Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A 19-year-old Spokane man is in custody after a federal drug informant recorded him discussing how he'd stolen firearms and would "shoot it out with the cops" if he was approached.
Patrick Hayes Wellman was arrested on Friday just yards from Glover Middle School and within 1,000 feet of Shadle Park High School, where he attended, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks.
He appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and is being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.
Investigators found hundreds of Ecstasy tablets in a safe at Wellman's apartment at 221 S. Adams in Spokane Valley, as well as marijuana on a coffee table and several bongs that "all smelled pretty bad," Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sam Keiser testified on Wednesday.
The DEA began investigating Wellman after a confidential informant told them Friday that Wellman sold large quantities of Ecstasy and repeatably said he could obtain as many pills as he wished.
The informant was to buy 100 pills from Wellman for $450. During a recorded conversation, Wellman allegedly boasted to the informant of stealing firearms; when the informant asked what he would do if stopped by police, Wellman responded "Well, I'm not going to go down easy. I'm going to shoot it out with the cops," Keiser testified.
That comment led police to initiated a traffic stop after tailing Wellman as he drove in Spokane last Friday. Five police vehicles blocked Wellman's car, and he was arrested without incident, Keiser said. He had a loaded .44 revolver in the car, Keiser said.
Wellman called his girlfriend from jail and told her a possible name of the informant, then asked her to inform two of his friends. The informant told the DEA he received a message from an unknown number saying "We know you're a snitch. You're dead."
Asked by Wellman's public defender if the informant, who was previously arrested on drug charge, won't face criminal charges because of his cooperation, Keiser said, "if it's enough to warrant that, then yes."
Wellman faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He's also charged in Spokane County Superior Court with residential burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree car theft, and six counts of theft of a firearm.
The sergeant at arms of the Washington chapter of the Hells Angels will remain in jail after a federal judge ruled there was probable cause to hold him on a gun charge.
Ricky W. Jenks, 33, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
His public defender, Kailey Moran, said prosecutors have no evidence Jenks possessed any of the loaded guns found at the Hells Angels Spokane clubhouse on March 3, just that his jacket was near them.
But Judge James Hutton said prosecutors need only to show that Jenks had knowledge of the firearms and had the ability to control them, not that he physically possessed them.
If police spotted the guns so easily, "one would infer that Mr. Jenks would also be able to see these firearms," Hutton said Wednesday.
Moran said the federal warrant authorizing the search of the clubhouse remains sealed but that it is a document-based warrant targeting another suspect, not Jenks.
Jenks, whose felony convictions include manslaughter, was the only local Hells Angels at the clubhouse. Another was from Tacoma and four others had flown in from out of state. None checked firearms when traveling and none are prohibited form possessing weapons because they aren't felons, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed.
Investigators originally reported finding six firearms. Ahmed said Wednesday that investigators found two others in an additional search.
Another Hells Angel arrested in March, Michael R. Fitzpatrick, 33, wasjailed on a marijuana charge but released the next day.
He was to be arraigned Wednesday, but county prosecutors haven't yet filed charges.
A pistol-packing St. Maries, Idaho, woman was arrested in Spokane Valley Sunday after an officer found methamphetamine in her 1993 Mercury Cougar during a traffic stop, police said today.
Brenna Ann Haynes, 21, told Officer Juan Rodriguez her driver's license might be suspended and that she had a syringe and baggie of drugs in her pocket when she was stopped for failing to use her turn signal near Sprague Avenue and McDonald Road.
Rodriguez determined she was correct on both accounts, Sgt. Dave Reagan said.
When Rodriguez asked to search the car, Haynes said she'd locked the keys inside but "added that he might be able to see the pistol stuffed between the front seats," Reagan said.
Rodriguez arrested the woman on meth and gun charges after determining she didn't have a concealed weapons permit. He obtained a search warrant for the Cougar and recovered a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with 13 bullets.
