Latest from The Spokesman-Review
An ongoing dispute between a man and his son-in-law culminated a knife attack at a north Spokane home Friday, police say.
Vernon Ray Zielinski, 57, was arrested for first-degree assault after his son-in-law, Tad Howard, and witnesses said Zielinski stabbed him in the hand as Howard tried to fight off the attack.
Family members told police that Zielinski had threatened Howard before and once wrote him a letter saying he wanted to "cut him into little pieces" and mail him to his mother, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Three young children witnessed the attack about 1:30 p.m., Spokane police said.
Police are trying to identify a group of assailants who beat a young couple near the Spokane Arena on the Fourth of July.
Shantell Rushing, 21, and her boyfriend Jorge Ruiz, 21, were walking north on Howard Street from Riverfront Park when a group of about 10 juveniles attacked them near Cataldo Street.
Ruiz was knocked unconscious and needed stitches for to seal a head wound; Rushing suffered facial wounds and other injuries.
Rushing said they passed the group on the walk but didn't have any contact until the assault. They said the juveniles appeared to be about 15 and said nothing during the attack. Four of them returned to continue beating Ruiz and stole his wallet, keys and cellphone, Rushing said.
Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said detectives have little information regarding possible suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A homeless man was sentenced today to 15 months in prison after he attacked another man with a claw hammer for making fun of John Wayne.
Joel S. Parsons, 42, had been charged with first-degree assault but agreed to a plea agreement for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon enhancement.
According to court records, Parsons met Kevin Murphy on Dec. 24 through a mutual friend at the Salvation Army. Murphy allowed Parsons to stay with him at his apartment on West 8th Avenue in Spokane.
They were walking to get beer Dec. 30 when Murphy informed Parsons that he could only continue to stay in the apartment if he agreed to continue sexual relations.
Parsons became angry and said he would not pay for rent with sex, according to the records. The two men returned to the apartment and Murphy put in a John Wayne movie that Parsons began to mock, so Murphy told Parsons to leave.
That's when Parsons struck Murphy in the head with a claw hammer.
Murphy told Parsons he was going outside to get some fresh air but instead went to a neighbor, who called police. Murphy suffered as many as eight blunt force wounds, many of which had cuts from the hammer's claw.
"I lost control of my emotions," Parsons said today. "As soon as I saw the blood, I dropped the hammer. I'm sorry for what I did."
The sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno was the least amount of time available. Parsons had no criminal record.
A confrontation over a woman's clothing led a Spokane man to stab two people late Tuesday, police say.
Raymond L. Bell, 45, is accused of stabbing Gary Smith and his son, Jonathan Smith during a fight that began about 10:45 p.m. at 2517 E. 1st Ave.
According to court documents, Bell banged on the door and demanded clothes belonging to his girlfriend, but when Smith said he didn't have the items, Bell took a black folding knife out of his pocket and stabbed him in the left arm.
Jonathan Smith was stabbed in chest and hospitalized with a partially collapsed lung.
A police K-9 tracked Bell to a garage at 2415 E. 1st Ave., where he was arrested on two counts of first-degree assault. He remains in jail on $30,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Two brothers from a notorious Spokane family are accused of a baseball bat attack in a park that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement.
Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle Jr., 23, (right) and Andrew Lee Elias Pirtle, 21, (bottom left) were charged this week with second-degree assault for allegedly beating Luke Coulson with a bat in Cannon Hill Park, 800 W. 19th Ave., just after midnight on May 14.
Coulson and his girlfriend were at the park with a group of friends when men approached with baseball bat and began striking him in the face. Witnesses told police the attack was retaliation for a previous assault.
Witnesses also told police that Jayce Pirtle picked one victim up by his neck and threw him backward before striking another man and breaking his right wrist, according to court documents.
Jayce Pirtle was arrested Friday when law enforcement searched his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave.
Pirtle's probation officer had found a .357 handgun in his apartment after learning that police were investigating him for a burglary. Spokane police obtained a search warrant and seized the handgun, along with two rifles.
Jayce Pirtle has previous convictions or second-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault and is in jail on $50,000 for the new charges. He's also held on a DOC warrant for violating his probation. Pirtle's previous convictions count against the three-strikes law. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on his latest assault charge.
