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Two men charged in killing

Thu., Sept. 8, 2005, midnight

SANDPOINT – Two men being held in the killing of a 25-year-old Sandpoint man likely will be the only people charged in the Aug. 21 homicide, Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said Wednesday.

Kenneth E. Thurlow, 45, and Christopher A. Lewers, 22, both of Sandpoint, are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Christopher West, who was found in the wrecking yard of Evergreen Towing on Aug. 21.

Although police believe two other men may have been on the property at the time of the killing, Robinson said neither of them is considered a suspect.

Thurlow and Lewers, who are being held without bail, appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. Robinson asked for a continuance of the hearing, because neither he nor the defense attorneys had received investigative reports from the Idaho State Police or the Sandpoint Police.

Both Thurlow and Lewers waived their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, and Magistrate Judge Justin Julian agreed to reschedule the hearing, possibly by the end of the month.

Attorneys for Thurlow and Lewers also were agreeable to the delay; “I haven’t seen a police report yet,” said Jeremy Featherston, Lewers’ public defender.

Featherston filed a motion to suppress any statements made by his client, claiming that they were made without his client being read his rights. On Wednesday, Featherston said that was a standard motion, and he wouldn’t know whether the statements were freely given or not until he saw the police reports.

Robinson said all he had from the investigation was a 12-page synopsis from the state police.

Thurlow and Lewers are accused of leaving their apartments at about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 20 and going to Evergreen Towing with the purpose of killing West.

West was at the wrecking yard off Great Northern Road that night working on his pickup truck with permission of the towing company’s owner.

Lewers allegedly started a fight with West, and Thurlow is accused of shooting West in the head with a shotgun. Robinson said two shots were fired that night; one shot from a .410 gauge shotgun that killed West, and another from a different weapon inside the car that Thurlow and Lewers used to get to the wrecking yard.

While police suspect that the shooting could be drug-related, Robinson said he’s also heard reports of accusations involving a theft.

Methamphetamine, drug residue and drug paraphernalia were found during a search of the defendants’ apartments. Police also recovered three weapons in their search of the vehicles and the apartments, Robinson said.


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