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Police identify pot thief shot by woman

Spokane police have identified a man who was shot Monday by a woman while trying to steal medical marijuana plants as Raymond P. Bates, 49.

Bates was scheduled to appear in Superior Court today on a first-degree robbery charge.

Bates was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to the back of his head before being booked into jail.

Police found him near North Crestline Street and East Empire Avenue after a woman who knows him called police to say he'd been shot while trying to steal marijuana plants.

According to police, Bates had fled the home at 1023 E. Gordon Ave. with at least one marijuana plant after being shot by the female homeowner, identified in court documents as Darcee Kapfer. Kapher lives at the home with Jason Kirby.

Kapfer said she armed herself with a 8-foot piece of wood, but the thief grabbed it and struck Kirby, so she retrieved a .38 caliber revolver from her home and fired it at him five times, according to court documents.

A man who reportedly drove Bates from the robbery has not been located, nor has the truck they were driving.

Kapfer, who did not call police after firing the shots, has a medical marijuana authorization, police said. Police found 11 plants in her yard, which is under the legal limit.

John arrested after ‘trick gone bad’

A Spokane man was arrested on assault and attempted robbery after police found a prostitute bleeding from her head and barely conscious

James R. Jacobson, 32, is accused of assaulting the woman with a large rock while trying to get back $40 he'd given her for sex, according to court documents. He was released from jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing in Superior Court.

Police found the victim bleeding in front of the Bel Air Motel in the 1300 block of East Sprague Avenue about 2:06 a.m. Sunday.

A man who lives in an RV at 1407 E. Sprague said he heard the woman screaming on Perry Street, just north of Sprague, and saw a man chasing her, according to court documents. The man got into his car and sped away. The witness told officers he suspected it was a “trick gone bad,” police say.

The woman told police she used a pocket knife to defender herself and cut the man's hand before he knocked her down and struck her in the head with the rock.

Police say Jacobson had a large cut on his middle right finger as well as small cuts under each eye that indicated he'd been in a fight.

Jacobson told officers the prostitute had tried to rob him and denied striking her with a rock but admitted to paying her for sex, according to court documents.

Man gets 20 years for wife’s murder

A Colville tribal member was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for an assault that left one dead and another permanently disabled.

Kevin Isaac Pakootas, 25, of Inchelium, Wash., pleaded guilty in November 2010 to second-degree murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. In addition to prison, he'll be on five years supervised probation upon release, and pay $152,678 restitution, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice.

Authorities say Pakootas was drinking at a tavern before attending a house party on Moccasin Run near his home on Sept. 5, 2009. When he returned home about 4:30 a.m., he apparently found his wife, Colette Pakootas, 23, having “intimate relations” with Mark Edgette, 39, and beat the two until they were unconscious, Rice said in a news release.

The two were airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where they were listed in critical condition.

Colette Pakootas died Sept. 11, 2009 from blunt-force trauma to her head. Edgette suffered traumatic brain injury and other injuries that left him permanently disabled.

Past coverage:

Sept. 24, 2009: Suspect pleads not guilty in wife's slaying

Hoopfest convict wanted in North Idaho

A man involved in a gang-related shooting at Hoopfest is wanted in North Idaho for felony injury to a child.

Marquis D. Johnson, 23, has a $50,000 warrant for his arrest in Kootenia County for allegedly assaulting a 6-year-old girl in Coeur d'Alene on June 25.

Johnson is accused of throwing a salt-and-pepper shaker at the girl, according to court documents. Further details are pending a week-old records request for a report from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department.

Johnson was given an exceptionally low sentence of six months in jail last fall after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in relation to the shooting at Hoopfest.

Johnson was originally charged with about a dozen counts of attempted murder after gunshots injured two girls and grazed a bystander at the annual basketball tournament in downtown Spokane on June 26.

The triggerman, Miguel C. Garcia, is serving a nine-year prison sentence. Johnson had been released from prison just three weeks earlier after serving three years for a shooting in Spokane that didn't injure anyone.

The warrant in Kootenai County was issued Aug. 5.

Anyone with information on Johnson's location is asked to call the sheriff's department at (208) 446-1300.

