Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A decision Tuesday by appellate judges most likely ended all legal recourse for a man convicted of killing his 19-year-old employee in a brutal slaying that will forever haunt a Ferry County man who witnessed it and barely escaped with his own life.
The Division III Court of Appeals denied an argument by Cory J. Monaghan, 38, of Maple Valley, Wash., that he was not guilty by reason of insanity of first-degree murder for killing Jeremy Karavias and first-degree arson for setting fire to his uncle’s Malo, Wash., home in 2008.
“He killed and butchered that kid,” Ron Wessel said of his nephew, Monaghan. Karavias “was just an innocent kid. I think about it every day.”
Appellate judges have refused to hear an appeal by the city of Spokane after a Superior Court judge ruled that the way it had been printing tickets from red-light cameras violated state law.
At issue was the way the city had a police officer in Spokane review a photo of a car either running a red light or not coming to a complete stop and determining whether an infraction occurred. The officer then punched an “accept” button, sending an electronic signal to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions to affix the officer’s electronic signature on the $124 ticket it sent to the driver.
The late John Clark, and later Dean Chuang, represented three clients who argued that state law requires those signatures to be written in Washington. After one judge ruled for the city, Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque reversed that decision, which the city appealed to the Division III Court of Appeals. On Thursday, that court declined to hear the case.
City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said after Leveque’s ruling, the city now has officers print out their signatures at the Public Safety Building, thus complying with state law. Red-light runners ticketed under the old system will ahve to challenge the ticket in court if they want a remedy.
The city now operates 15 cameras that officials estimate will generate about $750,000 next year.
A Grant County man already serving four years for shooting an off-duty sheriff's deputy in 2008 faces up to 10 more after a federal grand jury indicted him on weapons charges Tuesday.
Robbie Joe Marcher (left) was convicted at trial of second-degree assault, failing to summon assistance and unlawful hunting after the shooting of Deputy Earl Romig (right) on Jan. 10, 2008.
Jurors also found Marcher showed an "egregious lack of remorse" on the assault charge, which lengthened his prison sentence, according to the Division III Court of Appeals. The court upheld the convictions May 17.
Now Marcher faces up to 10 years in federal prison under the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane. He's accused of possessing a Springfield Savage 30.06 rifle the day he shot Romig, and of possessing two shotguns, a rifle and nearly 160 rounds of ammunition four days later.
Romig was hunting coyotes and in civilian clothing when Marcher shot him in the back. He said he saw Marcher pointing his rifle at him earlier and looking at him through the scope.
A motorist found Romig with extensive injuries, but he's recovered well.
Marcher, who was hunting with his father, told police he thought Romig was a coyote.
An appeal by a man sentenced to 75 years in prison for the torture death of his young daughter has been denied.
Attorneys on behalf Jonathan D. Lytle appealed Superior Court Judge Michael Price’s decision that Lytle was able to understand and assist in his own defense.
But appellate judges from the Division III Court of Appeals ruled today that Price had legal justification for his ruling and affirmed Lytle's conviction of homicide by abuse.
A jury convicted Lytle in late 2008 of killing his 4-year-old daughter, Summer Phelps, on March 10, 2007.
Adriana L. Lytle, the girl’s stepmother, pleaded guilty and received a sentence of about 62 years.
Over six months in 2006 and 2007, Summer was beaten, bitten, shocked with a dog collar, burned with cigarettes, denied food and dunked in cold water after being forced to stand in a bathtub for hours washing urine-soaked clothes.
Doctors later testified that it was the worst case of child abuse they had ever seen. The girl’s death caused state officials to revamp the system that tracks abuse cases.
Appellate judges on Tuesday upheld the vehicular homicide convictions against Frederick Russell, who was convicted in 2007 of killing three Washington State University students and seriously injuring three others in a drunken crash a decade ago on the highway that connects Moscow and Pullman.
However, the Division III Court of Appeals will return the case to Superior Court Judge David Frazier so that Russell can be given credit for the time he served incarcerated in Ireland as attorneys fought for his extradition back to the U.S. to stand trial.
Russell had fled the country through Canada to avoid prosecution of the case.
Appellate judges on Thursday rejected South Hill rapist Kevin Coe’s claim that state prosecutors in his recent civil commitment trial should have been prohibited from presenting evidence from dozens of sexual attacks that never resulted in charges.
Coe had asked the Division III Court of Appeals to undo the civil commitment that’s expected to keep him locked up for the rest of his life under state laws allowing for the detainment of rapists deemed sexually violent predators by the juries.
Attorneys gave oral arguments Wednesday in an effort to undo the civil commitment of South Hill rapist Kevin Coe, whose legal fight has now moved into its fourth decade.
An attorney representing Coe argued that Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor erred in 2008 when she allowed evidence from several uncharged cases where women alleged that Coe raped them.
Coe (pictured in 2008) also made an argument, through his attorney, of ineffective counsel at his civil commitment trial.
The Division III Court of Appeals gave no time frame when judges would rule on the case.
The arguments Wednesday followed more than 230 pages of briefs filed by Coe’s appellate attorney, Casey Grannis, and Assistant Attorney General Malcolm Ross, who represented the state in the trial in October 2008 where a jury determined that Coe was a sexually violent predator who was likely to reoffend if released.
A Spokane man who pleaded guilty to a 2007 murder has been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because prosecutors failed to tell him he had to spend a minimum of 20 years in prison before he would be eligible for early release.
The Division III Court of Appeals issued its decision Thursday to allow Michael D. Coombes to withdraw the plea because he was not “informed of a direct consequence of his plea.
” Coombes, 30, pleaded guilty to killing 53-year-old William R. Nichols sometime between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2, 2007.
Coombes pleaded guilty in June 2008 and received a 27-year prison sentence.
However, he appealed his sentence because he had the mistaken belief that he was eligible to begin early release credit during the entire sentence, according to court documents.
The portion of his plea that explained the minimum 20-year sentence was left blank in the court file. The case now returns to Superior Court Judge Michael Price to allow Coombes to withdraw his plea.