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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: threats

Men accused of extorting grandmother

A 22-year-old Spokane man is accused of extorting his grandmother by conspiring with his friend to tell her he was being kidnapped for ransom, police say.

Tevan T. Williams and his alleged accomplice, Riley D. Hull, 22, were arrested Wednesday after Williams' grandmother said she'd received text messages from a stranger “saying Tevan was being held against his will and would not be released until she paid a ransom,” according to court documents.

The 61-year-old woman had been contacted at her north Spokane home on Monday by an unknown man who said Williams owed him money and he planned to rob the home if he didn't get his cash, police say.

The woman said she continued receiving text messages Wednesday saying her grandson would be killed if she didn't pay $500.

She agreed to meet the man at a restaurant near Francis Avenue and North Division Street. The woman and a relative contacted Spokane police, believing Williams “was possibly in grave danger,” police say.

Police traced the text messages to a phone belonging to Hull and arrested him and Williams near the planned meeting spot.

Hull and Williams each were ordered to stay in jail on $7,500 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court Thursday on a first-degree extortion charge.

Gunman forces man to ‘moonwalk’

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man has been charged with assault after authorities say he ordered another man to perform the “moonwalk” at gunpoint.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 30-year-old John Ernest Cross was charged with the felony Tuesday in 1st District Court and appointed a public defender.

Police say they were called Monday to Cross' home in Clark Fork after getting a report that he pointed a rifle at another man and demanded that the man perform the dance move popularized by Michael Jackson in the 1980s.

Investigators accuse Cross of using a semiautomatic rifle during the episode, but Cross claimed during his initial court appearance this week that the firearm was simply a pellet gun.

Guns seized from mental health patient

A Cheney man with suspected mental health issues remains in protective custody after police found an arsenal of weapons at his home Wednesday  following weeks of threats against public officials.

Douglas J. Dibiasi, 53, was already in protective custody when law enforcement searched his home at 9018 S. Medifor Road about 9:30 a.m.

Spokane County sheriff's officials seized 26 pistols, rifles and shotguns as well as 4,000 to 5,000 rounds of ammunition throughout the home, according to a search warrant.

The search came after officials with the State Bar Association said Dibiasi had filed a grievance against an attorney that had been dismissed, and he continued to leave voicemails threatening to kill federal officials. He threatened to blow up the post office in Cheney and has repeatedly alleged that the sheriff's office is out to get him.

A store owner in Cheney told detectives that he had to tell Dibiasi to stop entering the business with his pistol after an incident with an employee last fall.

Dibiasi was taken into protective custody March 7, and a doctor on March 12 forbid him from possessing weapons.

Army officer charged with harassment

By MANUEL VALDES and  SHANNON DININNY,Associated Press
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A 20-year Army officer in Washington state threatened to blow up the state Capitol and kill his superior officer, his estranged wife and his girlfriend, authorities said Tuesday, adding scrutiny to the troubled base of a soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree.

Lt. Col. Robert E. Underwood, who was arrested Monday night and pleaded not guilty to felony harassment charges, told his girlfriend he'd paid a hit man $150,000 to kill both his wife and superior officer, according to court documents.

Underwood threatened to kill the girlfriend after she confronted him about a naked photograph of his daughter on his laptop computer, the documents said. And he reportedly threatened to blow up the state capitol in Olympia, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said, although no charges have been filed on those accusations.

“We charged him with three counts of felony harassment. That's what the evidence supports, that's what we can prove,” he said. “But it's an ongoing investigation.”

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a sprawling base south of Seattle, is already under scrutiny this week because a soldier based there has been held in Afghanistan following the massacre that left 16 Afghan civilians dead in two villages.

The name of the 38-year-old soldier in custody at a base in Kandahar has not been released pending charges. The soldier was deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 3 with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to a congressional source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Underwood, 46, is assigned to the 191st infantry brigade, a training support brigade, Lewis-McChord spokesman Joe Piek said.

He was being held in the Pierce County jail on $250,000 bail after entering a not guilty plea during his Superior Court arraignment on Tuesday.

Underwood had just arrived at Lewis-McChord in January, after serving a year in Afghanistan from his then-base in Naples, Italy. He also served a stint in Iraq, from March 2004 to February 2005, and spent four months in Bosnia in 1998.

Lindquist said the military has concluded that Underwood does not suffer PTSD, though there may be other mental health issues to be considered.

According to court documents, Underwood witnessed his mother kill his two siblings when he was a young child, and she shot Underwood multiple times and left him for dead.

It's not clear whether Underwood actually went through the plan to hire a hit man, Lindquist said.

