The federal trial of a Spokane man charged with sending a poisoned letter to President Barack Obama has been delayed until next year because of the complexity of the case, U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko ruled Tuesday.
Suko pushed back the trial of Matthew Ryan Buquet, 37, until May 5. It was supposed to begin later this month.
Suko agreed with lawyers on both sides that the complexity of the case, including dealing with a deadly poison called ricin, made a speedy trial impossible.
“There is only one lab that can process this evidence because of the nature of the toxin involved,” assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Van Marter told the judge.
Prosecutors hoped to have most of their evidence turned over to defense lawyers within the next month, she said.
Buquet is charged with making ricin in violation of federal law. He is also charged with mailing a letter containing ricin to Eastern Washington U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle.
The letters were intercepted and there were no injuries.
Police say man hurt K-9 during arrest
A man assaulted a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office dog while resisting arrest for felony assault charges Friday night, authorities say.
A sheriff’s office deputy, his K-9 partner and Liberty Lake police responded to a call that a man had struck someone in the leg with a metal bar near 1200 N. Barker Road in Spokane Valley, according to a news release. When they arrived, suspect Wayne Eaton, 60, had hidden in the back of his camper with a knife and was refusing to leave.
Deputies ordered Eaton to leave the camper, according to the release. Eaton opened the door, but continued to resist when deputies tried to grab him. Deputies sent K-9 Laslo into the camper.
Eaton struck Laslo in the face with his arm, which was wrapped in a hard cast, several times until the dog’s nose bled, according to the release. As deputies attempted to detain Eaton, he also struck a deputy with his cast. The deputy received minor injuries.
Eaton faces charges of second- and third-degree assault and harming a police dog.
Men plead not guilty to killing man
Two men accused of killing a homeless man and dumping his body in the Spokane River pleaded not guilty Tuesday before Superior Court Judge James Triplet.
Vincent L. Merrill, 19, and Dakota Moss, 24, were arrested late last month on suspicion of killing Mark E. Pedersen, a 40-year-old homeless man they believed to be a child molester.
Fishermen found Pedersen’s body in the river near the Gonzaga University baseball field at about 11:30 a.m. June 27. He had been gagged and bound. The medical examiner said he’d been strangled and hit in the head.
Moss told police that he and Merrill talked about killing Pedersen prior to the homicide.
The two have a pretrial hearing Aug. 16.
Tribe and institute to erect tepee today
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Human Rights Education Institute will lead a tepee how-to workshop today at 10 a.m. Quanah Matheson, the tribe’s culture director, and other tribe representatives will lead the set-up of a 20-foot tepee at the institute, 414 W. Mullan Road, at the edge of City Park.
Adults and children are welcome to take part, and kids will be able to do art projects about tepees and other aspects of American Indian culture.
The goal of the program is to learn more about Coeur d’Alene and American Indian culture, and to appreciate American Indian heritage, lifestyles and beliefs, the institute said.
The north edge of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the origin of the Spokane River was the home of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe for generations. The tribe knows the area as Yap-Keehn-Um, or “the gathering place.”
Information: (208) 292-2359.
Vegas man charged with having bomb
SEATTLE – King County prosecutors have charged a young Las Vegas man arrested near the University of Washington with possessing an incendiary device, two stolen guns and a truck stolen from a man who befriended him in Montana.
In charging documents filed Tuesday in Seattle, prosecutors asked that bail for Justin Jasper, 22, be maintained at $2 million, citing what they called “the likelihood the defendant will commit a violent offense.”
When Jasper was arrested in the stolen truck July 3, Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Carew said he was in possession of six homemade firebombs, a double-barreled shotgun, a long rifle with a scope, body armor and multiple knives.
Arraignment is set for July 22.
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