Assault Case Has Extremist Elements

Court documents and police reports are painting a fuller picture in a peculiar Bonner County assault case. Little was known about the circumstances surrounding an incident in which a Vay landowner used a John Deere tractor to dismantle a home on his property with a woman and two children still inside. The episode resulted in three felony assault charges against Paul Fagerlie Finman, who faces trial in 1st District Court this fall. Court documents and other records, meanwhile, reveal that Finman, 56, was entangled in a dispute with an adherent of the sovereign citizen movement named Alexander Duncan Campbell. Finman inherited the entanglement with the property he purchased off Bandy Road in Vay. Campbell, his wife, son and daughter were living on a home on the ranch rent-free/Keith Kinnaird, Bee. More here.

Question: What do you make of this case?

Mother probed for baby’s skull fracture

Spokane police are investigating a mother for possible assault charges after her baby suffered a skull fracture when she dropped him while boarding an STA bus.

A bus passenger saw the woman drop the 7-month-old boy as she tried to board in the 1300 block of East Sprague Avenue outside the Union Gospel Mission women's shelter on Aug. 9.

The witness said the boy cried a little bit and appeared lethargic as his mother picked up him and got on the bus and was “swaying and staggering,” according to a search warrant filed recently to obtain the woman's medical records.

The witness thought the woman was on drugs and said the boy was filthy, according to the warrant.

Police contacted the woman as she sat on a bench at the STA Plaza, where she said she was on Xanax and another drug she couldn't identify. The officer was “extremely concerned about her ability to care for the baby,” whom he said didn't appear to have been washed for some time.

“The baby appeared to be in good health other than the poor hygiene,” according to the search warrant.

The woman was arrested on a warrant for driving while suspended while the child was taken by Child Protective Services.

The baby's foster mother alerted police two days later to a lump on the boy's head, which an emergency room doctor said was a skull fracture. Police investigating possible assault charges have seized the mother's medical records to try to determine her level of impairment when she dropped the boy.

Home-invasion assault in Pullman

A man ransacked a Pullman home at knife point Monday after attempting to strangle a resident, police said.

Police responded to a home on Northeast Whitman Street about 3:20 p.m., where the victim said he was assaulted by a man but was able to free himself and call police from a neighbor's house.

The attacker ransacked the home while a woman resident was inside, but the woman was not hurt and man apparently didn't take anything. The male victim received minor neck injuries but did not require medical attention.

The suspect was described as a black man, 5-foot-8 to 6-feet tall, in his early 20s with short black hair. He wore a white hooded sweatshirt, light blue basketball-style shorts and athletic shoes. He left with the knife.

Anyone with information is asked to call Pullman police at (509) 334-0802.

2 men arraigned in trailer park assault

Two men pleaded not guilty Thursday to several felony charges for a fight at a trailer park that involved a gun.

Josephus McDonald III, 31, (left) is charged with first-degree burglary, attempt to elude a police vehicle and four counts of second-degree assault for a Sept. 1 incident at the Wishing Well trailer park, 4911 N. Florida St.

Julian D. Morrison, 24, (right) is charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of second-degree assault. One of the victims said she knew McDonald as “Too Much” and met him through Morrison, who is her ex-boyfriend, according to court documents.

She told police the men came to her home without her permission and started a fight with four people who were at the home, and Morrison had a rifle.

  The men left in a Dodge Stratus, which was involved in a chase with Spokane police that night.

A police dog helped locate the driver, McDonald after he fled the car. Morrison turned himself into police later that day. Both suspects remain in jail.

Home-invasion robbery probed in Idaho

A 65-year-old man was assaulted in his home by two masked intruders Monday, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said today.

A sheriff's dog searched the home and surrounding area of Horsehaven Avenue and Greensferry Road but did not find the assailants.

The victim suffered “significant injuries to his head and face” from an unknown cause and was transported to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment.

Sheriff's deputies, Post Falls police and Kootenai County Fire/Rescue personnel responded to the area about 9:15 p.m. The victim was inside his home when he discovered the intruders. He escaped to his parents' home across the street and called 911.

