Local news


In brief: Arnie Carruthers, jazz great, dies at 81

Arnie Carruthers, one of the giants in the Spokane jazz scene, died Monday at Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane Valley at age 81. He had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in December.

Carruthers was a piano institution for many years at the Davenport Hotel, the Olympic Hotel in Seattle and the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1974, he turned himself into a one-handed piano player after a stroke robbed him of the use of his left hand. He continued to be one of the most in-demand jazz players in the region.

His final public performance was at his 80th birthday party last year. A tribute concert to Carruthers at the Spokane Falls Community College Jazz Festival on March 19 will go on as planned.

Jim Kershner

Man gravely wounded by gunshot identified

A 26-year-old man shot in the head early Saturday has been identified as Shane Reilly.

Reilly is on life support at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and is not expected to survive, according to court documents.

Suspect Robert Dean Startin, 27, remains in jail on $750,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court on a first-degree assault charge Monday. According to court documents, Startin told detectives someone told him “the big guy” was a child molester, which angered him because he had a relative who had been abused.

Startin told detectives Reilly asked him if he wanted to go for a ride, documents say. Startin said he shot Reilly with a pistol as he drove. Reilly, however, is not listed on either the Washington or Idaho sex offender registries.

Meghann M. Cuniff

Steele trial delayed, moved to Boise

The trial for a North Idaho attorney accused of hiring someone to kill his wife has been postponed until late next month and will take place in Boise.

Lawyers for Edgar Steele requested the continuance to allow more time to prepare an expert witness who is expected to question the authenticity of audio recordings of Steele allegedly discussing the plot with hit man-turned-FBI informant Larry Fairfax.

Court scheduling and concerns about pretrial publicity prompted U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to move the trial from Coeur d’Alene to Boise.

Steele, 65, is charged with use of interstate commerce to commission murder for hire, tampering with a victim, use of explosive material to commit a federal felony and possession of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence. Steele’s wife, Cyndi, believes he’s innocent. Edgar Steele is best known for defending the Aryan Nations.

Meghann M. Cuniff

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