December 3, 2008 in City

Man fabricated tale of robbery, police say

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Background and the latest updates

A elderly man lied about being attacked and robbed of his groceries, according to Spokane police.

Kenneth Koch, 87, triggered an outpouring of community support after police said he was in his wheelchair when he was robbed by three men armed with a knife and hammer near the Safeway store at Hamilton Street and Mission Avenue on Friday afternoon.

Koch told police he’d made the story up after detectives determined he was not at the Safeway that day. The cuts on his neck and face were self-inflicted, according to police.

The prosecutor’s office will decide if Koch will be charged with making a false police report. Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said she didn’t know what happened to the $100 gift card police gave him Monday. She said it hadn’t been determined whether the donations will be returned.

Suspended officer’s trial postponed again

The trial of Jay Olsen, the suspended Spokane police officer accused of first-degree assault in the shooting of Shonto Pete during a drunken chase in 2007, has been postponed for the fourth time.

The continuance was granted at the request of the Spokane County prosecutor’s office; the trial will now start Feb. 17. It was to start next Monday.

Olsen’s lawyer recently submitted a list of witnesses who hadn’t yet been interviewed, said deputy criminal prosecutor Larry Steinmetz. Steinmetz previously requested a delay of Olsen’s trial during the recent homicide-by-abuse trial of Jonathan Lytle. Two earlier delays were requested by Olsen’s attorney, Robert Cossey, court records show.

Pete was charged in April 2007 with second-degree theft on suspicion of stealing Olsen’s truck and was acquitted in October 2007. Pete is suing the city and Olsen for alleged civil rights violations.


Children’s welfare official leaving post

Cheryl Stephani, who has overseen child welfare services in the state Department of Social and Health Services, is leaving her post after 3 ½ years.

Stephani said Tuesday she will leave her job as head of the Children’s Administration at year’s end.

Officials said the search for Stephani’s replacement will begin immediately.

Coeur d’Alene

Man dies in collision with tractor-trailer

A 23-year-old Oregon man driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d’Alene died Monday night after crashing head-on with a tractor-trailer, according to Idaho State Police.

Daniel J. Duhadway, of La Pine, Ore., was ejected from his 2005 Scion xA and died at the scene, police said.

The collision occurred about 9 p.m. near milepost 34, which is the Rose Lake and state Highway 3 exit.

Meghann M. Cuniff Karen Dorn Steele Associated Press From staff reports

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