Andrew Pirtle has been summonsed to court for an arraignment on the assault charge and is not in custody.
The Pirtles are the nephews of notorious Spokane double murderer Blake Pirtle, who killed two Burger King employees in 1992. His death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled Spokane police had violated his civil rights during his arrest.
The Pirtles claim police unfairly target them because of that case.
Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said the family has a "propensity for crime" that earns police attention.
"If they made a significant effort to clean up their act, then they wouldn't be getting our attention," DeRuwe said. "Historically, some member of the family is committing a crime so they're receiving our attention."'
Read more in tomorrow's edition of The Spokesman-Review.
A fugitive targeted with tear gas in an unsuccessful SWAT team search on Monday was arrested early today in downtown Spokane.
Kenneth J. Kheel, 21, (left) was arrested during a traffic stop by Spokane Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa near Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street just after midnight, police said.
Kheel and Jarred T. Many, 22, are accused robbing two men at gunpoint after they victims arranged to buy a ring from Many at 1124 W. Nora Ave. on June 17.
Many was arrested at the Nora Avenue home Monday buy Spokane police SWAT team members, but Kheel was not inside as police expected.
Now he's in jail awaiting his first appearance in Superior Court today on two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree kidnapping.
Kheel was released from prison last September after being sentenced in June 2009 to two years in prison with credit for 143 days served for second-degree assault. He had been arrested in January 2009 after off-duty police Sgt. Brad Thoma suffered a minor stab wound during a confrontation with Kheel in downtown Spokane.
For the first three months after he was shot through the head, Shane Reilly would wake up in horror not understanding why he his body didn’t move below his nose or why he was strapped to breathing machines in the hospital.
“We had to tell him 10 or 12 times a day that he had been shot and was paralyzed,” his mother, Linda Reilly, said Tuesday. “I prayed to God to take him. I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. But now he is getting stronger. He is an unstoppable miracle of strength.”
The 26-year-old man, whom every doctor said would not survive or move again, raised a hand and wiped a tear Tuesday as his father stood next to Reilly’s assailant and described the family’s anguish to a full courtroom.
A Spokane man who went to prison for a fight with off-duty police officers is now wanted on robbery and kidnapping charges.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of Kenneth J. Kheel, who is accused with Jarred T. Many, 22, of robbing two men at 1124 W. Nora Ave. on June 17.
Many was arrested at the home about 10:30 p.m. Monday by Spokane police SWAT team members and hostage negotiators. Police pumped tear gas into the home and found Anthony L. Haines, 24, hiding in the basement but not Kheel.
Haines was arrested on unrelated warrants; Kheel, 21, is still at large.
Police believe Many and Kheel escorted two men who showed up at the home to buy a ring last month, then pushed them to the floor and beat and pistol whipped them before holding them at gunpoint and stealing their money. The robbers also allegedly threatened to kill the victims if they called police, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release. Spokane police major crimes Detective Neil Gallion developed information identifying Many and Kheel as suspects.
Anyone with information on Kheel's location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111.
Kheel was released from prison last September after being sentenced in June 2009 to two years in prison with credit for 143 days served for second-degree assault. He had been arrested in January 2009 after off-duty police Sgt. Brad Thoma suffered a minor stab wound during a confrontation with Kheel outside the Steam Plant Grill.
Thoma said Kheel and another man were harassing his fiancé, Spokane police Officer Amy Ross.
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — A mistrial has been declared in a Kitsap County drug case after a juror was overheard expressing a desire to punch prominent Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne in the nose.
The Kitsap Sun reports that Browne, whose high-profile clients have included "Barefoot Bandit" Colton Harris-Moore, repeatedly sparred with Superior Court Judge Theodore Spearman during the trial.
Browne (pictured) reportedly ignored the judge's order that he keep his objections to a single word and was twice fined $500.
Browne said the judge's rulings in the case called his mental state into question.
By last week Browne refused to continue to participate in the trial in protest of Spearman's handling of the case. A mistrial was declared after a bailiff overheard a juror expressing a desire to punch the attorney.