A second magazine with 13 bullets also was located on the back seat, as well as a bong, marijuana pipe, digital scale and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a horse supplement commonly used to cut methamphetamine, Reagan said.
A ranking member of the Hells Angels will remain in jail without bail after his arrest last week on a federal gun charge.
Ricky W. Jenks, 33, poses a threat to the community based on his criminal history and the seriousness of the allegation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno said Tuesday before approving a request from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to keep Jenks in custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Van Marter said Jenks has a “disturbing history of violence” that includes manslaughter and has been aided by his association with the Hells Angels.
A suspected thief shot multiple times by a Stevens County sheriff’s deputy disputed law enforcement reports Sunday that he was armed with a pistol even though authorities say they recovered a gun and several other stolen items at his home.
A man upset because he couldn't locate a family member's grave fired a gun in a Spokane cemetery Sunday, leading to his arrest, police said today.
A Hells Angels member arrested on a marijuana charge Thursday in Spokane was released from jail on his own recognizance Friday.
Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33, was booked into jail Thursday on one felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance after selling marijuana in a "controlled drug buy" set up by the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force last fall, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The one-paragraph affidavit, signed Thursday by Jeff Barrington, alleges the transaction occurred in October.
Superior Court Judge Michael Price allowed Fitzpatrick to leave jail Friday without posting bail, which pre-trial services recommended and is common in marijuana cases. Fitzpatrick has three felony convictions from several years ago, Price said.
The affidavit contains no information about Fitzpatrick's arrest, which occurred Thursday after federal agents and Spokane police searched the Hells Angels clubhouse at 1308 E. Sprague Ave. Fitzpatrick was not at the club at the time but was arrested at a different location.
Also arrested was Hells Angels sergeant of arms Ricky W. Jenks, 33.
Jenks remains in jail without bail on a federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Investigators say they found six loaded firearms in the clubhouse.
Jenks was among those indicted in 2006 with now imprisoned chapter president Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel (pictured).
An Athol man quickly regretted picking up a drunk man who was laying in the middle of a downtown Coeur d'Alene street last weekend.
According to police, Micah A. Wulff, 25, allowed the man into his truck just before 3 a.m. on Saturday but kicked the man out while northbound on Ramsey Road.
The angry man struck Wulff's truck, then swung at Wulff with a metal baton when confronted, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.
The man then "racked" the slide of a pistol and pointed it at Wulff. Wulff drove away and called police.
An Idaho State Police trooper arrested suspect Mason D. Brown, 22, in the 2400 block of West Dakota Avenue.
Brown had a handgun and said he was from Spokane Valley, according to a news release. He was booked into jail on charges of attempted aggravated battery, aggravated assault and intoxicated person with a firearm.
OUTDOOR POLITICS — Two Associated Press news stories this week out of the Montana Legislature give sportsmen reason to pause and wonder if these are the healthiest approaches to the issues.
- Republicans enthused by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s recent tough talk on wolves are getting closer to using an ancient "nullification" doctrine to disregard the federal law protecting endangered and threatened species — a plan that even the governor quickly dismissed as "off base."
- The Montana House voted 55-45 to approve a gun rights bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in urban areas without a permit. House Bill 271 would allow anyone eligible for a concealed weapon permit to carry without actually applying for a permit. Law enforcement officials are very concerned. Concealed carry is already allowed in rural areas without a permit.
A Spokane man upset that a club bouncer approached his girlfriend sprayed the man's home with bullets in a recent drive-by shooting, police say.
Derek L. Wilson, 24, (pictured above, in 2007) appeared in Superior Court Monday via video from the jail, where he is charged with seven counts of first-degree assault and seven counts of drive-by shooting for Feb. 3 gunfire at a home at 2812 E. Hoffman Ave. in Hillyard.
No one was injured in the shooting, which resident John Seyler, a bouncer at Raw, 723 W. 1st Ave., told police occurred hours after he'd approached a woman he'd frequently kicked out of bars for being underage.
