An argument between gang members who had served prison time together led to the December 2012 shooting death of 28-year-old David Brandon Deponte.
Police recovered Deponte’s body after a West Central resident backed her car over the corpse in an alley near the 2000 block of West Bridge Avenue.
The body had eight gunshot wounds – one through the right eye and seven to the side of the head.
A witness told police that murder suspect Bud Ray Brown, 31, later re-enacted the murder of Deponte at the exact location where the body was found. According to court documents, Brown mimed shooting Deponte once in the head and then shooting him several more times as he lay on the ground. Brown allegedly told the witness “That’s how we do it,” after he acted out the crime.
Brown is serving prison time in Florida on a weapons charge. Investigators intend to bring him back to Spokane to face a murder charge. Police also arrested Alicia C. Sweet, 28, on suspicion that she helped Brown, her boyfriend at the time, get rid of the gun.
Detectives used a single phone number to begin building their investigation. The number led to criminal associates, gang members and confidential informants who helped police piece the crime together.
Witnesses told police that Deponte was hitting on the girlfriend of another man the night before his body was found. The woman’s boyfriend reportedly told police that he was upset with Deponte. So he went to get Brown to “take care of one of his own,” according to court documents. Brown and Deponte both claimed membership in the same gang and had served prison time together in Walla Walla.
Several witnesses told police that Brown talked about shooting Deponte. One said Brown claimed to have shot a man in the face between five and nine times. Another witness told police that Brown was in trouble with his gang for killing someone without the gang’s permission.
Police have recovered the .22 caliber High Standard Sentinel pistol believed to be the murder weapon. Sweet, who is accused of rendering criminal assistance, allegedly gave the gun to her brother, who then sold it. According to court documents, her brother helped police retrieve the gun.