Browne's client, Dominic Briceno, had been accused by county prosecutors of six drug-related felonies. Spearman ordered a fact-finding hearing concerning Browne's conduct for July 27.
An Army veteran will spend just over three years in prison for permanently injuring to two Veterans Affairs nurses during a 2009 attack.
James P. Scott, 43, apologized to the two nurses at his sentencing in U.S. District Court Thursday, saying he could not remember anything. Medical personnel say Scott’s blood alcohol content was .38 percent, or nearly five times the legal limit.
Scott, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, injured the men as they attempted to treat him on Aug. 19, 2009, at Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Although prosecutors offered Scott a plea bargain of time served, he took the case to trial in January, where a jury convicted him as charged. Both men testified about permanent injuries they sustained from the attack.
“I’m sorry,” said Scott, who was honorably discharged from the Army in 2000 after nearly 12 years of service. “Because I gave up, you got hurt. I can’t take that away.”
U.S. District Judge Edward Shea sentenced Scott to 40 months in prison even though the standard range of the offense was between 57 and 71 months.
“It is a terrible tragedy that two men serving the Veterans Administration suffered … these permanent and lifelong injuries while treating a veteran,” Shea said.
A Spokane man released from prison in March is accused of kidnapping his girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Duane L. Comeslast, 32, is charged with felony kidnapping, harassment and car theft after his girlfriend told police he forced her into her Jeep Cherokee at 2130 E. North Crescent Ave. and drove toward Upriver Drive, where he told her "he was going to kill her and throw her body in the river where no one would find it," according to court documents.
The woman told police she acted complaint and asked Comeslast to talk her to East Longfellow Avenue and North Florida Street to use the bathroom, knowing she had friends near the park.
She got out of the Jeep and Comeslast recognized her uncle's car and tried to drag her back to the Jeep, but she was able to break free, according to court documents.
Police arrived at her uncle's home at 4111 E. Longfellow and discovered the alleged victim with bruises and swollen lip. Comeslast was arrested and held in Benton County on a parole violation until he was transferred to the Spokane County Jail to face charges.
He appeared in Superiro Court Tuesday and remains in jail on $75,000 bond. Comeslast has previous convictions for domestic violence assault.
Comeslast and his family were featured in this 1995 article about his younger brother's arrest on murder charges.
When a rapist who murdered one of his cellmates in the Spokane County Jail requested a transfer to a medium-security prison several years later, the approval process at the Washington Department of Corrections was quick and routine.
Although prisoner Michael Lee West Jr. was known for his disturbing levels of violence, he’d managed to avoid serious trouble for about four years. The transfer request was approved, and a prisoner long deemed a serious threat arrived at Airway Heights in 2010 as a minimum-security inmate.
The results were tragic.
Just 10 days into his stay, the 35-year-old attacked two cellmates in what prison officials describe as a horrific barrage that left one man blind. Prison staff who rushed to the cell found a victim with his left eye hanging from the socket and his right eye severely damaged. West stood by, chanting religious phrases and proclaiming himself Lucifer.
Despite a well-documented history that included pleas by prison officials for lifetime lockup, none of those warnings and concerns traveled with him. The brutal assault was the Airway Heights staff’s first indication that this new inmate was prone to severe behavioral problems – even though West had warned his psychiatrist that he planned to stop taking his medication after his transfer.
An Idaho State Police trooper who shot a fugitive to death during a pursuit north of Coeur d’Alene in February will not face charges.
Trooper Dan Howard was justified when he used deadly force to stop a Jeep that was approaching him after he exited his police car following a collision, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.
Howard fired several shots, six of which hit the Jeep. Investigators believe he was aiming at the driver of the Jeep, Mark M. Maykopet, a fugitive from Butte, but one of the shots hit Maykopet’s wife, 40-year-old Christie Ann Little, alias O’Leary, who also was a fugitive.
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shawna Dunn said Little’s seat was slightly reclined, which led to her being shot even though bullet holes on the Jeep showed Howard was aiming at Maykopet in the driver’s seat.
“Her seat was basically in the line of fire between the trooper and the driver,” Dunn said.
A fugitive who's both an alleged assault victim and an alleged assault suspect was arrested just hours after Crime Stoppers offered a reward for tips no his capture Wednesday.
