Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Photos show gunpoint 7-Eleven robbery

A reward is being offered for tips that help identify a man who robbed a Spokane convenience store at gunpoint early Saturday.

Surveillance photos released today show the man pointing a gun at a clerk at 7-Eleven, 1425 N. Maple St., about 4:30 a.m.

The robber is described as 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds, and in his late 20s or early 30s.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should lave a code name or number.

Man arrested for assault w/ gun, vehicle

A Spokane man was arrested early Saturday for allegedly threatening a man with a handgun, then running into him with his SUV.

Christopher Gregory told police he confronted Ike Scott Smith, 30, about a woman named Lisa and property that might be in his home at 7722 N. Altamont St. about 6 a.m. Saturday.

Smith told Gregory he didn't know what he was talking about and got inside his Ford Explorer. Gregory knocked on the SUV's window, and Smith rolled the window down, stuck a gun in Gregory's mouth and threatened to shoot him, according to court documents.

Gregory ran to his car that was parked on Altamont, but Smith backed his Explorer out of the driveway and onto Altamont, then used it to push Gregory into the driver's door of his car.

Gregory fell down and scraped his right arm, right knee and lower back area. Deputies found Smith at North Haven Street and East Hoffman Avenue about 7:20 a.m. and say he ran from the Explorer when he saw them. Police caught up with him and found a gun in the SUV, as well as dents consistent with striking Gregory.

Smith was booked into jail for two counts of first-degree assault, resisting arrest and felon in possession of a firearm.

Gun confrontation leads to 2 arrests

Two men were arrested on felony assault charges after witnesses told police they pointed guns at woman sitting in a car near a Spokane Valley bar early Sunday.

 Charles Willy Jackson, 25, and Anttwon D. Scurlock, 21, are accused of confronting the 27-year-old woman across the street from Goodtymes Pub, 9124 E. Mission Ave., about 12:16 a.m.

Police say the woman said she recognized Jackson when he confronted her and was able to identify Scurlock after he was arrested.

A Washington State Patrol trooper contacted Scurlock in front of the Holiday Inn Express. He located a black handgun near him and seized it as evidence.

Jackson also was arrested near the scene. The men were booked into jail for first-degree assault. Police did not not indicate a motive in court documents.

Jackson was arrested in May 2010 for a November 2009 incident in which he was accused of shooting out the back window of an SUV. He was ordered to spent two months in jail after pleading guilty in September 2010 to second-degree malicious mischief and possession of a controlled substance.

Co-defendant Cedric Burton was convicted of second-degree assault for trying to run two men over just after the shooting and went to prison for that and for driving Edward Thomas from the scene of the murder of John S. Williams in January 2011.

Thomas was convicted of federal gun charges related to the murder and faces 16 years in prison when he's sentenced in November. A plea agreement says he won't be charged with murder if he doesn't appeal the convictions.
  

Man brought gun to fistfight, police say

A Spokane man was arrested this weekend for allegedly bringing a gun to a fistfight outside a bar in the West Garland District.

Kellen P. Ward, 30, is accused of pointing a semi-automatic pistol at a group in the parking lot of the Revolver North bar, 633 W. Garland Ave., on Saturday about 2 a.m.

A witness told Spokane police that his friend, Neno Testa, fought with several people from the bar into the roadway, where several people were knocked to ground. A white Lincoln Town Car arrived and a man weighing about 225 pounds and wearing glasses exited and brandished the gun. Witnesses said he told the group “you…think you’re bad? I'll kill you,” according to court documents. The car fled westbound on Garland.

Police stopped it at North Jefferson Street and West Garland Avenue and arrested Ward, who they say was driving. He matched the description of the gunman, and police found a handgun in the car.

Ward, a convicted felon, was booked into jail for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Records show Ward pleaded guilty in 2006 to attempting to elude a police vehicle and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance.

Tips sought on CdA gun, car thefts

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve a gun and car theft at a Coeur d'Alene business.

Someone entered Tate Engineering, 1103 N. 4th St., early July 30 and stolen two guns and credit cards, as well as a 2003 GMC Sierra pickup.

The truck has “Tate Engineering” written on both doors and is black with Idaho plates K462722.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should lave a code name or number.

Jury indicts Tasered fugitive for gun

A grand jury has indicted a mail thief who shot a round from a fire arm after being shocked with a stun gun by U.S. Marshals last month.

