June 23, 2012 in City

Shooter’s alleged helper will remain behind bars

Judge cites Ruth’s history in setting $100,000 bond
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tyler Tjomsland photo

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

Heroin co-defendant

also left rehab center early

A co-defendant in the heroin trafficking case involving cop shooter Charles Robert Wallace left a drug rehab center after being released from jail, just as Wallace had done weeks before.

Gary Erwin Douglass, 57, had second thoughts after leaving the center on Wednesday, so he contacted his lawyer and turned himself in at the federal courthouse within a few hours, said Bob Doty, supervisory agent with the U.S. Marshals.

Douglass is now in the Spokane County Jail without bond. U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno allowed him to leave jail to go to rehab, just as she did with Wallace, 41, who fatally shot himself Tuesday after shooting two sheriff’s deputies.

Douglass has a felony conviction for forgery from the late 1990s.

Meghann M. Cuniff

Heroin co-defendant

also left rehab center early

A co-defendant in the heroin trafficking case involving cop shooter Charles Robert Wallace left a drug rehab center after being released from jail, just as Wallace had done weeks before.

Gary Erwin Douglass, 57, had second thoughts after leaving the center on Wednesday, so he contacted his lawyer and turned himself in at the federal courthouse within a few hours, said Bob Doty, supervisory agent with the U.S. Marshals.

Douglass is now in the Spokane County Jail without bond. U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno allowed him to leave jail to go to rehab, just as she did with Wallace, 41, who fatally shot himself Tuesday after shooting two sheriff’s deputies.

Douglass has a felony conviction for forgery from the late 1990s.

Meghann M. Cuniff

A Spokane man accused of helping the fugitive who shot two deputies will remain jailed on $100,000 bond.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, has seven felony convictions, 15 misdemeanor convictions and has failed to appear in court 20 times, court officials said Friday.

A public defender, Kyle Zeller, noted that Ruth’s latest felony conviction was in 2000.

“He has been doing a good job the last several years, staying completely out of trouble and doing what he needs to do as far as getting treatment and help,” Zeller said. “Obviously, this entire situation is difficult, and I don’t want to comment too much on the facts, but I do know he will come to court.”

But Superior Court Judge Annette Plese noted Ruth’s history of skipping court, as well as the facts surrounding his arrest, when she imposed the prosecution’s requested bond of $100,000.

“Looks like I’ll be residing right here, your honor,” Ruth said through a closed-circuit television from the Spokane County Jail.

Ruth is accused of helping hide suspected heroin trafficker Charles Robert Wallace, 41, after Wallace left court-ordered rehab in Spokane Valley. He lied to drug detectives about his involvement with Wallace and allowed Wallace to store motorcycles and other items at his family’s property in the 8800 block of North Alcan Street in north Spokane, police said.

Ruth’s sister, girlfriend and parents attended the hearing but declined to comment afterward.

His sister, Rhonda Smith, told Plese that her brother “is not a risk if he’s let out.”

“He’s been keeping his life on the right track, despite everything that’s in the reports and what’s been said,” Smith said.

Ruth was shot on May 29 when the house he and his girlfriend rented was robbed.

Ruth’s girlfriend, Jennifer Cordero, with whom he has a 3-week-old son, told Plese they recently moved out of the home at 903 E. Princeton Ave. and are staying with her father.

On Tuesday, about an hour before Wallace is believed to have shot two deputies, members of the Spokane Regional Task Force followed him and Ruth, who were in separate vehicles, from the Alcan Street location to North Newport Highway.

They contacted Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway and asked them to stop the Chevy Tahoe to identify the three occupants. They were looking for Wallace, who was disguised in a hat with a mullet-style wig attached, but did not know for sure if he was inside.

Spink and Northway were told “that Wallace was believed to be armed and had made statements that he was not going back to jail,” according to court documents filed late Thursday.

Seconds after the Tahoe stopped on Elm Road just off the highway, Wallace exited and opened fire on Spink and Northway. Spink was struck once in the leg; Northway was hit four times and might have bled to death had a bystander not helped control heavy bleeding from an artery in his left arm, police officials said.

Police called Ruth just after the shooting and told him what happened, but Ruth said he didn’t know where Wallace was and hung up. He was arrested Wednesday.

Police found $2,529 in the Tahoe, as well as a survival knife and BB gun, according to a search warrant filed Friday.

The search warrant said that Joshua Fowler and Brittany A. McCullough, 21, were in the Tahoe with their two-year-old child when Wallace shot Spink and Northway. The couple left Wallace at the scene and abandoned the Tahoe on Graves Road before dropping off their child with a relative on North A Street.

Police contacted Fowler and McCullough Tuesday night and obtained statements from them. They identified Wallace as the shooter, according to the warrant.


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