Posts tagged: murder
Twelve-year-old Marshal Starbuck was called to testify about the death of his mom and what he remembers about the actions of Clay Starbuck on the day Marshal’s life got turned upside down.
Day two of the first-degree murder trial of Clay D. Starbuck also featured photos from the crime scene. The jury for the first time saw how the killer placed 42-year-old Chanin D. Starbuck in a sexually suggestive position.
Based on a brief 911 call on Dec. 1, 2011, investigators believe someone killed the Chanin Starbuck on that day.
Clay Starbuck, who called Crime Check to check on his ex-wife on Dec. 2, told investigators that he texted his ex-wife to take their youngest three children to school after his balky 1988 Toyota Tercel broke down on Dec. 1.
Steinmetz asked 12-year-old Marshal about that day, and he relayed the same story as his father.
He said Chanin Starbuck took them to school that day “because our dad was driving around the golf course to warm it up because it has some problems,” Marshal said. “It always broke down. Honestly, it was a really bad car.”
Murder suspect Jonathan Ritchey appeared in court again on Thursday afternoon with an additional charge of kidnapping.
Both the state and prosecutor reserved on changing Ritchey's release terms, so his bond remained the same at $100,000, Judge James Triplet said.
His charges now match his uncle, Gary L. Stoddard, who was arrested earlier this week for the murder and kidnapping of victim Heather Cassel.
Cassel's body was fond early Monday morning after witnesses said they heard a woman screaming and gun shots at an apartment complex near Spokane Falls Community College.
Ritchey will appear in court for his arraignment on March 26th at 11:30 a.m.
A serial bank robber and protected federal witness has been sentenced to 41 years in prison for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.
Patrick Kevin Gibson, 60, was convicted of first-degree murder of the Nov. 7, 1992, shooting death of Brian Cole, 48, at Cole's Furniture Store on East Sprague Avenue in July after a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.
Cole was killed during a botched robbery after the gunman said he was willing to hurt Cole's wife, who was in a scooter and witnessed the murder.
The crime went unsolved for 19 years before DNA from a fake beard left at the crime scene prompted detectives to arrest Gibson, who served 12 years in federal prison for a string of bank robberies that began in 1992.
He enrolled in the federal witness protection program after helping authorities convict his former cellmate of murdering a mother and her two children in Iowa in the early 1990s. That man, Dustin Honken, is now on federal death row.
Gibson also was convicted of robbing convenience stores and raping clerks in the late 1970s, about the same time he was shot in the face by a law enforcement official during a chase in Utah.
Gibson testified a partner in his bank robberies must have reused the beard, but Eitzen concluded he was the killer and had also robbed a children's store in Coeur d'Alene hours before the murder.
The trial began in May but was delayed when prosecutors learned “America’s Most Wanted” used the hat worn by the killer when re-enacting the murder in a 1993 episode. The trial resumed after authorities tested DNA samples from host John Walsh, a retired sheriff's detective and the actor who played the killer, Spokane County native Trevor St. John.
Eitzen sentenced Gibson on Friday to 493 months in prison. His lawyers have appealed his conviction.
Detectives search murder suspect Daniel Arteaga's home at 19329 E. Valleyway Ave., in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. (SRPhoto/Meghann Cuniff)
Detectives found a newspaper containing murder victim Kim Schmidt's obituary when they searched the truck of her suspected killer recently.
Daniel R. Arteaga, 40, had the obituary in his GMC truck, along with .45 caliber handgun in a fanny back, cartridges and magazines, DVDs and a notebook and earrings.
Detectives seized those items Aug. 7 after Arteaga was arrested for first-degree murder. They also seized nearly 100 items from his home at 19329 E. Valleyway in Spokane Valley.
Among the times found at Arteaga's home were notebooks and at least 29 firearms, including shotguns, rifles and pistols. Arteaga has a concealed weapons permit.
He remains in jail on $1 million bond for first-degree murder. He's accused of killing Schmidt, who was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head at her home in north Spokane on Jan. 1.
Arteaga has been married for about 22 years and told detectives his wife of 22 years didn't know he'd been having an affair with Schmidt for about 6 1/2 years.
Detectives believe Schmidt's desire to end their relationship and the money he owed her may have been a factor in her murder. Schmidt and Arteaga also were named in two lawsuits, and Schmidt had told Arteaga she was romantically involved with another man.
