June 8, 2011 in Region

NW today: Crowd protests arrest of mute man

Compiled from wire reports
 

What’s news in the Northwest today:

OLYMPIA – About 100 people came to Tuesday’s Olympia City Council meeting to protest what they say is police brutality in the arrest of a mute man last week. About 30 people signed up to speak, and even more spoke during a public comment session that lasted 90 minutes. They were protesting the treatment of Scott Yoos, who they say was thrown to the ground and arrested late last Wednesday night after discarding a paper towel in a trash bin. His pen and paper were confiscated, rendering him unable to communicate, said Grace Cox, a friend. “Together we are strong, and we demand a community safe from police brutality,” she said. Yoos cannot speak, but he told a reporter in writing that he’s been advised by attorneys that he should “probably save the details for the courtroom.” Yoos was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and obstructing justice, according to a citation Yoos showed. Yoos wrote that he plans to plead not guilty.

Montana town floods for second time in 2 weeks

ROUNDUP, Mont. — Record flooding hit the central Montana town of Roundup for the second time in two weeks today, forcing dozens of residents out of homes they had just started to clean up from the last round. The Musselshell River swamped dozens of homes and businesses in the small agricultural town last month. Much of the town was inundated for almost a week, helping prompt Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s request for a presidential disaster declaration for Montana. That scene repeated itself today as the Musselshell River moved through neighborhoods, nearly submerging cars and swallowing the ground floors of homes. But this time, the town was better prepared for the high water fueled by record rainfall combined with the melting snowpack.

Man pleads guilty to killing brother in Lynnwood

EVERETT, Wash. — An Afghan immigrant who killed his brother in what he once called an honor killing pleaded guilty Tuesday in Everett to second-degree murder. The Daily Herald reports Mehdi Matin had been charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 beating and strangling death of 60-year-old Isa Mehri at his home in Lynnwood. Matin says his brother made a remark more than 20 years ago about an Afghan woman that caused him to call off their marriage. Prosecutors say when Mehri repeated it to Matin during a visit, he hit him in the head with a pipe. The 63-year-old Matin faces up to 18 years in prison when he is sentenced next week in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Bad Hair Bandit hits Moses Lake bank

MOSES LAKE — The Bad Hair Bandit has apparently struck again. A woman wearing a wig robbed a Moses Lake bank Tuesday and got away. KREM reports she matches the description of a woman wanted in a string of about 15 bank robberies that began last December in Tacoma and includes holdups at other banks in the Puget Sound area, Ellensburg and Spokane.

Tacoma police keep digging for missing boy’s body

TACOMA — Tacoma police say they’ll keep digging for the body of a 3-year-old boy who disappeared 28 years ago. Officers dug pits and sifted dirt Tuesday but found only rocks. Spokesman Mark Fulghum told The News Tribune it’s a slow, tedious process. Cold case detectives were directed to the site along Ruston Way by the father of Wallace Guidroz. The 54-year-old Stanley Guidroz is jailed in Houma, La., for investigation in the death of his wife. In 1983 he said his son disappeared while playing in Point Defiance Park. No charges have been filed in the disappearance.

4 volunteers hurt in crash on fund-raising trip

ATLANTA — Leaders of a Georgia nonprofit that builds and repairs homes say four volunteers were hurt in a van crash in Idaho as they traveled across the country on a fund-raising trip. Chris Johnson, a spokesman for the Americus-based Fuller Center for Housing, says the injured people were among eight volunteer cyclists who were riding in a van when it crashed Tuesday night near Burley, Idaho, east of Twin Falls. He said the vehicle landed on its roof. Johnson said the injured volunteers — three from Georgia and one from Colorado — were taken by ambulance to a hospital, where they were treated and released. Johnson said the volunteers are cyclists pedaling a 3,600-mile route from Seattle to Washington, D.C., to raise money for the Fuller Center. The injured Georgia cyclists are from Athens and Savannah.

River body identified as missing Oregon fisherman

PORTLAND, Ore. — A body found in the Columbia River just north of Portland has been identified as an Oregon fisherman missing since last month. The sheriff’s office in Cowlitz County, Wash., said the body found floating at an industrial dock on the Columbia River near Kalama on Tuesday was 51-year-old Jeffrey Ferguson of Cornelius, Ore. Ferguson was last seen May 20 launching his fishing boat from the Scappose Bay Marina in the Multnomah Channel. His boat was found anchored and empty in the channel on May 23 after his family had reported him missing, followed by an extensive search. The Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office has ruled Ferguson’s death was an accidental drowning.

Airman pleads not guilty to sexual assault

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A 21-year-old airman from Malmstrom Air Force base has pleaded not guilty to charges that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a real-estate agent while she was showing him a home. The Great Falls Tribune reports Bradley Crisman entered his plea Tuesday to felony counts of sexual intercourse without consent, aggravated kidnapping, assault with a weapon, tampering with a witness and two counts of tampering with physical evidence. Court documents say on May 12, Crisman held a knife to the real-estate agent, tied her hands behind her back and sexually assaulted her in a bedroom in the basement. About 90 people were in the courtroom, many wearing badges identifying them as real-estate agents. Crisman is being held on $200,000 bail. His trial has been set for Oct. 24.