Kenneth Brian Barton, 34, (left) was in the bushes near North Cannon Street and West Gardner Avenue injecting himself with heroin when police tried to arrest him on several warrants this afternoon, according to KHQ.
Barton fought with the two officers, prompting several more to arrive for back up. "Barton is a pretty big guy and put up a pretty good fight," said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson told KHQ. "He had loaded syringes in his pocket; they were uncapped as officers were fighting him."
No serious injuries were reported. Barton is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree theft and two counts of third-degree assault for allegedly fighting with security at J.C. Penny's at the Spokane Valley Mall after being detained for shoplifting a pair of Nike sneakers on May 16. He also was being sought on a material witness warrant for an assault trial set to begin next month.
Barton was allegedly assaulted by Tony N. Hairston (pictured right) on Oct. 27 at 2821 N. Cincinnati Ave. Co-defendant Jarreau S. "Sweaty" Squetimkin pleaded guilty to riot in February and was sentenced to nine months in jail.
Hairston is in jail awaiting trial, which is set to begin July 25; a $100,000 warrant to secure Barton's presence for testimony was issued June 8.
Barton has a 19-year criminal history that includes convictions for first-degree burglary, second-degree vehicle theft, delivery of controlled substance, violating a no contact order, retail theft with extenuating circumstances, third-degree driving while license suspended, and domestic violence assault.
A gang suspect stabbed by a man he was trying to rob has been sentenced to just under four years in prison.
Devron M. Parrish, 24, pleaded guilty to second degree robbery and was sentenced to 45 months in prison with credit for 163 days already served in the Spokane County Jail.
Parrish and three other suspected gang members were walking near North Nelson Street and East Wabash Avenue on Dec. 23 when they assaulted a man and demanded his money.
The victim fought the men off with a knife, stabbing Parrish and Patrick McKenzie. McKenzie told police he helped carry Parrish to a nearby apartment.
McKenzie, 25, was sentenced in April to 20 months in prison and $106 restitution, after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery and third-degree assault.
It's Parrish's second prison stint - he was sentenced to 51 months in 2006 for second-degree assault, second-degree malicious mischief and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
A suspected gang member is in jail on gun and second-degree assault charges after an alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend.
Tayone D. "K-Row" Akers, 19, has a $100,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday.
Akers is accused of choking a woman on May 23 during a party near East Wellesley Avenue and North Hamilton Street and trying to hit her and her sister with his car.
The woman said she had been in a significant relationship with Akers but knew him only as K-Row, according to court documents. She said she feared him because of his gang ties.
Akers also is charged with three counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of first-degree theft of a firearm for allegedly stealing two rifles and a shotgun and from a home in Liberty Lake in April. The homeowners were out of town, and Akers knew the girl watching the place.
A Coeur d'Alene man with a history of domestic violence was sentenced this week to 2 1/2 years for the the attempted strangulation of his girlfriend.
David B. Moen, 41, is to serve 33 months in prison and will not be credited for 257 days already served in jail.
Moen was sentenced by 1st District Judge Fred Gibler for attempted strangulation and felony domestic violence for a Sept. 12 assault on his then-girlfriend. Moen choked the woman, hit her head against a hall and punched and kicked her in the head several times, according to the Kootenai County Prosceutor's Office.
Moen's extensive criminal history includes five felony convictions and 17 misdemeanor convictions. He was convicted of domestic violence assault in 2002 for an incident with another ex-girlfriend, according to news archives.
Moen was on federal probation for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine when he was arrested last year.
In a prepared statement, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh praised the 33-month sentence for the repeat offender.
"His conduct reveals his inability, at this time, after many convictions, to comply with society's rules…Following his incarceration, we hope his federal probation will continue so that sufficient incentives are in place to convince Mr. Moen to avoid further violation," McHugh said.
A reckless driver who cut off a Washington State Patrol detective in the Hillyard area offered this assessment of the man, according to police: "You're a pussy."
Detective M.C. Bambino said Justin Tyler Whitney, 30, yelled that at him from his 1981 Volkswagen pickup truck before ramming Bambino's unmarked squad car and fleeing the area.