Tony L. Gust, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was arrested July 20 after federal agents found him at his home in the 22000 block of West Jacobs Road, northwest of Airway Heights, and watched as he ran into his trailer and “armed himself with a firearm,” according to a news release.

He was struck with a taser, and “subsequently a round was fired from the weapon Gust was holding,” the news release said. Gust was arrested without further incident.

Gust was arrested in January 2011 after a postal inspector recognized him from surveillance video that showed him breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity post office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave.

He was sentenced in June to three years of probation, but that was revoked in October and he was sent to jail for six months. He left in April and was to participate in a treatment program.

Authorities noted his “troubling history of violence and offenses involving firearms,” in court documents filed in May 2011, which his lawyer attributed to Gust's “physical, mental and dependency problems” and said treatment would serve well.

He remains in custody at the Spokane County Jail after pleading not guilty to the charge on Tuesday. A probation violation hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Taco truck protestor gets 7 years for guns

A Whitman County man who bragged about being involved with racist taco-truck protests in Kootenai County has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for unlawful gun possession.

Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop's lawyer, Roger Peven, asked for him to receive between 15 and 21 months in prison, according to court documents, but U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley rejected that request on Wednesday.

Hop, 31, is to be on probation for three years after his release.

Hop was arrested during an FBI investigation April 20, 2011, for allegedly possessing an Izhmash 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun on March 25.

His brother, Michael Hop, said he was set up by an FBI informant who supplied the shotgun after suggesting they go shooting.

Federal agents searched his home in Pullman on April 20 and seized that shotgun, then searched a property in Colton and seized four rifles, a shotgun and more than 150 rounds of ammunition.

Authorities say Hop had talked of targeting abortion clinics.

Hop was convicted in California of third-degree rape of a child in 2005, a felony that prohibits him from possessing firearms or ammunition. The conviction stemmed from a consensual relationship with a girl who was 14 when she first met Hop. She wrote a letter that urged Whaley to keep him out of jail.

“I strongly believe he is NOT a danger to society,” the woman, now 23, wrote. “At the time I was being physically and mentally abused, he was my lifesaver.”

Other friends and family wrote letters supporting Hop, including the mother of his 6-year-old son.

Home-invasion robber gets 10 years

A robber who fled a north Spokane home after being struck with a sword has been sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison.

Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, alias Gardner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree robbery and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt to 129 months, according to court records.

McDaniels was arrested in May for a robbery  in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court, as was Nathan W. Day, 21.

Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May. Erik J. Zacher, 26, was arrested in July.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Court overturns Idaho man’s convictions

BOISE - A Kootenai County man has been cleared of three felony charges, after the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled a jury didn’t have sufficient evidence to conclude he had a gun when he angrily confronted friends of his ex-girlfriend in 2010 after vandalizing their home.

David Loren Curry was convicted of burglary, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, with a sentence enhancement added for being a persistent violator; the burglary charge was based on the argument that he entered a garage with the intent of threatening the occupants with a deadly weapon.

Read the rest of Betsy Z. Russell's story here.

Gun thief gets more time than murderer

A Stevens County judge on Tuesday sentenced a convicted gun thief to 125 years in prison — a term that’s about 100 years longer than the sentences handed down to three others for a murder committed using one of the stolen guns.

Superior Court Judge Pat Monasmith sentenced convicted felon Christopher G. Nichols, 27, to 125 years in prison, despite the fact that he had no role in the 2011 killing of Colville resident Gordon Feist.

Nichols wept, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

March 8, 2012: 2 men get 25+ years in Colville murder

Sept. 26: Two more charged in Stevens County homcide

Aug. 2: Murder suspect may claim insanity

July 21: Police think botched theft led to murder near Colville

July 20: Slaying near Colville baffles neighbors

Exercising man loses BMW, gun, wallet

A car was recovered minutes after it was stolenin north Spokane recently when the alleged thief’s friend turned him in.

The 73-year-old owner, Robert B. Renz, parked his 2006 BMW at 8121 N. Division St. before exercising at the North Park Athletic Club on Friday.

Renz secured his wallet and keys in a locker, but someone opened the locker and stole them, then stole his BMW with a loaded Smith and Wesson .357 revolver inside, according to court documents.

Before he saw his car was missing, Renz was informed by the front desk that a man called and said he knew where the stolen BMW was.

