Posts tagged: murder
Federal prosecutors want jurors in an upcoming gun trial to know about the suspect's gang membership and the gun's link to a 2010 murder in northeast Spokane.
Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm for 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. Cresline 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 will refile once Thomas' federal gun charge is resolved.
Trial on the gun charge is set to begin July 23 in U.S. District Court in downtown Spokane.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a motion asking that jurors be allowed to hear testimony about the shooting. Thomas' lawyer, Bryan Whitaker, has objected and points to the fact that Thomas hasn't even been convicted of murder.
“The logic here is flawless: since John Williams was shot with a firearm, Mr. Thomas could only have shot him while in possession of a firearm,” Whitaker wrote in a response to the motion. “The fallacy of this logic is that it relies completely on Mr. Thomas being the person who shot John Williams. The jury, therefore, would be invited to convict Mr. Thomas of Felon in Possession of Firearm because the Government believes he shot John Williams.”
Thomas is accused of shooting Williams multiple times, including a final shot to his face. Police and prosecutors say the shooting stemmed from a gang rivalry, and prosecutors want to experts to tell jurors about Thomas' ties to the Atlantic Drive Compton Crips.
Police say Thomas acquired the firearm after a dispute with Jerome Danner, a member of the Grape Street Crips. The groups were at a birthday party for Ronald L. “Heavy” Shuler when a fight broke out. Williams, who was linked to Danner, punched out a window to a car in which Thomas was before he was shot by Thomas, police say.
But Whitaker said the relationship between Thomas and Danner was not based on gang member but on the fact that they each have a child with the same woman.
“The acrimonious relationship between gangs has no bearing on issues in this case. The theory here is that gang membership is the motive for possessing a firearm. That logic would permit the admission of gang-related testimony in EVERY case involving a gang member,” Whitaker wrote.
U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle has not yet ruled on the motions.
Six other men were charged in connection with the homicide, including Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton, who was sentenced to five years in prison for driving Thomas from the murder. Police say Thomas went to Antonio Cook's house after the shooting and stayed there until the next day. Cook, who reportedly supplied the murder weapon, also has been charged.
The lead investigator in the 2007 beating death of an adult bookstore owner in Spokane now is questioning whether the wrong man was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Spokane Police Detective Tim Madsen, in new court documents, acknowledges that 41-year-old Jeramie R. Davis may have been telling the truth when he claimed that 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen already was dead on the floor when he arrived at the adult bookstore and made a series of return trips throughout the night to burglarize it.
Spokane County animal protection offers are asking for the public's help as they investigate a horrendous case of animal cruelty.
A cat had to be euthanized on Monday after SCRAPS officers found it shot in the head in a dumpster at the Viewpoint Villa Apartments, 5911 E. Woodlawn Ave., in Spokane Valley.
A woman had reported a cat screaming from the dumpster, and the apartment manager found the bleeding, injured feline inside a garbage bag wrapped in a blanket.
The cat was taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Investigators say the cat also sustained traumatic injuries to its body.
Anyone who may have seen or heard something is asked to call (509) 477-2532 immediately. Your name and contact information will remain confidential with SCRAPS.
Three witnesses put the gun in her boyfriend’s hand either during or immediately after a Spokane man was shot last December following a bizarre altercation.
But Melinda R. Barrera, 32, admitted pulling the trigger and a jury convicted Thursday her of second-degree murder while acquitting her boyfriend of all charges.
A man convicted of trying to kill two Spokane police officers a decade ago was resentenced last week to 82 years in prison after his case was returned on appeal.
Jason A. Graham, 31, will be given credit for the nine years he has already served after he was convicted in 2003 of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault and other property crimes.
Chief Criminal Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said the case was returned to Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno after the Washington Supreme Court ruled that firearm enhancements were improperly applied to Graham’s original sentence
Graham was wounded by police during a Jan. 7, 2002, during a shootout where he fired two dozen rounds from a semi-automatic assault rifle at officers following a vehicle chase in downtown Spokane. Bullets from the gun battle missed all officers and people aboard an Amtrak train and two Greyhound buses at the Intermodal Center.
Police on Wednesday arrested a convicted killer accused of trying to kill another man in a stabbing Monday night north of Coeur d’Alene.
