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Friend of detective’s wife testifies in harassment trial

Wed., Oct. 8, 2008

The estranged wife of a Spokane police detective felt threatened in the days before her marriage broke up, her best friend told a Superior Court jury Tuesday.

Bobbie Overhoff, the wife of Police Sgt. Dave Overhoff, testified in the felony harassment trial of the Overhoffs’ longtime friend, suspended detective Jay Mehring.

Mehring is accused of threatening to burn down his estranged wife’s house with her in it in March 2007.

The domestic violence case involves several police officers. The case was triggered when Mehring’s friends and fellow officers, Sgts. Troy Teigen and Dave Overhoff, told Police Department administrators about the alleged threats.

Lisa Mehring testified Monday she never heard that threat directly.

In March 2007, after the estranged couple argued, Lisa Mehring called Bobbie Overhoff several times and sent her text messages, Overhoff testified.

“She communicated to me she was concerned about her safety,” Overhoff said in response to a question from Chris Bugbee, Mehring’s attorney.

“Did she tell you what the specific threats were?” Bugbee asked.

“I can’t remember,” Overhoff replied.

Earlier Tuesday, Judge Michael Price ruled detective Stephanie Barkley could testify about what Lisa Mehring told her through an “excited utterance” exception to a rule that keeps a witness from relating hearsay testimony.

Barkley and police Sgt. Brad Arleth went to the downtown office of Lisa Mehring’s attorney, Shannon Deonier, on March 28.

Barkley said Mehring had received various text messages from her husband, including one “that stated he would burn down the house with her in it.”

“Did you see any of those text messages?” Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindsey asked the witness.

“I don’t believe I did,” said the detective.

Barkley did not say who sent her and Arleth to interview Mehring.

The initial police intervention came after Sgts. Teigen and Overhoff wrote internal reports, claiming they heard Jay Mehring make threats about burning down his family home.

Those alleged threats led to a separate Sheriff’s Office criminal investigation and his arrest and suspension on March 30, 2007.

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