A convicted killer who left prison in 2008 is headed back there after a jury in southwest Idaho convicted him of assaulting a family member with a large knife.
Donald Leonard Houser, 39, was living in Plummer in 1995 when he shot his former girlfriend, Angela LeSarte, to death in front of Bobbie's Bar in Plummer.
LeSarte's father is former longtime Coeur d’Alene Tribal Chairman Bernard LeSarte. She was the mother of four children.
Houser was sentenced to 15 years in prison in February 1996 for second-degree murder and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. He began his five-year probation period on Oct. 30, 2008, and worked part-time on a ranch in Washington County and at a hardware store in Weiser, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He started working full-time as a self-employed mechanic in November 2010.
Houser was arrested on Aug. 22 for aggravated assault. He was sentenced in April to two to three years in state prison. He was sentenced today to two years in federal prison for violating his probation on the murder conviction. One year of his federal sentence will run concurrent to the state sentence, the other will run consecutive, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A former scuba diving instructor arrested for murder dated the victim for years and was described by her friends as violent and controlling, according to information released Wednesday.
Daniel R. Arteaga, 40, remains in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond after appearing before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese Wednesday on a first-degree murder charge.
Artega must surrender his passport should he post bond. Deputy Prosecutor Gayle Ervin described him as an “international traveler” whose trips which include excursions to the Caribbean and Fiji.
Detectives search murder suspect Daniel Arteaga's home at 19329 E. Valleyway Ave., in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. (SRPhoto/Meghann Cuniff)
A Spokane diving instructor romantically linked to a woman who was found shot to death on New Year’s Day has been arrested as a suspect in her murder.
Daniel R. Arteaga, 40, was arrested at the Public Safety Building Tuesday after voluntarily reporting there for an interview. He is expected to appear in Spokane County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon via video from the jail, where he is booked on a first-degree murder charge for the shooting death of Kimberly Schmidt.
The woman convicted of killing a Spokane man in December has been sentenced to 18 ½ years in prison.
Melinda R. Barrera, 32, was convicted last month of killing Robert A. Nelson following a bizarre altercation where Barrera was struck in the face with a cell phone and her boyfriend struck Nelson with a baseball bat.
The same jury acquitted 22-year-old David C. McLaughlin of killing or assaulting Nelson but found that Barrera was guilty of second-degree murder after she admitted firing the shot that killed Nelson.
Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen sentenced Barrera to a total of 224 months in prison with credit for 239 days already served in the Spokane County Jail.
McLaughlin was sentenced recently to a year in prison for felony drug possession.
A Spokane County judge on Wednesday postponed the sentencing of a man convicted almost exclusively on DNA evidence after defense attorneys learned that tests identifying their client as the killer had been done by a crime lab technician who later was fired.
The technician’s work was so deficient that a co-worker described it as a “nightmare,” and an internal report said it could “not be trusted.”
A Stevens County judge on Tuesday sentenced a convicted gun thief to 125 years in prison — a term that’s about 100 years longer than the sentences handed down to three others for a murder committed using one of the stolen guns.
Superior Court Judge Pat Monasmith sentenced convicted felon Christopher G. Nichols, 27, to 125 years in prison, despite the fact that he had no role in the 2011 killing of Colville resident Gordon Feist.
Nichols wept, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.
A mentally ill man accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend choked his cellmate unconscious at the Spokane County Jail Friday, police say.
Robbie W. Bishop. 22, faces a second-degree assault charge for attacking Terry Ingram, Jr., 33, who is in jail on a $1,000 District Court warrant, according to jail records.
Ingram told deputies that Bishop challenged him to a fight about 12:20 a.m. and said, “I'm going to kill you” before choking him unconscious.
A corrections deputy said he heard someone yelling “guard” and went to the cell, where Ingram said “He tried to kill me; get me out of here! Bishop choked me and I sh*t my pants!”
The deputy said Bishop said, “Yeah, I choked him out.” The men were removed from the cell.
Bishop has been in custody since July 2009 for the stabbing death of 33-year-old Robin M. Anderson, who was pregnant with Bishop’s child.
Bishop had been in jail before the murder but was released because Eastern State Hospital officials said they didn’t have room for him.
The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Feb. 13. A Spokane police officer who worked to track Gilman will be honored with the Chief's Citation Award. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)
A Spokane police officer is being honored for his work in the hours after a mother and her two children were found murdered in February.