James H. Kountz, 56, was arrested about 5:40 p.m. in the same wooded area near U.S. Highway 95 and Wilbur Avenue where he stabbed another transient, James R. Hoglen, 42, on Monday.
A convicted felon from Stevens County now faces a minimum of 123 years in prison after a jury found him guilty today of 21 felonies that were tied to the slaying last year of a Colville man.
Investigators believe was a botched burglary.The jury deliberated about three hours before finding Christopher G. Nichols, who turned 27 Thursday, guilty of nine counts of a felon in a possession of a firearm and nine counts of theft, burglary, auto theft and trafficking in stolen property in the first degree.
An assault suspect charged in connection with a murder at a Spokane motel in November has been jailed on $1 million bond after police caught him returning from an out-of-state flight.
Stafone N. “Stix” Fuentes, 27, (pictured) is prohibited from traveling out of state under conditions imposed by a judge who approved a $250,000 bail after his arrest Feb. 1. Fuentes posted that bond Feb. 29.
The Spokane gang team arrested him Thursday at the Spokane International Airport as he returned from Las Vegas on a late-night flight.
Fuentes could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of second-degree assault for a wild fight Nov. 27 fight at the Quality Inn, 110 E. Third Ave., which led to the shooting death of aspiring rapper Jose J. “Junior” Solis, 21, of Moses Lake.
Another aspiring rapper, John A. “Lil Danger” Castro, 27, (pictured) was arrested just after the homicide and remains in jail on a second-degree murder charge. Castro faces life in prison if convicted under the state's three-strikes law because of his criminal history.
Fuentes' lengthy criminal history includes two convictions for strikes: second-degree assault and first-degree robbery. He also has been convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police continue to investigate the stabbing death of a woman who was walking her dog near the Spokane River May 3 and say they have leads coming in frequently.
“They are all being followed up on by a detective,” according to an email from Major Craig Meidl of the Spokane Police Department on Friday. “We are as engaged in this investigation as we have been since day one.”
Meidl said they still are awaiting results from DNA tests at the Washington State Crime Lab. He said he doesn't know why that DNA is taking longer than John Walsh's DNA sample took to process for the Patrick Gibson murder trial, but wrote that “one would also likely have to take into account current staffing levels at the DNA testing facility, backlog of current cases, types of tests to be completed, number of tests to be completed on same DNA, number of samples total to be tested. This would just be an educated guess, as WSP has ultimate control over their schedule and how they prioritize.”
Meidl said police are intentionally not detailing all aspects of the investigation.
“We are mindful that suspects frequently watch and read the news. It would be imprudent to reveal aspects of this investigation that could potentially jeopardize the successful capture of the person involved in this,” Meidl wrote.
Sharlotte McGill, 55, died of stab wounds after she was attacked in the 1800 block of East South Riverton Avenue.
She was able to describe her attacker before she died: a black man in his 30s with a bad eye. No other details were given.
The gang team arrested two men this week in Spokane for violating their probation on violent crimes.
Christopher M. Prusch, 35, (pictured left) was booked into jail Wednesday on a Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody, Spokane police Officer Matt Rose said today.
His lengthy criminal history includes convictions for second-degree robbery, intimidation of a public servant and hit and run.
Later on Wednesday, the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team also assisted Department of Corrections officers in arresting Ismael M. Tarango, 35, of Walla Walla, for a DOC escape warrant.
Tarango (pictured right) is a convicted killer with convictions for first-degree burglary and second-degree murder from the 1990s. He also was booked into jail.
A convicted killer accused of trashing a Spokane Valley motel while celebrating he and his wife's anniversary was released from prison just 15 months ago.
Danial Caleb Peters, 38, murdered Melissa Mae Wageman, 40, on Dec. 22, 1995, after smoking crack cocaine. He told police he didn't member beating the woman to death with 4-foot pipe but awoke to find her bloody body nearby.
The circumstances are similar to what Peters' public defender, Mike Elston, said apparently happened Tuesday night at the Pheasant Hill Inn, 12415 E. Mission Ave., in Spokane Valley.
Peters “claims a drug-educed paranoid episode” led to him destroying the room he and his wife, Danielle Lea Wozniak, 27, returned to celebrate their one-year anniversary, Elston said Thursday at Peters' appearance in Spokane County Superior Court.
