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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: pleas

Rape suspect wanted after skipping plea

UPDATE: Green is no longer wanted. He appeared in court and pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. The rape charge was dismissed.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an accused rapist who missed his scheduled plea hearing.

J. Bailey Green, 24, was to plead guilty and be sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court June 19 for a second-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment case, but he never showed up. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Green was charged after a woman told police he raped her while at a home on West Sharp Avenue Dec. 3. The victim told police she bit Green. When police asked him about the bite mark on his cheek, Green said it occurred “maybe when I was trying to hold her down,” according to court documents.

Anyone with information on the location of Green, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Judge rejects mom-based lawyer plea

A 50-year-old Spokane man recently sentenced to prison for drugs won't be allowed to retain his publicly funded lawyer while he awaits legal advice from his mother, a judge ruled Monday.

Vernon V. Jackson had objected to public defender Mark Hannibal's routine request to withdraw as his attorney after Jackson was sentenced last week to two years in prison for three counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Jackson said Monday that he spoke with his mother after he pleaded guilty and “might have a change of heart” but needed to talk to his mother again. He wanted Hannibal to stay on as his attorney just in case.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese asked Jackson if his mother was a lawyer. He said no, but she “has lawyer skills.”

“I wanted to become an attorney, but I messed up,” Jackson said.

Plese denied Jackson's request, noting there was no legal basis for Hannibal to continue to represent him. Jackson can still try to change his plea once he talks to his mother even without a lawyer currently assigned.

Court says killer can withdraw guilty plea

A Spokane man who pleaded guilty to a 2007 murder has been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because prosecutors failed to tell him he had to spend a minimum of 20 years in prison before he would be eligible for early release.

The Division III Court of Appeals issued its decision Thursday to allow Michael D. Coombes to withdraw the plea because he was not “informed of a direct consequence of his plea.

” Coombes, 30, pleaded guilty to killing 53-year-old William R. Nichols sometime between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2, 2007.

Coombes pleaded guilty in June 2008 and received a 27-year prison sentence.

However, he appealed his sentence because he had the mistaken belief that he was eligible to begin early release credit during the entire sentence, according to court documents.

The portion of his plea that explained the minimum 20-year sentence was left blank in the court file. The case now returns to Superior Court Judge Michael Price to allow Coombes to withdraw his plea.

Man pleads guilty to ‘08 murder of baby

A Spokane man who murdered a 7-month-old girl, then assaulted her older brother, faces 12 to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced next month. 

Jereme J. Bassett, 24, has been in Spokane County Jail since March 20, 2008, the day his now ex-girlfriend brought her daughter, Nevaeh Alana Miller, to Sacred Heart Medical Center with head trauma so severe doctors said recovery was hopeless.

Bassett recently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and third-degree assault of a child and will be sentenced May 3.

“I wish he would have burned in Hell instead, but it sounds like this is the best deal we’re going to get,” said Nevaeh’s grandmother, Deborah Parks. “It’ll never replace what he took from us.”

The assault conviction stems from Bassett choking Nevaeh’s 8-year-old half-brother and slamming him into a bed after the children’s mother, Jennifer Wilcox, rushed Nevaeh to the hospital. The boy had commented to Bassett that Nevaeh “was brain dead,” according to court documents.

Bassett was unemployed and regularly watched Nevaeh and the boy while Wilcox worked.

Wilcox returned the day of Bassett’s arrest to find her baby unresponsive in the room she and Bassett shared at the West Wynn Motel on Sunset Boulevard.

Bassett had called her earlier to say Nevaeh had fallen and hit her head but seemed OK. He told police he tried to revive the child, then smoked marijuana with two friends who were visiting.

Nevaeh was pronounced dead on March 22, 2008. Her organs were donated to three babies. Parks said she stays in contact with the parents of the baby who received Nevaeh’s heart.

“That’s made a big difference,” she said.

Bassett has past convictions for possession of a controlled substance, residential burglary, and attempted first-degree theft. His criminal history calls for a standard sentencing range of 144 to 244 months.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese approved Bassett’s plea deal on Thursday, the same day Spokane police announced the arrest of 18-year-old Tyler L. Jamison on accusations that he assaulted his 2-month-old daughter, SkyeLynn.

Past coverage:

Girls organs given to 3 babies

Troubles started early for man accused in baby’s death

Canadian coke smuggler: I’m guilty

A Canadian man arrested with 38 kilos of cocaine last fall recently pleaded guilty to a federal cocaine charge.