The suspect was arrested Monday - nearly one month after the May 9 incident.
Trooper Troy Briggs, spokesman for WSP, said detectives encountered several dead ends when trying to locate Whitney, delaying his arrest.
Bambino was southbound on North Market Street approaching East Garland Avenue when he noticed a speeding green pickup driving erratically.
The driver insulted him before swerving toward his vehicle, then refusing to pull over, according to an affidavit. The truck stopped in near East Carlisle Avenue, then reversed and rammed a Toyota car that had stopped nearby. The truck then rammed part of Bambino's vehicle and was last seen driving northbound on Greene Street.
Bambino obtained the pickup's license plate, which showed the vehicle was registered to Whitney.
Bambino said Whitney had a "crazed look on his face" during the melee and believes he was on drugs.
Whitney appeared in Superior Court Tuesday on charges of reckless driving, two counts of hit and run and two counts of first-degree assault
A self-described skinhead will spend nearly 10 years in prison for a federal gun charge.
James Daniel Bacon, who deputies say damaged a jail house door during a recent tantrum, has spent more than a third of his life in jail.
The 23-year-old's lawyer cited that when asking for him to receive a sentence of just 70 months instead of the 92 to 115 recommended by federal prosecutors.
"Prison clearly has not reformed Mr. Bacon to date," according to a sentencing memorandum by John B. McEntire. A lengthier prison sentence "will further engrain into Mr. Bacon violence and aggression - more so if he is designated to an Administrative-Maximum United States Penitentiary, which is likely the case," McEntire continued.
Bacon has been in solitary confinement at the Spokane County Jail since his arrest in December 2010. McEntire said anger, destruction of property and attacks on jail staff "are the exact type of conduct that (an expert) mentions as being a byproduct of solitary confinement."
A doctor who evaluated Bacon in April said his intelligence and insight make him a good candidate for behavioral therapy to address his antisocial personality disorder, McEntire said.
U.S. District Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen rejected McEntire's request last Thursday and ordered Bacon to spend 115 months in prison, with credit for time served in jail. Bacon was arrested Dec. 7 after running from Spokane police with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun. He pleaded guilty to felon in posession of a firearm.
He also was convicted of misdemeanor assault for punching a man charged with producing child pornography when the two shared a holding cell at the federal courthouse in March.
A Spokane resident celebrated his 18th birthday today by appearing in Superior Court on four felony charges.
Quinn Mikal Ray was arrested Monday after a wild police chase that included Ray trying to run over a police officer and briefly pinning another officer inside a patrol car, charges allege.
But his stint in juvenile detention didn't last long - prosecutors filed charges against him in adult court Tuesday, and he was moved to the Spokane County Jail, where he turned 18 today.
Ray is charged with attempt to elude a police vehicle, two counts of first-degree assault for allegedly trying to hit two officers with his car and one count of second-degree assault for hitting Officer Chris Bode's patrol car and pinning him in the vehicle, according to court documents.
Police believe Ray was intoxicated.
An early-morning brawl left a Spokane man unconscious with a 6-inch gash on his head, police say.
Joshua L. Schmidt, 28, and Christopher M. Martin, 26, beat Eric W. Ledoux after Ledoux called Schmidt a profane name while they were in a car May 10 about 3:38 a.m.
The car stopped and Schmidt pulled the victim from the backseat at 2518 E. South Altamont Blvd. and punched and kicked him unconscious as Martin threatened two passengers and told them not to say anything.
The defendants and victim had just met that night, witnesses told police.
Witnesses said Martin prevented anyone from helping Ledoux, who was treated at a hospital for cuts and gashes, including a shoe print on his bottom chin. Police arrived to find Ledoux covered in blood with his face badly swollen; Schmidt had swollen knuckles and Martin had blood spots on his shoes.
Both suspects were booked into jail.
Martin pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted first-degree assault and three counts of intimidating a witness. Schmidt pleaded not guilty today to attempted first-degree assault.
A sheriff's SWAT team helped arrested a fugitive Tuesday after officers said he may be holding hostages at a home in north Spokane County.
Jeremy Rian Albright, 30, left a home in the 6500 block of North Normandie Lane after two teenage boys left the home at the behest of their mother, who called them from work at the request of a SWAT team member, according to the sheriff's office.
