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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: felony

Baumrucker trial pushed to next year

A federal judge on Tuesday granted a joint request to push the trial of Matthew Baumrucker, the Spokane County Jail inmate tied to former Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Marriya Wright.

Baumrucker, 31, remains in custody at the jail on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Wright faces a charge in Spokane County District Court of rendering criminal assistance, a misdemeanor, and her next court date is scheduled for next month.

Wright told federal investigators earlier this year she provided Baumrucker, who has been convicted of multiple felonies, with a photograph of herself in a bikini at a bodybuilding competition, according to court records. A request to her attorney to describe the nature of her relationship with Baumrucker has gone unanswered.

Baumrucker's cell was searched in April after a jail guard reported seeing Wright visit the 31-year-old frequently, though she was not involved in his case. Wright told investigators she met Baumrucker while prosecuting a domestic violence case against him.

A trial on the firearm charge was scheduled to being next week in a Spokane federal courtroom, but Judge Fred Van Sickle pushed that date to February. Federal prosecutors indicated a new indictment on additional charges will likely be filed next month. Baumrucker has asked that all evidence discovered in the case, including Brady v. Maryland material on any of the investigators involved in his case, be provided.

Pair of alleged ‘best friend’ teenage car thieves arrested

A pair of teenagers accused of stealing multiple cars they dumped when the gas ran out are both in jail facing auto and firearm theft charges.

Eli Olson, 19, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday after police pulled him over driving a Dodge SUV that had been reported stolen, along with a .45 caliber handgun that had been in the vehicle at the time it was taken. Olson said he was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest and that he'd stolen the car along with 18-year-old Austyn Witcher, who is “like a brother to him,” according to court documents.

In a subsequent interview, Olson said he and Witcher stole five vehicles that had been reported stolen by “punching the ignition,” manipulating the starter so that it can be engaged by a screwdriver, according to court documents. The two ditched the stolen vehicles when they stopped running and broke into another nearby car, their preference being Dodge and Nissan model cars, Olson said.

Witcher was subsequently arrested driving a 2000 Dodge truck that had also been reported stolen. Investigators recovered a gun in his belongings at a girlfriend's apartment, but the .45 handgun is thought to have been sold on the West Side, earning Witcher an additional money laundering charge.

Bail was set for Olson and Witcher on their charges at $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.

$17 records dispute reaches state Appellate Court

A disagreement between Spokane County prosecutors and a man facing a felony harassment charge over a 911 call recording costing $17 was decided by a three-member panel of the Washington state Court of Appeals this week.

“Neither party, out of principle, will budge one cent,” wrote Judge George B. Fearing in a decision handed down Thursday. The court ordered Daniel Lee Brown must pay the fee to get a copy of the phone call that sent him to jail on suspicions he'd threatened to kill his girlfriend's new beau in January 2012.

Brown had argued his requirement to pay for the record violated his state constitutional rights as a criminal defendant. Prosecutors countered Brown filed his appeal of a trial court order “to make a point” and asked rhetorically, “is the defendant entitled to get anything he wants for free?”

Brown is fighting accusations he sent text messages to an ex-girlfriend who was staying with another man at his apartment. The man called police, a recording which has prompted the latest legal challenge. Brown was arrested outside the apartment complex and found with two firearms, including a loaded handgun in Brown's pants pocket. Brown admitted to police he'd sent threatening text messages, according to court documents.

Fearing and two colleagues sided with prosecutors and threw out Brown's request to dismiss the case or suppress the recordings at trial. Brown's trial was put on hold in June 2013 to give the appellate court time to reach a decision. He is not in custody, according to jail records.

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