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Repeat Coeur d’Alene felon convicted for attempted-murder

A Coeur d’Alene man who attempted to strangle his girlfriend last year has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempted murder and multiple felony convictions.

An ex-girlfriend told authorities she feared for her life when Kenneth E. Schleining, 38, choked her until she was unconscious at a Post Falls gas station in September, according to a Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office news release.

When she woke up, he told her to go back to sleep because she would be dead soon, reports said. She fought Schleining and escaped.

Althought Kootenai County District Judge Fred Gibler sentenced Schleining to 15 years in prison for attempted murder, he earned another 10 years because of his extensive criminal history, the news release showed.

Schleining was convicted of felony aggravated battery in 2005 when he slit the throat of a girlfriend who was trying to break up with him. He later had sexual relations with a minor while on parole from prison.

Wallace’s alleged accomplice tries suicide

A man accused of helping Charles Wallace, who shot two sheriff’s deputies before shooting himself to death last month, tried to kill himself at the Spokane County Jail on Friday.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, who was jailed last week after his girlfriend told police he’d assaulted her, remains on life support at a local hospital.

Ruth was found hanging unconscious in his jail cell Friday about 8:35 a.m. A corrections deputy cut him down and performed CPR until medics arrived, said Capt. John McGrath.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 5: Recording lends insight into Wallace's release

June 22: Man accused of helping cop shooter to stay in jail

June 21: Man arrested for allegedly helping cop shooter

Public’s help sought in cat cruelty probe

Spokane County animal protection offers are asking for the public's help as they investigate a horrendous case of animal cruelty.

A cat had to be euthanized on Monday after SCRAPS officers found it shot in the head in a dumpster at the Viewpoint Villa Apartments, 5911 E. Woodlawn Ave., in Spokane Valley.

A woman had reported a cat screaming from the dumpster, and the apartment manager found the bleeding, injured feline inside a garbage bag wrapped in a blanket.

The cat was taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Investigators say the cat also sustained traumatic injuries to its body.

Anyone who may have seen or heard something is asked to call (509) 477-2532 immediately. Your name and contact information will remain confidential with SCRAPS.

Wallace’s alleged accomplice free on bond

A Spokane man accused of helping the fugitive who shot two sheriff's deputies is out of jail after posting $100,000 bond this week.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, posted the bond through Bulldog Bail Bonds on July 2 after being in the Spokane County Jail since June 20, according to court records.

Ruth appeared before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Members of the drug task force were looking for fugitive heroin trafficking suspect Charles Robert Wallace at Ruth's family's property on North Alcan Street on June 19 when they followed Ruth's SUV and a Chevy Tahoe with a young couple and a man in a disguise they believed could be Wallace.

The SUV stopped at Roundy’s Kawasaki on North Newport Highway for about a half an hour before Ruth drove north and the Tahoe went south.

Task force members directed Deputies Matt Spink and Mike Northway to identify the passengers of the Tahoe and warned that Wallace “was believed to be armed and had made statements that he was not going back to jail,” according to court documents.

Just after the Tahoe stopped on Elm Road just off the highway, Wallace exited and opened fire on Spink and Northway. Spink was struck once in the leg; Northway was hit four times and may have bled to death had a citizen not helped control heavy bleeding from an artery in his left arm, police officials say.

The driver of the Tahoe and a passenger, Joshua Vincent Fowler and Brittany A. McCullough, sped away and Wallace ran away, stole an 87-year-old woman’s Honda Accord then fled the area before shooting himself after a 21-mile chase.

Officer Beau Brannon, who owns a home on Princeton Avenue that was rented by Ruth, called Ruth right after the shooting and told him what happened.

Police say Ruth lied to the officer and said he hadn’t talked to Wallace since June 14, then changed his story and said he’d seen Wallace but didn’t know where he was. He then hung up on the officer and refused to answer his phone.

Ruth and his girlfriend and their infant son moved out of the Princeton home after a home-invasion robbery on May 29 in which Ruth was shot in the leg. David F. Smith, 40, is suspected in that case.

Ruth has seven felony convictions; his last occurred in 2000.

