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Guilty plea in murder gets man 11-year term

A man who helped restrain a woman before his accomplice killed her was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison.

Matthew T. Shope, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2008, strangulation death of 28-year-old Jennifer L. Siria.

“I should have done something,” Shope said through tears. “I was a coward in the situation and didn’t take action to stop it, and I feel terrible for the family.”

Shope’s accomplice, Michael A. Quinones, 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder March 25 and received a 25-year prison sentence.

Shope and Quinones met Siria while panhandling in north Spokane. They killed her over $20, police say, but Shope led detectives to the crime scene and was a key witness against Quinones.

His public defender, Mark Hannibal, asked Judge Maryann Moreno for a lighter sentence of 114 months, but Moreno declined and imposed 134 months.

Meghann M. Cuniff

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.