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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.

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.

Appleseed Project sets marksmanship clinic at Fernan Gun Club

SHOOTING – Another in a series of rifle marksmanship clinics is being offered at the Fernan Gun Club on July 14-15.

The clinics are sponsored by the Revolutionary War Veteran's Association’s Project Appleseed, which involves shooting instruction along with history about the impact of marksmanship in the American Revolution.

The clinic teachdes three rifleman shooting positions, use of the sling, six steps to firing the shot, natural point of aim, how to zero your rifle using inches/minutes/clicks, and more.

The project also is designed to promotes civic involvement.

Cost for the two-day clinic: Men $70, women $10,  and $5 for  youths under 21.  The clinic is free for active military, law enforcement officers, and elected officials.

Pre-register: (208) 819-0866 or email ID@appleseedinfo.org.

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.

4th suspect arrested in ‘09 home robbery

A fourth suspect has been arrested in a gunpoint home-invasion robbery that occurred nearly three years ago.

Travis J. Kulhavy, 28, is accused of robbing four people at a home in the 500 block of East Garland Avenue on Oct. 8, 2009.

Co-defendant Brian L. Gilliam, 28, was sentenced to five years in prison last week.

He and Maurice D. Lofton, 31, (pictured) who pleaded guilty in May 2010 to felony riot, helped police identify Kulhavy and Nicole A. Thompson, 21, as the final suspects in the robbery during interviews in late December and in January.

Thompson pleaded not guilty to the charges in May and is out of jail awaiting an August trial. Kulhavy had been wanted on a $150,000 warrant since May 3. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail Friday afternoon.

The incident began when a woman believed to be Thompson knocked on the front door and asked to use a telephone. Two men then appeared and one used a handgun to strike a man who exited the home and force him back inside. That man was forced to kneel down on the floor in an "execution-style position" as his wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape, according to court documents.

Three other people in the home also were restrained with duct tape and two were beaten with handguns. The robbers asked about drugs and money as they stole a duffel bag of marijuana, as well as cell phones, DVDs, a PlayStation and jewelry.

Police tracked one of the phones to the area of 200 E. Wedgewood Ave. the night of the robbery, where they arrested Gilliam and Lofton.

Gilliam described one of his accomplices as a woman named NIkki who had a tattoo that said "GD" and included a pitchfork.

Thompson showed detective Jeff Barrington that tattoo during an interview in March. "GD" is short for Gangster Disciple. Thompson told Barrington she was present during the robbery but "I did no harm. I didn't hurt no one. Travis did everything. All I did was get the door open," according to court documents.

Kulhavy and Thompson are charged with four counts of first-degree robbery, four counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree assault and single counts of first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary.

Lofton was given the plea deal after the victim failed to identify him in a police lineup. He told Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno at his sentencing that  "I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was messing around with the wrong friends.” Read more here.

Man faces 123 years in prison for guns

A convicted felon from Stevens County now faces a minimum of 123 years in prison after a jury found him guilty today of 21 felonies that were tied to the slaying last year of a Colville man.

Investigators believe was a botched burglary.The jury deliberated about three hours before finding Christopher G. Nichols, who turned 27 Thursday, guilty of nine counts of a felon in a possession of a firearm and nine counts of theft, burglary, auto theft and trafficking in stolen property in the first degree.

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

911 call in homeowner shooting released

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911

In this file photo, Doug Snarski, 55, stands at the top of the stairs where he shot an intruder in his home last month. (SR/Jesse Tinsley)

A Newman Lake homeowner did nothing wrong when he shot his girlfriend’s ex to death after being threatened by him with guns last month, prosecutors say.

Spokane County prosecutors said Tuesday that no criminal charges will be filed against Doug Snarski, 55, for the homicide of Sean Parsons on May 13.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

May 15: Man shoots, kills armed intruder

WARNING: THE 911 CALL POSTED ABOVE CONTAINS CRUDE LANGUAGE AND GUN VIOLENCE.

Thief hits Homeland Security officer’s car

A Spokane woman is accused of stealing a federal Homeland Security officer's passport and and using it to pawn two stolen rifles.

 Investigators identified Amanda Wayne Macklin, 23, as a suspect after finding her number in Double Eagle Pawn's phone records. They say she called the pawn shop on Nov. 21 asking if a passport could be used to sell items there, then went to the East Sprague Avenue store and sold the stolen guns for $475 using a passport belonging to Shannon L. Hart.