Prints, Facebook aid in shooting probe

A Montana man charged in connection with a February shooting outside a Spokane Valley tavern thanks in part to evidence on Facebook is back in Spokane. 

Jarrod E. Veilleux, 29, is accused of shooting a man in the stomach as he smoked in an outside area on the east end of the Oasis Tavern, 14913 E. Trent Ave., about 9 p.m. Feb. 24. 

The victim told police he'd been beaten up at the same bar two years ago but had no idea if it was related, according to court documents. He said he was going through a contentious divorce but he had no idea why anyone would want to shoot him.

Detectives identified fingerprints on a pint glass and on a glass whiskey tumbler as belonging to Veilleux and Terrance D. Riley, 33.

The men were on probation in Montana and prohibited from leaving the state. They were jailed in Montana.

Veilleux appeared in Spokane County Superior Court today on charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault. Riley is charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Veilleux has the word 'Pile' tattooed across the knuckles of one his hands, which matches witness descriptions of the shooter. A sheriff's detective also reviewed the men's Facebook profiles and noted Veilleux with a blue Ford Explorer that matched the vehicle described as fleeing the shooting scene.

The multiple-time felon was convicted of burglary and theft charges in Gallatin County, Mont., in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended.

Riley remains in prison in Deer Lodge, Mont.

Convicted killer arrested in CdA stabbing

Police on Wednesday arrested a convicted killer accused of trying to kill another man in a stabbing Monday night north of Coeur d’Alene.

 James H. Kountz, 56, was arrested about 5:40 p.m. in the same wooded area near U.S. Highway 95 and Wilbur Avenue where he stabbed another transient, James R. Hoglen, 42, on Monday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Cops: Gun malfunction stopped murder

A Spokane man who police say would have killed a man had his gun not malfunctioned has been charged with attempted murder.

Carlos Himminez “Atlanta” Hodges, 38, was armed with a handgun when he confronted Kenneth Watkins at Watkins' home in the 1000 block of East 14th Avenue on Dec. 23, charges allege.

Hodges, who allegedly kicked in the front door about 4:38 a.m., demanded Watkins take him to his medical marijuana grow and hit Watkins with the gun when Watkins tried to disarm him, according to court documents.

Hodges stole marijuana, police say, but Watkins said he refused to take him to the basement because he feared Hodges would kill him there.

“Hodges then pointed the gun at Watkins and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not discharge,” according to court documents. “Hodges then ran away.”

Police completed their investigation in April. Hodges was charged this month with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and attempted first-degree robbery. He remains in jail on $150,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court last week.

Man arrested for helping cop shooter

A Spokane man shot in the leg during a home-invasion robbery last month was with a fugitive just before he opened fire on two sheriff’s deputies Tuesday.

Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, is in jail, accused of helping suspected heroin trafficker Charles Robert Wallace hide from law enforcement after Wallace walked away from court-ordered drug treatment in Spokane Valley.

Read the rest of my story here.

Spokane man guilty of tire-iron attack

A jury of seven men and five women found a Spokane man guilty Tuesday of attacking a refugee from Iraq with a tire iron during a gruesome attack that left the victim with severe head injuries.

Sentencing has not yet been set, but 25-year-old Grant T. McAdams faces somewhere between 17 and 22 years in prison after he was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery for the May 9, 2011, attack that nearly killed an Iraqi man who had come to the United States as a refugee after helping the U.S. military.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 6: Tire iron assault trial begins

May 24, 2011: Tire iron assault, car theft leads to assault

Trial begins in brutal tire-iron assault

A Spokane County jury on Tuesday saw graphic photographs and heard descriptions of the tire-iron attack last year against a man who came to the United States as a refugee from Iraq after helping the U.S. military

 Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz told the jury how the gruesome beating took place. But, Steinmetz did not say why Grant T. McAdams, 25, is alleged to have committed attempted first-degree murder and first-degree robbery on May 9, 2011.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Teen arrested after 2 drive-by shootings

A 17-year-old Spokane boy has been charged with attempted murder for a drive-by shooting last week at a north Spokane home.

