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Posts tagged: first appearances

Gunpoint Zip Trip robbery netted $66

A holdup at a convenience store netted the gunman and two accomplices $22 each, according to court documents.

Joseph R. Giordanella, 24, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Monday after being arrested last week for the Sept. 29 robbery of the Zip Trip, 3030 E. Euclid Ave.

But court documents show police don’t think Giordanella was at the crime scene, nor did he get any money out of the holdup. 

Instead, they say he supplied the .380 caliber gun used by Christopher R. Walinski, who is charged with first-degree robbery along with Justin J. Ellery, 24, (right). A third accomplice is named in court documents but hasn’t been charged.

Walinski, 25, told police Giordanella had let him borrow the gun. Giordanella, who is in jail on $35,000 bond, told police he didn’t know where it was, according to court documents.

“(Detectives) advised Giordanella that if he was untruthful regarding the location of the firearm, he would be charged with robbery,” according to the documents “…Giordanella said he was contacting an attorney and that he had not given Walinski the handgun and instead the group had stolen it from him.”

Giordanella faces the same charges as Walinski and Ellery: first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, which stems from a clerk having a gun pointed at her.

Ellery also is accused of a gunpoint robbery at Papa Johns, 900 East Indiana, on Sept. 28. Detectives say he spent the $160 he got on heroin. Walinski told police Ellery planned to rob the Zip Trip but “(w)ussed out” and stayed in the car, according to court documents.

See videos of the Zip Trip robbery here.

The clerks described the gunman has having pale skin and “very pretty blue eyes.” The accused gunman, Walinski, is pictured to the left. You decide on the eyes.

‘I lost it,’ accused mother says

A woman accused of assaulting her child at the downtown bus plaza told a social worker she was under stress and “lost it” but loves her kids.

Keyana L. Key, 28, is in jail on $20,000 bond after her first appearance Monday in Spokane County Superior Court on an assault charge. She was arrested Friday at her sister’s apartment on Lincoln Street, one day after police released video of the assault early Wednesday at the Spokane Transit Authority plaza.

The video shows a woman police say is Key grab a 3-year-old boy by his jacket and throw or kick him to the ground. The boy was limp and lethargic when police arrested Key, and medics suspect he may have a head injury from the incident, according to court documents.

Prosecutors are waiting to see how badly the boy is hurt before deciding what level of assault charge to file against Key. She was jailed on a police recommendation for a second-degree assault charge.

Read the rest of my story here. Read past coverage here.

Driver in crash has prior DUI arrests

A driver accused of a hit-and-run crash in downtown Spokane was cited for drunken driving two months before police say he struck a woman after drinking at several bars Friday night.

Cameron B. Olsness, 24, had “at least five shots of Tequila and multiple mixed drinks” before he struck a woman at Browne Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard, according to court documents filed Monday.

Detectives say Olsness’ girlfriend told them this after Olsness was arrested following a foot chase. He remains in Spokane County Jail on $50,000 bail after appearing in Superior Court on felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault charges Monday.

The 10:30 p.m. crash, one of three car-versus-pedestrian accidents in Spokane last weekend, left the victim, identified in court documents as 50-year-old Elain Price-Cornell, face down on Spokane Falls Boulevard, bleeding heavily from the mouth and nose, police said.

A Spokane County Sheriff’s helicopter helped catch Olsness after he ditched his car in downtown Spokane and ran, police said. Price-Cornell is in critical condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Medics told police they didn’t expect her to survive.

Police are looking for another car that may have hit Price-Cornell as she lay in the roadway.

Read the rest of my story here.

Robbery suspects, STA mother due in court today

Two suspects in a home invasion robbery in northeast Spokane are to appear in court today on two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of first-degree robbery.

Detectives say Darius D. Toussiant, 18, (right) and Glen A. Akers, 19, (also known as Jeremiah A. Smith) attacked a woman in her East Mansfield Avenue apartment Nov. 15. The attack may have been linked to an ongoing domestic violence dispute. Read my story from Saturday here.

Also on today’s first appearance docket is Keyana L. Key, the woman accused of assaulting her child at the downtown bus plaza. Her sister, Aletha Robinson, is out of jail and scheduled to appear on a first-degree rendering criminal assistance charge.

For updates from the courtroom, check my Twitter page after 1:30 p.m.

Another charge for Oxy robbery suspect

A man charged with robbing two pharmacies is now accused of trying to flee from police before his arrest. 

Aaron M. Weyrauch, 27, (right, in 2007) appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video Wednesday, two months after a police chase that ended in his arrest.

