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Relative Finds Man Dead On Bloodstained Couch

A career criminal who relatives say was trying to quit his life of crime was found dead in his Spokane apartment Tuesday, apparently murdered.

A relative sharing the apartment at 222 S. Lacey discovered Larry Walter Boulger’s body on a bloodstained couch about 7:15 a.m.

Boulger, 38, had a puncture wound near his sternum and blood on his stomach, as if he had been shot or stabbed, family members said.

Police had few clues and no suspects by afternoon and were awaiting the results of an autopsy, Sgt. Jim Lundgren said.

Friends and relatives believe Boulger, who had lived at the apartment for several months, was wounded somewhere else. They said he may have been drinking Monday night at taverns on East Sprague.

Boulger’s brother, Gary, said the victim arrived home about midnight Monday and immediately began banging on doors and windows.

“I heard him cussing and saying, ‘Let me in!”’ said Gary Boulger. He said he was in bed at the time but got up and opened the front door.

Larry Boulger had his own key, but it wasn’t unusual to have to let him in, his brother said.

Gary Boulger said he noticed nothing wrong with his brother, who said nothing before sitting on the couch in the darkened living room.

“I went to the bathroom. I came back and he was snoring on the couch,” Gary Boulger said.

About seven hours later, Gary Boulger and a man who also lives in the apartment found the body.

Larry Boulger was sitting up on the couch with one leg crossed over the other and his head tilted back.

Detectives and Coroner Dexter Amend gathered clues for several hours Tuesday.

Boulger’s relatives, including sisters Linda Brown and Joyce Zolman, objected to the controversial coroner’s presence and demanded that he leave.

Amend conducted his investigation and left.

Larry Boulger had 20 criminal convictions dating back at least 10 years, including assault, forgery, passing bad checks and drunken driving, authorities said.

Brown said her unemployed brother was trying to straighten out his life so he could get custody of his five children - a son and four daughters between the ages of 2 and 14.

The children are currently living in Spokane with their mother, from whom Boulger was separated.

“He was a really good father to his kids,” said Brown, adding he went shopping to buy birthday presents for one of his daughters a few days ago.

Zolman, who also lives in the apartment but spent the night away from home, blamed herself for Boulger’s death.

“If I had been here I would have noticed he was hurt and called 911,” she said, pointing to the couch and crying. “He just sat here and died.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo