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Life without parole for molester, rapist

A man convicted of molesting his former granddaughter-in-law, who was killed in an unsolved 2001 stabbing, was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday afternoon.

A family member who spoke at Clifford J. Grogan’s sentencing called him “the ultimate predator,” Judge Maryann Moreno said after the Spokane County Superior Court hearing.

The 67-year-old’s victim was 6-year-old Melissa Larkin, whose mother, 25-year-old Samantha Bowyer, was Grogan’s daughter-in-law. Larkin and Bowyer were found stabbed to death Nov. 24, 2001, in a Spokane apartment.

Police suspected Grogan early in their investigation.

The April 18 molestation conviction was Grogan’s third strike, resulting in the maximum penalty. His other two convictions were for rape.

– Nick Eaton

Man gets jail in death of homeless amputee

A man convicted of murdering a homeless amputee by setting his clothes on fire was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison Friday.

Matthew Brian Trammell, 23, pleaded guilty Aug. 7 to second-degree murder in connection with the 2006 death of 50-year-old Douglas Dawson. Prosecutors said Trammell and 24-year-old Sean Paul Knold robbed a woman in downtown Spokane on June 23, 2006, before Trammell lit Dawson on fire.

Dawson died three days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Police had arrested Trammell and Knold on suspicion of robbery.

At the sentencing Friday, four of Dawson’s family members spoke to persuade Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza to give Trammell the maximum penalty, Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Sterett said.

“The reason that we recommended the high end was due to the vulnerability of the victim and the senselessness of the crime,” Sterett said.

– Nick Eaton


North Idaho dogs comfortable in Virginia

Two shelter dogs adopted in Sandpoint by a Virginia couple are settling into their new digs on the East Coast.

Adrian Taylor sent an e-mail update Thursday about Buddy and Casey, the two dogs they adopted from the Panhandle Animal Shelter during an Idaho vacation.

“We all arrived home safely, and Delta kept us informed along the way on how Casey and Buddy were doing. Apparently, one of them was not happy being loaded onto the plane in Spokane and Salt Lake and earned the nickname Kujo! But, once on the plane and secured behind a curtain, they were both very quiet and probably slept most of the way,” wrote Taylor.

“We’ve been integrating the new ones into the rest of the furry family – very slowly, but they are doing great. Our dog walker/sitter has already been here to meet them, and Buddy has an appointment to see the Vet tomorrow so we may continue his arthritis medicine and keep him comfortable. So, we’re all in good shape now but will keep a close eye on the doggie interactions until they all work out their place in the pack.

“We owe so many people a million thanks – the support we received from people we only just met was very heartwarming.”

– Amy Cannata