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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: grand juries

Jury indicts DSHS worker for child porn

A state social services employee arrested on child pornography charges April 17 has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Darrell J. Rogers, 51, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of distribution of child pornography. The charges carry five years to 20 years in prison and registration as a sex offender if convicted. 

Rogers, a married father with no criminal history, was allowed to leave jail a few days after his arrest after undergoing a mental health assessment.

A prosecutor said the material federal agents downloaded from Rogers, who licenses foster homes for children, is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.

Jury indicts man for cop’s stolen gun

A felon suspected of stealing a handgun from a Spokane County sheriff's detective's squad car last April has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

 James W. Peterschick, 29, faces up to 10 years in federal prison for felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful concealing and storing stolen ammunition and unlawful possession and sale of a stolen firearm.

Investigators believe Peterschick smashed out a window on Detective Leroy Fairbanks' government-issued vehicle April 21 at 5830 N. Division St. and stole fishing poles and a backpack containing electronics, a Glock handgun, handcuffs, a flashlight, badge and IDs for the Sheriff’s Office and FBI.

A jail inmate looking for a break on drug charges told detectives of a dumpster at Garland Avenue and Post Street where most of the items had been dumped.

Peterschick, who was arrested in February 2010 for a suspected burglary spree in Pullman, was released from jail after no charges were filed but has been in custody since March on new drug charges.

A grand jury indicted him on the federal charges today in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

The sergeant at arms of the Washington chapter of the Hells Angels has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Ricky W. Jenks, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after the jury indicted him in U.S. District Court for felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty to the indictment on Friday and remains in the Spokane County Jail without bond.

Jenks, whose felony convictions include manslaughter, was the only suspect arrested at the clubhouse after investigators found eight firearms. The five other men at the clubhouse during the March 3 raid were from out of town and are not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, prosecutors say.

One of those men, Hells Angel member Jameal A. Hadeed, has claimed ownership of five of the eight firearms, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Another, Travis I. Vanweerdhuizen has claimed ownership of one.

But prosecutors have said four of the five men with Jenks at the clubhouse arrived in Spokane via airplane and did not check firearms.

Prosecutors are refusing to release the affidavit that authorized the search because it “contains material regarding an ongoing investigation,” documents said.

Another Hells Angel arrested March 4, Michael R. Fitzpatrick, 33, was jailed on a marijuana charge but released the next day.

Jury indicts 2 longtime meth dealers

Two longtime Spokane methamphetamine dealers have been indicted by a federal grand jury. 

Wheeler Joseph Paavola (left) and William Troy Tomblin (right) are charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine.

Both men face at least 20 years in prison and 10 years probation because of prior drug convictions.

Paavola has at least eight felony methamphetamine convictions dating back to 2001. He's been to state prison at least four times, most recently in 2008 after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

In 2007, he and his then-girlfriend were arrested after police investigating a domestic violence report found them with meth. Their 2- month old child was put in foster care.

Tomblin has previous drug and stolen property convictions and was sentenced to 39 months in state prison in 2006 for manufacturing methamphetamine. Neither man has appeared in U.S. District Court on the new charge yet.

Deal possible in Barefoot Bandit case

SEATTLE (AP) — The attorney for the teenager accused of being the “Barefoot Bandit” is working with prosecutors to negotiate a plea deal the lawyer says could involve using movie- or book-deal profits to compensate the victims of an alleged two-year, cross-country crime spree.

Through his lawyer, defendant Colton Harris-Moore, 19, pleaded not guilty this morning to federal charges that include the theft of a small plane in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, last fall.

He also pleaded not guilty to four other federal charges for an alleged cross-coutnry crime spree that ended with his arrest in a stolen boat in the Bahamas

“He’s very reluctant to make a dime off this, he really is,” said his lawyer, John Henry Browne (pictured). 

However, Browne said that when he told his client that money from movie or book deals could be used to repay victims — and incidentally win him a more favorable plea deal, with less time behind bars — “that changed his mind a little bit.”

The U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle declined to comment on whether it is negotiating a possible plea deal with Harris-Moore. 

The “Barefoot Bandit” moniker was coined after a thief committed some of the crimes without socks or shoes and gained a big following on the Internet.

Harris-Moore is accused of leading authorities on a cat-and-mouse game in pilfered cars, boats and small planes after allegedly escaping a halfway house south of Seattle in 2008. This year he made a daring cross-country dash that ended four months ago after he allegedly stole a plane in Indiana, crash-landed it in the Bahamas and was captured by Bahamian police at gunpoint in a stolen boat.

