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In brief: Spokane man accused of stalking released under supervision

Thu., Jan. 23, 2014

The Spokane man accused of sending threatening letters to a former neighbor alluding to his belief he was the Archangel of Death has been released under supervision to seek psychiatric evaluation.

Brent Russ, 33, had been in custody of the U.S. marshals since his arrest in September. Federal agents investigating letters and phone messages to Russ’ southwest Spokane neighbor, a tribal police officer, discovered guns and a journal outlining Russ’ beliefs he was the “embodiment of God’s wrath.” Prosecutors were charging him with one criminal stalking count and two counts of mailing threatening communications.

Those charges were suspended for five years by a federal judge Friday, who ordered Russ to stay with his parents in Western Washington, surrender his guns and seek psychiatric evaluation. Russ will also be supervised by federal court officials as part of the pretrial agreement.

The order puts the prosecution on hold so Russ can demonstrate “good conduct,” according to U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice. The ruling leaves the door open for future prosecution or to dismiss the charges entirely.

Robber drops drug loot during escape

A clumsy crook robbed the pharmacy inside the Albertsons grocery store at 9001 N. Indian Trail Road in Spokane shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday and briefly got away with several bottles of oxycodone.

“Whether he fumbled or tripped or what, he dropped the bottles in the street,” said Lt. Dean Sprague of the Spokane Police Department.

The man jumped the pharmacy counter to grab the bottles of painkillers, Sprague said. He is described as a white man in his 20s wearing a black jacket and a blue bandana over his face.

This is the seventh pharmacy robbery reported in Spokane County since Jan. 1.

Police seek lingerie coffee stand robber

A gunman who robbed a lingerie coffee stand Wednesday in north Spokane is being sought by police.

The Devil’s Brew lingerie coffee shop at 1228 W. Northwest Boulevard was held up just before 6 p.m.

The robber, who showed a gun, is described as a black man with scruffy facial hair in his late 40s, said Spokane police Lt. Dave Singley. He was wearing a dark coat and a black hat with ear flaps.

Identity sought of woman pulled from river

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office needs help identifying a woman pulled from the Spokane River on Jan. 10. The body was discovered upstream of the Argonne Road Bridge by people in a boat.

The woman is described as 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 144 pounds, with dark brown, nearly black hair with some gray. She is believed to be in her 40s.

When she was found she was wearing a green button-up sweater, black sweatpants with a red waistband, a beige bra and striped, multicolored underwear. She was not wearing any jewelry.

Anyone with information on her identity is asked to call the Medical Examiner’s Office at (509) 477-2296.

Court rules ‘Psycho Shane’ may stand trial

A Spokane Valley man known among friends as “Psycho Shane” has been deemed competent to stand trial on a 2012 murder charge stemming from an argument over a pack of cigarettes.

Shane Caleb Smith, 40, is accused of shooting Warren Scott Flinn twice in the head on the afternoon of May 13, 2012. Smith told detectives he shot Flinn with a .22-caliber pistol after an argument over cigarettes, according to court documents. The trial was put on hold last year after questions were raised about Smith’s ability to aid in his defense.

Mental health experts who evaluated Smith disagreed on his level of psychological impairment, with one doctor saying he suffers from mild mental retardation and lacks understanding of the charges against him. Another evaluating physician said Smith shows no signs of cognitive disability.

The court sided with those saying Smith understood the legal charges against him. Smith pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder earlier this week. A trial has been tentatively scheduled for March.

Cash reward offered in purse snatching case

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward on a purse snatching reported just before 6 a.m. Wednesday at the Zip Trip at 8215 E. Trent Ave.

A woman reported that a man approached her and asked for change while she was pumping gas. After she turned him down he went to the driver’s side of her car and stole her purse from the front seat even though there was a passenger inside, according to a Spokane Valley Police Department press release.

The woman gave chase and the thief reportedly grabbed her head and shoved her to the ground before making his escape. Her purse was later found, police said.

The purse snatcher was described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a brown hoodie and blue jeans. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (800) 222-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

Tacoma man accused in blow dart attacks

Pullman police have arrested 18-year-old Joseph B. Gillies for his alleged role in recent blow dart attacks in the college town.

The first incident was reported Jan. 12 when a 20-year-old woman told police that she was hit in the stomach with a dart while standing on the sidewalk at Colorado and Monroe, according to a police press release. A second report was received Jan. 14 from a man who said he was hit in the back while walking on Bishop Boulevard.

Three similar reports were made in Ellensburg on Jan. 12. Surveillance photos of the vehicle involved in both incidents was released to the public and a citizen called in with a tip that led to Gillies, a resident of Tacoma, the press release said. He is facing a charge of third-degree assault.

Road pursuit ends in Spokane man’s arrest

A Spokane man has been arrested twice in four months for allegedly speeding away from chasing patrol cars after a high-speed pursuit crossing state lines ended peacefully Tuesday evening.

Mickey Marquette, who also goes by the name Santos, was booked into Spokane County Jail just after 11 p.m. Tuesday, three hours after Spokane County sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop him while he was driving a car reported stolen across state lines.

At some point during the chase, Marquette exited the highway and sped through intersections, reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour and running red lights, police said. The chase ended on foot, with police dog Deacon and a sheriff’s deputy locating Marquette and Heidi Buchheit hiding in a truck bed in the 600 block of North Virginia Court in Spokane Valley.

A third suspect, Heidi Elliott, was also arrested.


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