Travis W. Wood is accused of shooting out the front window of a home in the 500 block of East Maxine Avenue about 4 a.m. on March 26.

Another shooting was reported at the home March 2 - the same day the homeowners' granddaughter reported Wood to police as the suspect in the theft of her cellphone, according to court documents.

No one was injured in the shootings.

Wood was arrested on a juvenile warrant at his apartment at 202 E. Wedgewood Ave. hours after the March 26 incident. Police found a .380 caliber pistol in the apartment, as well as a box of ammunition with 11 rounds missing.

Police also obtained a search warrant for Woods' mother's 1991 Chevy Blazer that revealed a .380 shell casing. Wood was charged Friday with first-degree attempted murder and drive-by shooting.

Also charged in the case is Thomas J. Jones, 21. He is not yet in custody.

Woods' mother, Tonya Wood, said at his court appearance today that she's tried to get him help.

“I've tried since he was 16… to prevent this from getting as far, and here we are,” Tonya Wood said.

Woman arraigned for attempted murder

A teenager accused of attempted murder for a knife assault at a party has pleaded not guilty.

Kiana M. Murphy, who turned 18 two days before the Oct. 30 incident, allegedly stabbed a teen boy twice in the stomach during an argument about gang affiliations, according to court documents.

Murphy allegedly chased the boy through the home at 1807 W. Spofford Ave. before he escaped through a bedroom window. When the boy returned, Murphy stabbed him twice in the stomach, police and prosecutors allege.

The victim required surgery but is recovering. He identified Murphy as a suspect through her Facebook page. A witness told police Murphy said the victim was “going to…die” when he returned to the residence, documents say.

Murphy was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder, with first-degree assault as an alternate charge.

She is out of custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 21.

Woman wanted for attempted murder

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for a teenager accused of attempted murder for a knife assault at a party.

Kiana M. Murphy, who turned 18 two days before the Oct. 30 incident, allegedly stabbed a teen boy twice in the stomach during an argument about gang affiliations, according to court documents.

Murphy chased the boy through the home at 1807 W. Spofford Ave. before he escaped through a bedroom window. When the boy returned, Murphy stabbed him twice in the stomach, police and prosecutors allege.

The victim required surgery but is recovering and identified Murphy as a suspect through her Facebook page. A witness told police Murphy said the victim was “going to…die” when he turned to the residence, documents say.

Murphy is charged with attempted first-degree murder, with first-degree assault as an alternate charge.

She was convicted last month of violating her juvenile probation after being convicted as an juvenile in connection with a wild fight involving a suspect's ex-boyfriend at 1735 W. Boone Ave. in March.

Murphy last gave an address in the 200 block of East Wedgewood Avenue. Anyone with information on her current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online.

Tipsters don't have to give their name to collect a reward but should provide a code name or number.

Man dead in suicide/attempted murder

A Spokane woman was wounded Monday in a shooting by her ex-boyfriend, who then fatally shot himself, police said.

The man’s body was found slumped in a yard outside a home converted into apartments in the 3100 block of East Fifth Avenue, according to the Spokane Police Department. A gun was found nearby, neighbors said. Both the victim and gunman are in their mid 20s, police said. The two recently ended a relationship.

Read the rest of my story here.

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.

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.

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.

Accused would-be killer jailed, again

A suspect in a stabbing that left a man with a cut on his throat from ear to ear is back in jail after detectives say he tried to intimidate witnesses in the case.

 Izaac Jermel Innes, who is on probation for second-degree murder, called several people after his arrested and asked them to try to persuade witnesses to change their stories, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday.

Innes, who was free on $50,000 bond, was arrested Tuesday night and appeared in Superior Court on Wednesday, where Judge Michael Price set his new bail at $100,000 for intimidating a witness and two counts of tampering with a witness.

Innes, a self-proclaimed member of the Deuce Avenue Crips, also pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted first-degree murder for the alleged incident outside a party in the 12700 block of East 31st Ave. April 2.

Innes, 30, was released from prison in January after serving time for a second-degree murder conviction from 2003.