The woman, later identified as Kassandra Darby, just recently turned 21 and was allowed to stay at the bar, but her boyfriend, later identified as Wilson, was angry with Seyler for approaching her, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Seyler said he saw the two in a black Audi at a convenience store at Market and Wellesley later that morning and noticed them watching him. They followed him to the residence on Hoffman; shots were fired about five minutes later. Bullets entered the home, where Seyler, three other adults and two children were staying.
Darby told police she'd been "manhandled" by a bouncer but denied knowing anything about a shooting.
Police found a .380 caliber handgun believed to have been used in the shooting at Wilson's ex-girlfriend's apartment at 4223 N. Progress Road and located a .380 caliber unfired bullet in Wilson's Audi. Wilson was arrested for driving while suspended on Feb. 4 and has been in jail since. Prosecutors filed the 14 felony charges on Friday.
Wilson is considered a gang associate by police.
He has previous convictions for second-degree robbery in 2005 and for second-degree assault in 2007 after a shooting at the skate park under Interstate 90 in downtown Spokane.
The picture above is from that arrest.
Military veteran Sherman Randolph has had second thoughts about an inappropriate comment he made during a meeting between the American Legion and city officials re: McEuen Field. At the time (shortly after the Tucson shootings, he said that regular citizens are going to have to start bringing their guns to meetings with city officials. In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press Sunday, Randolph wrote: "I am 60-plus years old and have strong, sometimes passionate, feelings. I believe in the order of law and until a law is changed, we are bound by God and man to obey them. Family, friends and associates, know me to be an honest, reliable, patriotic, God-fearing man. They also know that I am outspoken, opinionated and rarely politically correct. When Mr. Hasslinger asked me if I regretted my comment, I don't remember my exact response. In light of what has transpired as a result of this comment and his article, I have a number of regrets." More here.
Question: When did you last make a public statement that you immediately regretted?
VIENNA (AP) — Say, isn't that the president with a gun in his hand? Actually, no, but it sure looks like it.
Austrian authorities are searching for a bank robber who uses an unusual disguise: He wears a Barack Obama mask during his holdups.
Police say the man, nicknamed the "Obama Robber" by local media, is wanted for six heists since 2008. The most recent took place last week in the hamlet of Handenberg, where the Obama-resembling suspect made off with an undisclosed amount of money after threatening bank employees with a gun.
Police official Markus Mitloehner said that the man is thought to be a local since he speaks the regional dialect — with nary a trace of Obama's more professorial accent.
A suspect in a home-invasion robbery in which a woman was shot told police he intended to steal two ounces of methamphetamine, according to court documents filed Monday.
Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, is jailed on $250,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree burglary charge.
He was arrested with a BB gun after an officer spotted him running from 11309 E. 40th Ave., just after the robbery was reported about 12:34 a.m. on Sunday.
The victim, Tammi L. Putnam, was shot in each leg and lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed.
Putnam was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.
“She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Cooper, a repeat offender with several felony convictions, told police his friend, whose name has not been released, shot the woman.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A St. Maries man accused of firing his shotgun over the car of a U.S. Census worker last year has rejected a deal from prosecutors that would have reduced the charge to disturbing the peace.
Richard L. Powell, 54, is charged with exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.
His attorney, David Lohman, says Powell does not intend to accept the plea from the Benewah County prosecutor's office.
Powell is accused of shooting over the Census worker's car as he left Powell's property on March 3.
"My client is looking forward to his day in court," Lohman told The Coeur d'Alene Press.
The worker tried to deliver Powell the population-county questionnaire, but Powell told him repeatedly to leave. When the Census worker told Powell he would leave the questionnaire outside, Powell went into his house, came back outside and fired the weapon, according to court documents.
The census worker told sheriff's deputies that Powell had said "he did not want Federalies on his property" and that "his name is Rick Powell and he means business."
Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne said his motivation for offering a lesser offense is to avoid confusing language in the Idaho statute regarding exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.