That man told police his friend Matthew J. Gillette, 23, called him looking to sell a gray 2006 BMW. The man said he knew Gillette stole the car from the athletic club, so he called club employees and returned it to Renz.

But the gun and Renz’s wallet containing $400 still were missing. Soon, a person described in court documents as someone “who has been given special police considerations” told police Gillette was at the McDonald’s parking lot on North Division, near the athletic club.

Police arrested him there, and he told them the gun was in his room at the Howard Johnson Inn. He said he dumped the wallet, which included Renz’s military identification, in a Dumpster behind Jack in the Box and spent the cash on Oxycodone “to keep him from getting sick,” according to court documents.

Police retrieved the gun and booked Gillette into jail on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm, second-degree theft, trafficking in stolen property and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Gillette has felony drug and forgery convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms. He was jailed on $20,000 for the new charges and $20,000 warrant for theft and stolen property charges filed July 10.

Elections Good For Gun Sales

Some Kootenai County gun retailers and law enforcement are reporting a rise in gun ownership, though they say the trend started months before last week's shooting in Colorado. “It's an election year,” explained Eric Johnson, trainer with Downtown Guns and Ammo. As rumors of policy change are thick in the air again with the approaching presidential election, fear of fiercer gun control is also resurfacing. “It was crazy the last time,” Johnson recalled of folks harvesting firearms during Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. “Anytime a Democrat gets elected, people start to panic a bit. This year, there's even more on the re-election. The majority of people start to panic, then.” Although retailers' shelves haven't been emptied like they were four years ago, gun sales at Johnson's downtown Coeur d'Alene store have risen about 30 percent this year, he estimated. No particular style or brand seems more popular than others, he added. “They're buying just about everything,” he said. “Election years, they're always just a little concerned”/Alecia Warren, SR. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Treven Weaver helps a customer browsing the gun selection Thursday at Black Sheep Sporting Goods in Coeur d'Alene)

Question: Has the current direction and/or economic situation in this country prompted you to purchase a gun (more guns)?

Accused killer pleads guilty in gun case

A Spokane man accused of murdering a gang rival 2 1/2 years ago has admitted to unlawfully possessing the murder weapon.

Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to felon in possession of a firearm, halting a scheduled trial.

Thomas, who has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, faces up to 10 years in prison when he sentenced, which is scheduled for Oct. 11. The charge stems from a Ruger mini 30 rifle found in a Nissan Altima rental car near the body of John S. Williams, 38, who was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010, outside a party at 5405 N. Crestline St.

The gun had Thomas' fingerprints on it. He was arrested in Los Angeles in September 2010 on a second-degree murder charge and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting trial. Spokane County prosecutors dismissed the murder charge but are expected to refile when the federal gun charge is resolved.

Federal prosecutors had asked a judge to allow jurors in Thomas' gun trial to know about his gang membership and the gun's link to the murder. Thomas' lawyer objected.

Trib: Answer To Killings, More Guns?

That emotional, knee-jerk reaction you're hearing to the massacre of a dozen people and the wounding of five times as many in a Colorado movie house isn't coming from the gun-control crowd. Oh, you'll hear a few scattered voices arguing that had the Brady bill not been allowed to lapse almost eight years ago, suspect James E. Holmes might not have carried an assault weapon equipped with a 100-round drum magazine into a crowded theater. But Republicans are wedded to the National Rifle Association, Democrats are scared witless of the gun issue and many Americans aren't sure laws already on the books function adequately. No, what really stands out is the number of people who are willing to use this rampage as a springboard for even fewer restraints on guns/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you consider the answer to the Aurora massacre to be more guns?

Murdered man’s apartment burglarized

The family of a Western Washington man shot and killed nearly two weeks ago went to his Liberty Lake apartment to collect his things, only to find it burglarized and his newly purchased assault rifle missing.

Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, had been living in the area attending Spokane Community College, according to news reports.

He was shot and killed July 14 at Blue Stilly Park in Arlington in what police described as a dispute over $20 of marijuana. Suspect Dennis R. Watters, 41, of Tulalip, is in jail.

Mumm grew up in Arlington, and his family lives there. His sister, Jessica Olson, traveled to Liberty Lake to remove his items from the apartment at 22809 E. Country Vista Dr. and found it burglarized. An open rifle case sat on the living room floor. Olson said Mumm had bought a firearm at Cabela’s a couple months ago.

