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Dying convicted murderer denied prison leave

A Spokane man convicted of murder has been denied prison leave so he could die at home.

Gregory A. Rowley, convicted in 1989, is serving a 46-year sentence at Washington State Penitentiary for the murder of David Ritchey.

Rowley is dying of cancer and asked for exceptional medical leave in May so he could die surrounded by his family in Spokane.

A committee denied the request “because of the nature of his offense,” said Maria Peterson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.

Rowley can ask to be reconsidered, “but it’s doubtful he’d be placed,” Peterson said. Rowley’s family has been notified of the decision.

Ritchey, 32, was left beaten, bloody and partially naked in a Rogers High School parking lot on Feb. 24, 1987. He’d just finished his paper route for The Spokesman-Review. Rowley lived with his mother 100 yards from the scene; their house was on Ritchey’s paper route.

Spokane police arrested Rowley on April 29, 1988, on suspicion of the murder. Rowley, a cement laborer, was linked to the crime by a fingerprint. He admitted to being at the scene of the homicide but has maintained his innocence. He says he was afraid to call police to report it because he was drunk and stoned on marijuana.

Rowley’s earliest possible release date from prison is 2019.

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