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Sheriff’s deputy sues Rep. Matt Shea for defamation

UPDATED: Wed., March 1, 2017, 10:39 p.m.

A Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy is suing State Rep. Matt Shea for defamation after Shea claimed on a podcast that the deputy provided the gun used in a triple murder.

On Aug. 20 last year, Shea said in a recorded podcast that guns belonging to Roy Murry, who has been convicted of killing his estranged wife’s parents and brother, were traced back to Deputy Travis Pendell. Shea said the information was “reported by a source” and called for an investigation, according to the lawsuit.

That information allegedly came from Scott Maclay, who has had a long-running feud with Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and runs several anti-Knezovich Facebook pages. Maclay is also named in the lawsuit.

Maclay wrote on his Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club Facebook page around the same time as Shea’s comments that Pendell was “a party to Canfield’s murder” and had a “role in the murder and cover up of Lt. Terry Canfield.”

Shea and Knezovich have frequently clashed over various issues, and after Shea’s podcast Knezovich called for the Republican Party to disavow Shea. At the time Knezovich called the allegations against Pendell a “blatant lie” and pointed out that the gun Murry used in the murders has never been found.

The lawsuit states that Maclay has a history of dishonest conduct, including having his real estate licenses revoked in Washington and Idaho for numerous violations of state law. The Idaho Real Estate Commission said Maclay “acted dishonorably or dishonestly and engaged in continued or flagrant misrepresentation.” The Idaho State Supreme Court upheld the commission’s decision.

Maclay filed a federal lawsuit against Knezovich, the Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane County Jail in 2014. Maclay claims in the suit that he was not given needed medication while he was in jail for four days in February 2011 after being arrested on a civil bench warrant. The case was dismissed later that year.

Pendell alleges in his lawsuit that Shea and Maclay “coordinated their efforts to spread provably false, provocative and defamatory information and to malign members of the Sheriff’s Office for the sole purpose of satisfying their own personal gratification and benefit.”

Pendell is seeking unspecified compensation for the damage to his reputation created by the conduct of Shea and Maclay that was “so outrageous in character as to be absolutely intolerable in a civilized society and went beyond all possible bounds of decency.”