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In brief: Prosecutors say officer did not commit crime

This tree in the Colville National Forest has been selected as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for 2013.
This tree in the Colville National Forest has been selected as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for 2013.

Spokane police Officer Jeff Graves did not commit any law violations stemming from complaints from a former lover who claimed he had stalked and harassed her, prosecutors have concluded.

The police department placed Graves on administrative leave on May 9 after a woman accused Graves of stalking and harassing her after they met on Facebook and had sex. Graves resigned in June after a second woman came forward with similar allegations.

Spokane County sheriff’s detectives pored over hundreds of text messages and photographs sent between Graves and the women, one of whom alleged that Graves had sex with her without her consent.

“At the end of the day, there is evidence of poor decision-making, but there was a lack of credible evidence to support any criminal charges,” said Jack Driscoll, chief deputy Spokane County prosecutor.

Graves, who was married, did not deny having relations with the first woman but claimed that she was harassing him. He accused her of sending anonymous emails to his wife.

Graves worked 23 years on the force. He earned the Spokane Police Department’s Lifesaving Award in 2010 for reviving a man who collapsed at a bus stop by performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

Thomas Clouse

Capitol Christmas tree to be from Pend Oreille

An 88-foot Englemann spruce rooted in Pend Oreille County has been selected as this year’s Capitol Christmas tree, the Colville National Forest announced Thursday.

In late June, Ted Bechtol, superintendent of grounds at the U.S. Capitol, inspected 10 finalists from a list of 40 trees identified throughout the forest by members of the public and Forest Service employees. Bechtol said Thursday the Pend Oreille spruce was chosen because it “has the fullness and width needed for the Capitol grounds.” 

The chosen tree’s exact location remains a secret to prevent vandalism. It will be felled in early November using cranes and transported by truck to several locations in Eastern Washington, including Spokane, before traveling cross-country and arriving in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25.

The Forest Service is also sponsoring a Capitol Christmas Tree art competition. Washington state artists can submit work through Sept. 30 reflecting the theme “Sharing Washington’s Good Nature.” The winning artist will receive $1,000 and the piece will hang in the Forest Service’s headquarters near the National Mall. For eligibility details, visit capitolchristmas

Kip Hill


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