In brief: Charges delayed in WSU beating


Three men won’t have to appear in court this week because charges have not been filed in the alleged assault of a Washington State University instructor.

Whitman County prosecutor Bill Druffel said Wednesday he will wait until Pullman Police Department investigators complete more footwork and conclude their case.

Following the arrests last week of John “Matt” Cabanos-Soriano, 22, Robert D. Bean, 22, and Joshua W. Nantz, 23, the prosecutor had to file formal charges within three business days or release conditions set by Whitman County Judge David Frazier would expire.

Druffel can file charges up to three years after the crime in question, but he expects to file charges next week, he said.

The victim, David Warner, an instructor for the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies, has been released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to hospital staff. He sustained a head injury and was in critical condition for several days following the assault.

Warner has been transferred to the Northern Idaho Advanced Care Hospital in Post Falls, according to the Rally for David Warner Facebook page. The hospital provides long-term acute care and rehabilitative services.

Otter appoints new 1st District judge

BOISE – St. Maries attorney Richard S. Christensen has been named a 1st District judge by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

Christensen will fill a vacancy that will open May 1 when 1st District Judge John Luster retires. He was one of three candidates nominated by the Idaho Judicial Council for the post. The other two were Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor John Cafferty and Kootenai County Magistrate Judge Scott Wayman.

Christensen, 56, is a former prosecutor and also formerly served as chief of the drug racketeering unit for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. He’s now in private practice in St. Maries. Christensen holds a law degree from the University of Idaho and a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University.

Rapper murder trial begins this week

The murder trial against a rapper who is facing life in prison without parole if convicted began this week in Spokane County Superior Court.

John A. Castro, who raps under the name Lil Danger, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the November 2011 killing of Moses Lake rapper Jose A. “Junior” Solis Jr.

Solis was shot in the chest during an altercation at the Quality Inn, 110 E. Fourth Ave. in Spokane. Prosecutors sought material witness arrests for three people connected to the melee to compel them to testify, defense attorney Anna Nordtvedt said. A fourth witness was already in custody.

The trial could last more than two weeks. If convicted, Castro faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole under Washington’s three-strikes law because of two previous violent convictions.


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