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Group honors injured deputy

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who fractured his neck in an encounter with an accused killer at the jail was honored Thursday by a local civic group.

Dan Leonetti received the Downtown Exchange Club’s Blue and Gold Award for law enforcement injured in the line of duty.

Leonetti broke a bone in his neck and injured his shoulder when he and other members of the jail’s critical response team tried to remove mentally ill accused killer Cole K. Strandberg from his cell for a court hearing on Sept. 26, 2008.

The incident was shown on cable TV in February as part of the “Behind Bars” show on the Discovery channel.

Leonetti recovered and is back working at the jail. Strandberg, who’s been on medication since a judge ruled him incompetent to stand trial in January, remains in jail on one count of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2008 crossbow killing of 22-year-old Jennifer Bergeron.