Albright has been wanted since February on a $25,000 warrant for second-degree assault.
Members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force saw Albright inside the home through open blinds about 4:30 p.m. and set up containment before knocking on the door. The teen boys approached the door but retreated, Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
The SWAT team was called because investigators felt the boys may have been held against their will, and because Albright is considered a violent offender and was rumored to be armed.
Albright was arrested without incident. Sheriff's officials did not report finding a weapon.
No one was injured, but the SWAT team broke basement windows during the standoff, Reagan said.
A 17-year-old driver briefly pinned a Spokane police officer inside his patrol car during a chase Monday that ended with the boy's arrest, officials said today.
Police were called to a fight near North Chestnut Street and West Mallon Avenue about 10:30 p.m., where people were reportedly throwing sticks and trying to run over others with their vehicles.
The suspect's vehicle drove toward Officer Art Dollard as he interviewed a witness, causing Dollard and the witness to jump out of the way to avoid serious injury.
Sgt. Dave Overhoff tried to stop the vehicle after it fled the scene, and a pursuit ensued. The boy hit the bumper of Officer Chris Bode's police car before Bode nudged the back bumper of the vehicle with his patrol car, forcing it into a spin that brought it to a stop.
But the boy accelerated, and Bode was briefly pinned inside his patrol car, Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.
The boy, whose name was not released, was booked into the Spokane County juvenile detention center on assault and eluding charges. He also faces a drunken driving charge. His passenger was released.
A Spokane man is accused of beating another man in the head with a tire iron and stealing his car.
Grant T. McAdams, 24, asked Emad Mohammed Salih for a ride outside the 7-Eleven at West Indiana Avenue and North Washington Street May 9, then told him to pull over at North Standard Street and East Ermina Avenue and get out of the vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit.
McAdams allegedly struck Salih with a tire iron several times, then chased him down the side walk and continued to hit him in the head before he collapsed about a half block from his 1997 Chrysler and McAdams hit him about a dozen more times with the tire iron, police said.
McAdams then ran back to the Chrysler and drove away, allegedly. Spokane police recovered the stolen vehicle the next day at 3000 N. Mayfair St.
Salih was treated for a severe concussion and is being treated at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in the severe head trauma unit, according to the affidavit.
Salih identified McAdams from a photo lineup, and he was arrested at 717 E. Rich Ave. on May 20.
McAdams appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Monday on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.
McAdams, a 2010 Crime Stoppers graduate, has previous felony convictions, including second-degree burglary and residential burglary.
COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A district judge has suspended the criminal case against a Bayview man accused of attacking four neighbors with a hammer, killing one, because a psychologist has determined he’s unfit to stand trial.
The ruling last week is in the case of Larry Cragun, 31, who is charged with first-degree murder and other felonies in the Dec. 19 death of Patricia Heath, 43, and attacks on others.
Cragun has been ordered into the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction for care and treatment. First District Judge Benjamin Simpson also ordered a progress report on Cragun’s status in 90 days.
Kootenai County Prosecutors Barry McHugh told The Coeur d’Alene Press the case will no longer go forward until Cragun understands the charges and is better able to assist in his own defense.
Cragun is accused of bursting into his neighbors’ trailer home and attacking them with a hammer and knife. He has pleaded not guilty.
The attack at 34552 N. Limekiln Road in Bayview followed weeks of problems between the Heaths and Cragun, including bizarre claims by the suspect that authorities say were unfounded, including an allegation that Heath's son was "placing pubic hair in Cragun's food," according to a police report.
After the attack, customers at JD's Resort told authorities that Cragun had said he needed to call 911 because he'd killed three or four people. He didn't complete the phone call. Instead, he grabbed a customer's beer "drank it, and left a dollar on the bar," according to the police report.
Witnesses told police Cragun posted flyers suggesting there was an umbrella submerged in Lake Pend Oreille that, along with GPS tracking satellites, allowed the government to read peoples’ minds.
Heath died of massive head trauma the day after the attack, and three others were injured. He also faces two counts of first-degree attempted murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and burglary.
The judge ordered a mental health evaluation for Cragun in March.
