A 52-year-old disabled Chattaroy man was tentatively identified Saturday as the victim of a homicide apparently intended to keep him from testifying last week in an assault and burglary trial for one of two men now charged with murder.
The body of Daniel D. Heily was found Friday morning in Deer Park by two sheriff’s detectives who went looking for him when he failed to show up in Spokane County Superior Court to testify as a victim-witness against Christopher H. Devlin.
Devlin, 55, and Carl A. Hoskins, 56, were arrested about 8 p.m. Friday by sheriff’s detectives and booked into jail on charges of first-degree murder.
Devlin was charged with assaulting Heily last year. Details of that assault couldn’t be obtained Saturday from court records.
However, the victim’s sister, Mary Pat Heily, said her brother was “brutally assaulted” last fall by Devlin.
In that earlier attack, her brother was violently struck in the head by an assailant who she was told was under the influence of methamphetamine, the sister said.
“He was hit so hard that all his teeth were knocked out – for no reason at all,” she said. “After that attack, he could not eat. He lost weight.”
Her brother, who was single, had worked as a carpenter until he suffered an on-the-job permanent head injury about 10 years ago in Montana, said Heily, who lives in Calgary.
“He was disabled and struggled with his health since that time and got little support from workman’s comp,” she said.
“Since the head injury, he grew more and more isolated,” but did show up in March for an Easter week family gathering in California where she saw him, Heily said.
“He wanted this (trial) over and done with so he could come up and visit me this summer,” she said. “He was going to rebuild my porch.”
Heily described her brother as “a kind and generous individual to the people in his community. ” He wasn’t a dope head, and he did not do drugs. He didn’t deserve this kind of violence.”
Her brother, who was born in Montana, was single, she said. He has three sisters, two of whom live in Calgary, and two brothers, one in Canada and one in Alaska.
When Daniel Heily didn’t show up to testify against Devlin last week, two sheriff’s detectives went looking for him, armed with a material witness arrest warrant.
They found Daniel Heily’s pickup truck about 11 a.m. Friday behind a liquor store in Deer Park. They discovered his body inside the cab.
Court records show Devlin was charged in 1995 with second-degree assault and in 2003 with domestic violence. It couldn’t be immediately determined if he was convicted of those crimes.
In 2003, court records show, Daniel Heily filed a civil suit against Devlin seeking restitution for “personal injuries resulting from alleged negligence.” Details of that suit were unavailable Saturday.