Posts tagged: Spokane County Superior Court
A Spokane man who shot a man outside a Spokane Valley bar last November has been sentenced to about 15 years in prison.
Aaron Phillip Williams, 31, already has a conviction for second-degree assault, so his first-degree assault conviction counts as a second strike under Washington's three-strikes law.
A conviction for a third violent crime will put him in prison for life with no chance of parole.
Williams will have plenty of time to think about that - he was sentenced last week in Spokane County Superior Court to 178 months for the shooting Nov. 20. Williams shot a man in the parking lot of Goodtymes Pub, 9214 E. Mission Ave., during a confrontation between two groups of men
Williams has previous convictions for second-degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and harming a police dog, all in Kitsap County. He also has juvenile convictions for first-degree robbery, first-degree theft, residential burglary, second-degree burglary and obstructing law enforcement.
Dressed in long shorts, sneakers with no socks and a collarless shirt, Cole M. Kendall stood before a judge Wednesday and entered an Alford plea for stabbing two people last year at an underage drinking party.
Still six months shy of legal drinking age, Kendall is now one conviction away from facing life in prison under Washington’s three-strikes law.
A man accused of a bizarre attack in downtown Spokane earlier this month is to undergo a mental health examination.
Justin T. Betts, 29, is due back in Spokane County Superior Court next month to determine if he's competent to stand trial. An arraignment scheduled for last Thursday was cancelled.
Police say Betts, who had just been released from jail, was high on methamphetamine when the owner of Thompson's Food Mart at 1208 W. 3rd St., saw him get into a customer's car April 7 about 9:30 a.m.
Betts threatened the owner with a gun when confronted, police say, and also threatened several other people in the area. Betts also walked into the nearby Honda dealership and threatened employees, police say.
He told police his name was “Jimmy Jake Franks,” but officers eventually identified him as Betts, whose criminal convictions include third-degree child molestation in 2004.
Betts remains in jail on charges of first-degree robbery, two counts of felony harassment and possession of controlled substance.
A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide has been sentenced to 17 months in prison for drunken driving.
A jury convicted David W. Batty, 56, of drunken driving after a short trial in Spokane County Superior Court earlier this month.
He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Friday, where he's awaiting transport to prison to begin his sentence. He'll be credited for time already spend in jail, which includes the month he was there after his arrest in January.
Batty had a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. in January 2011 at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2. Batty told police that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications, according to court documents.
The charge was a felony because Batty has a previous conviction for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash in 1993.
Batty was rehired by the Spokane Fire Department after serving time in prison for vehicular homicide but was on medical leave when he caused a crash in January 2007 that killed three people. He was not charged in that crash but never returned to the Fire Department.
Then in 2009, he was sentenced to nine months in jail after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol.
A Spokane man whose three-strikes trial was halted because of concerns about racist comments made by jurors has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Bobby S. Galloway, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for third-degree assault after pleading guilty last week before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.
Galloway already has two convictions for violent felonies. Had he been convicted of first-degree assault as originally charged, a judge would have no choice but to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Galloway was arrested last May after stabbing a man outside the Top Hat Tavern, 6412 N. Division St.
He was on trial in February, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen declared a mistrial after a juror reported inappropriate, racially toned comments being made in the jury room, court officials say.
A 20-year-old man arrested for a 2007 murder was sentenced recently to 15 years in prison.
Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead (right) also was ordered to pay $6,651 restitution after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel Burgess, 30.
Burgess was killed while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave.
Martin-Armstead, his girlfriend, Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and her brother, Marc A. Anderson, 20 (left), each were charged with a single count of first-degree murder. Martin-Armstead's charge was reduced as part of a plea deal.
The Andersons, who are out of jail on bond, are scheduled to go to trial in June.
Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.
A man who shot a retired teacher to death in a 2002 road-rage case has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after an appellate court overturned his earlier conviction.
Christopher W. Conklin, 31, was sentenced last week to 240 months in prison with credit for nearly 10 years served in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree assault before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor.
The Washington Court of Appeals overturned his first-degree murder conviction last year because Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins failed to tell Conklin that he could withdraw his plea after an error in his plea bargain was discovered.
Conklin was 21 when a Suburban he was driving struck a minivan that turned onto Division Street from Empire Avenue. Police said it wasn’t clear which driver was at fault, but Conklin then deliberately sideswiped the minivan and forced it to stop.
The minivan driver, Richard Laws, and three independent witnesses said Conklin pistol-whipped Laws and killed his passenger, 64-year-old Melvin J. Hendrickson, with a gunshot intended for Laws.
A 19-year-old Spokane man was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison recently for his role in the murder and kidnapping of a 22-year-old man whose burned body was found in the back of a car last year.
Justice E. D. Sims, 19, (left) pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping Friday in connection to the slaying of Nicholas J. Thoreson, who was found dead in the trunk of his Thunderbird on Forker Road April 13.
