Local news

Feds seek restitution from Post Falls man

Federal authorities are trying to collect $170,000 from James C. Stone, a Post Falls businessman who pleaded guilty last year of stealing money from his employees’ pension plan.

On Monday, authorities asked for a writ of execution, which would allow them to collect available funds from two bank accounts held in the name of his wife, Cynthia Gillig Stone.

James Stone, 57, is the former president of Alpha Health Services, which ran group homes for disabled adults. Last year, he pleaded guilty to stealing more than $46,000 from the pension plan, plus other funds from Alpha Services. Stone was sentenced to a three-year term in prison and ordered to pay $170,000 in restitution.

Stone invested and lost the money in a Nigerian scam, according to court records.

– Becky Kramer

Boise

Senate passes snow tire measure

Idahoans may use snow tires with retractable studs all year, if they’re ever available.

Senate Bill 1133, which was pushed by Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, passed the House on Monday. It allows use of remote-control operated studs.

Q Tires Inc. of Greenville, S.C., hopes to market them by next winter.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill earlier this month, and it now goes to Gov. Butch Otter for his signature.

The tires feature air bladders that inflate to extend the studs. Q officials say they can be used about 50 times before refilling. Lawmakers in Washington, Oregon and Montana are considering similar legislation this year. Fixed-stud tires are allowed in Idaho from Oct. 15 to April 15.

– Parker Howell

Coeur d’Alene

Duncan prosecutors oppose long trial delay

Federal prosecutors oppose a request by Joseph Duncan’s attorneys to delay his trial by a year and a half.

Duncan’s attorneys are asking that the convicted killer’s federal trial be delayed so they have more time to prepare a defense, but U.S. Attorney Thomas Moss said Monday that Duncan’s attorneys have had plenty of time.

Federal Defender Roger Peven was appointed shortly after Duncan’s arrest in July 2005, Moss noted in court records filed Monday. Because Duncan, 44, has spent nearly half his life in prison, Moss said research on Duncan’s past is readily available.

Federal prosecutors expressed concerns about the impact a delay could have on 10-year-old Shasta Groene, one of Duncan’s alleged victims and the government’s key witness.

Duncan is serving a life sentence for kidnapping charges related to the May 2005 murders of Shasta Groene’s mother, brother and mother’s fiance. He is facing the federal death penalty, if convicted, for the murder of Dylan Groene, and other crimes against the boy and his sister, Shasta.

The documents filed Monday alluded to attempts to settle the federal case and keep Shasta from having to testify.

Duncan’s trial is scheduled to begin March 20 in Boise, but a hearing has been set for Monday to consider requests by both sides to delay the trial. Prosecutors are asking for a July 9 trial date.

– Taryn Brodwater



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