August 11, 2010 in City

Man was bound before slaying

Police release details of rope that tied Pickard’s hands, neck
By The Spokesman-Review

Police say this rope was used to bind William P. Pickard. View a larger photo of the rope at
(Full-size photo)

A Spokane man was bound with a rope before being thrown to his death off the Sunset Bridge in June.

Police on Tuesday released a photo of that rope, which was used to bind William P. “Bill” Pickard’s hands and neck, to bring attention to a homicide that’s provided few clues.

“We’re hoping this may generate a lead or two,” said Lt. Dave McGovern. “We believe there’s more than one person involved in this crime.”

Pickard died after being thrown from the Sunset Bridge early June 30 in what detectives suspect may have been a drug-related murder.

Pickard, who would have turned 39 last Friday, was studying to be a drug counselor at Spokane Falls Community College. He had a methadone prescription he filled through a local clinic, police said.

“Obviously that has a whole set of clientele that we’re looking at,” McGovern said. “Somebody could have ripped him off of his methadone.”

Pickard’s hands and neck were bound with a nylon rope that McGovern described as “a flat rope that’s black and white in design. … It’s kind of like a shoelace, but it’s bigger.”

The rope is about three-quarters of an inch in diameter.

“We think it’s unique enough that there’s not too many of these out there,” McGovern said.

The rope is at the Washington State Patrol’s crime lab for forensic testing.

Pickard’s family held a memorial under the Sunset Bridge last Friday to celebrate his birthday and to “let people know that it’s not just a name, it’s a person,” said Daniel Pickard, the victim’s older brother.

“We’re just hoping to take a big collective breath and support the police in what they’re doing,” Daniel Pickard said.

Meanwhile, police are combing through phone records and talking to Bill Pickard’s associates to piece together his final hours.

The father of two told his family he was going to the Swinging Doors Tavern the evening of June 29, but bar employees never saw him, and his 2007 Mercury Mariner was never spotted on parking lot surveillance cameras.

Instead, McGovern said Pickard went to a different North Side bar, which the lieutenant declined to identify.

“I don’t think he was there very long,” he said.

Pickard is believed to have been thrown from the bridge early on June 30, McGovern said. His car was found the next day in the 1500 block of West Glass Avenue, about four miles away.

Although Pickard’s wallet, including cash, was with his body, his cell phone was missing, McGovern said. His methadone supply has not been located, McGovern said.

Detectives used a search warrant to access Pickard’s call records through his phone service provider.

Police say Pickard was last seen about 9:30 p.m., and that his last known phone contact was about 11 p.m. But they’re still piecing together phone records and hoping for additional witnesses.

“It may come to the fact that we get somebody in a tight situation on other charges that are willing to talk more freely to us than they were before,” McGovern said. “Or maybe one of their spouses may have seen that rope around the house and will give us a call.”

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