In brief: Colville Officer Rex Newport enters Alford plea
A Colville police officer who pleaded guilty Tuesday to five criminal counts, including sexual crimes, maintains his innocence but will serve 22 months if a plea agreement presented to a Stevens County judge is accepted.
Rex Newport, 45, entered an Alford plea to crimes including residential burglary, unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation and custodial sexual misconduct, according to court records. Defendants enter an Alford plea when they wish to maintain their innocence but say there is enough evidence a jury might convict them on presented charges. A Spokesman-Review headline Wednesday mischaracterized Newport’s plea.
The deal reached by the Washington Attorney General’s Office and Newport states that all criminal sentences should be served concurrently rather than consecutively. If a judge accepts the agreement, Newport will be ordered to spend a little less than two years in prison.
As a result of the conviction, Newport will have to turn in his badge and weapon, according to court documents. The Colville Police Department has not offered comment on Newport’s guilty plea.
Girl, 11, shoots cougar tailing her brother
An 11-year-old girl shot a cougar that was following her 14-year-old brother to their home at Twisp, in north central Washington, the state Fish and Wildlife Department said.
The female cougar killed last week was about 4 years old and weighed about 50 pounds, said Officer Cal Treser.
“This cougar was very, very skinny,” he said.
It was the third cougar killed in a week in the area just outside Twisp, the Wenatchee World reported Tuesday.
The children’s father, Tom White, had chased the cougar away from their calves twice on Feb. 19. The next day his son went out to feed the dogs and was returning to a basement door when he spotted the cougar following him, Treser said.
“His dad was in there and said, ‘Close the door!’ and there was the cougar, right behind him,” Treser said.
His 11-year-old daughter had a tag to hunt cougars and shot the animal, he said.
So far this winter, Fish and Wildlife agents have tracked and killed five cougars for attacking domestic animals in the Twisp-Winthrop area. Five others in the Methow Valley have been killed by hunters.
The department issued five special permits allowing hunters to use dogs to track and kill cougars in response to an unusual number of cougar problems this winter. There may be more cougars than usual or they may be having trouble finding deer, their usual prey, agents said.
Masked assailant stabs man at garage
A stabbing was reported in the 3500 block of South Woodard Road in Spokane Valley shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The victim was stabbed in his stomach and chest. He was taken to a hospital, and his condition was unknown Wednesday evening, said Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin.
The victim was in his garage working on a car when he was approached by a man wearing a mask, Chamberlin said.
The suspect may have left the area in a red Pontiac. A search of the area was unsuccessful, Chamberlin said. Police are still investigating whether the suspect and victim knew each other, he said.
Gun found by boy was used in killing
Tests have confirmed that a gun found in Deer Park by a young boy on his way to catch the school bus was the weapon used to kill Harry Giesbrecht on Jan. 4, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
The boy found the gun, which was loaded, alongside a road on Jan. 23. An adult saw the boy toss it to the ground at the bus stop and picked it up. The Washington State Crime Lab confirmed that the gun, a bullet found inside Giesbrecht’s house and a shell casing found in the victim’s yard all match, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The suspect in the case, Richard Klepacki, 62, is being held in the Spokane County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond on a charge of first-degree murder.
Shooting suspect’s trial set for March
Prosecutors will have until late next month to decide if they’ll seek the death penalty against a Spokane Valley man accused of being the triggerman in the death of a South Hill businessman with ties to North Dakota oil.
Timothy Suckow, 50, remains in Spokane County Jail on $2 million bond, facing a charge of aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting death of Doug Carlile in December. A clean-shaven, graying Suckow appeared in court Wednesday, where a Spokane County Superior judge granted a motion allowing the prosecution two more weeks to indicate whether they’ll seek execution at a trial date tentatively scheduled for late March.
Carlile’s business partner, James Henrikson, has been linked by investigators to the shooting Dec. 15. He is in custody facing firearms charges in North Dakota.
No inmates arrested in Spokane County have been executed since 1976, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center based in Washington, D.C. Gov. Jay Inslee announced earlier this year a moratorium on Washington state executions during his term.
Car too near track loses bumper to train
A car had its front bumper ripped off by a train when it stopped too close to railroad tracks on Idaho Road near Post Falls Wednesday.
The 2005 Chevy Trailblazer was driven by 76-year-old Jay M. Vale, of Rathdrum. Vale, who was not injured, was cited for failing to obey a stop sign at a railroad crossing, according to a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office press release.
The accident involving a Union Pacific train happened shortly after noon. Idaho Road and Prairie Avenue were blocked for several hours while an investigation was underway.
Pot-growing suspect released from jail
A man suspected of growing 273 pot plants in a Spokane Valley rental home was released from the Spokane County Jail after a brief court appearance Wednesday.
Cole A. Brown, 21, has a criminal history of only two misdemeanor charges, said Spokane County Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt in ordering his release. Brown has been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance.
According to court documents, neighbors called police when they suspected their new neighbors in the 200 block of North Conklin Road were running a drug house. Surveillance cameras were installed at the home and all the windows were blacked out except for two upstairs windows that were open in all weather conditions.
An investigation showed that the residents were using an abnormally large amount of electricity, documents state. When deputies obtained a warrant and searched the house, they reportedly found 273 plants and five growing rooms.
Brown reportedly told police that he had no knowledge of the marijuana plants and never went upstairs or in the basement where the growing rooms were located, documents say. A detective wrote in court documents that the odor of marijuana inside the home was overwhelming.