Idaho Falls man sentenced in attack on grandmother

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A judge has sentenced an Idaho Falls man to 15 years to life after he was convicted of cutting his grandmother’s throat while robbing her. The Post-Register reports that District Judge Gregory Anderson handed down the sentence Tuesday against 26-year-old Steven Michael Rankin. Anderson says Rankin’s history indicates a propensity for violence and that he showed no remorse or responsibility for the crime. A jury convicted Rankin in February of attempted murder, burglary and robbery. Prosecutors say he broke into his grandmother’s house on Sept. 8 and was stealing her jewelry when she woke up. Prosecutors say Rankin then slashed his grandmother’s throat with a box cutter. Rankin’s mother, Judy Kay Anderson, testified that her son is “a good kid” who wants to do something with his life

Ex governors to help launch Idaho ed task force

BOISE — Public schools chief Tom Luna says two former governors will visit Idaho next week to help him kick off the first meeting of his technology task force. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise are expected to make presentations Tuesday when Luna’s task force convenes at the Idaho Capitol in Boise. The task force was formed as part of Luna’s new education reforms and the group will study the implementation of a laptop program for Idaho high school students. The state will also limit teachers union bargaining rights, introduce merit pay and shift money from salaries to classroom technology as part of Luna’s education reforms. Some teachers, parents and students have criticized the measures, prompting a referendum campaign aimed at repealing them.

Judge accepts plea deal in boy’s shooting death

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A judge has given a 12-year old Great Falls boy a suspended sentence after accepting his plea to a Youth Court charge of felony negligent homicide in the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy. District Judge Kenneth Neill on Tuesday accepted the prosecution’s recommended sentence in which the 12-year-old boy will be placed in a “non-secure juvenile treatment facility” until age 18. The Great Falls Tribune reports the boy also will be on probation until age 21 and cannot possess any firearms for the duration of his sentence. The boy told the judge he didn’t know the gun was loaded when he pointed it at 10-year-old Shelby McCorkle on March 6. Court documents say the gun went off and McCorkle was shot in the neck.

Washington AG Rob McKenna making announcement

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is expected to announce his candidacy for Washington governor at an event tonight at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, where he went to school. If elected McKenna would be the state’s first GOP governor since John Spellman left office in 1985. The 48-year-old McKenna was first elected attorney general in 2004 after serving on the King County council. His advisers would only say that McKenna planned a “major announcement.” The word that it’s the governor’s race comes from two Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt McKenna.

Unlicensed Oregon dentist accused of killing patient

PORTLAND — An unlicensed Oregon dentist accused of shooting and killing a patient last year claims he acted in self-defense. The Oregonian reports the attorney for 80-year-old Viktor Gregorevich Gebauer of Gresham said in opening statements at Gebauer’s murder trial that the victim did not have an appointment and threatened Gebauer. But a prosecutor said the state will present physical evidence that will counter the claim of self-defense. Gebauer is accused of shooting 47-year-old Viktor Merezhnikov, who had a crown pulled eight days earlier and had returned seeking relief for his persistent tooth pain. A Multnomah County judge is hearing the trial without a jury. It’s expected to take about two weeks.

Port Angeles man sentenced for father’s death

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A 51-year-old Port Angeles man was sentenced Tuesday in Clallam County Superior Court to more than three years in prison for the death of his 86-year-old father who was bedridden and neglected. James P. Koch pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2007 death of Lloyd Koch who was in his care. The Peninsula Daily News reports police found the man suffering from extensive sores and covered in human waste. They also found maggots on him. He was taken to a hospital where he died. James Koch told police he knew of his father’s condition but hadn’t done anything about it due to procrastination.

Delay for woman accused of killing Eugene officer

EUGENE, Ore. — A judge has found that the woman accused of killing a Eugene police officer is too mentally ill to stand trial. The Register Guard reports a Lane County Circuit Court judge ordered 56-year-old Cheryl Dawn Kidd of Springfield to the Oregon State Hospital on Monday for up to three years of treatment. If she becomes able to assist in her defense she would face an aggravated murder charge in the April shooting of Officer Chris Kilcullen, who was killed during a traffic stop. Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner says if she does not recover, the charge could be dropped and Kidd could be released unless psychiatrists find she poses a danger. She has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Wenatchee High School cuts error from yearbook

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Wenatchee High School cut a single page out of all 1,100 yearbooks last week after a student on the WaWa yearbook staff used words describing weight instead of names to identify two freshman girls in their club photos. Yearbook staff adviser Jeanette Marantos said she does not know who wrote the captions. She does not believe the mistake was malicious. “I believe the intention was to go get their names and replace them,” Marantos said. “No matter what the intent was, it was incredibly unprofessional and wrong to have done that.” Assistant Principal Gracie Helm would not say if any students have been disciplined as of Monday. The review is ongoing.

Vote on school leader puts district in tumult

BOISE — A northern Boise County’s last school board meeting was so tumultuous that the sheriff says he plans to send a deputy to the next one. Sheriff Ben Roeber tells the Idaho Statesman that deputies are investigating whether a battery occurred at Monday’s meeting of the Garden Valley School Board. Tensions ran so high one person allegedly pushed down another who was trying to leave that meeting. The dispute centers on whether to put Superintendent Michael Tomlin on paid administrative leave, a decision the board made in executive session. Tomlin has been with the district about two years. Last year, a group of teachers submitted a letter of no confidence in Tomlin to the school board. Tomlin says he wishes the community would come together to educate the kids.


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