A Spokane man convicted of the 1987 murder of a newspaper carrier has died in prison.
Gregory A. Rowley died earlier this month in the hospital at the Walla Walla penitentiary, where he was serving a 46-year sentence for the murder of David Lynn Ritchey, whose body was found in a parked car at Rogers High School.
Last year, Rowley asked to be released to his family on a special medical placement because he had cancer. The request was denied, and Rowley died March 5 of what prison officials termed “medically expected” causes.
Ritchey, 32, was delivering The Spokesman-Review on the morning of Feb. 24, 1987, when he was beaten, sexually assaulted and murdered near Rowley’s home. Rowley’s handprints were found on the car, but he testified that he had found the body on his way home that morning and checked for a pulse.
He said he didn’t call police because he had been smoking marijuana. He was 25 at the time.
A motive for the murder was never established. The prosecutor said the killer “flipped out.” After three days of deliberations, a Spokane County Superior Court jury found Rowley guilty, saying they didn’t believe his story.
His attorney tried in 1990 to get a new trial by arguing an Idaho man had told relatives he was responsible for the slaying, but Spokane police investigated the claims and said they didn’t hold up.