According to the statute, exhibition or use of a deadly weapon identifies people who use or draw any deadly weapon unnecessarily in the presence of two or more people.
Confusion on whether "the two or more" includes the alleged weapon user can be argued either way at trial.
"I just wish we could get the exhibition statute cleaned up," Payne said. "It creates problems at trial."
A trial date in the case has not yet been set.
A Spokane Valley woman who admitted to housing drug users suffered a gunshot wound to her thigh and lost a tooth during an attempted home-invasion robbery early Sunday.
One man remains at large, but, Spokane Valley police arrested suspect Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, a longtime felon who they say was carrying a high-powered BB or airsoft gun shortly after the incident.
Police believe Cooper and the other man broke into the woman's home in the 11300 block of East 40th Avenue wearing gloves and ski masks. The woman fought the first man until a second man appeared with a handgun and threatened to shoot her, police said.
The woman realized she'd been shot in the thigh and soon lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed. The woman was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.
"She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances," according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Cooper is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked on one count of first-degree burglary.
He's a repeat offender whose previous convictions include first-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, hit and run, and domestic violence harassment and at least seven probation violations, according to a 2008 Crime Stoppers news release.
Anyone with information about Sunday's incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A woman armed with a handgun and accused of threatening her husband was arrested after a police standoff early this morning in northwest Spokane.
Rhonda R. Thompson, 49, was described by her husband as extremely agitated and combative" when officers arrived near 2500 W. Houston about 3:30 a.m.
The man said Thompson was highly intoxicated and was threatening him with a handgun, police said.
Police spent more than an hour trying to get Thompson out of the home. She was arrested without incident, and a firearm was found in her bedroom.
She's due in Superior Court this afternoon on a felony harassment charge.
"Domestic violence calls for service are consistently dangerous and unpredictable. Most parties are emotionally involved and require the patience of responding officers to diffuse the situations," according to a police news release. "Fortunately, in this morning's incident, both the involved parties and the officers safely walked away from a potentially life threatening situation."
OUTDOOR ETHICS — During a public meeting Tuesday in Spokane attended mostly by hunters and anglers, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Director Phil Anderson was asked why the state isn't more aggressive about killing wolves.
Anderson explained the recent federal court ruling that returned the gray wolf to the endangered species list. He said gray wolves were under federal jurisdiction at this time, leaving states few lethal control options to manage wolves.
To that, a man in the audience blurted out, “Why don’t we shoot some legislators?”
Several people gasped. Anderson stood speechless at the front of the room.
A few men quietly commented “That’s not funny,” and “You can’t say that.”
Bravo to those who didn't let it slide.
But It seemed that one hunter should have stood up, commanded everyone’s attention, and said, “Excuse me. Before we continue, it’s important to point out that comment was deeply disrespectful to all elected officials and just as deeply offensive to anyone who calls himself a sportsman.”
More of my thoughts on this incident are in coming Saturday on the newspaper's op-ed page.
Meantime: Your thoughts?
A Spokane Valley man was arrested Saturday after police investigating domestic violence allegations found him with a handgun. Rashad K. Harper, 29, was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm after police detained him near a convenience store.
His girlfriend had called 911 about 4:40 p.m. and said he'd damaged the windshield of her car during an argument at their apartment in 10800 block of East Third, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
The woman said Harper had access to a gun, and officers learned he had a Washington Department of Corrections warrant out for his arrest.
Police found a Tech 9 semi-automatic gun in his jacket sleeve and two loaded 10-round pistol magazines in his inside jacket pocket. Harper, who has previous domestic violence convictions, also had a loaded 30-round ammo magazine in his pants pocket.
A Spokane man suspected of shooting his 20-year-old girlfriend to death was transported back to Spokane Thursday after undergoing treatment at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Spokane police officers drove to King County Jail to take custody of Tristen Nebrae Jordan, 24, and bring him to Spokane, where he was booked into on a second-degree murder charge. He's to appear in court this afternoon.