Underwood and his wife have been going through a divorce, and recent court hearings regarding money and custody of their children had not gone in his favor.

“The victims obviously had a concern that he meant it, but we don't know what steps, if any, were actually taken,” Lindquist said.

Underwood was commissioned into the Army as a lieutenant in 1992, and was the ROTC instructor at Eastern Washington University from February 2005 to December 2007.

He faces up to five years in prison, but standard sentencing range would be between four and twelve months, Lindquist said.

___

Dininny reported from Yakima, Wash. Gene Johnson contributed from Seattle.

Man arrested after knife threat in Valley

A man who threatened his former roommate with a knife before ignoring police commands was arrested without incident Tuesday night in Spokane Valley, police said today.

Police say Daniel W. De Long, 43, clinched his fists and “aggressively walked” toward officers after they ordered him to show them his hands.

Officers Lamont Petersen and David Lawhorn physically restrained  De Long, 6-feet tall and 290 pounds, when he appeared to be reaching for his waist area, according to a news release.

Police heard De Long was armed when they were dispatched to a home in the 18700 block of East Valleyway Court for a report of a knife threat. They arrived about 8:30 p.m. to find the front door open and could see De Long arguing with the victim. Police found the knife in the kitchen, where they believe De Long dropped it when he heard them arriving.

The victim told police he was drinking with De Long earlier that night, and De Long pushed his way into his home when he answered the door and yelled at him about clothing, then threatened to stab him with the knife.

De Long was booked into jail for felony second-degree assault and misdemeanor obstructing law enforcement and resisting arrest.

Gun suspects wanted to scare druggies

Two men accused of threatening people with guns at Underhill Park told police they did so in an effort to rid the park of drugs.

 Police say Joel D. Nelson, 26, said he and Joshua L. Schmidt, 29, (right) went to the park to make the drug dealers and drug users leave.  They brought guns “in case something got serious,” Nelson told Spokane police, according to court documents. Nelson told officers a bunch of guys were talking trash, and he pointed his gun “at at least six people,” police say.

At least eight people told police the men were threatening them with guns while in a silver Chevrolet Impala. Police caught up with the Impala in the area of 2900 E. Hartson Ave., but the car sped away before it stopped and Nelson and Schmidt ran away. Police caught Nelson, who was driving, and Schmidt was caught with the help of a K-9.

Police say Nelson had a blood-alcohol level between .229 and .219 - nearly three times the legal limit for driving. Police found a .40 cal. Beretta handgun in the car.

Each man faces eight counts of first-degree assault. Nelson also faces one count of attempt to elude and one count of DUI. Schmidt faces one  count of unlawful possession of a firearm because he has previous convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms.

Nelson is jailed on $10,000 bond after appearing in court Thursday. Schmidt's bail is at $150,000; he also has a probation hold from the Washington Department of Corrections for a felony riot conviction.

Man arrested w/ gun at Newman Lake

A man was arrested with a gun in the Newman Lake area Saturday after threatening two people, officials said.

Edwin J. Valenzuela, 59, told deputies two men attacked him and punched him in his recently installed pacemaker, so he displayed his gun.

But the victims, including Jeffrey Morse, president of the homeowner's association, said Valenzuela had contacted residents at 11733 N. Honeymoon Bay looking for a key to the boat slip area about 9:45 p.m. and became angry when a woman said she didn't have one, officials say.

Morse and Lyle Putz went to give Valenzuela a key, but Valenzuela grabbed Putz around the neck and held a gun to his head, according to court documents. The men said Valenzuela repeatedly called them racial epithets that incorrectly describe their race.
  

Valenzuela was arrested, and deputies say they found a black pistol with two loaded magazines in his room.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing in court on two counts of first-degree assault.

Armed woman arrested in police standoff

A woman armed with a handgun and accused of threatening her husband was arrested after a police standoff early this morning in northwest Spokane.

Rhonda R. Thompson, 49, was described by her husband as extremely agitated and combative” when officers arrived near 2500 W. Houston about 3:30 a.m.

The man said Thompson was highly intoxicated and was threatening him with a handgun, police said.

Police spent more than an hour trying to get Thompson out of the home. She was arrested without incident, and a firearm was found in her bedroom.

She's due in Superior Court this afternoon on a felony harassment charge.

“Domestic violence calls for service are consistently dangerous and unpredictable. Most parties are emotionally involved and require the patience of responding officers to diffuse the situations,” according to a police news release.  “Fortunately, in this morning's incident, both the involved parties and the officers safely walked away from a potentially life threatening situation.”