Hart was at Oz Fitness at 603 E. Holland in Spokane on Nov. 20 when someone prowled her vehicle and stole her Homeland Security identification card, her passport and a Sig Sauer .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, according to court documents.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms obtained surveillance video of a woman pawning the rifles, which were stolen in a burglary Nov. 21 at a home in the 12000 block of North Denver Street. Macklin's family members identified her as that woman, according to court documents. Macklin told them she dumped Hart's passport and pistol into a dumpster, investigators say.

Federal agents also obtained a recording of Macklin telling her mother in a phone call from the Spokane County Jail that she pawned the guns and burglarized other homes to support her and her sister's drug habit. Macklin and her sister, Jordan Newkirk, already are charged with several felonies for an alleged burglary ring.

In the Dec. 26 break-in, the thieves used a spring-loaded punch to break holes through a lower window at a home in the 100 block of West Falcon Avenue and stole thousands of dollars in jewelry, including a ring that contained the ashes of the homeowner's mother.

Police in Kent, Wash, had noted the unusual burglary tool in Macklin's Kia Spectra when they arrested her there four days before the burglary.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Mark Newton noted in his report that he and his partner have been detectives for 45 years total and have never found anyone in possesses of such a device, which he said would shatter normal glass but didn't at the Falcon Avenue home because the glass was tempered.

"If one were to use such a punch on a normal piece of glass, the punch would shatter the glass leaving no indication a punch was used," Newton wrote in court documents.

Macklin was charged in that case in March. Prosecutors filed six new gun and property crime charges May 25 for theft of Hart's passport. Then a federal grand jury indicted her last week on a charge of unlawful possession and barter and disposal of a stolen firearm and misuse o a passport for allegedly dumping Hart's gun and passport.

Disgruntled bar customer returns w/ gun

A man who scuffled with employees at a Spokane Valley bar fired a gun in the bar's parking lot late Wednesday, police said today.

Bret A. Nemitz, 29, finished a drink at Boomers Classic Rock Bar, 18209 E. Appleway Ave., just as the bar was closing. The owner told Spokane County sheriff's deputies that they asked him to leave after he began harassing two customers who were playing pool, and Nemitz grabbed the owner by the shirt and neck.

The owner's father helped control Nemitz, but the owner said he had an uneasy feeling as Nemitz walked away.

Ashort time later, the owner saw Nemitz drive a vehicle into the parking lot and noticed a shiny object in his hand. The owner told his father to crouch down just before a gunshot ran out, according to a news release.

Deputies responded about 11:30 p.m. saw the bullet hit a window on the west side of the bar. They located his car at a home near the bar and found Nemtiz standing in the backyard. He was booked into jail on two counts of drive-by shooting.

One bullet ~ oceans of grief

She was a little girl growing up in a poor family: poor in means, poor in skills, poor, poor poor.

She needed clothing and guidance and love and encouragement and care for her body and spirit. Her aunt and uncle stepped in offering help. Mostly, they hoped to offer her a chance to see a new path for her life. They loved her.

And through the years there were adventures in their home and across the country. Laughter and cookie-baking and travel and Christmas trees and celebrations and girl time and interesting people and a chance to get out of the cycle of neglect and apathy. Mostly, there was love.

She grew up. And chose a boyfriend, abandoning her own dreams. The first baby came, then another and another.

She walked away from the aunt and uncle and opportunities to follow her dreams. She stopped calling – and disappeared from their lives.

Last week her oldest child was killed. He’s dead. A gunman, a bullet. Tyler was 19, on his own, no mother in sight.

The bullet’s trajectory passed through his body and into the family, ripping open hearts, creating anguish and pain and questions and rage and sadness spilling out like blood – everywhere. A bullet that pierced memories.

News reports of anonymous victims evoke outrage, but bullets that fly into our personal lives bring shards of pain and grief that defy description and leave wounds, gaping wounds, deep and ugly. No logic, no reason. Only violence, exploding our theories of how to stop the madness.

There once was a little girl, bright, happy and full of dreams.  She had a little boy, innocent and sweet. He was taken. One bullet, oceans of grief. I know this pain, palpable and deep.  For I am the aunt to the sweet little girl, grieving her son, gunned down - and gone.

(S-R archives photo)

 

Robbers take over South Hill McDonald’s

Four masked robbers took over a McDonald's on the South Hill at gunpoint Friday night, and police are asking for help identifying them. 

Police today released three surveillance photos of the robbers, who accosted six people inside the restaurant at 4647 S. Regal St., just after 10 p.m.

The victims complied with demands and none was injured. The robbers, who wore black clothing, fled on foot before police arrived. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to arrests. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Police: We saved repeat offender’s life

Spokane police say they saved the life of a career criminal and sex offender when he went into cardiac arrest after he was taken into custody Sunday.

