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In brief: Mobile home fire ruled to be murder-suicide

Wed., July 24, 2013

Spokane police say a murder-suicide killed the couple in a mobile home fire Monday.

The Spokane County medical examiner identified Keith M. Barber, 50, as the male victim in the mobile home fire at the Cascade Mobile Home Community. Neighbors said he lived with his fiancée, Amanda Blanchard, and that she died in the fire.

The medical examiner hasn’t released a cause of death for either victim.

The mobile home at 2311 W. 16th Ave. burned within minutes. The homicide suspect, who police have not identified, lit the fire using lighter fluid before committing suicide, police said.

Police confiscated a gun at the home but have not identified it as the homicide weapon.

The couple had planned to marry Thursday, neighbors said.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Man, 18, drowns during river swim

An 18-year-old man drowned Tuesday afternoon trying to swim across the Spokane River near the Sullivan Road bridge.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to the scene, about a quarter-mile west of the bridge, after a call from bystanders around 2:20 p.m. The teen jumped in the water with a female friend after seeing others swim across the span, department spokesman Bill Clifford said. Neither were wearing life jackets.

Bystanders performed on-site CPR on the victim after pulling him out of about 5 feet of water, but he could not be revived. The Medstar medical helicopter landed nearby but was dismissed when the victim was pronounced dead, Clifford said.

No blood was found at the scene and authorities do not know if alcohol was involved, Clifford said.

Kip Hill

No murder charge in shooting at motel

A man who fled town after killing another man during a downtown Spokane robbery will not face murder charges, prosecutors have decided.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said his office does not have enough evidence to disprove that Kevin M. Heaton acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 33-year-old Paul A. Haney. Haney died Sept. 13 outside the Days Inn at 120 W. Third Ave.

“We have to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt,” Driscoll said.

Prosecutors, however, intend to charge Heaton, 36, with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Witness Marc Martinez told Spokane detectives that he had gone to the Days Inn with Haley A. Smith, Paul Haney and Lindsey Haney “to rob a drug dealer in room No. 203.”

Martinez and Paul Haney entered the room, and Haney “pointed a gun at the drug dealer” while Martinez filled a pillowcase with methamphetamines and clothes, he told detectives.

As they fled the scene, Heaton started shooting at them, according to court records.

Heaton claimed he had been robbed and pistol-whipped.

Thomas Clouse


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