Weyrauch faces a felony charge of attempting to elude police along with two counts of second-degree robbery in connection with OxyContin heists Aug. 24 at the Shopko at 4515 S. Regal St., and Sept. 5 at the Rite Aid across the street, 4514 S. Regal St. (Read more here.)

His bond for the eluding charge was set at $10,000 Wednesday. He has a $30,000 bond for the robbery charges.

Police stopped Weyrauch Sept. 15 near 3rd Avenue and Crestline Street, but he sped away and abandoned his 2005 Volvo near 33rd Avenue and Grand Boulevard, according to court documents filed this week.

Weyrauch was arrested as he hid in the back of another car. With him was Dustin J. Rockstrom, 26, who also is accused of the pharmacy robberies.

Rockstrom is out of jail on $30,000 bond. Weyrauch is in jail on $30,000 bond for the robbery charges and $10,000 for the eluding charge, which was set today.

Weyrauch’s convictions include second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful imprisonment (domestic violence) and third-degree domestic violence assault, second degree possession of stolen property and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance - cocaine.

Before his criminal activity made the paper, Weyrauch (left, in 1997) was profiled in the Spokesman-Review Valley Voice as a successful skier who qualified for the Junior Olympics. A ski coach was impressed with Weyrauch’s dedication to the sport.

Read that story here.

Suspects arrested in home invasion robbery

Masked gunmen pistol whipped a woman in her Spokane Valley apartment late Monday before forcing her into a closet as her child slept in another room.

The men stole a cell phone, TV and computer after demanding marijuana and “everything you have” from the 25-year-old woman, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The late-night home invasion at 12423 E. Mansfield Ave. launched an investigation that saw one suspect arrested during a traffic stop shortly after the robbery and another nabbed by the SWAT team (pictured above) after he was hit with tear gas Tuesday.

Darius D. Toussiant, 18, (pictured right at his first court appearance with Deputy Prosecutor Travis Phelps and Public Defender Kari Reardon) and Glen A. Akers, 19, are in Spokane County Jail on charges of first-degree robbery.

Read the rest of my story here.

Brothers arrested in road rage attack

One man grabbed her phone before she could call 911, breaking her hand in front of her husband and grandchildren as he screamed at the family for driving too slowly.

The other ripped the license plate off his own car in an apparent attempt to conceal his and the other attacker’s identities after cutting short the family’s leisurely drive to look at neighborhood Halloween decorations.

As her husband sat in their car, unable to leave his oxygen supply because of medical problems, Deborah Logsdon asked a neighbor to call police.

The assailants, she said, were furious at her for her unhurried pace.

Read the rest of my story here.

Driver in jail attack: ‘Everyone was crazy’

The attack on the Spokane County Jail garage door appears to have been premeditated.

Several days ago, Dustin P. Leeds, 31, told a resident at Oak Hill, a group home for people with mental illness, “that he was going to steal his mother’s car and drive it into the courthouse,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

On Sunday, police say Leeds drove his mother’s stolen 2001 Lincoln Navigator through a parking lot, over a curb and around a barrier protecting an overhead door leading to the jail booking area.

Leeds told a deputy that he drove the Navigator into the jail “because everyone was crazy and he wanted someone to listen to him,” according to a court documents.

Leeds remains in jail after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court via video today on charges of car theft, malicious mischief and reckless endangerment.

Accused bank robber experienced in crime

A man accused of robbing a Spokane Valley bank last week served time in federal prison for robbing five banks on the West Side in 2005.

Christopher J. Cook, 42, drove his mother’s car to AmericanWest Bank, 15606 E. Sprague Ave., on Thursday and left with cash he demanded from an employee, according to court documents.

Cook appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video today after detectives recognized the Suzuki he was in as the car used in the robbery and arrested him on Friday. The personalized license plate was PC, Cook’s mother’s initials.

Cook’s mother, Phyllis Cook of Bothell, told detectives her son had been “on a three-day drug binge” and identified him through surveillance video from the bank, according to court documents.

Cook’s federal probation officer and wife also identified him as the robber, according to the documents. Cook is in Spokane County Jail on $10,000 bond and a federal probation hold.

He was convicted of five counts of bank robbery and sentenced to 57 months in prison in December 2005.

He robbed five banks in Marysville, Bothell, Snohomish, Everett and Edmonds between April 12 and May 9, 2005, stealing more than $7,000.

Court documents show the method in those robberies was similar to the method used in Thursday’s crime. The robber hands the teller a note demanding money but does not display a weapon.

Cook’s federal probation transferred to Eastern Washington in April, according to federal court documents.