The evaluation was conducted by Dr. Chad Sombke, of Boise, who concluded Cragun is unfit mentally to proceed with his case.
A teenager who beat a Spokane man to death in November 2009 has been sentenced to nearly 21 years in prison.
Nicholas X. Parrish pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt last week to 250 months in prison.
Police say Parrish was drunk when he and Justin A. Summa attacked Kent S. Moses, 60, in an alley behind Moses' home near Bridge Avenue and Nettleton Street on Nov. 29, 2009.
Moses later died at hospital. A shoe print on his face helped identify the suspects. Parrish returned to the alley after the beating to rifle through Moses’ pockets and beat him again.
Summa pleaded guilty in February to second-degree assault and was sentenced to five months in jail.
Parrish also is to pay $3,719 restitution. He remains in the Spokane County Jail waiting transport to prison.
A Spokane man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a first-degree assault charge for a stabbing outside the Top Hat Tavern.
Bobby S. Galloway, 23, is accused of stabbing Mickey Davis during a fight May 5 about 1:30 .m. Davis suffered a serious but non-life threatening stab wound to his stomach.
Police arrived at the bar, 6412 N. Division St., and found Davis lying on his back near a booth inside the bar.
Galloway was found walking near West Princeton Avenue and North Wall Street. Witnesses identifed him from photo lineups, polcie said.
He remains in Spokane County Jail on $75,000 and a Department of Corrections probation hold.
A skinhead jailed on a federal gun charge could be charged with an additional felony for damaging a jail door.
James Daniel Bacon, 23, allegedly slammed the door to a jail day room backwards against a concrete wall so hard that the middle and bottom hinge bolts broke from the concrete.
Bacon refused to stop and was forcefully removed from the room by the jail's crisis response team, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said. He was placed in a restraint chair, where he told a jail deputy that "he had nothing to say other than to ask what charges he now faces," according to a news release.
The room will be out of service for about two weeks as the door frame is replaced.
Bacon could be charged with felony malicious mischief, depending on how much the repair costs.
Bacon says he is a member of the Valhalla-Bound Skinhead movement, which was founded by Keegan Van Tuyl.
He recently was convicted of misdemeanor assault for punching a man charged with producing child pornography.
He's been in jail since Dec. 7 after running from Spokane police with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun. He's charged in U.S. District Court with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities believe Bacon is trying to draw attention to himself.
He told The Spokesman-Review in a jailhouse letter that he had a speech planned at his bench trial for the assault, but no one from the newspaper went. He also sent the newspaper a copy of the speech he read, but that was ignored, too.
Crime Stoppers was offering a reward for tips on a Spokane woman who's both accused of a crime and the alleged victim of a crime.
Moleasha M. Barker, 32, (left) is charged with first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest. Barker was arrested Jan. 6 and told the court she would be staying at 12721 E. Shannon Ave. after she was released on her own recognizance.
An investigator with the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office tried to locate Barker at that address May 11 to serve a subpoena for her to testify at the trial of Cameron D. Wilder (right), who is accused of assaulting her.
The apartment complex manager said Barker has not lived there in at least the past three years, leading to an arrest warrant that calls for her to be jailed without bail.
Barker is accused of drunkenly kicking down the door to an apartment at 2619 N. Market St. in January, allegedly screaming, "I am going to kill you," as the victim was feeding her children and grabbing one of the chidlren by the arm.
A Spokane police officer said she was belligerent and called him a "white supremacist cop" as she was arrested, according to court documents.
Barker was arrested Thursday and appeared in Superior Court this afternoon.
A Spokane Valley man with HIV who had unprotected sex with two girls has been sentenced to 31 months in prison.
Edward I. Casto, 20, will be credited for 212 days served in the Spokane County Jail. He was arrested last October.
Police said he told his 15-year-old girlfriend he had HIV when their relationship began but didn't use a condom when he had sex with her and didn't tell her friend, also a minor, that he was infected.
Casto pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and was sentenced by Judge Maryann Moreno last week.
His arrest came less than a week after another Spokane Valley man, Zuriel E. Roush was sentenced to 87 months in prison for lying to his sex partner about his HIV status.