Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law yesterday, and had an interesting story to tell about how Idaho has a stake in establishing a system in Mexico that relies on the rule of law. Wasden’s been active on the issue through a partnership of attorneys general that promotes cross-border law enforcement cooperation and is assisting the government of Mexico in reforming its court system; the Idaho Statesman’s Erika Bolstad covered the AG’s testimony and has a full story here. “There’s a parade of drugs that are coming north, and there’s a parade of guns and money that is going south,” Wasden said.
Read Kevin Graman’s story about the Saturday morning fire at the HiFumi En Apartments on East Eighth here. There has been two other suspected arson fires at the HiFumi En lately - and residents still can’t return.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: FORT HALL, Idaho (AP) — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes say a Wyoming man has escaped from the Fort Hall Jail for a second time in the past month, as a new jail sits empty. Tribal officials say Jerome Cerino of Lander, Wyo., and Joseph Deluna of Fort Hall, escaped from a holding cell through a crawl space early Tuesday. Tribal spokeswoman Laverne Beech says Cerino was one of six inmates who escaped from the Fort Hall jail on April 17. They escaped from a different cell, but used the same crawl space to access an emergency exit. That escape happened five days before inmates were to be moved into a new jail. However, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is requiring that all correction officers attend a six-week training course in New Mexico before the inmates are moved. Eight officers from Fort Hall are currently attending the training.
One of the things we can do on this blog is to share information and tips about neighborhood crime - kind of like a large blockwatch group. If there’s something going on in your neighborhood, shoot me a quick e-mail and I’ll share your tip - but I will not share your address.
Thursday morning, someone was peering in windows at a home in the area around Eighth Avenue and Hatch. The homeowner and the homeowner’s dog woke up around 2 a.m. because of the commotion on the front steps. No one was spotted outside, but the incident was reported to Crime Check at 456-2233.
Neighbors report repeated ‘drug running’ in the 500 block of South Hatch Road, between Sherman and Hartson. If you suspect drug related activity on your block - lots of comings and goings from one house, at all hours of the day; frequent stops by many different vehicles - the thing to do is to write down the time of day, a license plate (if you can safely see one) and the nature of the activity - then call Crime Check.
The COPS Station that covers South Perry is located at 3001 East Fifth Avenue and the front desk is staffed most days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. East Central COPS can be reached at 625-3330 or simply by stopping in during opening hours.
Someone or something raided a mama duck’s nest in downtown Spokane on Friday and made off with four of her six eggs.
Several tulips that had sheltered the duck in a planter in front of the Lincoln Building were ripped from the flower bed and feathers were strewn about.
Gary Grissom, a loan officer with Academy Mortgage who has been monitoring the duck’s nest, was devastated. The attack was sudden, he said, and not what he expected.
In an e-mail titled “Something terrible happened!!!” Grissom wrote, “I have no idea what happened, but it may be over now…..” The loan officer added, “I am so sick about it.”
Read the rest of Jody Lawrence-Turner’s story here.
Past coverage: Duck rescuer’s celebrity lives on
Our good friends at the political blog at The News Tribune in Tacoma appear to be challenging us to a friendly Swivel chart war.
Responding to our bar chart showing that Spokane is the second largest city in the state — with a 2,000-person lead over Tacoma — The News Tribune’s Political Buzz reminded us that Pierce County has a signficant lead over Spokane County and easily claims the highly coveted title of “Washington’s Second County.” We at Spin Control do not dispute this title, only its relevance.
Good afternoon, Netizens…
Eric John Rick Vogel, a former radio announcer in Libby, Montana, will not be broadcasting any more shows for awhile. That’s because he is doing 40 years at the Montana State Prison for sexual assaulting five out of his seven children. I’ve been following this case closely as it wove its way through Lincoln County Courts in Libby, thanks in part to Steve Thompson’s insistence.
