Local news

In brief: Attorneys: Duncan is not competent

Attorneys appointed to represent Joseph Duncan say the convicted killer is not competent enough to waive an appeal of his federal death sentence.

They have asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily halt proceedings so they may petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

Duncan faces the death sentence for the kidnapping, torture and murder of a North Idaho boy. Duncan has undergone mental evaluations, but the results have been kept secret.

Teenager admits to string of arsons

A juvenile faces arson and theft charges for allegedly setting fires in Spokane Valley and stealing a bicycle from Liberty Lake.

The 15-year-old, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, admitted to lighting three large trash bins on fire, as well as some bushes a few blocks away, according to a Spokane Valley Fire Department news release.

After being detained, he also admitted to stealing the bicycle. He faces four counts of second-degree arson and one count of third-degree theft.

At 12:41 a.m. Wednesday, someone reported seeing the Dumpsters on fire behind businesses at 13817 E. Sprague Ave. and 20 N. Evergreen Road. The fires were quickly extinguished.

At 9 a.m., investigators learned another fire had been set in some bushes at Numerica Credit Union at 14610 E. Sprague Ave. That fire only damaged the bushes, the news release said, but damage to the trash bins was $1,700.

Anyone missing a 10-speed bike in the Liberty Lake area should call the fire department at (509) 928-1700 and describe the bike.

Man flees with cash from Spokane bank

A man robbed the Chase bank branch at 5508 N. Division St. Wednesday afternoon and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The robbery was reported about 4:40 p.m. Spokane police said a man walked into the bank, told a teller he had a weapon and demanded money. He did not show a weapon, and witnesses did not see which direction he headed when he left the bank.

The robber was still at large Wednesday night. He is described as white, 18 to 21 years old, and 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was wearing a dark hooded jacket and dark jeans. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111.

Ranchers oppose bison introduction

DEER LODGE, Mont. – Ranchers and landowners on Wednesday packed the Powell County Community Center, just a few miles from what has become ground zero in the debate over whether there is a place for wild bison on Montana’s landscape.

Dozens of people from this southwestern Montana community where cattle is king told state wildlife officials they were against the plan. None was in favor of it.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has proposed temporarily relocating dozens of bison to the Spotted Dog Wildlife Management Area or three other possible sites across the state.

Wildlife officials say the bison are disease-free after spending years in quarantine as part of a U.S. government program. But that hasn’t convinced those concerned that the wild animals could transmit disease to their cattle and damage their fields.

Petition moves for state wolf hunt

ELLENSBURG – Two groups have filed a petition with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves in the eastern one-third of the state.

The Washington Cattlemen’s Association and the Hunter Heritage Council announced the petition, which was dated Sept. 30, in a joint statement Wednesday. The two groups moved for wolves instead to be classified as a big game species, which would allow them to be hunted.

Earlier this year, Congress stripped federal endangered-species protections from wolves in Montana, Idaho and the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon. They remain listed in the western two-thirds of those states.

Court halts killing of Oregon wolves

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted a request by conservation groups to temporarily halt Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to shoot two of the state’s 14 wolves for killing livestock.

The groups sought to prevent the department from killing the wolves while the appeals court reviews whether the state’s wolf management plan complies with the Endangered Species Act.



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