Jordan, a former Marine, allegedly shot Samantha Clark Franco about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 12 on the 800 block of East Augusta Avenue before turning the gun on himself.
Police found him on the Gonzaga University campus near the McCarthey Athletic Center with a gunshot wound to the head. He was arrested after leading police on a short foot chase and taken to Harborview for treatment.
Spokane police hired Seattle police to guard Jordan while in the hospital. Friends said Franco had a 9-month-old baby and lived with her mother at the Augusta Avenue home.
By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of a former police chief watched video Thursday of an 8-year-old boy accidentally shooting himself to death with an Uzi submachine gun at a 2008 gun fair, a sight that prompted a collective gasp in the courtroom.
The video, taken by the boy's father, shows Christopher Bizilj, of Ashford, Conn., shooting the 9 mm micro Uzi when the front of the weapon kicks back toward his head and part of the boy's skull appears to fly off.
Former Pelham, Mass., police Chief Edward Fleury, (right) whose company co-sponsored the gun fair at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and furnishing weapons to a minor. He's on trial in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.
The boy's father, emergency room Dr. Charles Bizilj, testified Thursday that he videotaped Christopher with the micro Uzi, which jammed several times. He said he started and stopped videotaping several times as the gun jammed. At one point, he said he picked his camera up, looked toward the firing line and couldn't see Christopher.
"Chris was not in the viewfinder," Bizilj (left) testified calmly with no visible signs of emotion. "Chris was on the ground. I ran over to him. His eyes were open. I saw no reason for him to be on the ground. I tried to talk to him. He didn't respond. I put my hand behind his head to pick him up. … There was a large portion of his cranium missing."
Bizilj said he gave medical attention to Christopher until paramedics arrived.
Some relatives began to cry during the testimony, and several left the courtroom. They declined to comment earlier in the day.
Dr. Bizilj said his two young sons were excited about the gun fair, which he had first heard about months earlier at a Labor Day party and in talks with friends.
"This was a big event," Bizilj testified. "Christopher wore his special camo pants, camo shoes and a jacket with big pockets because he had been in the habit of collecting shells off the ground."
The doctor said his sons had used firearms but had never shot automatic weapons before the machine gun shoot in Westfield, about 10 miles west of Springfield.
Bizilj said he, his father-in-law and his older son Colin, then 11, fired a larger Uzi that they selected before they went shooting. He said the Uzi jammed when Colin was shooting it, and the range master picked out the micro Uzi.
Bizilj said Colin fired the micro Uzi. When he was done, Christopher stepped up to the firing line with the range master, who was next to the boy when the shooting happened.
Prosecutor William Bennett has said Christopher was too young to control the powerful weapon, which fires 1,200 rounds per minute. A now-retired state medical examiner (pictured below who performed an autopsy on Christopher testified that the boy died from a single bullet wound that caused major brain damage and bleeding.
Fleury's company, COPS Firearms & Training, co-sponsored the event with the Westfield Sportsman's Club. When asked by Bennett if he had thought about safety before the event, Bizilj said, "You can imagine this has gone through my head a thousand times."
He said that from reading the flier for the machine gun shoot and talking with friends, he thought the event would be safe and well-supervised.
Bizilj acknowledged under cross-examination by Fleury's lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, that he signed a waiver at the Sportsman's Club before the shooting saying he was aware of the possible risks, including death, and absolved anyone of liability. He also acknowledged that he told reporters soon after the event that he believed it was a tragic accident but later decided to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed against the Westfield Sportsman's Club, Fleury and two other co-defendants for negligence. It was settled last month for about $700,000, but Fleury wasn't part of the settlement, Scapicchio said.
Bizilj said his family would use the money to set up a foundation for children's activities.
