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Suspect arrested in man’s death

SATURDAY, SEPT. 17, 2005

Detectives arrested a habitual criminal Friday evening on suspicion that he killed a man whose body was found Sept. 5 in a rural area near Elk.

Ben Alan Burkey, 45, is accused of killing Rick L. Tiwater, who was discovered dead by a man riding an off-road vehicle near the 13400 block of East Laurel Road.

In the days that followed the discovery, detectives asked for the public’s help in finding any information about Tiwater and the crime that killed him.

Burkey, who has at least 65 convictions for drug offenses, drunken driving and other crimes, was arrested at a home at 1412 E. Ostrander Ave. about 6 p.m., Cpl. Dave Reagan, Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman, said in a press release.

Investigators believe that Tiwater suffered “extensive blunt force injuries,” some of which were the result of being hit by a vehicle, Reagan said.

Burkey was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a count of second-degree murder. Reagan said the case remains under investigation and that the charge could change.

After his arrest on a drug possession charge in 2000, Burkey told a Spokesman-Review columnist during a jail interview that “I never get a break.”

“I feel I’m a victim,” he said. “I really do.”

Burkey declined a jail interview Friday evening.


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