck in the mud Tuesday while leading police on an interstate chase after attempting to steal merchandise from the Wal-Mart just east of the Idaho-Washington border.

Michael R. Dyczok, 64, (left) and Michael Dyczok, Jr., 35, (right) were arrested near East Wellesley Avenue and North Harvard Road just before 11 p.m. after leading Post Falls police on a high-speed chase in a blue Volkswagen Jetta.

Post Falls police began watching Wal-Mart after an employee said the men had filled storage containers with merchandise earlier that day and placed them near the fire exit. Police saw the men grab the storage containers and flee through the fire exit, then speed away in the Jetta.  

But the father and son duo drove down a dead end road just across the Washington border and got stuck in mud, police say. Liberty Lake police assisted with the arrests.

Police say the Dyczoks threw a stolen X-Box from their car during the chase. It was recovered, along with other stolen merchandise located in the Jetta.

The men were booked into jail on charges of eluding police and tampering with evidence. The younger Dyczok also faces a charge of driving on a suspended California license.

Ormsby bros. on 2 sides of medical pot

There's an odd family dynamic in U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby's shut-down-or-face-federal-prosecution warning to Spokane-area medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday.

His younger brother, state Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane, pictured left), is among the Washington legislators trying to legalize and regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana in this state.

So as one brother readies teams of police and federal agents for potential raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that refuse to comply with orders to shut down, the other is trying to legitimize and control the growth of voter-approved pot use. 

Might be an interesting Easter gathering this year for the Ormsby family.

As for the legislative efforts in Olympia, Senate Bill 5073 is awaiting final approval in the state House, having already passed through the Ways and Means Committee with help from the younger Ormsby.

It's already passed the state Senate. Gov. Chris Gregoire has called for greater clarity in the state's medical marijuana law and has indicated she'll consider signing 5073 into law but wants to see the final version before committing herself.

Whether a legislative fix will be enough remains unclear, though.

The elder Ormsby is bound by federal law, which still considers all marijuana use illegal. It would take an act of Congress to change that.

Although Ormsby's boss, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, issued a directive in 2009 urging federal prosecutors to respect state medical marijuana laws, the memo appears primarily aimed at protecting individuals engaged in state-santioned personal use.

The attorney general's guidance on how to deal with commercial dispensaries is more ambiguous, arguing on the one hand that prosecutors respect state laws but on the other advising that “prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority.”

Two stabbings; one family

Last night, police found a man with stab wounds his mother said were inflicted by his girlfriend.

Today, a 35-year-old man was sentenced for the stabbing death of his cousin last year.

In each case, police responded to the same location - the 1400 block of West Boone. The men are brothers.

The story of the Ellenwood brothers stabbings begins in May 2008, when the oldest, Adrian, was arrested for stabbing his cousin to death.  

Last night, the eve of his sentencing, police found his younger brother, Michael J. Ellenwood, at the West Boone home after the men’s mother, Peggy Ellenwood, reported a stabbing you can read about here.

Ellenwood had tried washing the blood from wounds on his head, neck and lips and told police several different stories about how his injuries occurred, according to a search warrant.

That search warrant was used to search an apartment in the 1100 block of North Walnut, where police believe the stabbing occurred. Ellenwood’s girlfriend, Roxanne Wood, 27, is considered a “person of interest” in the case, police said.

A man who answered the phone at the Ellenwood home tonight said Michael Ellenwood was in good condition. Adrian Ellenwood’s sentencing this afternoon ended with the judge accepting his plea of not guilty because of insanity.

But, as Tom Clouse explains in a story you can read here, he’ll probably be in a mental hospital for the rest of his life.

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