Detectives believe Sims, his sister Breeanna C. Sims, 20, and Taylor J. Wolf, 21, brutally beat Thoreson (right) in a garage at the Knotty Pines apartment complex, 13615 E. Trent Ave., in Spokane Valley. Sims then fatally shot Thoreson.
In addition to 400 months in prison, Sims was ordered to pay $5,268 restitution.
Wolf is scheduled to begin trial Aug. 20. Breeanna Sims is scheduled to begin trial April 2.
Detectives say Wolf (left) 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 April 16 and is represented by Chris Bugbee.
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 phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”
Sims originally was charged with aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, and the charge was amended to first-degree murder as part of a plea deal.
Also charged in the case is the Simses' half-brother, who pleaded guilty in juvenile court to threatening a witness in the case. The teen is not being named because he was charged as a juvenile.
Emily K. Karlinsey, 19, who is accused of making threatening phone calls to a witness, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in January and was credited for a day already spent in jail and given two years probation.
A homeless methamphetamine addict who burglarized a charity and stole Christmas presents for sick children is to spend about three years in prison.
Jermaine Marcell Garland, 29, also will be on probation for 37 months that will include drug treatment, said Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza, who sentenced him Wednesday.
Garland burglarized the Wishing Star Foundation, a charity for sick children at 139 S. Sherman St., on Dec. 7, as well as other businesses in the area.
The organization was overwhelmed with donations once citizens learned of the stolen Christmas presents.
Garland cooperated with detectives, and Cozza said police supported the sentence.
Cozza said in an email that Garland did not know what the Wishing Star program was when he broke in, and when detectives explained its mission to him, “he was remorseful about hurting kids in that program.”
An 18-year-old man allowed to leave the Spokane County Jail after an arrest for burglary this week made good on his promise to return to court - but not in the right way.
Reshawn S. Zinnerman was arrested in connection with another burglary that occurred just hours after he left the Spokane County Jail.
Superior Court Judge Annette Plese allowed the teen, who has no substantial criminal history, to leave jail without posting a bond, which is common for suspects who have shown no reason to believe they won’t appear for future court hearings.
But Zinnerman allegedly didn’t take Plese’s standard order to commit no crimes to heart, which she imposed Wednesday afternoon during his first court appearance. About 6:40 a.m. Thursday, A woman living in the 2000 block of East South Crescent Avenue spotted a man she later identified as Zinnerman peering into her bedroom. He ran, but his shoe prints led to the backdoor of a home in the 2000 block of East Nora. Police arrested Zinnerman there and say he told them he’d just been released from jail for a burglary arrest.
Plese wasn’t so nice when she saw Zinnerman in her courtroom the next day - 24 hours after she first met him. The judge imposed A $50,000 for the charge – attempted residential burglary - and a $35,000 bond for the first burglary charge.
That means he’ll have to come with about $8,500 cash to get out - most bail bond companies require a 10 percent payment.
Zinnerman said in an interview at the Spokane County Jail Friday evening that his first arrest was the result of a “stupid mistake.”
In that case, Zinnerman was arrested for a break-in at 803 E. Wabash Ave. after a woman also spotted him looking through windows at the residence. Police say he stole a bottle of Hydrocodone from the apartment.
Zinnerman said he walked to his aunt’s home after being released from jail. He was to get a ride to his parents’ home in Nine Mile Falls but was arrested before that happened. He said he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and denies trying to burglarize the home.
A graduate of Wellpinit High School, Zinnerman said he’s to begin classes at Spokane Falls Community College this year. He said he hopes to study “anything, really, as long as I’m on the right track.”
“I’m taking this as a learning experience,” he said.
Police are looking for a witness in an assault case that could put the defendant in prison for life.
Morgan S. Snider, 23, (right) is expected to testify in the first-degree assault trial of Bobby S. Galloway, but police said this week that she still has not been located.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen declared a mistrial Monday in Galloway's case after a juror reported inappropriate, racially toned comments being made in the jury room, court officials say.
Galloway (left) faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of felony assault because he already has two previous convictions for violent felonies.
Galloway, 24, is accused of stabbing Mickey Davis during a fight May 5 outside the Top Hat Tavern, 6412 N. Division St.
His new trial is set to begin April 2. Snider is wanted on misdemeanor driving warrants.
Anyone with information on Snider's location is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
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.
A 19-year-old man is to spend about seven years in prison for an armed robbery that was sparked by his fear of contracting herpes from a shared marijuana pipe.
Aziem L. Richardson pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree robbery for a July incident in which he invited the victims to an apartment at 1119 W. Augusta Ave., to smoke marijuana in celebration of his 19th birthday.
Richardson left after several minutes and returned with a shotgun and threatened the teens, telling them “I heard you or your girlfriend has herpes and we have been sharing a bong,” according to court documents. “If I get herpes, I'm going to kill you both.”
Richardson stole the men's cellphones and a wallet. He has juvenile convictions for robbery.
He was sentenced Monday to 87 months in prison by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza.
A jury has convicted a Spokane man of felony harassment for threatening to kill a Spokane police officer.