For the record, here is his prison picture:
Here’s an odd one: A former BSU football player who was charged with two counts having sexual contact with a female inmate while working as an officer at a state prison has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge - burglary. Timothy Ryan Gilligan will not have to register as a sex offender after he admitted in court that he twice entered the Idaho Maximum Security Institution with the intent of having sexual contact with a female inmate, a felony, the Idaho Statesman reports. Entering a building with the intent to commit a felony is burglary. / More here
Good evening, everyone…
After a thorough review of the police
reports involved, including those given to the Spokesman, it is
painfully aware to anyone reading the story of what happened, we have
either (a) a suspect with a gun who vanished into thin air or (b) an
officer either didn’t see what his statements indicated or as a final
option, someone cleverly escaped from an open window in the house,
eluding the police that had a house surrounded and managed to
effect an escape. It all depends upon whom you believe.
It about 9:00 AM this morning, when Spokane Valley police were attempting to do a follow-up on a report stolen property had been seen on the property at 11423 E. Broadway. After a scuffle in the front yard involving two people, police arrested a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, but still no sign of the stolen property. However, according to all available news reports, one officer stated he saw a male run back into the house carrying a gun. Thus began a standoff, the lockdown of several nearby schools, street closures and police telling their neighbors not to leave their homes.
According to Detective Dave Thornburg’s press release, deputies said after the two juveniles were arrested, they saw a possible third suspect looking out of a window in the home, along with lights being turned on and off.
Once a search warrant was obtained, officers from SWAT made entry into the house and searched the premises for the man with a gun, but could find no trace of him nor of a gun. They did, however, recover some stolen property from a burglary at A to Z Rental, including two weed trimmers, a rototiller and a chain saw. Most had been dismantled. Thornburg said the stolen items may have been used for parts for two mini-cycles found inside the home, which use the same type of motor. Now that is interesting. A mini-cycle powered by a chain saw motor won’t go very fast, but it will cut down trees with the proper appointments.
In a statement made by the co-owner of the house, Vanessa Westerman, made lots of florid press when she stated the arrested teens are her children. “If they punched a cop, good for them,” she said. “They (the police) have no right to be in my house.”
Don’t look now, but the search warrant and the recovered stolen property gives them every right to be in the house. Perhaps at this late stage of the game she might want to contact a bail bondsman for her teenagers, and maybe an attorney to help explain away the recovered stolen property before she makes any further statements for the news media.
A brazen convenience store burglary was caught on video, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest.
About 12:30 p.m. on April 21, a man walked into the Hico at 1201 N. Barker Road and stole cash from an office while the clerk helped a customer.
Surveillance video shows a heavy set, older man with white or gray hair walking into a room and rummaging through an open safe, then returning to grab money from a bank deposit bag left on a desk.
Police estimate the man to be in his 60s and about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10.
Anyone with information on the crime or a suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111 or submit tips online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
A man charged with threatening to kill city of Spokane and Cowles Co. officials and a man charged with impersonating a federal agent were among cases with hearings today in Spokane County.
Steven E. Escallier, 40, (left) is charged with criminal impersonation, first-degree attempted robbery and malicious mischief after police say he tried robbing two men who were completing a cell phone sale arranged through Craigslist in early March.
Escallier told officer he thought the men were drug dealers when he identified himself as a DEA agent and ordered one to “hand over his drugs,” according to police. He was arrested a few blocks away from the crime scene at Crestline and Empire.
David H. Elton, 43, was another defendant in court today who’s made the news.
Charged with three counts of felony harassment - threats to kill, Elton was arrested in February after several people told police of emails he’d sent threatening to kill Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Betsy and Stacey Cowles, who own The Spokesman-Review. Elton has said he suffers from bipolar disorder.
“Elton states that the people he has targeted are largely semi-innocent, but his hate for them is based on their greed and ignorance,” according to court papers. “He states that the only exception is his ex-wife. He writes that he dreams of killing her and burning her remains and he listens to Chopin and Van Halen.”
