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NW today: Amanda Knox parents appeal for release

What’s news in the Northwest today:

SEATTLE — The parents of Amanda Knox hope the appeal of her murder conviction in Italy results in her release by unraveling the prosecution’s theory of the motivation. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas told ABC news in Seattle there was no motive for their daughter to kill her British roommate in Perugia. The say the evidence at her trial didn’t add up. Prosecutors said the University of Washington student and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, helped Rudy Hermann Guede kill Meredith Kercher in November 2007 during a sexual assault. The 23-year-old Knox and Sollecito returned to court today for a hearing to open the appeal. She has been sentenced to 26 years in prison, and he was sentenced to 25 years.

Fight ends in assault with exercise equipment

HAMILTON, Mont. — A 27-year-old Hamilton man is charged with assault with a weapon for allegedly beating another man with a piece of exercise equipment during an alcohol-fueled fight. The Ravalli Republic reports Darren Brower appeared before Ravalli County Justice Robin Clute Monday. Clute set bail at $25,000. Brower can have it reduced to $10,000 if he wears an alcohol-monitoring device. Court records say Brower’s wife told police that the victim was punched and fell to the ground on a piece of exercise equipment that looks like an elliptical machine, although much smaller and lighter. Laura Brower told officers that her husband picked up the exercise machine and struck the victim in the head repeatedly. The victim wasn’t able to tell police exactly what happened.

Umatilla County DA pleads not guilty to misconduct

PENDLETON, Ore. — Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa has pleaded not guilty to charges he intimidated and threatened two women into having sex with him. The East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton reports the Oregon Department of Justice has charged Gushwa with five counts of official misconduct, a misdemeanor accusing him of using his office to obtain sex and trying to cover it up. After pleading not guilty Tuesday, Gushwa asked the court to allow him to return to his job.

Montana game warden kills bighorn wandering near domestic sheep

BILLINGS, Mont. — A state game warden killed a bighorn ram northwest of Laurel after the animal wandered at least 40 miles outside its range and near domestic sheep. Domestic sheep can carry bacteria that can cause pneumonia in wild bighorns. Regional Wildlife Manager Ray Mule says the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks received reports late last week that a bighorn ram was seen in an area north of Park City and within a mile of a flock of domestic sheep. On Tuesday, a landowner reported that he saw the ram with a herd of mule deer does a few miles to the east.

Footprints in snow lead Bend police to suspect

BEND, Ore. — Footprints in fresh snow led Bend police Tuesday from a business burglary to a motel where they arrested a suspect. Police told KTVZ that officers also recovered cash that was taken from Schnitzer Steel. The 57-year-old suspect, Bobby Alonzo Douglas of Bend, is lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on theft and burglary charges.

Search finds blank, doctor-signed medical marijuana forms

MISSOULA, Mont. — A search of the Missoula offices of an outspoken medical marijuana provider turned up 729 apparently physician-signed medical marijuana recommendation forms with no patient information filled in. The Missoulian reports police also seized a laptop and other documents last Thursday during a search of the Montana Caregivers Network, which is run by Jason Christ. Several former employees have told police that Christ kept such pre-signed forms. Christ told police he had the forms to be filled out after a doctor approved a medical marijuana applicant.

Ridgefield woman who shot husband gets 20 years

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A woman who shot and wounded her husband with a shotgun because he was having an affair was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday in Vancouver. The Columbian reports 54-year-old Sheryl J. Martin of Ridgefield was convicted in October of attempted murder. She had said she was driven to violence by her husband’s neglect and emotional abuse. Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson told Martin her action’s were deliberate when she shot her husband twice, reloaded and shot him twice more in the legs and arm. The husband who wanted a divorce, Eddie Martin, survived. He says between shots his wife yelled, “If I can’t have you, nobody can.”

Seattle police fired 5 shots at man with gun

SEATTLE — Police say three officers fired a total of five rifle shots at a man who had been holding a gun inside a stolen car in Seattle. The 31-year-old man was struck several times Monday and died at the scene. Police say the man had been holding the gun to his head and moving it in out of sight, creating a dangerous environment. The officers have been place on leave for a shooting investigation.

Worley man pleads guilty in 2009 fatal crash

BOISE — A man from Worley has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter losing control of his vehicle in 2009 and killing a passenger. Twenty-five-year-old Joseph Michael Matt Jr. pleaded guilty to the felony in federal court in Coeur d’Alene this week. Matt was indicted for driving on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation on August 18, 2009, while under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine. Police say he was speeding just before losing control of his vehicle and crashing. Passenger William Davison died from injuries suffered in the accident. Matt faces of to eight years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

No charges filed in fatal driver’s ed crash

KETCHUM, Idaho — Blaine County prosecutors say they will not file any charges in a driver’s education vehicle crash that killed a 15-year-old central Idaho boy. Prosecuting attorney Jim Thomas reviewed the investigation of the Oct. 26 crash that killed Austin Hennefer of Carey. He told the Idaho Mountain Express that he did not believe criminal charges are warranted, given the tragic circumstances and lack of criminal intent. Investigators have said Hennefer was making an unsafe turn in the middle of U.S. Highway 20 when the driver’s ed car was struck by another vehicle, which was unable to stop due to the icy roads. Thomas says there may be civil liability issues from the crash that also injured the driver’s ed teacher, another student driver and the driver of the second vehicle.

Oregon, Washington fishery officials: no smelt season

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Oregon and Washington fishery officials have agreed no commercial or sport fishing will be allowed this season for the once-plentiful smelt, now under federal protection. Fishery managers set the rule during a conference call Tuesday, saying sport dipping for smelt is unlikely for several more years. Smelt historically returned to the Cowlitz River every winter in abundance, with smaller runs in several other area rivers. Runs started to falter in the 1980s. The Daily News of Longview, Wash., says the last decent run on the Cowlitz was in 2003.

Bank returning donations made in acid hoax

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Vancouver bank says people who donated to a woman who falsely claimed an attacker splashed acid in her face can reclaim their money. Riverview Community Bank says cash donations will be returned to donors who can show a receipt within 30 days. The bank has a record of people who donated by check and will return the money to them directly. Money donated at Safeway stores will be handled by the company. The bank says money left unclaimed after 30 days will be donated to the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore. Police say Bethany Storro confessed that she made up the story about the burns she suffered Aug. 30, saying she put drain cleaner on her face.

Man pleads guilty to Missoula bank robbery

MISSOULA — A 64-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a Missoula bank robbery notable for its leisurely aftermath, but the judge in the case has ordered a mental health evaluation. Vincent John Sullivan told a judge he robbed the Sterling Savings Bank on Oct. 26 because he didn’t have a job or any money and was no longer getting Social Security payments. He also said he was recently released from a federal mental health facility and he left his medication in a New York restaurant. After the robbery, Sullivan reportedly walked down the street, bought breakfast at a coffee shop and then took a cab to a hotel, stopping first to buy cigarettes. He was arrested at the hotel.

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