Officer Nick Geren administered first aid on Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, while he was being transported to the jail after he was picked up the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team.

Epperson was taken to a hospital, then booked into jail on a slew of felony charges related to a home-invasion robbery and a burglary spree.

Epperson is level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend. A woman who identified herself as his sister said in an email to The Spokesman-Review that he has "at least 10 kids that we know about."

"He is a menace," Melissa Epperson said in the email. "Please fight to keep him locked up for your community and his children."

Epperson was arrested just three weeks ago for a burglary in the Country Homes area in north Spokane County.

Investigators believe he burglarized homes of guns, electronics and jewelry to help pay a $1,000 debt to his heroin dealer. Epperson's girlfriend, Chelsey M. Loe, also is suspected in the case. Investigators searched the couple's home at 51 E. Crown on May 6 and recovered meth and suspected stolen property.

Epperson told sheriff's detectives he burglarized homes with Anthony L. Haines, who was arrested May 2 with a gun stolen in one of the burglaries, according to court documents.

Epperson was out of jail awaiting arraignment in that case when police say he helped rob residents at a home in the Indian Trail area May 22. Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested Wednesday and remain in jail.

Geren was awarded the Spokane Police Department's life-saving award in 2008 after he and Officer Brian Eckersley administered CPR on a woman who'd fallen unconscious in downtown Spokane.

Kidnapped man escapes from car trunk

A kidnapped man forced into the trunk of a car in Montana freed himself on a Pend Oreille County highway early Sunday, leading to two arrests.

A motorist said he was driving on Highway 2 near Pend Oreille Park about 7:10 a.m. when the trunk of the vehicle in front of him opened and a man started waving his arms and yelling for help, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office said today.

The vehicle stopped and the man jumped from the trunk and ran toward the witness's vehicle. He said he'd been beaten, bound and forced into the trunk while in Montana.

Sheriff's deputies stopped the suspect vehicle a short time later near Newport, Wash. The driver initially refused to stop, and someone threw a firearm from the vehicle that was later recovered.

Kenny J. Morrison, 29, and John M. Davis, 39, of Columbia Falls, Mont., were arrested on charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault, possession of methadone without a prescription and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pend Oreille County sheriff's investigators are working with detectives in Flathead County, Mont.

Sex offender arrested in home invasion

A sex offender suspected in a violent gunpoint home-invasion robbery was arrested today.

 Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, was booked into jail on felony charges related to an early-morning attack last Tuesday in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in the Indian Trail area.

The Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team located Epperson in the 4200 block of North Atlantic Street, Officer Brian Eckersley said in a news release.

Epperson was arrested just three weeks ago for a burglary in the Country Homes area in north Spokane County and is to be arraigned Wednesday on residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and resisting arrest charges.

He was out of jail awaiting that arraignment when police allege he partook in the robbery, which involved the victims being bound with zip ties and one being pistol whipped.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested Wednesday and remain in jail.

Epperson faces charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Eckersley said. Prosecutors filed charges on Friday.

Epperson is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend. He was convicted of third-degree rape of a child in 2003. He also has a conviction for indecent liberties.

Drugs, guns seized near Valley school

Sheriff's investigators arrested a suspected methamphetamine dealer this week after a month's long investigation that yielded not only drugs but three guns.

His Spokane Valley home's backyard is connected to the playground of Trentwood Elementary School.

Gang and drug detectives obtained search warrants for the Eric D. Rangel's home, vehicle and person after a confidential informant bought methamphetamine from Rangel several times.

Police arrested Rangel, 26, Wednesday at East Eighth Avenue and South Carnahan Road in Spokane Valley and seized his car. He had methamphetamine and $3,400 on him, as well as two .9 mm pistols and additional meth in the car.

Detectives searched his home Thursday in the 4900 block of North Calvin Road and seized more meth, as well as heroin, hydrocodone, marijuana, a.12 gauge shotgun and .9 mm ammunition.

Rangel told detectives he sells meth in the Valley, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

He also admitted to leaving a stolen firearm in a motel room where he'd briefly stayed. Deputies had recently recovered the firearm, which Rangel said he'd obtained in exchange for meth.

Rangel has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing weapons.

Man gets 10+ years for home robbery

A Spokane man has been sentenced to about 10 years in prison for a gunpoint robbery last year.

Jeremy L. Standon, 30, has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions for first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, money laundering, drug possession, second-degree identity theft, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm.

He recorded his second first-degree robbery conviction - and second strike under the state's three-strikes-and-you're-out law - when he pleaded guilty in late April. Now he's headed to prison on a 129-month sentence that will include credit for 364 days already served in jail after being sentenced this week in Spokane County Superior Court.

