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Cop shooter’s alleged accomplice attempts suicide at jail

UPDATED: Mon., July 30, 2012, 6:59 p.m.

Robert Ruth, who is accused of helping Charles Wallace, is seen on a closed-circuit courtroom television in June in Spokane County Superior Court. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Robert Ruth, who is accused of helping Charles Wallace, is seen on a closed-circuit courtroom television in June in Spokane County Superior Court. (Tyler Tjomsland)

A man accused of helping Charles Wallace, who shot two sheriff’s deputies before shooting himself to death last month, tried to kill himself at the Spokane County Jail on Friday.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, who was jailed last week after his girlfriend told police he’d assaulted her, remains on life support at a local hospital.

Ruth was found hanging unconscious in his jail cell Friday about 8:35 a.m. A corrections deputy cut him down and performed CPR until medics arrived, said Capt. John McGrath.

McGrath said Ruth had a cellmate who was apparently asleep at the time. An investigation is ongoing.

McGrath said Ruth was unresponsive with no pulse when the deputy found him, but medics were able to establish one.

Hospital employees called the jail about three hours after he arrived and requested family information for Ruth because he had no brain activity.

The jail is responsible for Ruth’s medical bills because he is an inmate.

“Any medical care decisions are going to be made by the family,” McGrath said.

McGrath said the jail can ask a judge to release Ruth from custody if medical bills continue to accumulate.

Ruth was out of jail on $100,000 bail for a first-degree rendering criminal assistance charge when he was arrested last week for misdemeanor domestic violence.

His alleged victim, his girlfriend and the mother of his infant son, has a restraining order against him that prohibits him from going to their rental home in the 900 block of West Princeton Avenue.

Ruth was shot in the leg during a robbery at that home May 29, which is owned by Spokane police Officer Beau Brannon.

When authorities began looking for Wallace, who they say escaped from court-ordered rehab after being indicted on federal heroin charges, they contacted Ruth, but Ruth told them he hadn’t seen Wallace recently.

Undercover investigators were watching Ruth’s parents’ home on North Alcan Road June 19 when they saw him leave in an SUV and a man in a long, mullet-style wig left as a passenger in a Chevy Tahoe.

Investigators suspected the disguised man was Wallace, so they asked sheriff’s Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway, who were patrolling the north side in separate vehicles, to stop the Tahoe and identify the three occupants.

Wallace got out of the Tahoe and shot Spink and Northway, who are recovering, then stole an 87-year-old woman’s car and led police on a 21-mile chase that ended with his suicide.

Just after the shooting, Brannon called Ruth, who was last seen driving north on Newport Highway, and told him Wallace had just shot two deputies. Ruth lied and said he hadn’t talked to Wallace since June 14, then changed his story and said he’d seen Wallace but didn’t know where he was.

Ruth, a felon with a history of heroin use, hung up on the officer and refused to answer his phone. Prosecutors used that information to support a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

“His continual acts of deception obstructed the apprehension of Charles R. Wallace after Wallace had shot the two deputies in an attempt to inflict deadly force,” detectives wrote.

Ruth posted $100,000 bond July 2, but he was ordered to stay in jail on a new, $150,000 bond after his arrest for assault on Wednesday.

He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charge in Spokane Municipal Court on Thursday, and his bond was set at $5,000.

Ruth has seven felony convictions, the most recent in 2000.

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