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In brief: Man gets four years in prison for cocaine

A Coeur d’Alene man involved in a large cocaine distribution ring that was based in part out of a Sherman Avenue bar has been sentenced to four years in prison. 

Christopher McFarland, 49, also is to be on probation for five years and has forfeited his ownership interest in Chillers bar.

McFarland worked with James Roy “Slim” O’Neill, who was sentenced in April 2011 to 15 years in prison.

O’Neill’s wife, Lecia Donita O’Neill, 46, also was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in prison, followed by 10 months of home confinement and eight years of probation.

The sentencings in U.S. District Court close a case that began with arrests in May 2010.

Co-defendant Gary A. Votava was sentenced last year to two years in prison and four years probation. Stephen J. McCabe was sentenced to 18 months in prison and five years probation. Debra L. Margraff was sentenced to five months in prison and three years probation.

Manuel Rivera, who supplied cocaine to O’Neill from Kennewick, is serving nine years in prison.

Authorities began investigating O’Neill after finding his phone number in former school booster and imprisoned cocaine addict Jerry Carlson’s phone records. Carlson is to be released from federal prison on May 1.

Man pleads guilty in lumber theft case

An unauthorized sales agreement between a rogue North Idaho lumber employee and a Spokane company has led to a felony conviction in federal court.

Trevor Mokry, 32, received about $581,000 from The Pallet Place for lumber he sold them from Stimson Lumber Co. in Plummer, Idaho, but he didn’t have permission to sell the wood and never gave his employer the money.

Mokry, who was responsible for loading and unloading trucks in the lumber yard, admitted to selling the lumber to the company between June 2007 and June 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Mokry pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to aiding the transportation of stolen goods.

He faces restitution of $581,445.24 when he’s sentenced, which is scheduled for July 16. He also faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of probation.

Grant adds computers to women’s group

A Spokane nonprofit for low-income and homeless women received a grant for new computers to help women be more competitive in the job market.

Transitions Women’s Hearth got 10 new computers, monitors and software as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program in an effort to increase digital literacy and access to information technology in Spokane.

Women will be able to use the computers to search for jobs, housing and other resources. The 10 Lenovo computers come fully loaded with Windows 7 and the full Adobe suite, which will allow the women to learn Photoshop and other advanced software skills.

Through Tincan’s Microsoft Elevate America grant, which helps young adults learn technology and job-readiness skills, the Women’s Hearth will also get a part-time lab assistant.

Off-road vehicle park reopens Sunday

Spokane County’s off-road vehicle park at Liberty Lake reopens on Sunday with a special kickoff event.

Local groups, merchants and sheriff’s deputies will be on hand for the Safe Rider Awareness Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Liberty Lake ORV Park is located at the east end of Liberty Lake on Idaho Road, about a quarter mile beyond Lakeside Road.

For more information, go to or call the county parks department at (509) 477-4730.

Deputies looking for North Bend man

NORTH BEND, Wash. – The King County medical examiner has released the names of the two women shot to death at a North Bend home on Sunday.

Eighteen-year-old Kaylene Keller and 41-year-old Lynnettee Keller both died from gunshots to the head.

King County sheriff’s deputies have posted fliers at hiking trailheads seeking information about Lynnettee’s husband, 41-year-old Peter A. Keller. Kaylene was their daughter.

Sgt. Cindi West said Peter Keller is an avid hiker and detectives would like to hear from anyone who has seen him.

West said he’s not a suspect and could be a victim or could have committed suicide.

The bodies were discovered Sunday by firefighters responding to a fire in the home. They also found seven gasoline cans inside.

Whooping cough cases exceed 1,000

OLYMPIA – The number of whooping cough cases in Washington continues to climb, surpassing 1,000 cases so far this year.

Health officials say the state is on pace to reach more than 3,000 cases for the year, a level that hasn’t been seen in decades.

Figures released Tuesday show 1,008 cases have been reported since April 21, compared to 110 cases in the same period last year.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing.


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