December 20, 2013 in City

In brief: Pedestrian killed in Moran Prairie collision identified

From Staff And Wire Reports

The Spokane County medical examiner has identified the pedestrian who died in a Moran Prairie collision Wednesday night as 83-year-old Gerald Forsberg.

The Sheriff’s Office said Forsberg attempted to cross 57th Avenue near South Regal Street around 5 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a GMC pickup traveling east. Forsberg was wearing dark clothing and was not using a crosswalk, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Forsberg’s death was ruled accidental. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision.

Court limits Public Records Act exemption

OLYMPIA – Washington’s Supreme Court has limited the ability of police agencies to automatically withhold investigative records under the Public Records Act.

The 5-4 ruling came Thursday in the case of Evan Sargent, a man who was in a confrontation with an off-duty Seattle officer in 2009. The city settled the case just days earlier, agreeing to pay Sargent $235,000 to drop his legal claims of civil rights and Public Records Act violations.

The confrontation ensued when Sargent left his car blocking the alley, and he was arrested for investigation of assault. The prosecutor’s office declined to immediately file charges and sent the case back to police for further investigation.

Sargent sought documents related to his case and on an internal investigation of the officer.

The majority of the justices said that once the case was referred for charges the first time, police were no longer entitled to withhold the documents under a blanket exemption for ongoing investigative files. Instead, they would have to prove that any documents withheld would jeopardize effective law enforcement if released.

The minority said the court’s ruling erodes important protections for active police work.

Man thought to be Gacy victim found alive

CHICAGO – A man presumed dead for decades as a potential victim of serial killer John Wayne Gacy has been reunited with his family after investigators found him alive and well in Montana.

Robert Hutton was located in April after his sister submitted his name as a possible Gacy victim, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Thursday. Investigators in Dart’s office collected DNA samples two years ago from the remains of eight unnamed victims in an effort to identify them.

Hutton was last heard from in 1972, when he told his mother he was traveling from New York to California. Hutton presumably passed through Chicago, where Gacy lived; Hutton fit the profile of a Gacy victim; and it was the year Gacy killed his first known victims.

Hutton, 21 at the time, was a hitchhiker who often traveled by bus and worked in construction.

Gacy, a building contractor and amateur clown, was convicted of luring 33 young men and boys to his Chicago-area home – sometimes by hiring them for construction work – and strangling them between 1972 and 1978. Most were buried in a crawl space under his home. Four others were dumped in a river. Gacy was executed in 1994.

Since the Gacy investigation was reopened, one additional victim has been identified and seven missing persons cases have been closed.

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