Michael B. Yuill, 36, (left, dressed as Shrek for Halloween 2005 in a picture from his hometown paper, the Observer), pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.

The charges carries a prison sentence of 10 years to life. No plea deal was accepted when Yuill pleaded guilty Feb. 2.

He’ll be sentenced May 3. Yuill, a father of two with no previous criminal record, was arrested Oct. 7 after employees at a Spokane International Airport rental agency told investigators he’d rented several SUVs and returned them after racking up unusually high mileage – some 3,000 miles apiece.

Yuill, a resident of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, a small community about 300 miles north of Spokane, was arrested after U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents spent two days tailing him throughout Eastern Washington.

Previous coverage:

B.C man in coke bust to stay in jail

38 kilos of cocaine seized in Eastern Washington

Killer faces 18 years in MySpace impersonation case

A Spokane man who killed his estranged wife, then impersonated her on MySpace to dupe try duping family members into thinking she was still alive, faces about 18 years in prison when he’s sentenced next month.

Uriah dwJ. BrosnanÖ, 33, pleaded guilty to the Jan. 28 beating death of Becky BrosnanÖ, 32, last week. The plea in a plea deal that calls for him to serve 220 months, the high end of the standard sentence for second-degree murder, said Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor John LoveÖ.

“I’m just glad we don’t have to put the kids through a trial,” said Tina Crone, Becky Brosnan’s stepmother. Crone is caring for the Brosnans’ children, ages 6 and 11. “It’s the easy way out for him, but what else is new?”

Read the rest of my story in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review.

Past coverage:

Man impersonated wife online after killing her

Brosnans had no contact order in 1997

Teen faces 10 years for attack on transient

A teenage boy faces about 10 years in prison for burning a homeless man in a dispute he told police was over stolen beer money.

John C. Palmer, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court, more than seven months after Peter H. Krueger walked into a downtown hospital with second-degree burns on his face and hands.

Palmer had been charged with first-degree attempted murder but pleaded to the assault charge after investigators determined he’d set a blanket on fire and thrown it on Krueger instead of burning Krueger directly as first suspected.

Krueger was sleeping near Sprague Avenue and Sheridan Street, east of downtown, when he awoke on fire May 4. Palmer told police he was angry at Krueger for taking his money instead of buying him alcohol.

Palmer faces 117 months in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 14, said Deputy Prosecutor Tony Hazel.

Documents show authorities first suspected Krueger’s girlfriend of the attack after he said he awoke and saw her pouring lighter fluid on him.

But Krueger also said he was drunk at the time. And five days later, a witness told Krueger it was Palmer who’d set him on fire, court papers show.

Read more here.

Girl admits to killing father

A teenage girl has admitted to killing her father in his Spokane home last year.

Jacqueline A. Wortham, 18, faces 22 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Her sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Daniel Wortham, 39, lived with his daughter on East Sharp Avenue when police say the girl and her boyfriend, Edmund D. Washington, 19, stabbed and beat him to death March 21, 2008.

Police found his body two days later after family reported his home was suspiciously quiet. Jacqueline Wortham and Washington were arrested at a South Hill home the next day. Wortham entered her plea on July 29.

Washington remains in Spokane County Jail on one count of first-degree murder. His trial is scheduled for November.

Read past coverage of the case here.

Courthouse watch: 8.6.09

The former security supervisor for The Spokesman-Review pleaded guilty today to three sexual assault charges that could keep him in prison for life.

Robert J. Robel, 61, (right) pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of a child, second-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation.

Robel agreed to the plea after a second victim came forward, which could have produced more charges, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Edward Hay said in court.

Read Thomas Clouse’s story here. Read the September 2008 story on Robel’s arrest here.

Also today, an OxyContin robber pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery.

Richard T. Ludvik, 23, (left) was on the lam for more than two weeks after he robbed the Walgreens at 2830 S. Grand Blvd. Jan 21.

His alleged accomplice, Joshua G. Dixon, 26, was arrested the night of the robbery and told police he’d driven Ludvik to the pharmacy in exchange for a couple of pills, court documents show.

The company that makes OxyContin and has come under scrutiny for lying about its addictiveness offered a $1,000 reward for his capture, and Ludvik turned himself in Feb. 10.

Dixon’s trial is set for Aug. 24. Ludvik is to be sentenced for second-degree robbery next Thursday.

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