March 4, 2009 in City

Three men face murder charges in fatal stabbing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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One man is dead and three men are facing second-degree murder charges following a fight that started after one of the homicide suspects punched his girlfriend, police say.

The 19-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was stabbed in the chest and died almost immediately after arriving at the hospital, said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson.

The suspects, brothers Joseph and Christopher Harper and Rob Waters, turned themselves in at the Spokane Police Department about 4:30 this morning, Peterson said. The three were booked into the jail earlier this afternoon.

The fight started around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when a man, who has not been identified, went to Joseph Harper’s apartment, 1008 W. Spofford Ave., to confront him about abusing his girlfriend.

Christopher Harper and Waters, who were in an upstairs apartment, heard the commotion and joined the altercation, Peterson said. The unidentified man fled to his home about a block away on Augusta, and the three others soon followed, police say.

The Harper brothers and Waters told the man to come out to finish the fight. When the altercation continued, the victim got involved and was stabbed, Peterson said.

The Harper brothers and Waters are facing murder charges, authorities said.

Detectives searched the home on Spofford this morning where they found some bloody clothes and a small amount of pot, said Spokane police Lt. Dave McGovern.

The knife used in the stabbing was found under the Maple Street Bridge, McGovern said. The suspects told police they tried to throw the weapon in the Spokane River, but when they looked back they’d passed the water. It was found on a grassy knoll below.

The Harpers each have a criminal history. Joseph Harper has had convictions for robbery, assault and drug possession. Christopher Harper’s history includes gun possession, domestic violence and harassment, according to court records.

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