Wozniak told police Peters destroyed the room after they used methamphetamine.
“I want everybody to know that I'm very sorry for the drug use that I did,” Wozniak said in court Thursday.
Peters told police “that he felt people were after him” and broke a water sprinkler in an attempt to get help, according to court documents.
He said Wozniak destroyed other items like a mirrors, lamps, air conditioner and phone, but Wozniak said it was Peters. Police responded about 6 a.m. and say the duo caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the hotel, which had recently been renovated.
Water damage from the sprinklers means only 28 of the hotel’s 104 rooms usable. Peters and Wozniak were booked into jail on a felony charge of first-degree malicious mischief. They married in March, Wozniak said.
Wozniak's criminal history includes a single misdemeanor conviction two years ago. Judge Annette Plese ordered her to stay in jail unless she posts $2,500 bond.
Plese set Peters' bond at $5,000 and told him she had “really serious concerns about your criminal history.”
Peters said he has a “very good job” at a construction company that was set up through a church.
The couple was staying with Peters' mother, according to court testimony, but she told court officials they are no longer allowed there.
Peters was sentenced to 17 years in prison in February 1996, but his conviction and scores of others were overturned in 2004 because the Washington Supreme Court ruled the second-degree murder law was defective. He was re-sentenced in 2005.
Wageman met up with Peters while celebrating her 40th birthday at the Happy Time Tavern, 3506 N. Division St. She was killed at a nearby home where Peters had been staying with his his older gay lover after smoking marijuana and crack cocaine. Peters then used his lover's truck to take Wageman’s body to a friend’s house in Stevens County. Upon arrival, the friend handed Peters a phone so he could turn himself in.
Peters didn't deny killing Wageman but said he didn't remember doing so. Wageman was a single mother who was raising a son who, at the time, was an honor student and musician at Shadle Park High School.
Peters finished his sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in January 2011 and still is completing his two-year probation term, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.
Law enforcement officers search the at home of Dr. Timothy Jorden in Hamburg, N.Y., Thursday. Jorden is sought in connection with the hospital shooting death of his ex-girlfriend at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y. on Wednesday.
Update from the AP: A body found in thick brush Friday morning is believed to be that of a special forces soldier-turned-trauma surgeon who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the killing of his ex-girlfriend at a hospital, police said.
CAROLYN THOMPSON,Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Surgeon Timothy Jorden saved the lives of patients with gunshot wounds, lived in a big home by Lake Erie and owned four vehicles. He was a product of a working-class neighborhood who became an Army officer before coming home to earn his medical degree.
Now the healer is linked to a killing.
Police across the country were on the lookout Thursday for the 49-year-old trauma surgeon in connection with the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in a building at the Buffalo hospital complex where they both worked. Police say the former Army weapons expert may be armed and should be considered dangerous.
“He was an excellent surgeon. He saved so many lives. For him to take one is unreal,” said a stunned June DuPree, a neighbor of Jorden's in an exclusive cluster of homes on a lakefront bluff.
But she and others also said the affable and accomplished doctor seemed different lately — thinner, not quite as friendly and less meticulous about appearances. Friends of the victim, meanwhile, offered glimpses of a much darker side.
“I saw him at the beginning of the season and noticed how much weight he had lost,” DuPree said. “He said, 'Yeah, I lost a little bit.' But it was more than a little bit. It was a lot. He wasn't too friendly that time I saw him. He just didn't want to talk.”
The search for Jorden began Wednesday morning when 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was found shot to death in a stairwell on the campus of the Erie County Medical Center. Police say she was shot four times.
Heather Shipley, a friend of Wisniewski, told WIVB-TV that Wisniewski feared Jorden and that he wouldn't let go after she left him because she believed he was having affairs with other women.
She said Wisniewski told her the doctor had put a GPS tracking device in her car and once held her captive in her home for a day and a half, wielding a knife.
“She told me if anything happened to her, that it was him,” Shipley told the station.
Jorden had been involved in two domestic incidents in neighboring Cheektowaga in 2003, police Capt. James Speyer said. He said he couldn't release details but that the incidents did not involve Wisniewski.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda on Thursday called Jorden “a person of interest” in the administrative assistant's death and said a nationwide alert had been issued advising police agencies that he was wanted for questioning. Officers combed through the grounds outside his home and for a second day, an Erie County Sheriff's helicopter circled overhead.
