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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: sexual assault

Amanda Knox makes emotional appeal

PERUGIA, Italy – Convicted murderer Amanda Knox broke into tears Saturday as she made an emotional address to an appeals court in Italy, saying she was the innocent victim of an “enormous mistake” and that her life had been “broken” by three years in jail.

In her address to the court, the 23-year-old American reached out for the first time to the family of Meredith Kercher, the British girl she was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing in 2007 when they were roommates on a student exchange program in Perugia.

Knox, from Seattle, denied being the “dangerous, diabolical, jealous, uncaring, violent” person described by the prosecution.

Last year, Knox was convicted and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Also convicted of the same charges was Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian who is Knox’s former boyfriend. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the verdict.

Read the rest of the AP story here.

2 sex offenders wanted since summer ‘09

UPDATE: Cheney pleaded guilty in March 2011 and is no longer wanted by authorities.

Crime Stoppers is offering rewards for tips that help arrest two unregistered sex offenders wanted since last summer

Gregory D. Cheney, 32 (left), was convicted of two counts of first-degree child molestation in Spokane County in 1992.

Cheney, 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, is a transient with an 18-year-criminal history, according to Crime Stoppers. He's been wanted since last August for failing to register as a sex offender.

Also wanted is Steven V. Latterman, 39 (right).

Latterman, who has a nine-year criminal history, was convicted of third-degree assault with sexual motivation in 2003 in Spokane County.

A warrant was issued in July 2009 for one count of failure to register as a sex offender.  Lattreman, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, last gave 1905 W. 2nd Ave. #L in Spokane as his address.

Cheney and Latterman are level 1 sex offenders, the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

Anyone with information their whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters don't have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

1 man sought in 3 Valley sexual assaults

New evidence shows one man is responsible for three sexual assaults in Spokane Valley in December 2008 and September 2009, police announced Thursday.

The man is suspected of fondling women in unlocked homes in the North Pines Road and East Mansfield Avenue area on Dec. 10, 2008, and on Dec. 15, 2008, then attacking a woman in the 400 block of South Pines on Sept. 27, 2009.

In the last case, the woman was walking home from dinner and drinks with friends when the man crossed Pines Road and grabbed her hair about 2:30 a.m., police said.

The man threw the woman to the ground and tried to unbutton her pants; friends on the other end of her cell phone call heard the struggle. When the phone rang again, the assailant threatened to kill the woman and the caller if she answered it, police said.

Detectives recovered evidence at each scene that tied them to one man; Sgt. Dave Reagan declined to elaborate.

The assailant is described as a white man, 28 to 30 years old, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-10 and 150 to 170 pounds.

Police say the sketch is so accurate that a victim “was visibly shaken by the close resemblance.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Defense rests in ex-Spokanite’s murder trial

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The jury is expected to begin deliberations in James Biela’s rape and murder trial on Wednesday after his public defenders abruptly ended presentation of their case with the calling of only one expert witness about DNA evidence.

The judge said he anticipates the case going to the jury sometime Wednesday afternoon following closing arguments from both sides in the trial that began 12 days ago.

  “Sooner than I thought we are done with the evidence in the first part of this case,” Washoe District Judge Robert Perry said before sending the jury home for the day about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Biela, a 1999 West Valley High graduate whose mother lives in Spokane Valley, told the judge earlier Tuesday he wanted to testify but decided against it on the advice of his attorneys.

The 28-year-old accused of raping and murdering 19-year-old Brianna Denison and sexually assaulting two other young women in a string of attacks from October 2007 to January 2008 on the edge of the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. He also faces a kidnapping charge.

(Denison’s mother, Bridgette Denison, is pictured above talking to Washoe County deputy district attorney Elliott Sattler.)

Police believe Biela lived and worked in the Moses Lake area for several months after the attacks. He sold the truck believed to have been used in the crimes to a car dealership that then sold it to a Coeur d’Alene couple.

The truck was seized shortly after Biela’s arrest.

Read the rest of the AP story on today’s happenings in the case by clicking the link below.

Past coverage:

Today: Prosecution rests in WV grad’s murder trial

May 14: Ex-Valley man on trial for murder in Reno

Nov. 27, 2008: West Valley grad held in Reno rapes, murder

Youth Center director accused of child rape

The director of the Spokane Tribe’s Youth Center is accused of raping a teen boy during an alcohol-fueled party in March.

Rodney R. McCoy, 42, appeared in U.S. District Court Wednesday. He’s being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail pending a bail hearing next Monday.

The investigation began when the alleged victim, an inmate at Martin Hall Juvenile Detention Center in Medical Lake, told a counselor he’d been sexually abused by “the youth center director” on the Spokane Indian Reservation, according to court documents.

The boy told police he drank beer and hard liquor before McCoy forced him to perform oral sex at McCoy’s home on March 2.

The boy said McCoy was worried about losing his job if minors were caught drinking at his home “but if (the boy) stole it, it was okay,” according to a court documents filed Wednesday.

McCoy told police he was very intoxicated that night but remembered walking in on the boy and another man, then fondling one of them, documents said.

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