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Spate of killings unusual but coincidental, police say

Thu., Oct. 9, 2008

Three suspects arrested in four recent homicides

A shooting victim whose body was found in an SUV. A 29-year-old man stabbed in the throat. An elderly man shot twice in the head, killed during an apparent burglary. A woman strangled, allegedly over $20.

Four Spokane-area people have been slain in less than three weeks.

The most recent killing – the man in the SUV, identified as Anthony E. Dennis, 43 – was discovered at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at North Grant Street and Pacific Avenue.

While a suspect in one case remains at large and police have named no suspects in the most recent case, authorities say that they’ve found no connection among the homicides and that there’s no reason for residents to be fearful.

The cluster of killings since Sept. 20 is unusual but just coincidental, authorities say.

Joddy Rodriguez, 21, lives across the street from the Browne’s Addition apartment where 29-year-old Mark Casey was stabbed in the throat Sunday.

“Our porch light is on a bit more,” Rodriguez said.

“I get a little scared going out to my car alone out at night. But our neighborhood is normally quiet.”

The best thing residents can do in response to the slayings is help police find suspects, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

“I don’t think there’s a whole lot that could have been done to prevent them,” he said.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the recent homicides, but Spokane police are still looking for whoever shot Dennis. And sheriff’s deputies were still looking for Michael Anthony Quinones, 28, whom they suspect in the north Spokane strangulation. Matthew T. Shope, 17, was charged with murder in that case this week.

The homicide discovered Wednesday morning marked the Spokane Police Department’s 10th this year, which is about average. Spokane County detectives are investigating their fifth homicide of 2008, which is unusual; the Sheriff’s Office typically handles two slayings a year.

“Homicide is unpredictable,” Reagan said.

“Anyone can kill anyone else for any reason. The drug culture and domestic violence should be a concern for the community.” Reporting drug and domestic violence incidents can help prevent killings, he said.

Some years, homicide investigators find trends.

In 1998, “we had five homicides and every one of them involved a parent killing their child, and that was odd,” Reagan said.

But in this year’s 15 homicides, they’ve found no common thread.

The five homicides under the Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction involved different motives, authorities believe, including sexual motivation, burglary and a dispute over cash.

The random acts seemed to be just that to Pat Mayer, 45, who manages multiple properties in Browne’s Addition: “People find their own trouble, for the most part.”


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