Officer Jerry Anderson will receive the Chief's Citation Award for helping secure a federal search warrant that led police to the location of triple killer Dustin Gilman, police announced Thursday in their monthly newsletter.
Anderson and his colleagues were trying to find Gilman, 22, after Tracy Ader, 32, and her two sons, Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8, were found strangled in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. on Friday, Feb. 10.
Anderson worked through the night and into the next day trying to find Gilman. He learned by the middle of the morning on Feb. 11 that U.S. Marshal's Service has superior equipment for tracking cell phone signals.
Anderson was not familiar with federal search warrants and had never been trained to write one, but he worked with federal agents over the next 22 hours to secure the warrants. His work led police to Gilman's body on Monday, Feb. 13. Gilman had shot himself to death.
“Many officers were outstanding during this investigation, but despite having to take on procedures that he had never seen before, Officer Anderson did not rest until he had done everything he could do to bring justice to a shattered family,” Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens wrote.
Anderson is to receive a plaque at the Spokane Police Department's awards ceremony in 2013.
Though the killer is dead, the investigation into the murders is ongoing, Detective Jeff Barrington said Thursday. Barrington said he's awaiting lab tests.
A judge on Thursday granted the request for a new trial of a man convicted four years ago of the 2007 beating death of an adult bookstore owner in Spokane following the conviction two weeks ago of another man for the same crime.
A Spokane man accused of murdering a gang rival 2 1/2 years ago has admitted to unlawfully possessing the murder weapon.
Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to felon in possession of a firearm, halting a scheduled trial.
Thomas, who has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, faces up to 10 years in prison when he sentenced, which is scheduled for Oct. 11. The charge stems from a Ruger mini 30 rifle found in a Nissan Altima rental car near the body of John S. Williams, 38, who was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010, outside a party at 5405 N. Crestline St.
The gun had Thomas' fingerprints on it. He was arrested in Los Angeles in September 2010 on a second-degree murder charge and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting trial. Spokane County prosecutors dismissed the murder charge but are expected to refile when the federal gun charge is resolved.
Federal prosecutors had asked a judge to allow jurors in Thomas' gun trial to know about his gang membership and the gun's link to the murder. Thomas' lawyer objected.
The family of a Western Washington man shot and killed nearly two weeks ago went to his Liberty Lake apartment to collect his things, only to find it burglarized and his newly purchased assault rifle missing.
Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, had been living in the area attending Spokane Community College, according to news reports.
He was shot and killed July 14 at Blue Stilly Park in Arlington in what police described as a dispute over $20 of marijuana. Suspect Dennis R. Watters, 41, of Tulalip, is in jail.
Mumm grew up in Arlington, and his family lives there. His sister, Jessica Olson, traveled to Liberty Lake to remove his items from the apartment at 22809 E. Country Vista Dr. and found it burglarized. An open rifle case sat on the living room floor. Olson said Mumm had bought a firearm at Cabela’s a couple months ago.
Liberty Lake police Detective Ray Bourgeois obtained a search warrant for Cabela’s firearm records that indicated the gun was a Romarm AK-47 assault rifle purchased by Mumm on Feb. 12. He entered the gun as stolen.
In the end, Patrick Kevin Gibson's bravado as a professional bank robbery didn't exactly contribute to his defense in the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen said he appeared to be bragging about his exploits and gave more detail than necessary when he testified at his murder trial last week.
Gibson, 60, also didn't sway Etizen with his claims that the robbery at Cole's Furniture store that ended with the shooting death of Brian Cole was sloppy and likely done by someone other than the man who robbed a children's store in Coeur d'Alene three hours earlier.
Gibson suggested during testimony last week that the robbers were perhaps partners but initiated the heists separately - Eitzen rebuked that theory Thursday when she convicted him of Cole's murder and said the killer was the same man who robbed Teresa and Steve Brenner's store in Coeur d'Alene.
He also theorized that a man named Tim whom he'd hired to assist in bank robberies in Oregon and California in the early 1990s reused a disguise from one of the robberies to commit the Cole's Furniture Store robbery.
Gibson said Tim was one of two men secured a storage facility for him in the Portland area where he disguises and a police scanner to be used in the robberies. He also stored there a bank directory and a mailing list of all the police department sin the United States. He said he used the material to research potential small-town banks to rob. Gibson said he didn't know Tim's last name and Tim did not know his identity.
