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Homicide witness becomes suspect


As 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen lay bleeding from head wounds for nearly four hours Sunday night, the man police suspect killed him rifled through pornographic videos and erotic toys he wanted to steal from the adult book store, authorities said Tuesday.

At one point, 36-year-old Jeramie R. Davis left the business and returned with a friend to help with the haul, said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson.

Allen died from his head injuries Monday night. Davis is in custody on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.

Davis originally portrayed himself to police as an innocent witness who walked into Best Buy Adult Books on Sunday night and found Allen on the floor, but then waited nearly four hours to call for help.

Police think Davis was instead buying time to steal cash and pornographic materials from the store. Peterson said detectives believe Davis left and returned to the store several times.

Davis was questioned and released by police on Monday. But as Spokane police Detectives Tim Madsen and John Miller continued to investigate, a witness led authorities back to Davis, Peterson said. “She had information she didn’t realize was helpful,” he said of the witness.

Police also found several items taken from the bookstore in Davis’ possession.

On Tuesday, detectives searched Davis’ sister’s home in Hillyard for additional stolen items.

Peterson said detectives were called out on the homicide early Monday.

“Madsen and Miller and other major crimes detectives worked around the clock until the case was solved based on our concern that if someone would do this to a 74-year-old, then many other people in that vicinity were in jeopardy,” Peterson said.

Allen owned two Best Buy Adult Books stores. The one where the crime occurred is at 123 E. Sprague; the other one is at 2425 E. Springfield.

His regular customers knew, despite the hours posted on the storefront, that if one location was closed, the other one was likely open, Peterson said. Detectives think that was the situation Sunday.

Davis wasn’t a regular customer, but he’d been to the adult bookstore on Sprague Avenue prior to that night, police said.

Best Buy Adult Books was supposed to close at 9 p.m. Detectives said Allen was beaten sometime after 10:07 p.m.

According to Allen’s autopsy, he died from blunt force trauma to the head, Peterson said.

Police have found the weapon used in the homicide but declined to describe it.

Police said Davis has a criminal record but wouldn’t elaborate. According to Washington court records, Davis has a history of driving offenses and was convicted for his involvement in a scam, but the only hint of violence was a violation of a restraining order.

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