Judge Ellen Kalama Clark granted trial extensions for Escallier and Elton Thursday. She also allowed a special judge to be assigned to Elton’s case.
Escallier remains in Spokane County Jail; Elton, who is out on bond, is represented by private criminal defense lawyer Mark Vovos. Vovos described the case as “complex.”
The day police arrested Brian L. Moore in Anahiem, Calif., on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder, a Post Falls private investigator Moore hired, Ted Pulver, gave detectives a zip drive that he said contained a conversation between Moore and Michael Kendall, Moore’s former Orange County business partner.
“Moore later filed an alleged extortion complaint against Kendall in an attempt to prevent Kendall from cooperating with the police investigation,” wrote Detective Kip Hollenbeck in the search warrant, which was filed Tuesday in Spokane County District Court. “Your affiant believes probable cause exists to search this zip drive to examine the contents for any evidence related to this investigation.”
Pulver (featured left in an April 2008 photo by the SR’s Kathy Plonka) and Kendall are witnesses in the case against Moore, who’s accused of helping Stark plan the Dec. 9, 2007, murder of her husband, Dale Robert Stark, then working with her to concoct a sordid tale of spousal abuse to support a self defense claim.
Her new lawyer, Julie Twyford, filed a motion last week asking Judge Tari Eitzen to reconsider the length of Stark’s sentence and Eitzen’s past rejection of motions for a new trial and an arrest of judgment. Included with the filing is a declaration from inmate Christine W. Warman.
Warman said she was in a holding cell with Stark and four other inmates on April 30. After Stark left, one of the inmates said her father served on the Stark jury and said jurors discussed details of the case when they weren’t supposed to, Warman said.
The state has not yet filed a response to that motion. Once that happens, Eitzen will set a hearing to rule on the motion.
Stick with The Spokesman-Review for updates.Update: the state filed a response this week, and it’s now in the online court system. Eitzen has a hearing set for 3 p.m.
A wild chase involving a man on a stolen ATV and a state park ranger was caught on tape, and tipsters have led police to a Spokane man with a colorful criminal history.
Casey D. Beckham, 33, is no stranger to police, the courts or the prison, records show. He’s already got a Crime Stoppers reward out for warrants for bail jumping, possession of a controlled substance and escape from community custody, and news archives show he’s had police attention since at least July 1995 when he walked away from a Spokane County Jail work crew while serving nine months for theft and burglary.
That was the beginning of a tumultuous three years for Beckham in which he appeared in two articles detailing his alleged crimes.
Three months after his first news story, Beckham and a woman were arrested and charged with forgery after being stopped from a traffic violation in Spokane Valley. Both had warrants when Beckham was stopped for having defective equipment on his car, and deputies found a purse, wallet and checkbook that were stolen from cars outside a movie theater earlier that week.
In February 1997, Beckham and another man were arrested for residential burglary after the victims went on what a news article described as a “Dukes-of-Hazzard-style chase.” Kathy Asher, chased down the suspects, hit their car and forced them into a ditch on a rural road near Valleyford. Asher received the sheriff’s office Concerned Citizen Award for her actions; Beckham spent four years in prison.
But Beckham’s big day came in October 2003 when he pleaded guilty to eight crimes involving drug possession and theft. But when Spokane County Superior Court Greg Sypolt handed a longer-than-expected sentence, Beckham tried to withdraw his plea. The Washington Court of Appeals rejected his appeal the following year.
Beckham was released from prison in April 2008, according to the Department of Corrections. About a year after his release, a man hopped on a stolen ATV and sped away from a Washington State Parks and Recreation ranger in the parking area at the Carlson trail head in Nine Mile Falls.
The man took off after the ranger told him it was illegal to use the ATV in a state park and, according to a search warrant filed April 17. The chase ended as the man drove through private property, a barbwire fence and disappeared into the rocky hills, the search warrant says. The ranger’s dash camera caught the beginning of the chase.
Beckham is wanted for questioning in the case, said Washington State Patrol trooper Troy Briggs.