Gibson described the Cole robbery as “completely inept.”
“The store is supposed to be closed at 5 pm., so this was a spur of the moment crime,” Gibson said. “Both crimes, it's probably the only furniture store and kid's clothing sore that's ever been robbed in either town.”
Gibson described the “personnel” he hired out of Portland, Ore. to assist in the robberies.
“I used a total of eight males and four females for the operation, but only five of the males were involved in the bank robberies themselves. The other people were only involved in obtaining cars or acting as props so that I could stay in that town. Sometimes I had to stay right in the town. There was no way to get out.”
Gibson also described his involvement in the federal witness protection program, which occurred after he shared a federal prison cell with Iowa methamphetamine dealer Dustin Honken and told authorities that Honken had bragged about getting way with the murder of two confidential informants, a mother and her two young daughters. Honken is now on fedearl death row. Gibson said he became a protected witness in 1999.
“They do investigating for a year. Polygraph tests. It's very strenuous. You can't get into the witness protection program unless they verify you're telling the truth,” he said.
Gibson said he would tell the truth if he had killed Cole. He pointed to the fact that he's been diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer.
“I know I'm gong to die from cancer,” Gibson said. “I've almost always pled guilty to everything I have done. If I did this crime, I would give the Cole family some closure. I would admit to it and I would give them closure, because they need closure.”
On cross-examination, Gibson told Deputy Prosecutor Tony Hazel he “learned his lesson” about robbing small places after he robbed a Taco's John's in Portland and a gas station in Carterville, Nevada. (He and his partner also raped two clerks.) Gibson said he only targeted bank in towns with no law enforcement presence whatsoever. Coeur d'Alene had a police department so it “wouldn't qualify,” Gibson said.
Hazel pointed out that Gibson had been laid off just before Cole was murdered and was angry at society. He'd only started planning bank robberies and didn't successful rob one until December 1992. Before then, he'd only targeted small stores like gas stations.
Gibson said he wasn't proud of the robberies but he made about $840,000 in cash and more than $1 million in traveler's checks that he destroyed.
“The FBI said I was one of the most successful bank robbers going, sophisticated bank robbers operating at that time, but I regret it,” Gibson said.
After Eitzen convicted him Wednesday of first-degree murder, as the now convicted killer walked down the third floor hallways of the Spokane County Courthouse, a reporter asked him: “Patrick, did you do it?”
“No I did not,” Gibson replied. “Do I look 5-8?”
Cole's wife, Michele Cole, had described the killer as being about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9. She said she recognized a scar on Gibson's face when she saw a picture of him in 2011. That scar is from being shot by a sheriff's deputy in Utah in 1998. The bullet went though Gibson's face.er it c
Gibson was arrested last year after his DNA was found on a piece of beard worn by Cole's killer.
His bench trial began in May but was delayed after prosecutors learned “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the killer's actual hat in a 1993 reenactment of the Cole murder.
Authorities obtained DNA samples from Walsh, actor Trevor St. John and tried sheriff's Detective Mark Henderson and compared it to the hat. Doing so helped forensic analysts determine that the chance of the DNA on the hat not belonging to Gibson was one in 10 million.
A 20-year-old woman originally charged with a death penalty eligible crime for the brutal murder of a Spokane man faces 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 years in prison if she follows a plea agreement approved today.
Breeanna C. Sims (pictured left) is to testify at the trial of accused killer Taylor J. Wolf (pictured right), which is scheduled to begin Aug. 20.
Sims, who was involved in a home-invasion robbery with her mother in 2009, pleaded guilty today to first-degree kidnapping with a firearm. Her plea agreement is sealed and hinges on her future testimony.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza today approved the plea deal negotiated by Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla and Deputy Public Defender Tom Trageser. Sims backed out of a potential plea in May.
Sims' brother, Justice E.D. Sims (pictured left), was sentenced in March to about 33 years in prison for first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Detectives say Wolf made incriminating statements to Britney Bjork, girlfriend of jailed Hells Angel Ricky Jenks, just after his arrest in April, leading them to charge her with conspiracy to commit perjury, rendering criminal assistance and arson. Bjork is scheduled to begin trial Sept. 4.
Detectives say Wolf told Bjork he was going to shoot Thoreson but “I couldn’t do it, so me and Justice did it together,” according to court documents, which cite recorded jailhouse phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”
All three suspects were charged with aggravated first-degree murder. The charge is eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors said from the beginning they would not be seeking that.
