In brief: Duncan to be evaluated
BOISE – A federal judge said prosecutors can have their own psychiatrist interview a convicted child killer as they fight to prove he was competent when he waived his right to appeal his death sentence.
But U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge said that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily allow the prosecutors present any of the expert’s findings in court.
Joseph Edward Duncan III was sentenced to death in 2008 after admitting he kidnapped and tortured Dylan Groene and his 8-year-old sister from their North Idaho home on a spring day in 2005 after killing their older brother, mother and mother’s fiance. Duncan kept the children at a remote Montana campsite for weeks before killing Dylan and returning with Dylan’s sister to Coeur d’Alene, where he was arrested.
He gave up his appeals, but his former attorneys appealed on his behalf, and an appellate court said Lodge must determine whether Duncan was mentally competent back in 2008 when he waived his rights.
If Lodge finds Duncan wasn’t competent at the time, his death sentence could be jeopardized.
Woman hits fire engine
A woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries Monday morning after colliding with a Spokane fire engine at 29th Avenue and Ray Street.
No firefighters were hurt in the crash. The truck will need repairs, authorities said.
The emergency vehicle was traveling with lights and sirens about 11:15 a.m. en route to a fire in the 2100 block of East 48th Avenue, said Spokane Police officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
The woman, who was driving a Jeep, had the green light, DeRuwe said. “It was the responsibility of the emergency driver to make sure the intersection was clear.”
Man breaks in, beats woman
Spokane police investigators are searching for a burglary suspect who attacked a 62-year-old woman in her home last week.
The woman suffered serious injuries and told police that a man she didn’t know knocked on a door of her home, located near 900 E. 8th Ave., about 5 p.m. Thursday. When she arrived at the door, the man no longer was there, police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.
“She then saw the suspect walking out of her dining room, carrying her camera,” DeRuwe wrote. “When she confronted the suspect, he hit her in the head. He knocked her to the ground and continued to assault her repeatedly.”
The woman suffered “significant” injuries that required treatment at a local hospital.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, medium build and 5 feet 10 inches tall. He wore a gray shirt and tan shorts. He had sandy-colored, shoulder-length hair that was “very straight,” DeRuwe wrote.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Liquor sales up in July
OLYMPIA – After dropping during the first month of private liquor sales, the amount of liquor sold and the taxes the state collected rose in July.
Sales climbed about 15 percent in July compared with July 2011, and sales for the second quarter of this year are up about 11 percent over last.
Liquor sales saw a big jump in May as the deadline imposed by Initiative 1183 for switching from the state monopoly to private sales approached. Bars and restaurants in particular stocked up against the coming change. Sales dropped about 9 percent in June, the first month the law took effect, compared to the previous June.
In all, Washington consumers bought 10.6 million liters of spirits for the second quarter, an increase of about 1.2 million liters over 2011, and paid $68 million in taxes and fees, an increase of about 15 percent.
Idaho ballot has six names
BOISE – Idaho’s presidential ballot has been finalized, and there’s more than just Republican Mitt Romney and Democratic incumbent Barack Obama on it.
Instead, there are six candidates, all representing various parties – though two are running as independents in Idaho, as neither the Justice Party nor the Green Party has ballot status in the state.
Washington has eight candidates on the ballot, including the nominees from the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialism & Liberation Party.