One of two suspects in the Jan. 11 murder of an Elk-area homeowner has confessed to that killing, as well as the Dec. 1 fatal stabbing of a prostitute in Spokane.
Jason V. Kukrall, 21, and Tobias R. Stackhouse, 17, also have been questioned in the stabbing death of another prostitute in Kootenai County and an elderly man in Pend Oreille County.
Police say they have no evidence to connect Kukrall and Stackhouse to those killings, but they have been tied to an attack Jan. 7 that left 60-year-old Mary Foster, of Elk, with a fractured skull and amnesia.
Guns stolen from Foster’s house are believed to have been used four days later in the murder of Elk resident Steve Roscoe. Roscoe, 43, was shot through the heart in his back yard after he and his wife, Debbie, came home and interrupted a burglary.
Debbie Roscoe’s description of the getaway vehicle led to the arrest of Kukrall and Stackhouse two hours later near the Wandermere Mall north of Spokane.
Search-warrant affidavits say Stackhouse almost immediately admitted participating in the Roscoe burglary and murder. Later, Stackhouse told Spokane police officers he and Kukrall killed Linda A. Guillen, 21, near Playfair Race Track on Dec. 1.
Stackhouse said he and Kukrall invited Guillen into Kukrall’s car on East Sprague after hatching a plan to rob and murder her. According to an affidavit filed by Spokane detectives Minde Connelly and Donald Giese, Stackhouse said he struck Guillen in the face when she got out of the car in the 300 block of North Lee.
The blow knocked Guillen back into the car, where Stackhouse said Kukrall hit her on the head with a beer bottle. Stackhouse told police Guillen got out of the car again and tried to run, but they kicked her down.
Officers say Stackhouse told them he stabbed Guillen to death after Kukrall tossed him a knife and told him to kill her. Police say both suspects offered accurate descriptions of Guillen’s appearance and clothing.
Kukrall already was a suspect in Guillen’s death because his fingerprints were found on a beer bottle at the murder scene, according to the affidavit. Spokane police interviewed him Dec. 23 and persuaded him to take a lie-detector test. But Kukrall missed appointments to take the test on Jan. 6 and Jan. 9.
Spokane officers recovered a knife and sheath, a floor mat, hairs and fingerprints from Kukrall’s car. In a separate search, Washington State Patrol officers found a .38-caliber revolver, a .22-caliber pistol - both stolen from Foster - jewelry, coins, live and spent ammunition, and other items of evidence in Kukrall’s car.
Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Jim Hanson plans to seek another warrant to remove other items from the car that are believed to have been stolen from Foster’s home.
WSP Sgt. Jeff Sale said he believes Roscoe was killed with the .38, but both guns apparently were fired and he is waiting for a ballistics report to be sure. Sale said the suspects disagree on who fired the fatal shot.
Both suspects handled each of the guns and it is impossible to determine who left the last set of fingerprints, Sale said.
It makes no difference, according to Pend Oreille County Prosecutor Tom Metzger, who charged both men with first-degree murder. Stackhouse, who turns 18 on Feb. 2, so far is being treated as an adult. He and Kukrall will be arraigned Thursday in Newport, Wash., where they are being held without bond.
Kukrall and Stackhouse denied killing 74-year-old Jack Lafond, who was stabbed to death last October in his trailer near Diamond Lake, or 34-year-old Pamela Lang of Spokane, who was stabbed to death in June.
Lang’s nude body was found in a creek near Twin Lakes, Idaho. Kootenai County sheriff’s Detective John Laine said Lang, who lived in a downtown Spokane hotel, had been arrested for prostitution in Spokane.
Laine appealed for anybody who saw Lang about the time of her death to call him at 208-664-1511.
Sale said Kukrall and Stackhouse claim to have known each other only since October. They met at the Yellow Rose Tavern in Deer Park, where Kukrall worked as a bouncer and Stackhouse was a cook.
Foster said she met Kukrall last fall, when he moved into the house next to hers. Kukrall’s mother, Devella Henderson, and his stepfather, Harold Henderson, had moved there last summer. Foster said Kukrall sometimes came over to help her, and “I thought he was a friend.”
Now she believes he was merely making friends with her two large dogs. But Foster doesn’t know who struck her on the head Jan. 7 when she got home from work. The blow, apparently from a shovel that was found with her glasses in the mud near her car, knocked her unconscious and left her with no memory of the event.
“I have a neurosurgeon who thinks I’m lucky to be alive,” Foster said.
She remembers only waking up in her kitchen with a headache and a bloody nose, and unable to find her glasses. She also was vomiting and believed at the time that she was suffering from the flu. It wasn’t until two days later, when her eyes turned black, that she realized the problem was more serious and saw a doctor.
Foster said the doctor told her she had been assaulted, but it wasn’t until later that she learned her house had been burglarized. She discovered the burglary after her son saw reports of Roscoe’s murder and urged her to check her house.
Foster reported the burglary to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department on the day after Roscoe died. Later, she said she found a distinctive earring of hers in the Henderson home when she was invited inside.
Unlike some of her neighbors, Foster said she does not blame the Hendersons for bringing Kukrall, a registered sex offender, to Elk.
Kukrall pleaded guilty in 1989, when he was 16, to raping a 4-year-old boy in Klickitat County.
Kukrall registered as a sex offender in Spokane County shortly after his release from a state reformatory in May 1991.
Stackhouse has no criminal record in Washington state, but police say he was charged with some relatively minor offenses in Idaho. He once lived in Post Falls.