Pizza place robber also hit Zip Trip, police say

 A man accused of robbing a Spokane pizza place is now thought to have helped rob a convenience store the next day.

Spokane police say Justin J. Ellery, 24, (left) waited in a car as Christopher R. Walinski, 25, (bottom right) robbed the Zip Trip at 3030 E. Euclid at gunpoint Sept 29 at 11:12 p.m. Ellery was arrested Oct. 31 for a holdup Sept. 28 at Papa Johns, 900 East Indiana. He’s been in Spokane County Jail since, now charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. His bail’s at $80,000. 

Walinkski was arrested Wednesday and is in jail on $50,000. Both had their first court appearances Thursday.

Detectives were able to solve this case based on information gathered by patrol Officer Casey Jones,” according to a news release from the Spokane Police Department. “The suspects wore masks and did not leave any fingerprints, but because of excellent police work they were still caught.”

Court papers show the case broke when Jones spoke to a confidential informant during an unrelated investigation.

“CS#1 said Justin said he had done something bad and asked “Well did you hear about the (pizza place) up north that got robbed? Well I did that,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed Oct. 29.

Detective Brian Hamond compared a photo of Ellery to witness descriptions and spoke with a couple of other people who named Ellery as the robber. One woman said Ellery got $160 in the robbery and spent it on heroin, Hamond said.

The accusations against Ellery and Walinski show the series of robberies in the county is likely connected to several groups or individuals instead of a large crime ring. The Sheriff’s Office arrested three men Oct. 28 in connection with a robbery at a Zip Trip at 711 W. Hastings.

Detectives say the men appeared to be preparing to rob another convenience store when they were arrested and are being questioned in other robberies. (Read more here.)

Man who eluded feds back in court

A man who eluded federal agents for nearly a month was due in Spokane County Superior Court today, accused of stealing his mother’s car and filling it up with stolen gas while on the run this summer.

Anthony E. Burke, alias Anthony Garver, was sentenced to just under eight months in federal prison in September.

The 21-year-old was arrested July 31 after he never showed up to be taken to the Geiger Work Release Center after he was released from federal prison in California. Federal agents tracked footprints near his mother’s home along East Offmy Lane, west of Newman Lake, and found Burke hiding under a camouflage netting. Burke apologized profusely in a letter to Judge Edward Shea filed Sept. 17.

“Every single day I regret not showing up because I destroyed my chance to be free and to go to school, establish myself, and get it over with and move on with my life,” Burke wrote. “Not to mention prove that I can succeed in completing my supervised released without problems, and also prove that I am not the person that they said I am.”

Court papers filed as part of his federal weapons conviction paint Burke as a troubled young man haunted by his step-father’s abuse and angry at authorities for calling him mentally ill.

“I had the notion that the deck would always be stacked against me,” Burke wrote. “A good portion of my concerns were brought about by stories I was told by people who’ve been on supervised release. However, when I look back I regret being influenced by them because they were probably not credible.”

Burke’s recent charges in Spokane County allege he stole his mother and stepfather’s truck while on the run, then filled it up with nearly $70 in gas he didn’t pay for and drove to Kalispel, Mt.

Read a previous story here.

Man accused of helping hide murder suspect cleared

A man arrested on suspicion of trying to help hide an accused double murderer had his charges dropped because of a lack of evidence.

But Mark H. Toner, 33, remains in jail on a drug charge for methamphetamine police say was in his car when he was arrested. He appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video Friday on one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Felony first-degree rendering criminal assistance and first-degree witness intimation charges were dismissed against Toner Oct. 14 after Merle W. Harvey told police he didn’t know Toner and had never met the woman who said Toner had tried to get her to hide Harvey.

Toner stayed in jail on a District Court warrant and was charged last week in connection methamphetamine found in his car, according to court documents.

While Spokane police Detective Chet Gilmore said some sort of confrontation happened between Toner and Sarah-Nicole Hill the night of the murders, Toner was not involved in the double homicide Sept. 26 and does not appear to even know Harvey, who’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Harvey, 27, and his girlfriend, Diane L. Richardson, 34, denied knowing Toner and Hill after they were arrested in Kennewick on Oct. 10. Their statements about what they’d done since the murders didn’t leave room for the confrontation involving Toner and Hill, Gilmore said.

Toner always denied having anything to do with the shooting deaths of Jack T. Lamere and Jacob J. Potter, but Hill had told police he showed up wanting her to help hide Harvey the night of the murders.