At one point, police dogs were seen near a ravine and neighbor Tom Wrzosek told The Associated Press he'd reported hearing a single shot around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, which he initially dismissed.
“Then my girlfriend mentioned if he committed suicide, someone would have heard it,” he said. “That kind of rang a bell.”
Derenda said all of Jorden's vehicles were accounted for and investigators were certain he had not crossed the nearby border into Canada.
“He's out there somewhere,” he said.
The search comes after a lifetime of achievement for the divorced father of a grown son.
Jorden had been profiled in The Buffalo News as a homegrown success story in 1996 and was among those honored with Buffalo's Black Achievers in Industry award in 2002. As a surgeon at the city's main trauma hospital, he worked long hours and was always ready to respond to a hospital emergency when his cellphone rang.
In his Lakeview neighborhood south of Buffalo, Jorden was described as a friendly neighbor with a busy schedule. Neighbors said he clearly spent a lot of money to keep the grounds of his white, gabled home by the lake manicured and lush.
Things changed dramatically this spring.
Jorden's bushes became overgrown, his grass grew knee-high and a kitchen remodeling job was halted. Jorden, a big man, had lost dozens of pounds. Neighbors thought he was sick.
“He had a lot of money invested in his house and the landscaping. And when I came back from Florida in May, it was really neglected. I was just shocked,” said Wrzosek, the neighbor.
“We presumed he was sick, that maybe he had some sort of major ailment,” Wrzosek said.
“He was sick,” he said. “But not in the way we thought he was sick.”
Jorden joined the National Guard in high school, went into the Army after graduation and served with the Army's Special Forces, first as a weapons expert, then as a medic, according to the News.
“Everybody's been made aware of his training and background,” Derenda said, “so when individual officers approach him, they'll take proper precautions.”
Jorden later attended the University at Buffalo's medical school and did residencies at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Derenda declined to speculate on whether he may have returned to those areas.
Associated Press Writer Michael Hill in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.
By DENISE LAVOIE,AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — The day after the longtime girlfriend of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping him while he was on the run, her lawyer filed a notice in court saying she may appeal.
The one-paragraph document filed in federal court Wednesday says Catherine Greig (pictured) claims her right to appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Though the notice mentions an appeal of the conviction, attorney Kevin Reddington said she is not planning to. The notice can be withdrawn if she decides not to appeal her sentence.
Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy. She admitted she helped Bulger while he was a fugitive, using false identities, accompanying him to medical appointments and picking up his prescriptions.
Reddington said that Greig was in love with Bulger when she fled Boston with him in 1995 and that she did not believe he was capable of the murders he is accused of committing.
Greig's twin sister wrote in a pre-sentencing letter to the judge that Greig deserved leniency because she “never possessed an evil bone in her body” and wasn't involved in any crimes attributed to Bulger.
Margaret McCusker's letter to U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said Bulger was charismatic and had “a certain power over people” but added, “I cannot speak to exactly why she left with him.”
McCusker wrote that her sister grew up in a family affected by their father's alcoholism and always “had a sense of duty to care for people.
“She has touched many with her kind acts, and her love for animals is unsurpassed,” McCusker wrote in the letter, unsealed Wednesday.
She said she did not know whether her sister was alive during the time she was gone with Bulger, who's in his 80s.
Bulger and Greig were apprehended in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif. They posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured.
On Tuesday, the judge sentenced Greig to eight years in prison, below the 10-year sentence recommended by prosecutors but well above the 27-month sentence recommended by her attorney.
Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang and an FBI informant, has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in 19 murders. He awaits trial.
Under federal rules of appellate procedure, a defendant must file a notice of appeal within 14 days after sentencing. If Greig didn't file the notice, she would be barred from ever considering an appeal, so the notice is a safeguard.
Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said it is Greig's right to appeal.
When a man now charged in the 1992 shooting death of a Spokane Valley businessman left prison in the last few years, his brother attended a community meeting defending him.
Patrick Kevin Gibson's neighbors had been notified of his status as a level 3 sex offender, and Michael Gibson was trying to explain his past crimes and justify his presence in the community.