Man in Murray threat held without bail

A Spokane man accused of threatening to kill U.S. Senator Patty Murray will remain in jail without bail, a judge ruled Monday.

John Jay Sieler, 50, is diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolarity and was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward before he drove by a U.S. senate candidates debate waving a meat cleaver (pictured) and shouting threats on Oct. 14, according to court testimony.

Sieler appeared in U.S. District Court Monday, where his lawyer, Jay McEntire, described him as a lifelong Spokane resident who owns a home and has worked at Dick’s Hamburgers for 29 years.

A 2006 court order prohibits Sieler from possessing firearms, but Sieler has admitted to having several in a storage unit in Spokane, prosecutors said.

U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ordered Sieler to stay in jail, citing his access to firearms, history of marijuana abuse and his need for a structured release plan.

Sieler was arrested last month outside KSPS studios, where Murray and Republican candidate Dino Rossi were scheduled to debate later that night. Sieler was given $500 bail at the Spokane County Jail for misdemeanor charges but rearrested last week on a federal charge of threatening a federal official.

Feds: Man threatened to kill Sen. Murray

A Spokane man arrested outside a U.S. senate candidates debate with knives and a meat cleaver has been charged in federal court. 

John Jay Sieler, 50, is accused of threatening to kill U.S. Senator Patty Murray on Oct. 14 as he drove by her supporters waving a meat cleaver and shouting profanities.

Sieler was arrested outside KSPS studios, where Murray and Republican candidate Dino Rossi were scheduled to debate later that night. Police found other weapons (pictured) in his car.

Sieler was given $500 bail at the Spokane County Jail for misdemeanor charges but rearrested Wednesday evening on a federal warrant.

He appeared in U.S. District Court today on one count of threatening a federal official and was ordered to remain in jail until a bail hearing on Monday.

Officials: Knife-wielding man a public drunk

A transient suspected of threatening three people with a hunting knife in downtown Spokane late Thursday has been cited for consuming alcohol in public twice in the last eight days.

Now Wilfred Dale Corse, 48, is in jail on new misdemeanor charges after police say he took a fighting stance when confronted at 11:37 p.m. near South Maple Street and West Fourth Avenue.

Corse dropped the knife when the two officers pulled their guns, Officer Dave Daddato said in a news release.

Police had arrived to find Corse confronting a woman and two men with the knife, but Corse does not face assault charges because the victims fled before they were interviewed, Daddato said.

Corse said he confronted the three because he believed they stole his guitar or knew its location, police said.

Corse has been cited for consuming alcohol in public seven times since August 2006, including citations on May 26, June 17 and June 24, according to Spokane Municipal Court records. His drinks of choice include High Gravity, Busch and Natural Ice, records show.

Corse was booked into Spokane County Jail just after midnight today on $750 bond for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and a misdemeanor weapons charge.

Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

A man accused of threatening to kill Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles avoided going to jail in advance of his May trial, even though a judge ruled today that he “clearly” violated court orders.

David H. Elton, 44, will be jailed if he continues to disregard orders such as the requirement that he notify the court 48 hours in advance if he’s leaving the county, said Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.

When defense lawyer Mark Hodgson questioned how she knew Elton violated that order, Moreno pointed to a folder filled with emails sent by Elton to Moreno and her judicial assistant .

Elton spoke of his travels in the emails “but that’s long after he’s already left,” Moreno said.

When Moreno asked Elton to stop emailing her, he began emailing her judicial assistant, she said.

“Some of them are fine, some of them are absolutely vile,” Moreno said. “You’re correct, Mr. Hodgson, that Mr. Elton has shown disrespect for the court and disrespect for the court’s officers.”

Hodgson said he “can only express my deepest regrets that emails like that were ever sent to the court.”

“I make my living in this system and I think it deserves the highest respect,” Hodgson said. “That type of behavior is simply not tolerable.”

Hodgson said Elton has been “admonished by me personally that he needs to follow court orders.”

Hodgson said Elton is not a flight risk.

“I think there’s a lot of people in Spokane County who would like Mr. Elton to leave the county, (but) he really is not fleeing prosecution,” Hodgson said. “He stands ready. He wants to go to trial.”

Trial for Elton on charges that he threatened to kill his ex-wife, Robin Stewart, is to begin May 17. The trial for the charges related to Shogan and Cowles (the Cowles Company owns the Spokesman-Review) is to begin after that trial is complete.

The charges have been separated into two cases because the charge involving Stewart includes an amendment related to Elton’s previous conviction for harassing her. That previous conviction can’t be heard by jurors considering the Shogan and Cowles charges - only the Stewart charge.

Previous coverage:

Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Trial set for Elton on threat charges

‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

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