During opening statement Tuesday, Scapicchio said Fleury wasn't to blame for the boy's death and that much of the responsibility fell on Dr. Bizilj for allowing his son to shoot a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors have said that Charles Bizilj was not charged because he was a layman and based his decision to allow his sons to fire the gun on information from others who should have known it was too dangerous.
Two men who supplied the machine guns for the event, Carl Giuffre and Domenico Spano, both of Connecticut, had conducted the same gun shoot at the Westfield club for seven years without incident. They have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and are awaiting trial.
A convicted felon caught by Spokane police with a sawed-off shotgun last month has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
James D. Bacon, 23, faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly possessing the 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition when police officers chased him down on Dec. 7, according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court.
Bacon was wanted for a felony drug violation and Department of Corrections warrant when he ran from police near Wellesley Avenue and Regal Street.
Police arrested him in a struggle, then realized he was armed with the shotgun.
Bacon was on probation for fourth-degree assault and has other convictions for obstructing an officer and escape from community custody.
He's been in the Spokane County Jail since Dec. 7 and is expected to appear on the new federal charges.
A Spokane man accused of trying to kill another man during a dispute over a cat’s mess said the shooting was in self defense.
Alan D. Kintner, 55, told sheriff’s deputies he shot Steven W. MCormick in self defense, according to court documents.
Kintner remains jailed on $100,000 bond after appearing before Judge Michael Price Tuesday on a second-degree attempted murder charge.
Kintner was arrested Saturday after witnesses said he shot Steven W. McCormick at least twice during a fight over McCormick’s cat at 9519 W. Seven Mile Road.
Kevin Maynor, who lives nearby on the property and witnessed the shooting, told police he heard Kintner “say he could probably kill Steven and get away with it.”
McCormick was shot in the stomach with a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and remained at Holy Family Hospital Tuesday, where his condition was not available.
Kintner told deputies he was an expert marksman in the Marine and that “he only shot Steven because he had attacked him,” according to court documents. Kintner said “that Steven got too close to o he shot him in the stomach to sop him, and if he wanted to kill Steven he would have shot him in the head.”
A north Spokane man is facing an attempted murder charge after an argument over feline cleanliness led to gunfire that sent a roommate to the hospital, authorities said.
Alan D. Kintner, 55, is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked late Saturday after deputies took him into custody at his home in the 9500 block of Seven Mile Road.
The victim, described by sheriff's officials only as a 44-year-old man, reportedly was in stable condition after being rushed to a Spokane hospital by another roommate. Deputies were dispatched to the scene about 9:15 p.m.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the roommates were watching television when a dispute arose over Kintner's cats "making messes in the bathroom." Kintner and one of his roommates began wrestling and kicking at each other.
Kintner left the house after getting pinned on his back but returned with a .22-caliber rifle and opened fire, the Sheriff's Office said.
The victim, despite having a bullet wound to his stomach, charged the gunman and knocked the rifle away.
In Montana, coroner’s inquests are conducted for every fatal police shooting in that state and whenever someone dies in law enforcement custody. The same requirement exists in Nevada, with Las Vegas authorities taking the extra step of televising their inquests. And elsewhere, communities are embracing inquests to help ensure public accountability as the number of officer-involved shootings escalates.
Now, following a rash of fatal police shootings statewide, including four in the past four months in Spokane County, some legislators want to make inquests mandatory in Washington, too. King County typically holds inquests into officer-involved shootings and allows a lawyer for the family of the deceased to participate. Legislation to require inquests for all fatal law enforcement shootings and in-custody deaths in the state is expected to be introduced during the 2011 session.
“This is a quicker, more transparent way to understand what taxpayer-paid servants – public servants – are doing,” said state Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an intended bill sponsor. “These inquests answer what long, drawn-out litigation otherwise would have answered … and when they do it, they speak with authority.”
Medical examiners in Spokane County have avoided inquests and county commissioners have largely steered clear of the issue even though Prosecutor Steve Tucker publicly called for greater use of inquests in 2006 after the fatal Spokane police confrontation with Otto Zehm, the unarmed, mentally ill janitor mistakenly identified as a theft suspect. The last inquest conducted here was 29 years ago.
