May 1, 2012 in City

Fight over car led to double homicide

Coroner: Victims killed each other at campout
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A fight over an old car near a remote Pend Oreille County lake led to a rare double homicide in which investigators believe the victims killed each other.

No arrests are expected in the homicides of Richard “Richie” R. Hill, 18, and Steven Quinn Divine, 22, early Sunday because investigators believe each is responsible for the other’s death, officials said Monday.

“One of the victims had a knife, the other had a gun. And the results are they are both deceased,” said Thomas Metzger, Pend Oreille County coroner and prosecutor.

Hill, of Spokane, died of a gunshot wound to his chest while Divine, of Mead, died of a stab wound to his upper abdomen, Metzger said after autopsies Monday.

Hill’s friends tried to drive him to a hospital but crashed about 12 miles north of Usk, Wash. No one was injured in the crash, but Hill was dead in the car when deputies arrived, said Sheriff Alan Botzheim.

Divine’s friends drove him to a fire station, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators have not said who initiated the fatal confrontation or if anyone acted in self-defense, but they believe the fight began when someone backed into Divine’s 1986 Honda Civic, Botzheim said.

Hill and Divine were part of two groups of about 10 Spokane-area residents ages 18 to 24 years old who were drinking and camping at Yocum Lake, about 10 miles south of Ione, Wash.

“I’m not sure how they found this place because it’s really remote,” Botzheim said.

Deputies were first alerted to the incident at 12:20 a.m.

Hill wasn’t the one who struck Divine’s car, Botzheim said, but the men began arguing, and Hill brandished a knife while Divine had a handgun.

“It’s just so senseless,” Botzheim said. “Someone backed into an ’86 Honda and someone cared? It’s a car.”

Botzheim said he believes both men would be alive had alcohol not been involved.

“It’s sad that a really bad decision can result in such tragic consequences,” he said.

Both weapons are in police custody. Botzheim said Divine, who has no serious criminal history, lawfully owned the handgun.

Hill had a juvenile criminal history and a felony conviction from 2010 for first-degree robbery. A man who identified himself as Hill’s stepfather declined immediate comment.

Divine’s grandparents, Shirley and Deloy Quinton, of Mead, declined to comment Monday. Botzheim said the family has lost three members under tragic circumstances, including Divine’s father, Vincent Divine, who was struck and killed by a train in Spokane Valley in 2000.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare ever. Just that call you dread,” Botzheim said.

Botzheim said the driver of the car that crashed with Hill inside appeared to have been drinking, but a possible drunken driving and underage drinking investigation is on hold as deputies continue to investigate the double homicide.

Four cars, including Divine’s Civic, have been seized as evidence. All witnesses at the campsite have been cooperative.

Botzheim said the double homicide and need to investigate three scenes – the camp site, the fire station and the crash scene – were “very much a test of our resources.”

“This would strain a lot of agencies,” he said.

The Washington State Patrol sent a criminal investigator to assist, and the crime lab in Seattle sent forensic experts to help process the crime scenes, Botzheim said. The U.S Border Patrol also assisted.

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