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In brief: Police: Woman helped son flee

The mother of a murder suspect appeared in court Thursday on a charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance because prosecutors say she helped her son flee the scene of the crime.

Shannon M. Mellon, 42, was ordered held on $20,000 bond. Her son, Brandon Mellon, 26, is suspected of shooting Arnold Lommasson in the back of the head in his apartment at 2228 N. Astor St. on Jan. 3.

Shannon Mellon told police that she drove her son away from the scene and then accompanied him and his girlfriend on a trip to the Tri-Cities, according to court documents. Police arrested Brandon Mellon after he accidentally shot himself in the leg in a Pasco hotel room. Shannon Mellon told police she was dropped off in Richland, documents say.

Brandon Mellon was treated at a Portland hospital and then was extradited to the Spokane County Jail. He is being held on $1 million bond for a first-degree murder charge.

Shannon Mellon said her son might have killed Lommasson because he is “crazy,” according to court documents. She also told police that her son claimed the gun went off accidentally.

Cantwell to vacate Indian Affairs post

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is stepping down as chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee.

Cantwell said during a meeting Wednesday that Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will take over the committee in the coming months.

No explanation was given, but a Washington Post report earlier this month hinted that Cantwell could be in line to chair the Senate Small Business Commitee soon because other senators are leaving or changing committees.

Cantwell is the third-highest-ranking Democrat on the Small Business Committee behind chairwoman Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who’s rumored to be leaving to chair the Senate Energy Committee, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who is not running for re-election.

Data shows orca cruised Salish Sea

SEATTLE — Federal researchers say a satellite-linked tag offered new details on the movements of an endangered orca whale before it stopped transmitting data earlier this week.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows the orca, known as L-87, spent the past several weeks cruising throughout the Salish Sea and out to the Washington coast.

During the 30 days it was tracked, the orca circled Vashon Island, passed the east side of Whidbey Island, came close to the Victoria waterfront and traveled the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whale, which is traveling with the J pod group of orcas, made it as far south as Cape Alava.

Researchers believe the satellite tag detached from the orca.

They’re trying to better understand the winter movements of southern resident killer whales.


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