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In brief: Judge orders detention for teen in sword attack

A Spokane County judge has ruled that a 14-year-old found guilty of assault in a Spokane Valley sword attack in September will spend up to two years in juvenile detention for his crimes.

Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced the boy to between 64 and 80 weeks in state custody for his mastermind role in the plot to beat, stab and “eat the liver” of a Spokane Valley woman, according to court records. Friday’s Spokesman-Review reported the decision would be made at a hearing next week, but Cozza said that hearing will simply finalize his sentence with paperwork.

Prosecutors had asked for an extended sentence for the boy, who is not being named because he is a minor tried in juvenile court. Cozza’s sentence is roughly double that permitted under standard sentencing guidelines.

Masked man holds up drive-thru coffee store

A masked man showed a gun and demanded money from employees at Jitterz Java on Northwest Boulevard in Spokane just before 8 p.m. Friday.

The man approached the window on foot but made his escape in a white, early-’90s Suburban driven by a second man, said Spokane police Lt. Craig Meidl. Both men are white. The man with the gun is described as being in his early to mid-20s, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10. He was wearing a black scarf over his face and a black jacket with its hood up, Meidl said.

Whether the gunman is the same man who robbed Jitterz Java on Feb. 18 is under investigation, Meidl said. “We’ll look at the video and compare that to last week’s,” he said.

Theft from Safeway accompanied by threat

A man threatened to shoot a Safeway employee shortly after 1 a.m. Friday when the employee tried to stop him from leaving the store on Northwest Boulevard without paying for a bag full of items, according to the Spokane Police Department.

The robber is described as a black man in his 30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build. No weapon was seen, police said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

New mine permit should protect water quality

YAKIMA – A new permit issued to the Buckhorn Mine in Okanogan County will better protect water quality. It should also help correct environmental problems that have challenged the mine since it opened in 2007, state officials said.

The state Department of Ecology issued the updated water quality permit to Crown Resources, which operates the gold mine near Chesaw. That followed negotiations with the company and environmental groups.

The permit takes effect today.

Under the new permit, the mining company has until the end of this year to comply with more protective standards. The updated permit allows the mine to discharge treated water from its wastewater treatment plant back to the environment.

Ex-ATF agent pleads guilty to taking money

SEATTLE – The former agent in charge of the Seattle office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pleaded guilty to taking money from a fund for undercover informants.

James Contreras pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to one count of forgery in a plea deal in which 29 other charges were dismissed.

He had been accused of taking nearly $20,000 intended for informants and gun buys. He pleaded guilty to forging a name on a $700 voucher.

The Seattle Times reported the 52-year-old Maple Valley man faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in May.

Contreras resigned in 2012 while under investigation for his relationship with an informant.

ACLU criticizes treatment of mentally ill

BILLINGS – The American Civil Liberties Union says a yearlong investigation of Montana’s corrections system revealed widespread mistreatment of mentally ill prisoners.

The group says mentally ill inmates are routinely subjected to long periods of solitary confinement, denied needed medicines and punished for behavior caused by their illness.

It says there are only 12 mental health beds for more than 275 mentally ill prisoners.

The findings were detailed in a letter to state officials released Friday in which the ACLU warned it will sue the state if changes aren’t made.


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