The murder conviction against a Spokane woman who claimed she killed her husband in self defense after years of forced prostitution has been thrown out by a state appeals court.
In a 3-0 ruling, the appellate court’s 3rd division ordered a new trial for Shellye L. Stark, who is serving a 51-year prison sentence for the Dec. 9, 2007, shooting death of Dale R. Stark at 1620 S. Maple on Spokane’s South Hill.
The judges found fault with the trial court’s jury instructions and other legal technicalities.
Click here for past coverage. (I covered every day of the trial.)
A Spokane County man with dozens of criminal convictions dating back to the 1970s has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Gregory Cecil Early, 52, is charged with felon in possession a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
The drug charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The gun charge carries 10 years, but if Early qualifies as an armed career criminal he’ll get at least 15 years.
And according to Crime Stoppers, the longtime felon is a shoo-in for that title.
A news release this month included this truly impressive list of convictions for Early: driving while license suspended, making false statements, third-degree assault on law enforcement, first-degree possession of stolen property, possession of controlled substance, manufacture of controlled substance, first-degree burglary, intimidation of witnesses, second-degree assault, attempting to elude a police vehicle, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, hit and run, indecent liberties, second-degree malicious mischief, reckless endangerment, third-degree theft and probation violation.
According to the Dec. 14 indictment in U.S. District Court, Early possessed methamphetamine, a .42 caliber pistol and a .32 caliber revolver on Oct. 25. Early also faces additional felony charges in Spokane County for drugs and car theft.
As of last week, Early was in custody in Whitman County, according to Crime Stoppers.
A Hayden man died Wednesday after shooting himself in the face during a traffic stop in Dalton Gardens, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.
Robert J. Kilborn, 48, was driving a red Chevrolet Blazer when a deputy tried to stop him at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday near Government Way and Hanley Avenue for having a faulty exhaust system, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release.
Kilborn failed to stop and continued driving at about 20 miles per hour. Police followed him east on Hanley then south on Valley Street before he pulled into a driveway at 6167 N. Valley St. in Dalton Gardens, where a friend his apparently lived.
Friends say a man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death before attempting suicide on the Gonzaga University campus is a former U.S. Marine who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tristen N. Jordan, 24, remains at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Angela Gilbert, of Spokane, said he’s under heavy police guard and that his family has not been allowed to see him.
“Never in a million years would we think he would have shot somebody,” Gilbert said. “He really is a loving and kind person, and he’s all about religion.”
GUNS — A Columbia Falls High School student who inadvertently brought an unloaded rifle to school in the trunk of her car will not be expelled, the Associated Press reports.
The school board made its unanimous decision Monday night, and the 16-year-old honor student and varsity cheerleader was allowed back in class today.
The junior was suspended Dec. 1 after contraband-sniffing dogs were brought to school and she told administrators she had forgotten the rifle she put in her trunk after a weekend hunting trip.
Monday’s disciplinary hearing had to be moved to a school gymnasium to accommodate the nearly 150 people who attended, some of whom waved signs criticizing school officials’ handling of the case and decrying federal gun laws.
Dean Chisholm, the board’s vice chairman, said the incident appears to be “an unintentional act by a young lady who regrets it, who understands the policy.”
Friends said a woman shot to death by her boyfriend on Sunday had a 9-month-old baby and lived with her mother at the Augusta Avenue home.
Michael Trout, who said he’s known Samantha Clark Franco (right) for about 10 years, said she attended Havermale High School but never graduated.
“She was pretty much a street kid,” Trout said. “She had a very tough life.”
Trout said Franco hadn’t been dating her accused killer, Tristen Jordan (left), long. He said he’s heard the couple was partying at the home when they got in an argument and Franco asked Jordan to leave. Jordan left, but returned with a gun, Trout said.
Police have not said what led to the deadly confrontation.