March 15, 2013 in City

In brief: Shooting victim’s parents answer call to identify body

 

When police distributed photos of murder victim Heather Cassel’s tattoos to local media outlets to help identify her body, Cassel’s mother and stepfather called police with the tip, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Police arrested two suspects, her boyfriend and father of her child, Jonathan J.L. Ritchey, and his uncle, Gary L. Stoddard, this week after Cassel’s body was found Monday.

Also on Thursday, prosecutors added a new charge of first-degree kidnapping against Ritchey, in addition to first-degree murder.

Court documents show Stoddard told investigators he intended to take Cassel to a friend’s house while she sobered up and calmed down after a fight with Ritchey early Monday.

He handcuffed Cassel to control her, but she escaped from the vehicle and ran. He shot her twice, once in the midsection and another time in the face under her left eye, according to court documents.

Police found Cassel’s body Monday after several witnesses reported a woman screaming and then gunshots near an apartment complex along Fort George Wright Drive.

Boys’ hearing rescheduled

A hearing scheduled for today has been postponed to determine whether two Colville boys have the mental capacity to commit the crime of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Both boys, ages 10 and 11, were arrested Feb. 8 after another student saw one of the boys playing with a knife on the way to school.

School employees found a gun and evidence of a plot to kill other students at Fort Colville Elementary School, according to court records.

Under Washington law, children ages 8 to 12 are presumed not to have the mental capacity to form the intent to commit crime, but prosecutors can argue to overcome that presumption.

The hearing was rescheduled for March 29.

Driver arrested after crash

A man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was spotted driving recklessly down Grand Boulevard, crashing into another car outside Jefferson Elementary School, witnesses said.

The driver, identified by Spokane police as 18-year-old Anthony Moreni, followed the female victim’s car too closely before the crash at the intersection of 37th Avenue and Grand just before noon Thursday.

Witnesses were poised to call 911 to report the man driving dangerously when the crash happened, Officer Paul Watson said.

The victim went to a local hospital for neck and back pain, Watson said.

FCC crackdown on TV urged

BOISE – Idaho legislators want the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on TV portrayals of premarital sex, including people joking about sex, lying in bed together or undressing.

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee on Thursday passed a nonbinding “memorial” to encourage the FCC to target such portrayals in scripted TV shows, reality shows and ads.

HJM 2, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, and six GOP co-sponsors, cites the Idaho Constitution’s statement that “the first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home.” The measure alleges “Inappropriate and indecent material is being broadcast more frequently” and notes that the FCC is charged with preventing the broadcast of indecent programming between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when children might be watching. The memorial calls on the federal agency to “resume enforcement of traditional American standards of decency.”

HJM 2 now moves to the full House for debate.


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