Past coverage:

April 8: Convicted killer charged w/ attempted murder

Convicted killer charged w/ att. murder

A suspect in a stabbing that left a man with a cut on his throat from ear to ear has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

 Izaac Jermel Innes, 30, who was recently released from prison for murder, is accused of stabbing a man outside a party in the 12700 block of East 31st Ave. last weekend.

Innes has been on probation since January after leaving prison work release. He  pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2003 , but his current public defender, Kari Reardon, said Thursday that he had no role in the slaying and was simply waiting outside the scene of the murder for two friends to buy marijuana.

“I frankly don't know why he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder,” Reardon said. “He certainly wasn't alleged to be involved in any sort of violence.”

Innes, who has been working at McDonald's, posted $50,000 bond after his arrest for first-degree assault but was rearrested on a probation violation and the attempted murder charge. He appeared in Superior Court on Thursday.

Innes told police he fought with a man at the party but was not involved in stabbing and did not have a weapon. “The only guy I put hands on is in the hospital,” Innes reportedly told detectives before pausing and adding, “I don't know why he had to go to the hospital for me just punching him,” according to a probable cause affidavit by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor approved a $50,000 bond for Innes over the weekend, which he posted before being rearrested Monday for a probation violation. He told his probation officer he was a member of the Deuce Avenue Crips gang, according to the affidavit. D

eputy Prosecutor Steve Garvin requested Thursday that Innes stay in jail without bail, calling the suspect “a clear, immediate and present danger to public safety.”

But Judge Michael Price said the facts of the case have not changed since O'Connor approve $50,000 bond, so he set the new bond at just $50,100.

Plea deal drops attempted murder case

A Spokane man whose attempted murder trial ended in a mistrial last week was sentenced this week to nearly 10 years in prison.

Don R. Davis, Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and drive by shooting in a plea deal that dropped the attempted first-degree murder charge.

He was ordered to serve 116 months in prison by Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque on Wednesday. Leveque declared a mistrial last week after a witness offered testimony that Davis' lawyer, Rob Cossey, said was a surprise.

The charges stem from a wild car chase on Oct. 4, 2009, that includes several collisions as Davis attempted to force his ex-girlfriend and former best friend off the roadway.

He also was accused of breaking into an apartment and stealing a handgun that was used in a drive-by shooting.

Plea deal expected after shooting mistrial

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case against a Spokane Valley man who was facing up to 50 years in prison following an attack on his ex-girlfriend and his former best friend.

Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque declared the mistrial Wednesday after a witness offered testimony that the defense said was a surprise.

The witness said defendant Don R. Davis, 29, admitted possessing a gun that investigators said was used in a drive-by shooting as part of the case.

Defense attorney Rob Cossey objected because that information had not been presented to him by the witness or by Deputy Prosecutor Gayle Ervin in preparation for the trial.

“It was completely out of the blue. It was out of the witness’s mouth before I could do anything,” Cossey said. “I asked for a mistrial and the judge granted it.”

Davis is expected to plead guilty to some of the charges on April 6.

“We think we can reach a resolution,” Cossey said, “but it doesn’t include the attempted murder charges.”

Ervin had charged Davis with 10 criminal charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, following a series of events that began on Oct. 4, 2009, with wild vehicle chase on Interstate 90 that included several collisions as Davis attempted to force his former best friend, Clayton Cooper, off the roadway, according to court testimony.

Davis was also charged with breaking into an apartment and stealing a shotgun that witnesses said was used in a drive-by shooting. Just minutes after that event, deputies conducted a search warrant and found the stolen gun in the trunk of the car Davis was driving, according to court testimony.

If convicted of all charges, Davis faced as much as 411 months in prison plus about 200 months for the weapons charges.

Ex-lover on trial after shooting, chase

The criminal trial began Tuesday in a case the prosecution presented as an angry, drug-induced ex-lover threatening both his former girlfriend and his former best friend.

Don R. Davis, 29, faces a total of 10 charges, including first-degree burglary, drive-by shooting and violation of a no-contact order, in a trial being argued in front of Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Gayle Ervin told the jury that Davis disapproved of the new relationship between his former girlfriend, Nicole Allen, and his former best friend, Clayton Cooper.