“Due to the victim’s injuries and subsequent treatment at the hospital, deputies were unable to immediately determine what, if anything was stolen,” according to a news release.

The investigation is ongoing.

Man escapes work release amid probe

A 21-year-old man escaped a work release program recently after police interviewed him about a series of vehicle thefts in North Idaho.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of William V. Woods, who left the Brownstone Work Release Program while serving a sentence for third-degree assault, according to a news release.

He faces charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property for the theft of two cargo trailers and a truck in North Idaho, in addition to a fresh count of escape from community custody.

Woods, 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, is a transient with a previous felony conviction for second-degree theft. Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Father, son accused of Valley assault

Two Spokane men were arrested on felony assault charges Saturday after they severely beat a Spokane Valley resident near the Centennial Trail, police said.

Steven Robert Dreyer, 24, and his father, Christian K. Schuster, 42, were arrested after police found the 47-year-old victim with a large gash around his right eye and his left eye swollen shut in the  2800 block of North Mirabeau Parkway about 7:20 p.m., according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The man said he visited a homeless friend at the Spokane River each each and on Saturday found him with a black eye. He said the two talked with other men on the river bank and “believe the assault matter was settled,” but that Dreyer then punched him in the face for no reason. Schuster pinned him to the ground while Dreyer continued assaulting them.

While police were talking to the victim, “a shirtless and intoxicated Dwight Lee Hubbard, 54, came out of the bushes and challenged the officer to fight,” Reagan said. “He was quickly overwhelmed and handcuffed.”
Schuster and Dreyer were booked into jail for second-degree assault; Hubbard was arrested on a warrant for trespassing.

 The victim was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he received stitches.

Chism filed $10M claim as suit proceeds

A suspended Spokane firefighter’s wrongful arrest lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol over a botched child pornography investigation is headed to trial after an appellate court ruling Wednesday.

A three-person panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says false statements made by WSP investigators amounted to intentional and reckless conduct that infringed on Spokane fire Lt. Todd Chism’s civil rights. The two WSP employees named in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, Detective Rachel Gardner and Sgt. John Sager, shouldn’t be granted immunity because of their actions, the court ruled.

The ruling was issued the same day $10 million claim was filed against against the state of Washington alleging WSP Troopers Greg Birkeland and Greg Riddell used excessive force when they arrested Chism in a separate incident in April 2010.

Read the rest of my story here.

3-strikes trial skipper gets life in prison

A Spokane man arrested for a shooting after skipping the last part of his robbery and assault trial was sentenced this week to life in prison under Washington's three-strikes law.

A jury convicted Larry A. Powell, 54, of second-degree assault and first-degree robbery in July for an incident at Kmart after he skipped the last part of the trial.

Crime Stopeprs was offering a reward for his capture when he was identified as a suspect in a July 30 Spokane Valley burglary in which shots were fired at a neighbor who tried to stop the thieves.

Powell is described by Crime Stoppers described as an armed career criminal with a 36-year arrest history that includes convictions for second-degree theft, first-degree theft, third-degree theft, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

He's in custody at the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

2 plead not guilty to attempted murder

A man charged with attempted murder and kidnapping pleaded not guilty Tuesday and was ordered to remain in jail on a $750,000 bond.

 Gary L. Houchins, 29, appeared Tuesday before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price in connection with a July 11 incident in which he is accused of using duct tape and zip ties to trap a boy in a basement, then attacking the boy’s father.  Houchins pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempted first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault.

Assistant Public Defender Kari Reardon asked Price to release Houchins on his own recognizance and pointed out that he turned himself in as soon as he learned law enforcement issued an arrest warrant for him.

According to court records, Houchins and 19-year-old Cecelia L. Rocha – who also pleaded not guilty Tuesday on charges relating to the same case and remains in jail – visited a Mead home and inquired about a room to rent. They returned later that night wearing nylon stockings as masks and armed with a pistol and baseball bat. The assailiants secured the boy to a wall in the home’s basement.

When the boy’s father returned home, the pair attacked him, according to court records. During the attack, Houchins tried to snap the man’s neck, Spokane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said in an earlier news release. The boy freed himself, escaped out a basement window and alerted a neighbor.