Justice Sims is serving his sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Breeanna Sims will stay at the Spokane County Jail without bail. Her sentencing has not yet been scheduled as prosecutors await Wolf's trial.
Thoreson's family and friends attended Sims plea hearing today, including his girlfriend and toddler son.
Patrick Kevin Gibson made big money robbing banks. A dozen gunpoint heists in the 1990s netted him $850,000.
He was a professional robber who didn’t need to bother with a small-time holdup at a furniture store, claims the attorney representing him in a murder trial.
Gibson, 60, was arrested in Western Washington last year in connection with the 1992 killing of Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole. The arrest came under unusual circumstances: Gibson had stopped to complain to a police officer about a speeding motorcycle.
A member of a Spokane family that claims police target them because of their relation to a notorious double murderer is heading to federal prison, and his lawyer says his parents' “victim mentality” is partially to blame.
Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle, Jr., 24, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Pirtle is the nephew of Blake Pirtle, who murdered two Burger King employees in Spokane Valley in 1992. Blake Pirtle's death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled law enforcement violated his civil rights during his arrest.
The Pirtles said in 2009 that police unfairly target them because of that case. They vowed to move out of Spokane. Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe says the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns law enforcement attention.
Pirtle's lawyer, Roger Peven, said Pirtle's parents' insistence that they have been unfairly targeted has not helped their son.
“The combination of parental neglect, abuse, enabling and perpetuating a victim mentality clearly has been devastating to this twenty-four-year-old's development,” Peven wrote.
Pirtle, a father with a girlfriend of seven years, had a troubled childhood that included reporting to authorities his father nearly killing his mother when he was just nine-years-old, according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by his lawyer, Roger Peven.
Pirtle's father went to prison, but, Peven wrote, it's clear “that the abuse and neglect continued throughout Mr. Pirtle's youth.” Pirtle later hid stolen property and a firearm with his father in 2005, Peven wrote.
“The public is better served by addressing the neglect and violence that this young man was subjected to so that Mr. Pirtle has a better chance of being a better parent and functioning member of society,” Peven wrote. “It is clear that Mr. Pirtle is in need of some counseling or treatment to address the family issues he has encountered over the course of his life in order to get a grip on himself, be a functioning member of society, and be a parent to his children.”
Pirtle was indicted in November for a handgun, two rifles and 175 rounds of ammunition found in his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave. on July 8, 2011.
The guns were stolen in a burglary.
Pirtle was arrested the day of the search on a second-degree assault charge for an alleged baseball bat beating that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement in May 2011. He still is charged with second-degree assault in Spokane County Superior Court. He has previous convictions for second-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping.
In what longtime Spokane County court officials described as riveting testimony, accused killer Patrick Kevin Gibson described Thursday his years as a big-time bank robber who earned about $850,000 before heading to federal prison.
Gibson's 12-year prison sentence led him to the federal witness protection program after he ratted out cellmate Dustin Honken, an Iowa methamphetamine dealer who bragged to Gibson about getting away with the murder of a mother and her two daughters. Honken is now on federal death row. His girlfriend, Angela Johnson, also was sentenced to death for the crimes but her sentence was overturned on appeal.
Gibson, arrested last year after DNA evidence on the killer's beard was linked to him, discussed Thursday taking polygraph tests to be part of a member of the secretive program. He denied murdering Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole on Nov. 7, 1992 - saying essentially that he was a professional robber who wouldn't mess with such a sloppy heist at a place with little cash. He suggested that a partner in his bank robberies might have committed the crime using a disguise from past bank heists.
Gibson said if he killed Cole, he would confess. But prosecutors pointed out that the bank robberies began after Cole's murder, and that Gibson also robbed convenience stores in Oregon. He also did so not just for the money but for the thrill, according to testimony.
Gibson, a level 3 sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder. He made the unusual decision to have his case heard by a judge instead of a jury. Superior Court Judge Tari Etizen is to hear closing arguments on Monday.
The trial began in late May but was delayed when prosecutors discovered at the last minute that America's Most Wanted host John Walsh and a TV actor handled the actual hat worn by the killer during a taping of the show in 1993.
Police obtained a sample of Walsh's DNA, as well as the actor and the detective who handled the hat, and submitted it to the state crime lab for testing.