Liberty Lake police Detective Ray Bourgeois obtained a search warrant for Cabela’s firearm records that indicated the gun was a Romarm AK-47 assault rifle purchased by Mumm on Feb. 12. He entered the gun as stolen.

7-Eleven robbery trio pleads not guilty

Three men accused of robbing a 7-Eleven store at gunpoint have pleaded not guilty.

Joseph Taitano, 20; Aleksandr Ampleyev, 20; and Jorell Jones, 21; got about $300 in cash and coins and a felony charge of first-degree robbery for the incident at 1317 S. Grand Blvd. about 2 a.m. July 15.

A woman who said she was sleeping in their getaway van said the men threw the cash drawer out the window and counted the money while talking about “how awesome” the robbery was, according to court documents.

A Spokane police officer spotted the van at a Cenex Zip Trip gas station at 57th Avenue and Regal Street about 20 minutes after the robbery.

Taitano and Ampleyev are in jail; Jones is out on $25,000 bond.

Suspect arrested in May home robbery

A fourth suspect has been arrested in a home-invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area that ended with a resident confronting his attackers with a sword.

Erik J. Zacher, 26, is accused of robbing residents in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in May.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested a day after the robbery. McDaniels still is there; Day is out on $25,000 bond.  Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May and remains in jail.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Zacher is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. He was arrested Saturday.

Mail thief fires shot after Taser shock

A convicted mail thief wanted for violating his probation shot a round from a firearm after being shocked with a stun gun today northwest of Airway Heights, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

No one was injured and Tony L. Gust, 33, was arrested without further incident, authorities say.

Marshals were looking for Gust after a warrant was issued today in U.S. District Court. They found him at his home in the 22000 block of West Jacobs Road about 4:20 p.m. and watched as he ran into his trailer and “armed himself with a firearm,” according to a news release.

“Deputies deployed a taser striking Gust. Subsequently a round was fired from the weapon Gust was holding,” the news release said. “The Deputy U.S. Marshals then subdued Gust and took him into custody.”

Gust was arrested in January 2011 after a postal inspector recognized him from surveillance video that showed him breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity post office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave.

He was sentenced in June to three years of probation, but that was revoked in October and he was sent to jail for six months. He left in April and was to participate in a treatment program.

Authorities noted his “troubling history of violence and offenses involving firearms,” in court documents filed in May 2011, which his lawyer attributed to Gust's “physical, mental and dependency problems” and said treatment would serve well.

Gust has previously been employed as a welder and a cook, according to court documents. In 2003, he was arrested for illegally shooting on a property in Liberty Lake, according to news archives.
  

McD’s robbery suspect arrested in Calif.

A suspect in a series of armed robberies in Spokane was arrested in California Wednesday - his 26th birthday.

Avery Lee Loring was booked into the Fresno County Jail at 6:23 p.m. on a U.S. Marshals' hold.

He's is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among several suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are accused of robbing the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University. Crime Stoppers had been offering a reward for information that led to Loring's arrest.

A reward still is being offered for tips that help arrest another robbery suspect, Oladejo B. Olajoyegbe, 24.

Man in Facebook robbery gets 15 years

A 23-year-old man who robbed a boy lured to Spokane through Facebook avoid a life prison sentence recently when a judge approved a plea deal.

David Michael Martinez was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault. He was arrested in June 2011 for first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and faced life in prison without the possibility of parole under Washington's three-strikes law.

Martinez has previous convictions for attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree assault, which are strike offenses. He also has convictions for attempting to elude police.

His lawyer prepared a mitigation package, and prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges “given the difficult circumstances of defendant's childhood upbringing,” according to court documents.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza approved the 180-month sentence on Thursday, which is exceptionally high for the gun and assault convictions.

Martinez admitted to robbing a Post Falls boy who arranged to meet a girl through Facebook.

The victim said he agreed to meet the girl at Corbin Park with $75, but when he got in her Chevy Tahoe, two men later identified as Martinez and Brendan T. Dalla pointed handguns at him and demanded his money, according to court documents.

Dalla was sentenced in November to four years in prison for second-degree robbery. The girl was charged as an adult, but her charges later were moved to juvenile court.

Man shot in April arrested at CdA Casino

A man shot in what police believe was a drug-related incident on Spokane's South Hill in April was arrested today at the Coeur d'Alene Casino for a brutal assault in Adams County.

Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, has been wanted since July 11 on a $500,000 warrant for charges of first-degree robbery and first-degree assault.

A casino security officer saw him today about 5 a.m. and requested assistance from tribal police as surveillance employees watched Cardenas walk back to his room through the cameras.

U.S. Marshals arrived to help arrest Cardenas, who has been described as a gang leader. He was taken into custody about 9 a.m.Police found drugs and weapons in his room and arrested four other people. Their names have not been released.

“This arrest is the result of great work by one of our very own tribal police officers and a collaborative effort with the U.S. Marshals to bring Cardenas in. I’m very proud of our guys and appreciative to the U.S. Marshals for their cooperation,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Police Chief Cody SiJohn said in a prepared statement.

Cardena's friend Alicia Maria Favro was indicted just two weeks ago on a felon in possession of a firearm charge in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Favro, 42, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing a chrome Walther semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun that was found in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in April. She's in custody at the Spokane County Jail.

Cardenas' gunshot wound back in April  was not life threatening. A medic who treated him was severely burned by a chemical substance while treating Cardenas. Police didn't find toxic substances in Cardenas' car, but they did find large amounts of cash and methamphetamine.

Favro told police she went to Northern Quest Casino with Cardenas after he won $3,000 gambling in Moses Lake, according to court documents.

Rifle halts girlfriend’s unexpected move

Two movers had a rifle pointed at them when they showed up at their customer's boyfriend home to move her stuff out without his knowledge.

Homeowner Jaime R. Stout, 30, was jailed for first-degree assault after  said he'd pointed a rifle at them as they tried to move Stout's girlfriend's things out of his home in the 300 block of West Dalton Avenue on Friday.

Stout's girlfriend was moving out and asked David Smather, 46, and Kyle Parr, 26, of Spokane Movers to move her stuff without Stout's knowledge.

Stout, who told police he had been drinking, was released from jail on his own recognizance after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday.
  

Reward targets suspect in McD’s robbery

A reward is being offered for tips that help arrest a a suspect in a series of armed robberies in the Spokane area.

Avery Lee Loring, 25, is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., at gunpoint on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among seven suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are believed to have robbed the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University involving his now former girlfriend, Alyssa Anderson, then a high school honor student. Loring assaulted the victims with a tire iron after hiding in a bush while Anderson put on a ski mask and pointed a shotgun at them and demanded money, according to previously published reports He earned his GED while in jail.

Now Loring is wanted on new robbery charges and, like the other suspects, could be facing further charges as the investigation into the robbery spree continues. Police have been searching for him but were told he may have fled to California.

Anyone with information on Loring's current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should give a code name or number.

Gun suspect arrested after shooting

Gunfire at a party in Spokane Valley early Sunday led to the arrest of a 24-year-old suspect.

Edgar Ambriz Viveros is accused of firing a pistol at a home in the 15000 block of East Mission Avenue, where sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a shooting about 4:50 a.m.

No one was shot but on person cut his hand on broken glass during the altercation, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses said Viveros fired the gun and fled in a vehicle before deputies arrived. Deputies found a vehicle matching the description in the area of Pines and Cherry roads.

Two men were detained for questioning after the vehicle was stopped at Pines Road and Maribeau Parkway. Major crimes detectives identified Viveros as a suspect and arrested him for first-degree assault.

Lawyer cites Pirtles’ ‘victim mentality’

A member of a Spokane family that claims police target them because of their relation to a notorious double murderer is heading to federal prison, and his lawyer says his parents' “victim mentality” is partially to blame.

Jayce Leon Elton Pirtle, Jr., 24, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Pirtle is the nephew of Blake Pirtle, who murdered two Burger King employees in Spokane Valley in 1992. Blake Pirtle's death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled law enforcement violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Pirtles said in 2009 that police unfairly target them because of that case. They vowed to move out of Spokane. Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe says the family has a “propensity for crime” that earns law enforcement attention.

Pirtle's lawyer, Roger Peven, said Pirtle's parents' insistence that they have been unfairly targeted has not helped their son.

“The combination of parental neglect, abuse, enabling and perpetuating a victim mentality clearly has been devastating to this twenty-four-year-old's development,” Peven wrote.

Pirtle, a father with a girlfriend of seven years, had a troubled childhood that included reporting to authorities his father nearly killing his mother when he was just nine-years-old, according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by his lawyer, Roger Peven.