The neighbor went to the home armed with an ornamental sword, but suffered a baseball bat wound to the head that required medical attention. The assailiants fled into the woods.

Man accused of threatening prostitute

A 48-year-old man who traveled to Spokane from California last week is accused of threatening a prostitute with a knife on East Sprague Avenue.

James L. Brewer, of Sacramento, is charged with second-degree assault after a prostitute told police he'd chased her with a knife and tried to grab her after stopping his silver 2001 Mercedes-Benz at Sprague Avenue and Spokane Street on Aug. 13 about 190:05 p.m.

The woman ran screaming to other prostitutes, who called 911. Police the next day spotted the Mercedes at Sprague and South Lee Street and contacted the occupants, one of whom identified himself as Brewer.

Brewer told police he'd just gotten into town the night before and had asked the woman for directions to a motel, but they ran way screaming “for no reason at all,” according to court documents. He denied pulling a knife on them. Brewer was arrested for intimation/display of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor and released from jail after appearing in Spokane County District Court.

A felony assault charge was just filed in Superior Court; Brewer, who gave court officials a Pines Road address, has not yet been arrested.

Knife-wielding man crashes into Subway

A knife-wielding man was arrested Friday after a police chase ended with his car striking a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Spokane.

Charles D. Fletcher, 43, is accused of waving a large hunting knife at passing motorists and scratching their cars while screaming near 9th Avenue and Grand Boulevard about 9:22 p.m., according to court documents.

Spokane police were responding to the area when they heard the suspect, who was driving a white Ford Bronco, had just entered the emergency Providence Scared Heart Medical Center with the knife. The man ran back outside and fled in the Bronco when he saw the police car, and officers pursued him down the lower South Hill and used PIT maneuvers to try to stop him.

Fletcher lost control of his car on westbound 3rd Avenue and crashed into a police, then into the Subway at Browne Street, where he was arrested. Fletcher also crashed into a car at 3rd and Browne and slightly injured the driver.

Fletcher told police he'd stabbed his knife into a car because the driver insulted him and his vehicle. He was booked into jail for hit and run, attempting to elude police and three counts of first-degree assault.

Felon accused of stabbing man in back

A suspect has been arrested for an assault in which a man was stabbed in the back.

Stephen J. Heidt, 26, was arrested Friday, one week after a stabbing that left Daniel Kelly, 30, with a stab wound in his back.

Spokane police responded to the 4800 block of North Lacey Street about 8:41 p.m. Aug. 12 and found Kelly with the non-life threatening injury. A K-9 team unsuccessfully searched for the assailant, whom Kelly identified as “Steve” or “Stephen,” according to police.

Witnesses identified Heidt from photo montages, and Heidt was charged last week with first-degree assault. He remains at the Spokane County Jail after appearing in court on Monday.

Heidt, who has previous felony convictions, was arrested in June 2010 after trying to flee police in a stolen car.

Officers found several weapons in the car, including a hatchet and meat cleaver. He pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle a month later.

Jury acquits Chism in WSP assault case

COLVILLE – Embattled Spokane firefighter Todd Chism won his latest legal battle with the Washington State Patrol on Thursday when a jury cleared him of all charges stemming from a violent 2010 confrontation that injured him and two Washington State Patrol troopers.

 A Stevens County jury exonerated the suspended Chism of four felony counts and a misdemeanor resisting arrest, stemming from an early-morning melee outside his Nine Mile Falls home on April 6, 2010.

But the jury not only found him not guilty, they ordered the state to pay for his attorneys’ fees.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

May 19, 2010: New prosectuor named in Chism case

April 23, 2010: Chism threatened to kill troopers, WSP said

April 9, 2010: Firefighter Tasered in DUI arrest

2nd suspect arrested in hotel stabbing

Spokane police on Wednesday arrested a second suspect for an attempted gunpoint robbery at a motel last month.

Walter S. Reiter, 31, is due in Superior Court this afternoon on robbery, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm charges for an incident at the Comfort Inn, 923 E. 3rd Ave., on July 25.

A TV station employee recognized Reiter and suspect Jason M. Doyle, 32, from surveillance photos released to media.