Co-defendant John Gibson Dean, 30, is awaiting trial. He was arrested earlier this month after a couple months as a fugitive.

Police say Dean and Standon robbed three people of money, jewelry and electronics after being allowed inside the home at 1415 N. Post St. May 9, 2011. Police paid a confidential informant $100 for information that helped identify the men.

Hot shots lead Take Your Daughter to the Range Day

SHOOTING —  Girls will rule Saturday, June 9, at a Take Your Daughter to the Range Day sponsored by the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association.

The event is set of 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Sandpoint Outdoor Range off of Baldy Mountain Road with a heavy punch of female talent to work with participants:

Kathy Konek, a Sandpoint junior rifle team coach.

Hattie (Ponti) Johnson, a former Spokanite, member of the Army Marksmanship Unit and a participant in Air rifle in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Organizers say all family members are welcome, but emphasis will be on girls age 6-18.

Association members say they give the girls an opportunity to learn to shoot .22-caliber rifles and pistols in a fun and safe environment with certified instructors and range officers on hand to help.

Guns and equipment will be provided.

Sign up in advance go guarantee a spot: (208) 266-0141, email jcmalison@gmail.com.

2 arrested in Indian Trail home invasion

Two men have been arrested for a north Spokane home-invasion robbery in which the victims were bound with zip ties and one was pistol whipped.

Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, are accused of entering a home in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in the Indian Trail area about 2:45 a.m Tuesday, awaking a resident and asking him about a safe before stealing other items.

The victim said Day was armed with a handgun, and McDaniels told him to "be quiet and do what we say or you are going to get shot," according to court documents prepared by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Day struck the victim with in the eye with the butt of the gun, but the man said he was able to break free from his zip ties and jump out a window. He said his Wii gaming console and games were stolen during the robbery.

Another 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.

But that man was able to break free, too, and he grabbed a sword and struck McDaniels in the arm with it. The robbers then fled. The man's girlfriend said the robbers also threatened her with a gun and stole her iPhone.

Detectives conducting surveillance on the suspects Wednesday spotted McDaniels in the 4700 block of North Standard and arrested him. He had with him credit cards and a driver's license belonging to one of the victims, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Day was arrested Wednesday in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue with a stolen handgun. Police recovered the stolen Wii console from a home there, as well as baggies of methamphetamine.

The men were jailed on robbery, burglary and kidnapping charges. A third suspect, Joshua C. Epperson, is not yet in custody,

VA hospital locked down over gun threat

The Spokane veterans hospital was locked down Tuesday after a man with a history of gun threats said he was going to return with a gun when his narcotics prescription refill was denied.

John Alvin Barr II, 26, apparently was upset he couldn't immediately the prescription when he went to the Spokane Veteran Affairs Medical Center at 4815 N. Assembly St., Tuesday about 5:45 p.m.

Employees told Barr that his physician had left for the day and was unavailable to authorize the refill. A hospital administrator refused to authorize the refill because he noticed it wasn't the first time Barr had requested unscheduled refills.

When told that, Barr reportedly said "I guess I'm just gonna have to go home and get my .45 then," according to court documents.

It was the third time since September 2010 Barr had made threats involving a firearm, hospital staff say. The facility was locked down because employees were concerned Barr might carry out the threat.

Barr brought firearms to the hospital in October 2005 and was put on probation for three years beginning in March 2006.

Barr, of Wallace, Idaho, appeared in U.S. District Court on gun charges Wednesday and was ordered to remain in jail. A hearing to determine if he can be granted bail is scheduled for today at 2:30 p.m.

Bonner Co. killer faces new gun charge

A Bonner County man who served 10 years in prison for the shooting death of his girlfriend in 1999 could be headed to federal prison under a recent indictment.

George John Bondurant is accused of possessing a a Remington 20-gauge shotgun on May 8, according to a grand jury indictment returned this week in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene.

He faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years' probation if convicted.

Bondurant is prohibited from possessing firearms because of a felony conviction for involuntary manslaughter in 1999.

Bondurant was 21 when he was accused of shooting to death his girlfriend, Kathryn Oliver, at their home on Shingle Mill Road, northeast of Sandpoint, in February 1999.

Boundurant told investigators Oliver committed suicide. A 911 call played at his sentencing included him begging the emergency workers to hurry to the house as he held the dying Oliver in his arms. But Oliver's family described domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. Read the story from his sentencing in October 1999 here.