The dispute culminated on Oct. 4, 2009, when Davis confronted the couple as they tried to leave Cooper’s home.

Read Tom Clouse's full story here.

Shooter in cat fight claims self defense

A Spokane man accused of trying to kill another man during a dispute over a cat’s mess said the shooting was in self defense.

Alan D. Kintner, 55, told sheriff’s deputies he shot Steven W. MCormick in self defense, according to court documents.

Kintner remains jailed on $100,000 bond after appearing before Judge Michael Price Tuesday on a second-degree attempted murder charge.

Kintner was arrested Saturday after witnesses said he shot Steven W. McCormick at least twice during a fight over McCormick’s cat at 9519 W. Seven Mile Road.

Kevin Maynor, who lives nearby on the property and witnessed the shooting, told police he heard Kintner “say he could probably kill Steven and get away with it.”

McCormick was shot in the stomach with a  .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and remained at Holy Family Hospital Tuesday, where his condition was not available.

Kintner told deputies he was an expert marksman in the Marine and that “he only shot Steven because he had attacked him,” according to court documents. Kintner said “that Steven got too close to o he shot him in the stomach to sop him, and if he wanted to kill Steven he would have shot him in the head.”

Man shot in dispute over cat messes

A north Spokane man is facing an attempted murder charge after an argument over feline cleanliness led to gunfire that sent a roommate to the hospital, authorities said.

Alan D. Kintner, 55, is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked late Saturday after deputies took him into custody at his home in the 9500 block of Seven Mile Road.

The victim, described by sheriff's officials only as a 44-year-old man, reportedly was in stable condition after being rushed to a Spokane hospital by another roommate. Deputies were dispatched to the scene about 9:15 p.m.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the roommates were watching television when a dispute arose over Kintner's cats “making messes in the bathroom.” Kintner and one of his roommates began wrestling and kicking at each other.

Kintner left the house after getting pinned on his back but returned with a .22-caliber rifle and opened fire, the Sheriff's Office said.

The victim, despite having a bullet wound to his stomach, charged the gunman and knocked the rifle away.

Cat Spat Leads To Shooting

Item: Dispute over cats turns into shooting/Spokesman-Review

More Info: According to the Sheriff’s Office, the roommates were watching television when a dispute arose over Kintner’s cats “making messes in the bathroom.” Kintner and one of his roommates began wrestling and kicking at each other. Kintner left the house after getting pinned on his back but returned with a .22-caliber rifle and opened fire, the Sheriff’s Office said. The victim, despite having a bullet wound to his stomach, charged the gunman and knocked the rifle away.

Question: Have you ever gotten into an argument with friend or neighbor over a pet?

Gregoire blocks release of cop shooter

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire has blocked the release of an Iowa man convicted of nearly killing a Richland police officer 28 years ago, her office announced Friday.

The governor signed the order Thursday night canceling the parole release of Jerry Dean Lain (pictured in 1982 and in 2010). He had been scheduled for release Monday by order of Washington’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.

 ”It is rare for a governor to exercise this power,” Gregoire said in a statement. “But I reviewed the case and concluded there is an unacceptable level of risk to public safety here that called for me to act.”

The governor has the authority to overrule the board, but it’s not known when it was last used.

“We don’t think it’s been used in at least 30 years, if ever,” said Gregoire spokeswoman Karina Shagren. 

Former Richland officer Mike Fitzpatrick had asked Gregoire to intervene. Fitzpatrick was stabbed seven times and shot in the face and abdomen in 1982 after he approached Lain, he was seen prowling cars.

Lain was convicted of assault and has been in prison ever since.

If he had been released, he was to go to Iowa, where he was wanted on violating parole for a stabbing in a bar fight. 

Rowlanda Cawthon, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said that Lain would have been released to a “work release center/halfway house” in Sioux City. 

In her order, Gregoire noted that Lain has had more than 20 infractions while in prison, including threatening staff.

While he hadn’t been cited for any problems since 2004, Gregoire wrote that she was concerned by a 2009 risk evaluation that found Lain was placed in a group “at a high risk of recidivism for both general and violent crimes in the range of medium to high risk.”