The tipster told police he's known Reiter and Doyle since middle school and that suspects are best friends. Doyle was arrested last week on charges of first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The victim, Dustin T. Hayes, of Omak, told police he was staying with his girlfriend at the motel when he was assaulted by two men and threatened with a shotgun.

He said he prevented the men from taking his duffel bag “even though they were overpowering him and he was being stabbed,” according to court documents. Hayes wrestled the shotgun away from the men, but one grabbed it as the fled the motel. The men also stole Hayes' Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap after they couldn't get the duffel bag, police said.

Hayes said he didn't know the men but believes they were trying to rob him because they thought he had money in the duffel bag.

Duo in rape revenge charged w/ assault

A couple arrested for attempted murder in Airway Heights last week will instead be charged with assault.

Elijah J. Boxley, 33, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Wednesday on a first-degree assault charge while his girlfriend,  Molly E. Foote, 38, alias McBride, appeared on a second-degree assault charge.

The two were arrested Thursday after attacking Michael J. Martin, 46, in what they said was revenge because Martin raped Foote.

Detectives are investigating the rape allegation. Airway Heights police say Boxley and Foote attacked Martin with a knife in a car at a gas station at 220 S. Hayford Road in Airway Heights last week. Boxley allegedly struck Martin with his car.

Boxley told police he was “on fire and ready to go” after Foote said she'd been raped by Martin.

“It pretty much put me in a temporary insanity state when your best friend rapes your girlfriend,” Boxley said, according to court documents.

Police found a machete, hatchet and several knives in Boxley's car and arrested the couple for attempted murder, but prosecutors filed the lesser charges on Monday.

Boxley and Foote remain in jail.

Man arrested w/ gun at Newman Lake

A man was arrested with a gun in the Newman Lake area Saturday after threatening two people, officials said.

Edwin J. Valenzuela, 59, told deputies two men attacked him and punched him in his recently installed pacemaker, so he displayed his gun.

But the victims, including Jeffrey Morse, president of the homeowner's association, said Valenzuela had contacted residents at 11733 N. Honeymoon Bay looking for a key to the boat slip area about 9:45 p.m. and became angry when a woman said she didn't have one, officials say.

Morse and Lyle Putz went to give Valenzuela a key, but Valenzuela grabbed Putz around the neck and held a gun to his head, according to court documents. The men said Valenzuela repeatedly called them racial epithets that incorrectly describe their race.
  

Valenzuela was arrested, and deputies say they found a black pistol with two loaded magazines in his room.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing in court on two counts of first-degree assault.

Trial skipper arrested after shooting

A Spokane man wanted by Crime Stoppers after skipping the last part of his robbery and assault trial case was arrested recently after shots were fired at a neighbor trying to stop a burglary.

Larry A. Powell, 54, is now awaiting sentencing and arraignment for separate assault and robbery cases after he was arrested last week, accused of stealing property from a home in the 8500 block of East Cataldo Avenue in Spokane Valley, then shooting at a neighbor who tried to stop him.

The neighbor and his wife saw two men at the home on July 30 about 8:25 p.m. and confronted them, then contacted the homeowner who said no one should be at the home, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office

The neighbor followed the men as they left in a white mini-van before the car turned around and someone began firing at him with a handgun, missing him but disabling his vehicle, according to a search warrant filed Monday. The man was able to record the license plate number, which was a registered to a woman who said she'd left the car with Powell when she moved to Michigan two years ago.

The neighbor identified Powell from a photo montage.

The alleged shooting occurred just days after a Spokane County jury convicted Powell of assault and robbery for an incident at Kmart last fall.

Powell didn't show up for the last days of the trial, but court proceeded without him. Crime Stoppers last week had offered a reward for tips that led to his capture.

Powell was booked into jail Thursday.

Oregon cop says Spokane driver hit him

A Spokane man was arrested Sunday after his 2004 Ford Mustang struck an Oregon State Police trooper and knocked the trooper to the ground, officials said.

 Jacob John Melton, 31, (pictured) was pulled over for traveling 85 mph in a 65 mph speed zone on Interstate 84 west of The Dalles, according to the Wasco County Sheriff's Office.