Bondurant served 10 years in prison, including credit for time served in jail. He was released from the Twin Falls Community Work Center on Feb. 27, 2009, according to the Idaho Department of Corrections.

A grand jury indicted him on the new charge Tuesday.

Man on bond must write book reports

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — A man charged in an undercover sting operation in Northern California that ended in gunfire has been ordered released on bond on the condition that he read and write book reports.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers allowed 23-year-old Otis Mobley to be freed Monday, although she delayed an order to allow prosecutors to appeal her decision.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that under the bond order, Mobley would be required to spend an hour reading and a half hour writing each day as he awaits trial on robbery and assault charges.

Mobley and two others are accused of arranging to sell a grenade launcher for $1,000 to an undercover federal agent in Richmond, Calif. Hutcherson was shot and wounded by agents during the alleged meeting.

Gunman arrested for road rage encounter

A man threatened three people with a gun during a road rage incident on Wednesday, police said today.

Jarred Woods, 30, was contacted by a Spokane County sheriff's deputy after his alleged victims provided 911 dispatch with his license plate number.

The victims, a man and two juvenile females, said they were driving south on Argonne Road near Wellesley Avenue when they passed Woods' vehicle and he swerved to the left, causing them to nearly swerve into oncoming traffic, according to the sheriff's office.

Woods then displayed a handgun and yelled at the victims as they called 911, the sheriff's office said.

Woods has a concealed weapons permit.

A deputy called his phone after running his license plate number and located him in the area of Argonne and Trent Avenue. He was contacted there and first said he only kept the gun in his trunk, but then admitted it to pointing it at the occupants of another vehicle because he feared the driver, according to the sheriffs office.

A .40 caliber Baretta handgun was seized from the trunk of Woods' vehicle. He was arrested on three counts of intimidation with a firearm.
  

Homeowner shoots, kills intruder

Doug Snarski knew someone was going to die when he realized his girlfriend’s ex was inside their home early Sunday.

The intruder, Sean Parsons, was armed with a shotgun, a handgun, a belt stocked with ammunition and yelling about how no one would be getting out of the house alive. Parsons had arrived at the Newman Lake home about 12:30 a.m. - just hours after he’d been served with a restraining order that prohibited him from going within two miles of the house.

“He didn’t come here to get on my Christmas list,” Snarski said Monday at his home, where he’s lived for 27 years. “He was on a mission to kill.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Spokane police arrest longtime fugitive

A Crime Stoppers fugitive wanted since February has been arrested.

 John Gibson Dean, 30, was arrested at an apartment complex at 12426 E. Broadway Ave., after police developed information that he'd been staying there.

A witnesses told police Dean and Lisa M. Baxter, 25, stole her Ford Bronco and were planning to drive it to Montana.

Police contacted Baxter and she denied knowing where Dean was, but she was with Dean at the apartment when police arrived there Tuesday.

Baxter was arrested for rendering criminal assistance, and Dean was arrested on warrants for robbery and gun charges.

He faces a new bail-jumping charge after he left jail on $200,000 bond and never returned to court. He was to begin trial in March but didn't show up for a pre-trial conference in February which led to the warrant.

Dean is accused with Jeremy L. Standon of robbing three people of money, jewelry and electronics after being allowed inside the home at 1415 N. Post St. May 9. Standon pleaded guilty earlier this month and is to be sentenced June 13.

1 arrested for gunpoint motel robbery

A 35-year-old man has been charged with a gunpoint robbery at a Spokane motel that netted $150.

Shawn James Combs was arrested Tuesday for the Feb. 2 hold-up at the Select Inn Motel, 1420 W. 2nd Ave.

Combs is accused of robbing the motel owner after inquiring about a job while carrying a hammer, then returning with a handgun, according to court documents.

A man who accompanied Combs to the motel said they rode bicycles there, and Combs told him he needed to collect money from the owner. The man did not participate in the robbery but was bitten by a police K-9 after the heist and contacted by officers. He identified Combs from a photo montage, as did the motel owner.

Prosecutors summonsed Combs to court after filing charges April 9, but he didn't show up and a $100,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

He remains in the Spokane County Jail after appearing in court today.
  

2 homicide victims killed each other

A fight over an old car near a remote Pend Oreille County lake led to a rare double homicide in which investigators believe the victims killed each other.

No arrests are expected in the homicides of Richard “Richie” R. Hill, 18, and Steven Quinn Divine, 22, early Sunday because investigators believe each is responsible for the others death, officials said Monday.

“One of the victims had a knife, the other had a gun. And the results are they are both deceased,” said Thomas Metzger, Pend Oreille County coroner and prosecutor.

Read the rest of my story here.