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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Washington State University

Judges uphold Russell’s convictions

Appellate judges on Tuesday upheld the vehicular homicide convictions against Frederick Russell, who was convicted in 2007 of killing three Washington State University students and seriously injuring three others in a drunken crash a decade ago on the highway that connects Moscow and Pullman.

 However, the Division III Court of Appeals will return the case to Superior Court Judge David Frazier so that Russell can be given credit for the time he served incarcerated in Ireland as attorneys fought for his extradition back to the U.S. to stand trial.

Russell had fled the country through Canada to avoid prosecution of the case.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Sex offender, WSU library patron jailed

A sex offender suspected of using college library computers to look at pornography is in jail for failing to register in Spokane County.

James Robert Sorrell, 66, alias Douglas Doolittle, was convicted in Ada County, Idaho, in 1987 of lewd conduct of a minor and infamous crime against nature. He was released in 1997, then convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Oregon in 2008.

The U.S. Marshals Service began looking for him earlier this year after learning he may be in Washington. He was arrested Friday after security at Washington State University's Riverpoint campus told federal investigators that Sorrell was looking at pornography on the library's computers, including a visit on Thursday.

Sorrell was arrested near the House of Charity, where investigators believe he sometimes stayed. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender.

U.S. Marshal William Downey said he regularly saw Sorrell near Main Street and Lincoln Street in downtown Spokane.

“He actually would walk right by the courthouse here on his way to the library,” Downey said.

Sorrell is pictured above last April on the Gonzaga University campus. He told the photographer he was taking a research break.

Man in ‘caffeine psychosis’ crashes acquitted

(AP) A Moscow man whose lawyer blamed caffeine-induced psychosis for alleged hit-and-run crashes at Washington State University in December has been acquitted by reason of insanity.

Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier ruled today that Daniel Noble, 31, was temporarily insane during the Dec. 9 incident and acquitted him of two felony counts of vehicular assault, two felony counts of hit-and-run and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Frazier granted a defense motion to acquit Noble based on Noble’s attorney’s intent to use an insanity defense at trial.

The two crashes injured pedestrians, Neil Waldbjorn, 19, of Malaga, Wash., and Hogun Hahm, 23, of Pullman. Each suffered a broken leg. Officers used a Taser to subdue Noble.

Noble’s attorney, Mark Moorer, had previously said his client was suffering from caffeine-induced psychosis brought on by too much coffee and energy drinks.

Past coverage:

March 11: ‘Caffeine psychosis’ defendant fit for trial

Dec. 9: Lawyer: Blame it on the caffeine

‘Caffeine psychosis’ defendant to stand trial

(AP) A Moscow man whose lawyer blamed caffeine-induced psychosis for alleged hit-and-run crashes at Washington State University in December has been released from a hospital and will face trial.

Dan Noble, 31, (left) has been declared fit to stand trial by doctors at Eastern State Hospital, said Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy.

He is charged with two felony counts of vehicular assault, two felony counts of hit and run and misdemeanor resisting arrest after being arrested in December.

Drivers on the highway between Moscow and Pullman reported Noble’s car driving erratically in the westbound lanes Monday morning, according to previously published reports.

Noble then turned onto Stadium Way, the main street through the WSU campus, where he allegedly struck students Hogun Hahm, 23, of Pullman, and Neil Waldbjorn, 19, of Malaga, Wash., in crosswalks about a block apart, according to the Associated Press. Both pedestrians suffered a broken leg and other injuries.

Noble then reportedly stopped and exited the vehicle at the intersection of Stadium Way and Grimes Way, about 175 yards from the second victim.

When WSU police approached him, Noble became “argumentative, incoherent, and resistive,” documents said. Officers used a Taser to subdue him.

Noble’s arraignment is set for April 9, court records show.

Noble’s attorney, Mark Moorer, has previously said his client was suffering from caffeine-induced psychosis brought on by too much coffee and energy drinks.

Past coverage: Lawyer: Blame it on the caffeine

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