OSP Trooper Mark Jubitz was talking to Melton after issuing him a traffic citation when Melton accelerated to leave, according to police reports. His Mustang fishtailed on the gravel shoulder and knocked Jubitz to the ground.

The incident occurred at about 1:17 p.m. Melton stopped and remained at the scene as Jubitz radioed for help.

Jubitz was treated for minor injuries at an area hospital and released.

Melton was arrested for reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and attempted assault on a public safety officer. He was booked into a correctional facility in The Dalles.

Attempted-murder suspect ‘was on fire’

A man arrested for attempted murder in Airway Heights told police he was “on fire and ready to go” after his girlfriend said she’d been raped by the alleged victim.

“It pretty much put me in a temporary insanity state when your best friend rapes your girlfriend,” said Elijah J. Boxley, 33, according to court documents.

Boxley and his girlfriend, Molly E. Foote, 37, alias McBride, are in Spokane County Jail on $200,000 and $250,000 bond, respectively, after appearing in Superior Court today on charges of first-degree kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder.

Spokane County sheriff’s sex crimes detectives searched a Trent Avenue motel and a home in the 400 block of West 21st Avenue on Friday and seized clothing and other items as part of an investigation into claims that Boxley and Foote’s alleged victim, Michael J. Martin, 46, raped Foote on Tuesday.

Foote told Boxley on Wednesday that she’d been assaulted, and Boxley arranged to meet Martin at a gas station at 220 S. Hayford Road in Airway Heights, according to police. Foote was hiding in the back seat under a blanket and held a knife to Martin’s throat after he entered the car about 3 a.m., police say.

Martin told police he fared for his life and fought with the couple before fleeing the vehicle. He said Boxley ran over his right foot and caused him to fall over and hit his head on the asphalt.

Boxley told police the three lived together for about six months two years ago. He told police he wasn’t sure if he injured Martin but said he didn’t have any weapons.

Police say when they asked Boxley if it was Foote who cut Martin, he replied “If anybody had a knife and was doing the cutting, it wasn’t me.”

Foote told police she’d place a rope around Martin’s neck because she wanted to “pay him back” for raping her, according to court documents.

“Foote told (police) she and Eli planned to make sure Martin never did this to another woman again,” police wrote.

But Martin was too big and strong, Foote said, and their plan to subdue him failed.

Police say Foote repeatedly said that “Eli should have just left it alone. Mike is too big and strong for us to think we could have pulled this off.”

Police found a machete, hatchet and several knives in Boxley’s car.

Both Boxley and Foote have previous convictions for felony theft and DUI; Martin, who suffered minor injuries, has several felony convictions for theft. The investigation into the alleged rape is ongoing.

Photos show suspects in hotel stabbing

Spokane police are asking for help identifying two robbers who stabbed a man at the Comfort Inn last week.

The victim suffered a non-life threatening stab wound after reportedly bragging “about how much money and dope he had in his car” about 1 a.m. on July 25, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Police today released surveillance photos from the hotel at 923 E. 3rd Ave. that show two men who are believed to be the assailants.

Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Police seek man who skipped own trial

A Spokane man who was convicted of robbery and assault after skipping the last part of his trial is now being sought by Crime Stoppers.

Larry Allen Powell, 54, was in Spokane County Superior Court for the first two days of his trial last week, but he didn't show up for the final day and hasn't been seen by authorities since.

Judge Greg Sypolt continued the trial one day to allow Powell's public defender, Brooke Hagara, time to find him, but court proceeded without him when he didn't show up the next day.

A jury last Thursday convicted Powell of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault for a theft turned robbery at Kmart last fall, and a no-bail warrant was issued for his arrest.

Crime Stoppers offered a reward on Monday for tips that lead to the arrest of Powell, who is described as an armed career criminal with a 36-year arrest history and convictions for third-degree theft, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

Powell, 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, last gave a home address in the 3200 block of North Velox in Spokane Valley. Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Cops: Hitchhikers attacked woman, 66

Two 17-year-old hitchhikers attacked a 66-year-old North Idaho woman who stopped to help them last weekend in Bonner County, authorities say.