Michael Gibson told sheriff's detectives he specifically asked his brother if he'd ever killed someone “and Patrick said he had not,” according to a police report.
“Patrick did tell Michael that he was the mastermind of everything he had done and had always acted alone,” the report says. Michael told detectives that his brother liked to flash his money around and may have been attracted to the excitement of robberies.
Patrick Gibson, 60, (pictured) has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His trial was temporarily halted Monday because of the last-minute discovery by prosecutors that “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and an actor had handled the killer's hat after it was left at the scene.
Detectives say Michael was emotional in May 2011 when he learned his brother had been arrested for the nearly 20-year-old homicide.
“His first response was that he would never see Patrick again and that he had placed his own reputation on the line to help Patrick,” according to the report.
Michael said he went to bat for Patrick with concerned neighbors and said he told him if he messed up again, he'd be the first to turn him in, police wrote. Gibson has spent most of adult life in prison.
In August 1978, he fired shots at a Utah highway patrolmen who tried to stop him for a traffic violation as he drove with his wife and her two children.
In November, he and another inmate escaped from jail, stole a car and traveled to Nevada, where he and an accomplice robbed and raped two convenience store clerks. Gibson was arrested three days later near Vancouver B.C.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in May 1979 but paroled in March 1992, about seven months before Cole was murdered.
Police say Gibson worked at a phone company in Stanwood, Wash., as a voice and data man but traveled frequently without his probation officer's permission. He's believed to have committed robberies in Oregon that same year.
The robberies are similar to gunpoint attacks at a clothing store in Coeur d'Alene and Cole's murder, both which occurred on Nov. 7, 1992.
While prosecutors believe Gibson himself got away with murder for nearly 20 years, Gibson says he's partly responsible for helping convict a major drug lord who nearly got away with the murder of five people in Iowa in 1993, including two girls, ages 6 and 10.
The situation led Gibson to become a member of the federal government's witness protection program and resulted in death sentences for Dustin Lee Honken, 44, (pictured in 2005 by the Associated Press) and Honken's girlfriend, Angela Johnson, 48, though Johnson's sentence was overturned on appeal because of ineffective counsel.
Gibson told Spokane County sheriff's Detective Michael Drapaeu he shared a prison cell with Honken when Honken bragged about killing government witnesses and executing a family that included children.
“I decided to do the right thing,” Gibson told Drapaeu, according to court records. “I just tried to make amends for my past wrongs.”
It's unclear how exactly Gibson assisted in the case, but media reports say authorities placed an experienced jailhouse informant, Robert McNees, in a cell with Johnson who was able to obtain a map of of the grave sites.
A jury recommended Honken be sentenced to death after a lengthy trial in Sioux City, Iowa, in 2004. News reports at the time say the bodies of his five victims, which included two girls, ages 6 and 10, were found in late 2000 after Johnson drew a map and gave it a jailhouse informant.
Honken, who Iowa news reports say introduced methamphetamine to the state in the early 1990s, already was serving a 27-year sentence for drug trafficking when the bodies were discovered. Gibson was serving a 12-year sentence for bank robbery.
Gibson told Drapeau he would need to be isolated at the jail because he is a protected witness. Drapeau said he informed the jail of that, according to court documents.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen said today that her misunderstanding of how DNA evidence was handled led her to initially make the wrong decision about whether it can be used in a murder suspect's trial.
Eitzen originally was going to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning the presence of DNA from “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh (pictured right) and actor Trevor St. John unless defense lawyers opened the door for the testimony by questioning the DNA profile of the hat.
But she made that decision under the erroneous belief that the DNA sample from the hat that was tested in 2004 was taken before Walsh and St. John handled the hat. That wasn't the case.
She reversed her decision Thursday, prompting John Whaley, defense lawyer for suspect Patrick Kevin Gibson (pictured left), to file a motion asking her to reconsider, which she denied to do today.
Gibson is charged with first-degree murder for the Nov. 7,1992, shooting death of Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole.
Eitzen today delayed the rest of the trial until July 10 to allow for lawyers to prepare for the newly discovered DNA evidence from Walsh, St. John, and the detective who handled the case. Read much more here.
