ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: witnesses

Man who helped assault victim sought

Detectives are looking for a young man who helped a woman who was assaulted near East South Riverton Avenue and North Magnolia Street earlier this month.

The man, described as in his late 20s to early 30s, helped the woman after she was knocked over by an unknown assailant March 1 about 6:30 a.m.

The Good Samaritan left before police arrived, and detectives are looking for him to help in their investigation, Spokane police said Thursday.

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

Fair-weather murder witness charged

A man who backed out of an agreement to testify at a fellow gang member's murder trial has been charged with two felonies for his alleged involvement in the slaying.

Antonio E. Cook, 29, appeared in Superior Court Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

He's accused of conspiring with accused killer Edward Lee “T.D.” Thomas to commit the assault that led to the death of John S. Williams, and of helping hide Thomas when he was sought on a first-degree murder charge. DNA found on the rifle used to kill Williams matched Thomas' DNA, according to court documents.

Cook has confessed to providing the weapon to Thomas and has said that Thomas was angry with a gang member who had “disrespected him,” according to court documents.

Thomas was driven from the murder scene by Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton, who is in prison for rendering criminal assistance. Police say Thomas went to Cook's house after the shooting and stayed there until the next day.

Police wanted Cook charged with second-degree murder under the state's accomplice law, but prosecutors instead opted for the assault charge.

It's the third felony case filed against Cook since June, after it became clear he would not be testifying against Thomas, who's to stand trial Aug. 22.

Cook already is due to serve 22 months after pleading guilty in May to unrelated third-degree assault and witness tampering charges. He's already awaiting sentencing after a jury convicted him last week of first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and witness tampering for an unrelated domestic violence case.

Man gets 22 mos after refusing to testify

A man was sentenced to just under two years in prison Tuesday after reneging on his promise to testify in two shootings.

Antonio E. Cook Jr., 29, previously pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and witness tampering in cases unrelated to the two shootings, and Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Mark Cipolla agreed to dismiss the charges in exchange for his testimony.

Cook has since refused to testify, Cipolla said, so the charges were reinstated and he pleaded guilty.  Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced Cook to 22 months in prison Tuesday.

Cook was a witness to the July 2009 shooting that injured two women. Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious was convicted of second-degree assault, which was his third strike and resulted in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the other case, John S. “Q” Williams was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010. Alleged triggerman Edward “TD” Thomas, 25, and six other people have been charged in the investigation, which was assisted by Cook’s statements to police.

Cook testfied at Lucious' trial, but Thomas' trial hasn't happened yet.

Morbid question leads to legal oddity

Questions about whether an accused killer had sex with his victim before or after she was dead has led to the suspect's lawyer being named a witness in the case.

A judge ruled Monday that defense attorney Chris Bugbee will continue to represent accused crossbow killer Cole K. Strandberg (pictured in February).

Bugbee has a different recollection of what his client said during a mental health exam regarding when he had sex with the victim than the doctors, putting the defense lawyer in the unusual position of having to present Strandberg’s legal defense as well as present testimony as a sworn witness.

Because of that potential conflict, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Mark Cipolla asked Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen to remove Bugbee as Strandberg’s attorney. The judge rejected it.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Audio experts to testify at Steele trial

A forensic audio examiner with the FBI and a private forensic consultant are expected to be called as prosecution witnesses at Edgar Steele's trial.

David Snyder works for the FBI in Quantico, Va., and has reviewed reports by defense experts regarding the authenticity of audio recordings that reportedly show Steele discussing a plot to murder his wife with hitman-turned FBI informant Larry Fairfax. 

Snyder has been conducting tests on the records and the cording device to rebut defense claims that the recordings are manufactured.

His supervisor, Kenneth Marr, who reviewed and approved Snyder's work, is also listed as a witness in case Snyder can't travel to the trial, which is scheduled to begin with jury selection April 26 in Boise.

Dr. Gina Richardson, of Arlington, Va., also reviewed the recording and prepared transcripts.

“She determined the recordings are true and valid representations of the words spoken by the parties to the conversation,” according court documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. “Her unique expertise may be represented to rebut any claims of Dr. George Papcun or Dennis Walsh that the recordings do not represent a true and valid representation of reality or that they do not accurately reflect the sounds and conversations that actually occurred.”

Richardson, who earned a doctorate in linguistics from Georgetown University, has been a forensic consultant since 1989.

Steele was to undergo a mental health examination last week in Boise at the request of prosecutors.

His wife, Cyndi Steele, said he will not be presenting an insanity defense, rather, Steele's lawyers will argue that he was under the influence of medication and could have been easily influenced and manipulated by Fairfax.

Those expected to testify for the defense include Daryl James Hollingsworth, a Bonner County Jail inmate who recently pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.

Hollingsworth may have had contact with Steele and/or Fairfax while in jail.

Read past coverage here.

Chief wants to shift focus in shootings

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said this week that she hopes to bring more public focus on the perception of officers involved in fatal shootings.

 ”We get so focused on whether a person is armed and is it a knife or whatever. We've got to change this focus. It's whatever the officer is faced with - is it life threatening to that officer?” Kirkpatrick said at a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee.” We need to continue to bring this forward, because officers do get killed when there was no gun.”

City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi said the media and public don't focus on that. 

“The public or the media will focus on, from the public's perspective, you know, what occurred,” Treppiedi said. “The law focuses not on what the public perceived or what the witnesses perceived or even what the shooting victim perceived. The law focuses on what the chief said, and that is what did the officer perceive?”

Treppiedi continued, “whereas a lot of the public's discussion comes from 'but witnesses said x and the editor says y.'”

The discussion took place Monday as Lt. Craig Meidl presented to committee members internal affairs investigation data that included the number of officer-involved shootings since 2006 (three in 2010, two in 2009, zero in 2008, four in 2007 and zero in 2006.)

Committee member and City Councilman Bob Apple asked if the department was revamping policies and questioned shooting suspects who are armed with knives and not guns.

Kirkpatrick said she once had an officer shot in the line of duty with his own weapon.

“No one was armed when he showed up, but…he lost the wrestling match and the guy grabbed his gun and shot and killed him,” Kirkpatrick said.

 She emphasized that the threat of grievous bodily injury - one justification for the use of deadly force - can differ from situation to situation.

“What is grievous bodily injury is going to be very unique in that particular event that that officer is faced with,” Kirkpatrick said.

City Council President Joe Shogan said situations could end differently if police were called sooner. He referred to the Dec. 4 shooting of Jeremy Groom by police outside a Hillyard tavern.

Groom was shot as he pointed a gun at a man who turned out to be one of his best friends. His friends say Groom never would have shot the man and say officers didn't give him time to drop the gun.

The dispute began inside the tavern. Shogan said options seemed limited by the time police were called.

“I would hope that citizens would say 'OK if we're going to involve the police, let's involve them sooner than later,” Shogan said. “Don't wait until this gets to be a flash point and then hope that there are a lot of options, which, at that point, I don't think there are.”

Witness sought in Valley jogger’s death

Detectives are looking for a witness who helped alert Spokane Valley authorities last month to an injured jogger who later died.

A motorist found retired pastor David W. Thorin, 71, at East Fourth Avenue and South Adams Road about 6:45 a.m. Sept. 18 with an “obvious head wound,” the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Medics described Thorin as “uncooperative and combative” and said he didn’t say how he’d been injured. He later died at a hospital.

Read my full story here.

Thorin is pictued above in July 2009 while volunteering at Spokane Valley Partners, a non-profit that runs the Valley Food Bank.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Sirens & Gavels.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here