Suspects Joseph J. Martin, of Denver, (left) and Marshall O. Dittrich, (bottom right) of Danville, Calif., had run away from a youth explorations program in Trout Creek, Mont. and were hitchhiking near Clark Fork on Sunday when Vera Gadman, of Hope, picked them up and drove them to the Hope Peninsula area to look for a place to camp, according to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

The teens asked her to stop at an undeveloped cul-de-sac and pretended to look at a map, authorities said, then attacked Gadman, striking her on the head several times and attempting to strangle her.

Gadman escaped in her car and went to a nearby home, where emergency crews responded and took her to Bonner General Hospital. 

The Bonner County Sheriff's Office notified residents of the attack, and Dittrich and Martin were arrested about 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

They were booked into the Bonner County Jail and charged as adults with aggravated battery with intent to commit robbery.

The sheriff's office said the incident is a reminder “not to pick up hitchhikers no matter how needy or innocent they may appear,” according to a news release.

Gunfire in west Spokane leads to arrest

An argument between two men erupted in gunfire early Saturday in west Spokane, leading to the arrest of a man on assault and gun charges.

The victim told police he was arguing with John J. Felch, 19, about 2:30 a.m. in the intersection of West Boone Avenue and North Lindeke Street when Felch returned about a half hour alter and fired several rounds from a gun.

The victim, identified only as Patterson in court documents, called police about seven hours later to turn himself in on an unrelated warrant and to report the shooting. Two other witnesses told also police that Felch fired several shots, and a man who lives in the 2600 block of West Boone reported hearing gunshots and finding 9 mm shell casings near a street curb.

Police searched Felch's bedroom at 1922 W. Broadway Ave., where they found a 20 gauge shotgun. The 9 mm handgun used in the shooting was not located.

Felch was booked into jail on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree felon in possession of a firearm; police said he as a previous conviction for first-degree robbery, but court records show the charge was actually attempted first-degree robbery, which was ajudicated in juvenile court and is not considered a felony conviction. A previous version of this post also said witnesses described Felch as a gang member, but Felch isn't actually a gang member.

Family defends accused child abuser

A baby boy is fighting for his life in a Spokane hospital and his 19-year-old Coeur d’Alene father is accused of causing the bleeding in the infant’s brain by repeatedly handling him too roughly.

James Dean Blanchard has been charged with felony injury to a child. Bond was set Monday at $100,000 during Blanchard’s first appearance before Kootenai County magistrate Judge Clark Peterson. A preliminary hearing is expected within 14 days.

When Peterson imposed a no-contact order prohibiting Blanchard from seeing his 20-day-old son, Noah, Blanchard said, “I want to be able to see my son again. I’ll do anything.” Blanchard’s mother, father, stepmother and two brothers attended the hearing and said afterward that Blanchard loves his son and would never hurt him.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs' story here.

Coeur d'Alene police said today that Noah remains in “very critical condition.”

“Our hopes and prayers are with this child,” said Sgt. Christie Wood.

Fair-weather murder witness charged

A man who backed out of an agreement to testify at a fellow gang member's murder trial has been charged with two felonies for his alleged involvement in the slaying.

Antonio E. Cook, 29, appeared in Superior Court Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

He's accused of conspiring with accused killer Edward Lee “T.D.” Thomas to commit the assault that led to the death of John S. Williams, and of helping hide Thomas when he was sought on a first-degree murder charge. DNA found on the rifle used to kill Williams matched Thomas' DNA, according to court documents.

Cook has confessed to providing the weapon to Thomas and has said that Thomas was angry with a gang member who had “disrespected him,” according to court documents.

Thomas was driven from the murder scene by Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton, who is in prison for rendering criminal assistance. Police say Thomas went to Cook's house after the shooting and stayed there until the next day.

Police wanted Cook charged with second-degree murder under the state's accomplice law, but prosecutors instead opted for the assault charge.

It's the third felony case filed against Cook since June, after it became clear he would not be testifying against Thomas, who's to stand trial Aug. 22.

Cook already is due to serve 22 months after pleading guilty in May to unrelated third-degree assault and witness tampering charges. He's already awaiting sentencing after a jury convicted him last week of first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and witness tampering for an unrelated domestic violence case.