Eitzen spoke candidly today about her original lack of understanding.
“I just got it wrong,” she said.
“This isn't about retesting the hat,” she said. “It's about for the first time getting the DNA profiles of others who touched it. I did not understand that sequence the first time I rule on this issue.”
“Those profiles are in evidence and I'm going to be really curious what the experts say,” she continued.
She said Whaley's motion implied that she did understand and simply changed her mind.
“I appreciate Mr. Whaley's kindness in thinking I did understand what was going on that day. Because I did not,” she said.
“And that happens,” Eitzen continued. “And courts have to be able to say 'we mad mistake' and reverse themselves. Because it happens everyday. We reverse ourselves on evidentiary rulings every day.”
She said the issue does not warrant a mistrial.
“There has been no prosecutorial misconduct,” she said. “No ineffective assistance of counsel…I don't want to over speak, but these counsels are on the top end of prepared and diligent for criminal cases that I've tried.”
WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — A man who wrote a letter pointing to Christopher Scott Wilson as the suspect in a Wenatchee slaying is claiming a reward of up to $38,000.
Theo A. Keyes wrote a letter to police telling them that Wilson (pictured) had once begun choking another girl. That led officers to take a DNA sample that linked him to the death of Mackenzie Cowell, a beauty school classmate.
The body of the 17-year-old was found along the Columbia River in February 2010 near Crescent Bar. She had been struck in the head, strangled and stabbed to death.
Wilson pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal and was sentenced May 23 to 14 years in prison.
The Wenatchee World reports (http://is.gd/xgnVFc ) the 32-year-old Keyes has already received a $2,000 reward from Cowell's mother.
Investigators believe a sex offender on trial for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner robbed a children's apparel store at gunpoint three hours before the fatal shooting.
A judge has heard testimony from Steve and Teresa Benner, who owned the Kid's Fair clothing store in the Sunset Mall in Coeur d'Alene.
The store was robbed at gunpoint Nov. 7, 1992, about 5 p.m. The couple's two children, ages five and two, were present. The robber ordered employee Kathy Ward to handcuff Steve Benner, then handcuff herself to Benner. He stole their money and credit cards and left.
The Benners told police at the time that he was wearing a fake beard and a black baseball hat that said “Solid Gold.” That hat and a piece of the beard was found at the scene of the murder and robbery at Cole's Furniture Store in Spokane Valley, which occurred about 8 p.m. on Nov. 7, 1992.
Store owner Brian Cole was fatally shot when he tried to overpower the robber after the robber said he might harm Cole's wife, who uses a scooter.
Spokane County detectives submitted that beard for DNA testing in late 2010, and it matched a DNA sample from Patrick K. Gibson, who was arrested in May 2011. The Benners identified him from a photo montage as the man who robbed their store.
Gibson's bench trial resumes today before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.
Gibson's extensive criminal history includes convictions for rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979, as well as kidnapping in Nevada in 1978. He was convicted of bank robbery in federal court in California in 1996 and served 12 years in prison.
By KASEY JONES,Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) — A 21-year-old college student accused of killing a housemate told police he ate the victim's heart and part of his brain after he died.
Alexander Kinyua hid the head and hands of the dead man in his family's basement laundry room in a suburb of Baltimore, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office. Kinyua, a student at Morgan State University, was charged earlier in May in another attack in which the victim was brutally beaten but survived.
Kinyua, a Kenya native, is charged with first-degree murder and other charges in the death of 37-year-old Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie. He was ordered held on no bail.
His public defender did not return a call seeking comment, and a voicemail left at Kinyua's home was not returned.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Monica Worrell said the chief medical examiner had not yet officially identified the body parts, but that authorities believe they are those of Kodie, who was reported missing May 25. His cellphone and wallet were left in the home and police were initially told he had gone for a run.
On Tuesday, Kinyua's father, Antony Kinyua, called detectives and reported that another son, Jarrod, found what he thought were human remains in the house where they all lived in Joppatowne.
Jarrod found two metal tins, which held a human head and two human hands. Police say Jarrod confronted his brother, who said the remains were animals.
According to charging documents, Jarrod and his father went to the basement, where Jarrod “observed that the items he observed were gone and Alex Kinyua was cleaning the container he observed them in.”