Pirtle's father went to prison, but, Peven wrote, it's clear “that the abuse and neglect continued throughout Mr. Pirtle's youth.” Pirtle later hid stolen property and a firearm with his father in 2005, Peven wrote.

“The public is better served by addressing the neglect and violence that this young man was subjected to so that Mr. Pirtle has a better chance of being a better parent and functioning member of society,” Peven wrote. “It is clear that Mr. Pirtle is in need of some counseling or treatment to address the family issues he has encountered over the course of his life in order to get a grip on himself, be a functioning member of society, and be a parent to his children.”

Pirtle was indicted in November for a handgun, two rifles and 175 rounds of ammunition found in his apartment at 1808 E. Pacific Ave. on July 8, 2011.

The guns were stolen in a burglary.

Pirtle was arrested the day of the search on a second-degree assault charge for an alleged baseball bat beating that left a man with a permanent lip disfigurement in May 2011. He still is charged with second-degree assault in Spokane County Superior Court. He has previous convictions for second-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping.

Gun trial linked to murder, gang rivalry

Federal prosecutors want jurors in an upcoming gun trial to know about the suspect's gang membership and the gun's link to a 2010 murder in northeast Spokane.

Edward Lee “TD” Thomas, 26, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm for a Ruger mini 30 rifle found in a Nissan Altima rental car near the body of John S. Williams, 38, who was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2010, outside a party at 5405 N. Cresline St.

The gun had Thomas' fingerprints on it. He was arrested in Los Angeles in September 2010 on a second-degree murder charge and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting trial. Spokane County prosecutors dismissed the murder charge but will refile once Thomas' federal gun charge is resolved.

Trial on the gun charge is set to begin July 23 in U.S. District Court in downtown Spokane.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a motion asking that jurors be allowed to hear testimony about the shooting. Thomas' lawyer, Bryan Whitaker, has objected and points to the fact that Thomas hasn't even been convicted of murder.

“The logic here is flawless: since John Williams was shot with a firearm, Mr. Thomas could only have shot him while in possession of a firearm,” Whitaker wrote in a response to the motion. “The fallacy of this logic is that it relies completely on Mr. Thomas being the person who shot John Williams. The jury, therefore, would be invited to convict Mr. Thomas of Felon in Possession of  Firearm because the Government believes he shot John Williams.”

Thomas is accused of shooting Williams multiple times, including a final shot to his face. Police and prosecutors say the shooting stemmed from a gang rivalry, and prosecutors want to experts to tell jurors about Thomas' ties to the Atlantic Drive Compton Crips.

Police say Thomas acquired the firearm after a dispute with Jerome Danner, a member of the Grape Street Crips. The groups were at a birthday party for Ronald L. “Heavy” Shuler when a fight broke out. Williams, who was linked to Danner, punched out a window to a car in which Thomas was before he was shot by Thomas, police say.

But Whitaker said the relationship between Thomas and Danner was not based on gang member but on the fact that they each have a child with the same woman.

“The acrimonious relationship between gangs has no bearing on issues in this case. The theory here is that gang membership is the motive for possessing a firearm. That logic would permit the admission of gang-related testimony in EVERY case involving a gang member,” Whitaker wrote.

U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle has not yet ruled on the motions.

Six other men were charged in connection with the homicide, including Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton, who was sentenced to five years in prison for driving Thomas from the murder. Police say Thomas went to Antonio Cook's house after the shooting and stayed there until the next day. Cook, who reportedly supplied the murder weapon, also has been charged.

3 plead not guilty in downtown assault

Three men accused of a brutal beating in downtown Spokane late last month have pleaded not guilty.

Clayton M. Cotter, 21; Schuyler Ray Cotter, 19; and Michael W. Baesman, 34; are accused of beating a man unconscious June 27  near West 2nd Avenue and South Jefferson Street.

Clayton Cotter remains in jail on $10,000 bond. His younger brother is out of jail and was summonsed to court this morning for his arraignment before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

Baesman is at Geiger Corrections Center on $10,000 bond. He and the elder Cotter were arraigned Tuesday
Just after the brothers were arrested, prosecutors charged them with unlawful possession of a firearm for a case from December.

Police searched a home in the 1600 block of East Glass Avenue Dec. 8 after reports that the brothers lived there and had been possessing firearms. One witness said the men and their friends shots into a diaper box in the basement on a daily basis. Police seized a .22 caliber Mossberg 702 Plinkster rifle, along with rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and shotgun ammunition.

