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In brief: Convicted killer gets 41 years

A serial bank robber has been sentenced to 41 years in prison for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.

Patrick Kevin Gibson, 60, was convicted of first-degree murder for the Nov. 7, 1992, shooting death of Brian Cole, 48, at Cole’s Furniture on East Sprague Avenue in July after a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Cole was killed during a botched robbery.

The crime went unsolved for 19 years before DNA from a fake beard left at the crime scene prompted detectives to arrest Gibson, who served 12 years in federal prison for a string of bank robberies that began in 1992.

Gibson also was convicted of robbing convenience stores and raping clerks in the late 1970s, about the same time he was shot in the face by a law enforcement official during a chase in Utah.

Gibson testified that a partner in his bank robberies must have reused the beard, but Eitzen concluded he was the killer and had also robbed a children’s store in Coeur d’Alene hours before the murder.

Eitzen sentenced Gibson on Friday to 493 months in prison. His lawyers have appealed his conviction.

Con man pleads guilty to beef scam

A con man who went to prison for duping people out of $124,000 for a fraudulent cattle farm investment is likely headed back there after pleading guilty to a similar scheme in North Idaho.

James Andrew Harris, 44, pleaded guilty to wire fraud Monday and faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced Nov. 5.

Harris admitted to stealing about $108,000 from a Florida resident whom he’d solicited as an investor in the beef industry.

Harris told the victim he had a “connection” who helped restaurants, supermarkets and other purchasers of beef finance their purchases, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Harris represented that there was a great deal of money to be made in financing the purchases and encouraged the individual to participate.”

Harris created the email account to assist in the fraud, which occurred between July 2010 and June 2011.

The fraud began less than three months after Harris was released from federal prison after being sentenced to 27 months for the cattle investment fraud. Harris paid those investors with counterfeit checks, according to a plea agreement.

Valley apartments damaged in blaze

Fire damaged four apartments Tuesday in Spokane Valley.

A neighbor reported the blaze at the Cedar Chateau Estates, 13310 E. Mission Ave., about 1:20 p.m., according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived to heavy smoke, and the building was evacuated.

Fire was extinguished inside the building and in the attic. A 5-inch supply hose burst while crews fought the blaze, but it was quickly replaced with minimal impact on the effort.

No one was inside the apartments when the fire broke out, and there were no injuries reported. Thirty-one firefighters helped put out the blaze. Damage was estimated at $100,000. The cause is under investigation.

UI frat house fall case dismissed

MOSCOW, Idaho – A civil lawsuit against the University of Idaho filed by a former student who fell from a fraternity house window during an off-campus party and suffered debilitating injuries has been dismissed.

Second District Judge Michael Griffin tossed the lawsuit brought by Amanda Andaverde, of Caldwell, Idaho, and her parents in a written ruling issued Friday. The Moscow-based university, which recently rejected a $1 million settlement proposed by Andaverde and her family, issued a statement Monday saying it was pleased with the ruling.

Andaverde was a 19-year-old sophomore when she fell from an upper-story window during a Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house party. Andaverde fractured several bones and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

A decision on whether to appeal the ruling is pending, said the Andaverde family’s attorney, Warren Dowdle.

The family’s legal claims against Andaverde’s former sorority, Delta Delta Delta, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and several unnamed individuals are pending.

Officials ID man in boat accident

KALISPELL – Officials in Flathead County have released the name of an 80-year-old Kalispell man who drowned in a weekend boating accident on the North Fork of the Flathead River.

Undersheriff Dave Leib said Raymond Abbott was floating the river in a one-man inflatable pontoon boat that capsized Saturday.

Authorities received several reports of a man floating face-down in the water.

A companion who was floating with Abbott also capsized but was able to swim to shore.

Leib said Abbott was wearing an inflatable life preserver, but it was not inflated when he was pulled out of the water.

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