“I am particularly concerned that the potential for violence would be escalated in any future contact with law enforcement officers that could lead to revocation of his parole release,” she said.

Gregoire wrote that while Lain, 53, has made “creditable gains” during his time in prison, including educational courses, anger management classes and vocational experience, “I conclude that his rehabilitation is not complete and he is not a fit subject for release from prison.”

Jury acquits man of attempted murder

A Deer Park man was acquitted Thursday of allegations that he’d kidnapped his wife and her new lover and tried to throw them off a bridge.

 A jury of seven men and five women found David E. Epley (pictured) not guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping for the May 12, 2009, incident.

“I think it was grossly overcharged,” said Epley’s lawyer, Gloria Ochoa. “At most what (prosecutors) had was maybe an assault, but it was not first-degree premeditated attempted murder.”

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece declined comment. The jury deliberated for about a day.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 2: Trial begins in love triangle case

Oct. 5, 2009: Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim

June 1, 2009: New charges in bridge-pushing case

May 13, 2009: Man charged with kidnapping, attempted murder

Trial begins in attempted murder case

Breaking up may be hard to do, but a Deer Park man is facing substantial time in prison for the way investigators say he ended the relationship with his wife: by trying to throw her new lover off the Wandermere Bridge. 

Trial started Wednesday for David E. Epley, 37, who faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in connection with a confrontation on May 12, 2009.

Attorneys presented opening statements that offered very different views of what happened on the darkened bridge that night.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece described a man who hid in his wife’s car for hours as she shared a drink with her guitar instructor at Cinola’s Restaurant, at 147179 N. Newport Highway.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 5, 2009: Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim

June 1, 2009: New charges in bridge-pushing case

May 13, 2009: Man charged with kidnapping, attempted murder

Cemetery owners’ dispute leads to gunfire

A domestic dispute between two cemetery owners erupted in gunfire Sunday in Moses Lake, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office announced today. 

Mark L. Benson, 55, is charged with attempted first-degree murder after his wife, Susan L. Benson, said he fired several rounds, striking her left shoulder, as she fled in her car.

Susan Benson, also 55, remains hospitalized today with a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She called 911 about 6:30 p.m. Sunday and said she was fleeing her husband after being shot and was going to drive herself to Samaritan Hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said.

She’d been working at the Moses Lake Cemetery, which the couple owns, when Mark Benson arrived and wanted to talk about their pending divorce and whether their marriage could be saved, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Susan Benson said she left the cemetery, located about eight miles east of Moses Lake on Road 2, without saying anything but was followed by Mark Benson, who fired several shots.

Mark Benson called 911 and advised of his location. He was arrested without incident and remains in the Grant County Jail.

Lesser verdict still means life for Lucious

A Spokane man faces life in prison under the state’s 3 strikes law after a jury convicted him in connection with a July 2009 shooting that injured two women.

 Jurors were split on attempted murder and first-degree assault charges against Timothy “Stoney Boy” Lucious by Spokane County prosecutors, citing questions over whether another man may have fired shots at the women.

But the jury foreman said all 12 believed Lucious had banged on the car window and threatened the women with a gun, justifying a second-degree assault conviction.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese ordered Lucious, 39, held without bail until sentencing on Oct. 14.

Described as a gang member by Spokane police, Lucious already has convictions for two violent crimes.

Under state law, Thursday’s conviction earns him a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Public defender Steven Reich said prosecutors “grossly overcharged” Lucious and said while he’s pleased jurors wouldn’t convict on the murder charges, the outcome is the same for Lucious under the 3-strikes law.

“I have a real problem with the three-strikes law,” Reich said. “It takes discretion away from judges.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 16: Lawyer: Shooting suspect may be wrongly accused

Sept. 14: Prosecution could rest today in 3-strikes trial

June 8: 3-strikes suspect backs out of pro-se plan

March 15: ‘Hardball’ means more charges for Lucious

Jan. 19: Attempted murder charges dropped against Gardner

July 24, 2009: Crosstown melee erupts in gunfire