The downtown beating came at a time of concern from businesses and city leaders about roving packs of violent young people. Police have made several arrests.

On June 16, 18-year-old Eric James Smith was arrested for allegedly beating a bouncer at Jimmyz, 521 W. Sprague, who had just left work. David Reynold said he was surrounded by a large group of men who were “getting mouthy” and “getting in my face,” according to court documents.

Reynolds said the men retreated when he showed them his handgun. He was treated for a head injury at a hospital. Smith pleaded not guilty June 26 to second-degree assault and remains in jail on $20,000 bond.

Police say an increased focus in the downtown area has aided in the arrests.

Burglar shoots at elderly woman’s home

A Spokane burglary suspect believed to have fired several rounds into an elderly woman's front door was arrested after a sheriff's corporal shot him with bean bags in front of another would-be victim's home early Saturday.

Ernest Earl Strebeck, 46, was armed with a handgun when members of the sheriff’s SWAT team confronted him as he sat on a porch of another home at 6536 N. Freya St.

Strebeck refused commands to lower the gun and instead stood up and stepped down from the porch, then tossed the firearm back onto the porch and walked away with his hands in his pockets. Cpl. Jeff Shover used a shotgun to fire three bean bags at Strebeck to subdue him enough to be handcuffed. He was transported to a hospital before being booked into jail.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man arrested w/ stolen SUV after chase

A man was arrested at gunpoint early Sunday after leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase from Interstate 90 to the Gonzaga University area.

Charles A. Castro, 31, was driving a black SUV east on the freeway when he changed lanes to take the Division Street exit about 3:45 a.m., then suddenly swerved back and continued driving erratically, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The trooper tried to pull him over, but Castro continued driving on the shoulder before exiting the freeway

Its doors sprung open but the SUV, which had been stolen in Sandpoint, continued driving; the trooper believes the passengers were thinking about jumping from the vehicle but decided against it.

The SUV sped north on Hamilton through flashing red lights and a cross walk before driving in the wrong lanes and coming to a stop in the middle of the intersection of East Cleveland Avenue and North Dakota Street.

Castro told police he had a warrant for missing court and had meth in his front pocket. He said he his passengers didn't know the car was stolen and that he was giving them a ride from the casino.

Police found meth in the SUV's center console. Castro was taken to jail, then to a hospital after he told officers “that he had swallowed a bunch of meth during the pursuit,” according to court documents.

Castro was treated at a hospital, then booked into jail on eluding police and stolen vehicle charges, as well as two Spokane County warrants for drug and stolen vehicle charges.
  

Jury indicts woman in April shooting

A Moses Lake woman has been indicted by a grand jury for illegally possessing a firearm after her friend was shot in what Spokane police believe was a drug-related assault.

Alicia Marie Favro, who turned 42 last week, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing a chrome Walther semi-automatic .380 caliber handgun that was found in her purse when she tried to go through security at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in April.

Favro was at the hospital to see Arthur Frank Cardenas, 33, who was shot in the stomach April 26 by an unidentified gunman near 1800 W. Sixth Ave. Favro drove Cardenas from the scene and flagged over a police officer near 13th Avenue and South Cedar Street.

Favro, who has felony convictions for assault and forgery that prohibit her from possessing firearms, told police several versions of what happened but admitted to putting the firearm in her purse after finding it on the rear floorboard of Cardenas' white Chevy Malibu, according to court documents.

Cardenas' gunshot wound was not life threatening. A medic who treated him was severely burned by a chemical substance while treating Cardenas. Police didn't find toxic substances in Cardenas' car, but they did find large amounts of cash and methamphetamine.

Favro told police she went to Northern Quest Casino with Cardenas after he won $3,000 gambling in Moses Lake, according to court documents. She said two women needed a ride home from Cardenas because they were worried about their kids not making it to school. Favro said Cardenas was driving the woman home when the shooting occurred.

Cardenas was arrested in 2010 as part of a large gang sweep in Grant and Adams counties. Police at the time alleged he was the leader of a large criminal gang. Spokane police continue to investigate the shooting and the possible drug connections.

A detective filed a search warrant late last month for phone records related to the case. A grand jury indicted Favro July 3 in U.S. District Court on one count of felon in possession of a firearm. She remains in custody at Geiger Corrections Center.