She called police, then said she’d received threatening text messages from Toner and was followed by him to a McDonald’s on the Newport Highway, according to the affidavit. She called police after Toner followed her inside the restaurant, according to the affidavit. Toner left, and she exited the store to find her friend’s truck’s tires slashed. A McDonald’s employee had written down Toner’s license plate.

The day Toner’s charges were dropped, Spokane police tested two baggies found in Toner’s Oldsmobile 2002 Alero that contained methamphetamine.

The drug bags were in a large black bag with electronic scales and about 100 other baggies, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Oct. 29.

Read past coverage here and here.

Second man arrested in July shooting

A man accused of attempted murder was arrested Sunday after more than three months on the run.

Michael “Mikey Mike” R. Gardner, 23, is due in Spokane Superior Court via video today after being booked into jail shortly before 10 p.m., according to jail records.

  Gardner and Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious, 38, are charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault for a July 24 shooting in south Spokane that began with a fight at a north town bar.

Two women were shot in an arm and in the chest, according to court documents. Lucious has been in jail since Oct. 18.

Read past coverage here and here.

Also arrested this weekend was accused armed robber Justin J. Ellery, who was booked into jail Saturday at 6:26 a.m.  Ellery is accused of robbing a pizza place.

Accused robber shot teen girl in 2004

Three men arrested for an armed robbery Wednesday night are being questioned about a string of robberies in Spokane County in the last month.

Nedzad Mesanovic, 20, (right) of Spokane; Miroslav Veselinovic, 22, of Spokane; and Reza Abghari, 26, of Colbert, were driving a dark Ford Taurus that a Spokane police officer recognized from a robbery report at the Zip Trip, 711 W. Hastings, at 11:15 p.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Abghari made headlines in 2004 after he shot his then-13-year-old girlfriend while pointing what he thought was an unloaded gun at her.

Last night’s bust was spurred by the watchful police officer.

In light of a recent string of robberies one after another, the officer began watching a convenience store at Francis Avenue and Elgin Street, where he spotted Taurus parked behind a fence nearby.

The men sped away but were stopped by several patrol officers who found cigars stolen in the robbery and “a realistic-looking pellet gun,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies brought the Zip Trip clerk to the traffic stop, where the clerk “identified Abgahri as the gunman and Mesanovic as the getaway driver,” according to the news release. A woman in the car at the time of the robbery was interviewed and released by the Sheriff’s Office.

The three men remain in Spokane County Jail after appearing in Superior Court today via video.

Mesanovic was wanted for malicious harassment and second-degree theft in February 2008, according to a Crime Stoppers news released that called his two-year criminal history “impressive.”

News archives show he spent three and a half months in jail after being found guilty of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and second-degree theft in February 2009.

Abghari was convicted of third-degree assault and a weapons charge and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in 2005 for shooting his 13-year-old girlfriend between the eyes “while pretending to be a gangster,” according to previously published reports.

Police said Abghari thought the gun was unloaded when he pulled the trigger. The girl was blinded in her right eye and left deaf in her right ear.

Read more here and here.

$25,000 bond for murder victim’s roomie

The roommate of a man found dead near Green Bluff remains in Spokane County Jail on a $25,000 bond after a court appearance Wednesday.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office issued a $250,000 warrant for Miguel A. Rodriguez Barbosa, 18, on a felony marijuana charge, but Judge Ellen Kalama Clark called the request bond “extraordinary” and imposed the lesser amount.

Barbosa, who was living in the country on a VISA, faces deportation for the felony charge and is being held with no bail on an immigration order.

The teen has family in Odessa, has no criminal history and works with his brother in Spokane cleaning repossessed homes, said his public defender, Jeremy Benson.

Barbosa was arrested Tuesday, one week after detectives found two-thirds of a pound of marijuana in the home he shared at 623 E. Vicksburg with homicide victim Jesus Torres Valdovinos, 25.

Barbosa told detectives he was being trained to take over Valdovinos’ marijuana business and had seen Valdovinos (left) give his supplier $85,000 the day before he was found shot to death.

No arrests have been made in the homicide. Read past coverage here.

Oxy robbery suspect pleads not guilty

A 20-year-old woman accused of robbing a pharmacy of OxyContin pleaded innocent to the charge today.

Ariel A. Arrieta is charged with first-degree robbery in connection with a pill heist at the Rite Aid at 5520 N. Division St. on Sept. 27. She appeared in court today with her private defense attorney, Chris Phelps, and remains in jail on $30,000 bond.

William E. Higgins, 21, (right) was booked into Spokane County Jail just after midnight Sunday on the same charge after police say he and Jed L. Boles, 31, were with Arrieta when she robbed the pharmacy. Higgins posted bond Monday night after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court.