Harris-Moore, who was indicted by a grand jury last week, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler on Thursday wearing prison khakis over an orange shirt. He stated his name and year of birth, and frequently looked down during the brief hearing.

He told the judge he understood the charges against him — interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, a stolen firearm and a stolen vessel, as well as being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate.

Browne entered the not guilty plea on Harris-Moore’s behalf. Afterward, the attorney told reporters that discussions are in the early stages on a possible deal that could resolve federal and state charges against Harris-Moore.

Not guilty pleas are typical at this stage, even if defendants later intend to change their pleas.

Four of the five counts against Harris-Moore carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison, and Browne said that realistically his client could be looking at anywhere from four to 12 years if convicted. Trial was set for Jan. 18.

The federal charges stem from a spate of crimes in late 2009 and early this year, when Harris-Moore is accused of flying a stolen plane from Anacortes, in northwestern Washington, to the San Juan Islands; stealing a pistol in eastern British Columbia; stealing a plane from a Bonners Ferry hangar where authorities found bare footprints on the floor and wall, and flying it to Granite Falls, Wash., where it crashed after running out of fuel; and stealing a 32-foot boat in southwestern Washington and taking it to Oregon.(The plane in Bonners Ferry was owned by a cattle rancher)

From Oregon, authorities said, the bandit hopscotched his way across the U.S., frequently stealing cars from the parking lots of small airports, until he made it to Indiana, where he stole another plane and made for the Bahamas.

In all, Harris-Moore, a self-taught pilot, is suspected of more than 70 crimes across nine states.

A possible plea deal by Harris-Moore would require the consent of prosecutors in other jurisdictions.

Some, including Greg Banks, the prosecutor in Island County, where Harris-Moore grew up and where he was first arrested at age 12, have indicated they want Harris-Moore to answer for local crimes in their courts, rather than in one overarching plea in federal court in Seattle.

If those prosecutors don’t want to cooperate, “I’ll bankrupt them,” Browne said, citing the expense of putting on a high-profile trial in small, rural counties.

The assertion drew a chuckle from Banks.

“I’ve had calls all morning about whether a jury trial over a bunch of burglaries is going to bankrupt our county, and the answer is no,” Banks said. “It was a funny thing for him to say.”

Banks, however, said he wouldn’t rule out agreeing to a global plea deal if it meant any profits could be used to repay victims, but he noted the complexity of working out such a deal. And, he said, Harris-Moore wouldn’t necessarily need to sell his story to pay restitution.

“He’s a fairly industrious young man,” Banks said. “By the time he gets out of custody he’ll probably be able to get a job and make some money. He’s talented.”

Browne said Harris-Moore has been in solitary confinement at the Federal Detention Center south of Seattle, where he’s been drawing airplane designs and reading about aircraft and nature. He’s received letters from his mother and aunt, but few visits, and he’s not interested in getting out of solitary, Browne said.

“He’d rather stay where he is, which is rather unusual,” the lawyer said.

Grand jury indicts Barefoot Bandit

A federal grand jury has indicted a notorious ex-teen fugitive for the theft of a small plane in Bonners Ferry last fall.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, faces five charges in U.S. District Court in Seattle for an alleged crime spree that began after he escaped from a group home in April 2008, according to an indictment filed today.

“The grand jury action today is an important step in holding Colton Harris-Moore accountable for his criminal conduct,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny A. Durkan said in a prepared statement.

Harris-Moore is charged with interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft for allegedly stealing a Cessna 182 on Sept. 29, 2009, from the Boundary County Airport, then crash-landing it near Granite Falls, Wash., after it ran out of fuel. The $340,000 plane was owned by a Bonners Ferry cattle rancher.

The teen is charged with piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate for a flight he made in a stolen plane from Anacortest to Eastsound, Wash., on Feb. 10, and with interstate transportation of a stolen vessel for allegedly stealing a boat in Ilwaco, Wash., on May 31 and taking it to Oregon.

He also faces two gun charges for a Jennings .22 caliber pistol and for a .32 caliber pistol stolen in British Columbia and recovered near Granite Falls.

The gun and theft charges are punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Piloting an aircraft without an airman’s certificate is punishable by up to three years in prison.

Harris-Moore remains in federal custody in western Washington. He gained international attention as the Barefoot Bandit before his arrest in the Bahamas in July after a high-speed boat chase.

Past coverage:

July 23: Bandit’s lawyer: He was scared to death

Oct. 7, 2009: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

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