Rudy Ray Cordova, 38, was acquitted of fourth-degree domestic assault, which is the suspected crime that brought him in contact with Officer Chris McMurtrey.
Cordova's lawyer, Doug Phelps, questioned McMurtrey at trial about his support for Officer Karl Thompson and pointed out that McMurtrey said he feared Cordova in part because of his felony convictions. Phelps emphasized that Thompson was a convicted felon, too, but McMurtrey didn't fear him.
It apparently didn't sway jurors, who returned the guilty verdict on Thursday. Cordova is now awaiting sentencing on the felony harassment charge.
McMurtrey had arrested Cordova on suspicion of domestic violence assault Feb. 26 when Cordova told him, “That’s how people died, by taking the wrong people to jail…Don’t worry. I’ll get out tomorrow and find out where you guys live. I’ve been to prison,” according to court testimony.
A suspected child rapist suffered shoulder injuries when Spokane County corrections deputies apparently mistook him for another man who they’d been sent to detain outside a courtroom.
“The whole time I was telling them that they got the wrong guy,” said Robert C. Botzon, 47, who said he may have suffered permanent damage in the Jan. 19 encounter, which included being forcibly knocked to the ground while officers swarmed and put him in handcuffs.
A Spokane police officer who says he feared for his life after being threatened by a felon was asked in court Wednesday about supportive comments he posted on a Facebook page in support of another convicted felon – former Officer Karl Thompson.
Defense lawyer Doug Phelps questioned Officer Chris McMurtrey’s contention that 38-year-old Rudy Ray Cordova’s prior convictions for violent crimes were a cause for concern, noting that Thompson has been convicted of a violent crime, too.
A last-minute plea deal has halted a trial for a Spokane man accused of intimidating a public servant for a courthouse outburst at a deputy prosecutor.
Roland W. Finney, 36, (pictured) pleaded guilty to riot today in Spokane County Superior Court and was sentenced to six months in jail. He'll be credited for 59 days already served.
Sixty prospective jurors and a visiting judge were at the courthouse today for what was to be the start of Finney's trial.
Finney was accused of intimidating Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla on Aug. 30, 2010, after Cipolla refiled drug-related charges against him that had earlier been dismissed.
Cipolla said Finney 'threatened to take me outside and ‘kick my ass,’ ” according to court documents. “The threats continued to escalate including killing my wife, ‘Life is a bitch, you marry one and then she dies’ and that I had better watch out,” Cipolla wrote.
In response, Finney's lawyer, Kari Reardon, wrote: “The truth of the matter is that for some, life is a bitch. Further, everybody dies.” She said her client's statements didn't constitute threats against Cipolla.
Retired Ferry County Judge Rebecca Baker and Lincoln County Prosecutor Jeff Barkdull were called in to handle the case.
Finney pleaded guilty today before jury selection proceedings began, thus ending any possibility of Reardon cross examining Cipolla.
A man who brought a bomb to a party that led to the death of a 28-year-old man was sentenced today to about three years in prison.
Christapher A. Harris, 21, (left) is to serve 39 months for second-degree manslaughter and possession of an explosive device, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza said.
A jury in September voted 9-3 to acquit Harris of first-degree manslaughter for the Nov. 6, 2010, explosion that killed Cody R. Hathaway, 28, (right) outside a family costume party.
Another jury convicted him of the lesser charge last month.
Hathaway died after a bomb exploded and sent a piece of shrapnel into his neck.
The bomb was one of several Harris brought to the party at the invite of co-defendant James J. Crouchman, who lit one of the devices.
Crouchman, 36, was sentenced to 10 months in jail last month for unlawful possession of explosives and reckless endangerment.
A Spokane man who raped a girl in a park on New Year's Day 2010 will spend at least nine years in prison under a sentence imposed recently in Superior Court.
Louis Victor Kuster, 23, was sentenced to at least 114 months for second-degree rape. Because he's a sex offender, Kuster must undergo evaluations before he's allowed to be released. That means he could stay behind bars indefinitely.
Kuster was arrested in January 2011 after DNA he submitted for a property crime conviction linked him to the rape at Patrick Byrne Park, 125 E. Walton Ave. His victim was a 16-year-girl. Kuster told jurors at his three-day trial in November that the oral sex was consensual, but they convicted him.
Kuster underwent sex offender treatment as a teenager after he was accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching four girls while a middle school student in Stevens County.
Judge Kathleen O'Connor sentenced Kuster on Tuesday. He's at the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.
A Spokane man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing his wife's cat.
Nicholas A. Romanelli, 28, was arraigned in Spokane County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree animal cruelty.
He's accused of smashing a cat against a wall repeatedly while drunk and angry he couldn't find the keys to his car to get more beer, according to court documents.
Police arrived at his home in the 4600 block of North Sullivan Road after his wife called 911. She awoke to the cat screeching loudly, she told police.
Romanelli is out of custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled for March 26. He has previous felony convictions for domestic violence tampering with a witness and harassment.