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In brief: Jurors see photos of suspect’s wounds

Wed., May 22, 2013

A Deer Park man charged with strangling his ex-wife and sexually violating her remains had wounds on his right hand and forehead, the lead detective in the case told jurors Tuesday.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Ricketts showed the jury 10 photographs documenting small wounds or “defects” on the right hand of 48-year-old Clay D. Starbuck, who is charged with the aggravated first-degree murder of 42-year-old Chanin D. Starbuck.

Ricketts, who did not note those injuries in his report, said he photographed those wounds on Dec. 5, 2011, two days after Chanin Starbuck was found dead inside her Deer Park home. The autopsy revealed that she had bruises all over her body from a prolonged attack.

Starbuck complied with Ricketts’ request to come to the Public Safety Building to be photographed, provided DNA samples and allowed detectives to download information from his cellphone.

Defense attorney Derek Reid asked Ricketts why he didn’t note Starbuck’s hand injuries in his report; Ricketts replied that he didn’t write it down.

Boater drowns at Sprague Lake

A man drowned in a boating accident Tuesday on Sprague Lake, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The man and a female companion, both unidentified, were in a boat that apparently capsized around 3 p.m., Sheriff Wade Magers said. Both began swimming to shore, according to witnesses nearby.

By the time rescuers got to the lake, both were washed ashore. The woman was alive but her companion was dead, Magers said.

“With 20 mph winds and whitecaps and cold water, it was a hard situation for anyone swimming to shore,” Magers said.

The woman was transported to a Spokane hospital. Her condition was not known, Magers said. Details were still being gathered, Magers said.

Initial reports said a hang glider spotted the boaters having difficulty and contacted a Lincoln County resident who called 911.

Head-on crash claims woman, 19

A 19-year-old Oldtown woman died early Tuesday in a head-on collision on state Highway 41 south of Priest River.

Idaho State Police say Anna M. Hurst was driving a Dodge Stratus northbound at 8 a.m. at milepost 30 when she began passing another vehicle. She suffered fatal injuries when her car was struck head-on by a Kenworth truck and trailer heading south. The second driver, Michael L. Radan, 41, of Newport, suffered undisclosed injuries and was taken to Newport Hospital.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts, according to the Idaho State Police.

‘Facebook bill,’ now law, shields workers

OLYMPIA – Employers can’t ask their current workers or job applicants for access to their social media accounts under a law signed Tuesday.

Sometimes called the “Facebook bill,” Senate Bill 5211 makes it illegal for an employer to request a worker or applicant for the login information to a social media account or to make the person access the account with the employer present. An employee or applicant can’t be required to add someone to a contact list or change the settings to give a third party access to the account.

Sen. Steven Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said Washington is the eighth state to have such a bill: “Privacy shouldn’t be a thing of the past that we are forced to sacrifice every time technology moves forward.”

Fund established for losses to wolves

OLYMPIA – Washington will set up a special fund to pay for losses of livestock because of the state’s growing wolf population, under a bill signed Tuesday.

The new law sets aside up to $50,000 each year to cover losses for wolves, raising the money from fees for personalized license plates. It also allows farmers and ranchers to be compensated for all animal losses, not just those being raised for commercial purposes, as the previous law specified.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Smith of Colville, was a key to expansion of Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations that allow property owners to shoot a wolf that is attacking livestock or pets. The Legislature debated several plans to control wolves in Eastern Washington because of the rapid growth in the formerly endangered animals’ population.

“This is something where Washington state can really lead the nation in figuring out how to deal with the recovery process,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Powell case still open, lawyer says

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The lawyer for the family of missing Utah woman Susan Powell said Tuesday that even as local police close the active part of their investigation into her disappearance, federal authorities continue to review the case – a claim that was denied by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City.

Anne Bremner made the announcement at a Seattle news conference a day after local officials in Utah said they had closed their investigation into the Susan Powell case.

“This is not over,” Bremner said.

Newly released police records show that Utah officials believe Josh Powell likely killed his wife in late 2009, and that his brother, Michael Powell, helped dispose of the body, but authorities felt they didn’t have enough evidence to prove that theory in court.

Last year, as the investigation continued, Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons in an explosive house fire, leaving nearly all of his life insurance proceeds to his brother, Michael, who later jumped to his death from a parking garage in Minnesota.

Bremner, who was joined at the news conference by Chuck Cox, Susan Powell’s father, said she and Cox were apprised earlier in the day of the federal investigation by an agent who has been directly involved in the case. She said she requested permission to announce the development, and the agent granted it. Bremner said the scope involved looking into what Josh Powell’s father, Steve, knew about his daughter-in-law’s disappearance.

In response, Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah, issued a statement saying that federal agencies in Utah had assisted in the investigation.

“However, we do not have plans to conduct any further investigation,” she said.


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