Boles checked himself into Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to a probable cause affidavit, but a hospital representative said he wasn’t there today.

Arrieta also is a suspect in an attempted robbery Oct. 12 at the Rite Aid at Wandermere Mall. Read more here.

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.

Spokane man arrested in July shooting

A man accused of attempted murder is due in court today after nearly three months on the run.

Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious, 38, was booked into Spokane County Jail early Sunday morning in connection with a July 24 shooting in south Spokane that began with a fight at a north town bar.

Acting on a tip, police arrested Lucious early Sunday at a North Lincoln Street address, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

He’s to appear in Spokane County Superior Court via video this afternoon on two counts of first-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault.

A second suspect, Michael “Mikey Mike” R. Gardner, 23, remains at large, according to Crime Stoppers.

Spokane police say the men were involved in a fight that left two women with gunshots to their arm and chest. The victims were joined by two other women at Lefty’s when the argument ensued, and the group saw each other again at a party in the 2200 block of North Denver after the bar closed about 2 a.m., Lt. Dave McGovern said in July.

The five women left in a white car for Grant Park, where one received a call about another party at Hartson and Seventh Avenue. But when the women were driving there, they saw the woman from the earlier confrontations standing with others, two of whom police identified as Lucious and Gardner, near Seventh and Perry.

Witnesses reported 10 to 15 people involved in the fight.

The two women brawled, and Lucious shot one in the arm, according to police.

When the women tried to flee, they noticed a friend missing and went back for her, but Lucious shot her in the chest, police said.

Read past coverage here.

Also arrested this weekend was a teen charged with second-degree murder. Christopher Hooper was booked into jail Sunday at 12:20 p.m.

Young woman nabbed for Oxy robbery

 Spokane police have arrested a 5-foot-tall woman in connection with a Sept. 27 pharmacy robbery and believe she may have been struck with a metal bar this week in a thwarted attempt at a different store.

Ariel A. Arrieta, 20, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on one count of first-degree robbery in connection with an OxyContin holdup on Sept. 27 at a Rite Aid Pharmacy, 5520 N. Division St. She’s being held in Spokane County Jail on $30,000 bail.

Police said she is also a suspect in the attempted robbery Monday night at the Rite Aid at Wandermere. In that incident, a woman also described as 5-foot-tall handed an employee a note demanding OxyContin but was turned away when another employee hit her with a metal bar, causing her to run away.

A tip from a woman who said she’s twice helped Arrieta with her OxyContin addiction helped police identify her as a suspect, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“(She) not only noticed Ariel looked like the armed robber, but the robbery suspect in the video walked just like Ariel,” according to the affidavit.

Arrieta’s boyfriend told police a friend had given her a handgun and that person and two others drove with them to Spokane. The boyfriend waited in a parking lot for Arrieta and the two to return from the robbery, he told police.

“Ariel and the two unnamed coconspirators argued over who should get what quantity of the OxyContin,” according to the affidavit. “The three subjects eventually each took an amount of OxyContin.”

Watch a video of Arrieta allegedly in action here.

Video from the botched robbery Monday night hasn’t been released, but something tells me it might be worthy of

The only other unsolved pharmacy robbery occured at the Walgreens in Post Falls. Read about it here.

Oxy addict robbed elderly women, court docs say

OxyContin addiction drove a young man to rob elderly women in grocery store parking lots to support his habit, court documents allege.

Ryan X. Burgess, 21, was scheduled to plead innocent today to first-degree robbery, first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree robbery in connection with four incidents in late September.

In each of the cases, the victims said Burgess approached them in a grocery store parking lot and took their purses or demanded money.

One of the alleged victims is a 96-year-old woman who uses a walker, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Burgess told detectives his OxyContin addiction ruined his life and that he used all robbery proceeds to buy pills, according to the affidavit. He remains in Spokane County Jail. Burgess’ arraignment came the morning after a couple of strange OxyContin-related reports from law enforcement.

In the first case, a man was shocked with a Taser and arrested after trying to run from police investigating reports of two men preparing to rob the Rite Aid at Argonne and Mission.

Jason M. Kingsley, 28, was due in court today on one charge of third-degree assault against a law enforcement officer. His alleged accomplice remains at large.

In the second case, a would-be robber was hit in the head with a metal bar by an employee at Rite Aid, 12315 N. Highway 395.

The suspected robber, described as a woman wearing heavy makeup or of a Middle Eastern background, handed an employee a note claiming she had a gun and demanding the drug about 8:35 p.m.

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