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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: methadone

Police: Man helped friend commit suicide

An acquaintance of a Spokane man who police believe took his own life last summer is now accused of assisting in the suicide.

Family members of William P. Pickard, 38, say Melvin Alephus Gillespie, 40, lied to police for months after Pickard’s death, which detectives believe was staged with rope to look like a homicide.

Pickard’s body was found under the Sunset Bridge on June 30. His car was found four miles away the next day.

Gillespie was arrested Monday on charges of obstructing a public officer and promoting a suicide attempt and is being held at the Spokane County Jail.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 25: Man's death in June believed to be suicide

Aug. 11: Man was bound before slaying

Aug. 7: Victim's family, friends hold vigil below bridge

July 1: Police find dead man’s car, hope for clues

Suicide suspected in June bridge death

Police now believe a Spokane man found dead and bound with a rope under the Sunset Bridge last June committed suicide.

Detectives found a suicide note written by William P. Pickard, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

The nylon rope used to tie Pickard’s hands and neck was apparently loose enough to have been self-applied, police told family members. Handwriting analysis confirmed Pickard wrote the note.

“With all the craziness of it, it really kind of comes down to whether or not you believe that, and personally, I do,” said Daniel Pickard, Pickard’s brother. “I’m 100 percent behind the work the police did on this.”

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 11: Man was bound before slaying

Aug. 7: Victim's family, friends hold vigil below bridge

July 1: Police find dead man’s car, hope for clues

Doctor on trial for overprescribing

The second trial of a former Shoshone County doctor accused of overprescribing drugs is set to begin this week in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene.

Christopher Arthur Christensen faces three counts of prescribing methadone, hydrocodone and/or alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug, “outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose” for incidents between Dec. 28, 2000 and Jan. 12, 2001.

Christensen had been indicted on additional counts relating to the care of at least five patients, including a Mullan, Idaho man who died in February 2001 after taking a mixture of methadone and alprazolam.

A North Idaho jury acquitted Christensen on six counts in June after a federal trial but couldn’t reach a verdict on 12 counts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed all but the three counts Christensen faces at trial this week.

Federal prosecutors will call four witnesses, including the case investigator for Idaho State Police and a former employee of Christensen’s, according to a trial briefing filed last week.

Also expected to testify is ISP Detective Beth Bradbury, who posed as a patient visiting Christensen during the investigation, and Dr. Arthur Jordan, an experts on the drugs Christensen is accused of overprescribing.

Christensen’s attorney, David E. Dokken, of Lewiston, plans to call Dr. Jon Hillyer, of Bremerton, Wash., and former patients of Christensen’s.

“Certainly, the defendant in no way acted as a ‘pusher,’” according to a trial briefing prepared by Dokken. “…He was a thorough and competent doctor who passionately pursued his practice.”

Christensen had a practice in Victor, Mont, as of May 2009, but it’s unclear if it’s still open.

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