If you see Beckham or know where he is, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.UPDATE: Beckham was arrested May 27. Read a story on his arrest here.
Suspects scheduled to plead innocent in Spokane County Superior Court today included two young men charged with two counts of first-degree robbery for a knife-point holdup in downtown Spokane this May.
Joseph E. Whipple, 21, and Jimmy D. Dempsey, 17, are each charged with two counts of first-degree robbery for the May 2 incident. Police learned of the two through an anonymous letter mailed after a TV station featured the robbery, which occurred behind a coffee stand at Second Avenue and Washington Street, court papers show. The robbery netted $12, according to police.
Unusual charges on today’s docket included possession of a machine gun. Victoria C. Bolter, 19, pleaded not guilty to that charge and one count of possession of a controlled substance in relation to an investigation that court papers show began in January when Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives learned of Bolter’s husband’s arrest in Kootenai County on drug delivery charges.
One notable absence in the out-of-custody arraignments before Judge Jerome Leveque today was Dmitry A. Stepanov, 24.
Stepanov was due to appear this morning on charges of trafficking in stolen property, third-degree theft, unlawful possession of a payment instruction, malicious mischief and vehicle prowling. He didn’t show, and Crime Stoppers is now offering a reward for information that leads to his capture. He’s got a warrant out for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, according to a Crime Stoppers news release prepared by sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Stepanov’s recent charges relate to vehicle GPS devices that he’s accused of stealing and pawning, court papers show.
Stepanov’s last known address was 4421 E. Frederick in Spokane, according to Crime Stoppers, and he may be driving a red Honda Civic with Washington license plates.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online at crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
Tipsters do not have to leave a name but should provide a code word or number.UPDATE 5/22/09: Stepanov was arrested Thursday and had his first appearance in Spokane County Superior Court Friday. He remains in jail.
Sen. Sheldon on rural crime and armed homeowners: “There is no bag limit. There’s always an open season on criminals in Mason County…”
Sen. Tim Sheldon, who’s also a county commissioner in rural Mason County, told the local weekly that he felt that his well-armed constituents would dampen the effect of proposed budget cuts at the county sheriff’s office.
“There is no bag limit. There’s always an open season on criminals in Mason County,” Sheldon told the Shelton-Mason County Journal. “I think that the Mason County citizens are very well aware of how to protect themselves in a situation that might need a response.
In follow-up remarks to a reporter from The Olympian, he described locals’ response to any home invasion attempts as “a hot Mason County lead enema.” Sheldon told The Olympian’s Brad Shannon that his remarks shouldn’t be construed as urging people to take the law into their own hands.
A 45-year-old Coeur d’Alene man accidentally shot himself in the leg as he was leaving his vehicle this morning in the parking lot of the Guesthouse motel. Kevin M. Peterson said he had his 9mm handgun in his left hand when it discharged. He was hit in the knee by the bullet. His wife was present when the accident occurred. He is in stable condition at Kootenai Medical Center, facing possible charges for discharging a firearm in city limits. Peterson has a criminal arrest record/Sgt. Christie Wood, CPD Blue. Full news release here.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an Aggravated Battery that occurred in the parking lot of Wells Fargo Bank/Hayden. Initial investigation indicates that Kimberly Booker, 24, or Athol, Idaho was arguing with her estranged husband, Jerry Booker, 25 also of Athol, over income tax return when he tried to leave the area. Kimberly, who is 8 months pregnant, stood behind Jerry’s car and attempted to call for law enforcement, when Jerry backed up the car, striking Kimberly, knocking her to the ground. Emergency Medical personnel from the Northern Lakes Fire District responded and concluded that Kimberly was not injured in the incident/KCSD news release. Complete release here.
… Jerry Carlson, a well-known insurance agent and major athletic supporter, was arrested over the weekend for possession of cocaine — with more charges pending. Meghann Cuniff is working on the story now. More to come.