Detectives obtained a search warrant and found the head and hands in the house. Police say Alexander Kinyua admitted to killing Kodie by cutting him up with a knife and eating his heart and part of his brain.
Authorities say Kinyua told detectives the rest of the body could be found in a trash container at the Town Baptist Church in Harford County where they discovered remains.
The attack comes in the same week as a man in Miami chewed away another man's face along a busy highway and wouldn't stop until an officer shot him to death. Witnesses say 31-year-old Rudy Eugene growled at the officer and continued to chew away. The victim, identified as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, a homeless man who lived under the causeway, was in critical condition and will be permanently disfigured.
On May 19, Kinyua beat a man with a baseball bat on Morgan's campus, fracturing his skull and making him lose sight in one eye, according to Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Kinyua was arrested May 20 and released on $220,000 bail.
Morgan officials say Kinyua studied electrical engineering and was also in the ROTC.
According to court records, the victim, Kodie, a native of Ghana, was convicted in November 2008 in Baltimore County of sex offense and assault in September 2007 and harassment, stalking and telephone misuse for making repeated calls in 2007 and 2008 to a woman. He was sentenced to at least a year and a half in jail.
Spokane County prosecutors are proceeding with the first-degree murder trial of Patrick K. Gibson, who is charged with the 1992 slaying of a Spokane Valley business man, even as they wait for more evidence.
Testimony entered its third day Thursday in the state's case against Gibson. Prosecutors allege that Gibson robbed Brian Cole at gunpoint on Nov. 7, 1992, and indicated that he would hurt Cole's wife.
Cole reportedly jumped the robber, who then shot him twice in the head. One of those same bullets also pierced his lung. He died 90 minutes later on an operating table.
The crime remained unsolved for 19 years until Spokane County Sheriff's Detective Lyle Johnston tested a fake beard used in the robbery for DNA evidence and a match came back to Gibson, 60, who has convictions for similar crimes in other states.
But the case may have to be put on hold as prosecutors wait for the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory to finish testing another piece of evidence that recently was submitted. Jack Driscoll, the chief criminal deputy prosecutor, would not identify what was sent for testing.
Defense attorneys Victoria Blumhorst and John Whaley complained to Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen that they have a DNA expert waiting in California but don't yet know the nature of the evidence that the expert will be asked to challenge.
“I've never done a case where we are waiting for evidence as we are taking testimony,” Eitzen told the attorneys. “I advise the state to rush the crime lab along with that evidence.”
A Post Falls man who beat his dog with a hammer as his neighbor watched in horror has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Calvin Franklin Palmer, 53, who served 33 years in prison in Arizona for murder, apologized at his sentencing Friday and said the death of his Akita-pit bull even “traumatized him,” according to court records.
“I was the only one who treated her nicely,” Palmer said.
He told police he killed the dog after she attacked a cat and he feared she would attack him.
“I'm sorry that someone saw me do that,” he said in court Friday, according to a transcript. Palmer was booked into the Kootenai County Jail that day to begin his sentence.
Palmer's neighbors in the 300 block of North Columbia Street in Post Falls called police Dec. 10 and reported the horrific attack.
Tammi Nichols, 40, said her 18-year-old daughter, Carmen Murphy, told her she'd seen Palmer beating the dog with the hammer.
Nichols said she told Palmer “You just traumatized my child,” but Palmer “looked at her with a blank look on his face, then swung the hammer at the dog four more times, striking it in the head,” according to court documents.
Post Falls police arrived to find the dog dead in a trash can, badly beaten with its throat slit.
Palmer initially lied to police and said he didn't own a dog, according to court documents. When they asked him about dog food at the home, he said he fed it to his cats because he can't afford cat food.
Palmer has been out of prison for about three years after being convicted of robbery and murder in Arizona, according to court records. He works at the Sweetgrass Cafe in Worley, Idaho, according to testimony at his sentencing.
His public defender, Megan Marshall, called for him to serve no jail time for the animal cruelty conviction, saying he'll lose his trailer if he can't work. She said his murder conviction “is following him for the rest of his life,” according to court records.
Judge Penny Friedlander instead sentenced him to 180 days in jail but allowed for work release. Friedlander said it was “stunning to the court how anyone could do an act like that to an animal.”