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Victim says sexuality prompted attack

A knife assault that nearly killed a man early Saturday began after the victim described himself as gay, according to Spokane police.

The 28-year-old victim was drinking with a friend at a home in the 400 block of South Fiske Street when a man approached them on the porch and began talking. The victim said he was gay, “and an argument ensued about him being gay,” accordeing to court documents.

The victim said the man, identified by police as Jesse D. Bell, 21, calmed down, and they talked for about 45 minutes, but Bell again got angry and a fight ensued.

Bell walked away, and the man realized he’d been stabbed and his friend was cut on her hand. Another man also sustained a small stab wound.

Police contacted Bell, and he told them he’d told the man he would stab him if he did not get off of him as they were fighting. He said he thought he stabbed the man once but was unaware he’d stabbed anyone else.

Bell was arrested for first-degree assault. He remains in jail on $100,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday.

The victim was treated for stab wounds to his torso, back and arm, including one that punctured his right lung. His heart stopped beating at the hospital but emergency room staff revived him.

Racist beat up by own victim sentenced

A skinhead beat up by a black man he was harassing in North Idaho last year has been sentenced to three to five years in prison.

Judge Benjamin Simpson retained jurisdiction over Daren Christopher Abbey, which means he'll go through counseling with the Idaho Department of Correction and be back before Simpson within a year. Simpson will then decide if he should go to prison.

Abbey, 29, pleaded guilty to malicious harassment, Idaho's hate-crime law, said Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh.

Abbey was arrested July 3 after he followed Marion L. Baker from J.D.'s Resort in Bayview at Lake Pend Oreille and told him he didn't belong there because he was black.

Baker left, but Abbey followed and yelled racist taunts as witnesses watched. Baker, clad in a “Spokane Boxing Club champion” shirt punched Abbey unconscious after Abbey poked him in the chest.

The plea deal approved last December dropped a malicious harassment and assault charge that stemmed from Abbey engaging in similar conduct with a corrections officer at the Kootenai County Jail who is Latino.

Retired Spokesman-Review reporter Bill Morlin covered Abbey's sentencing for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He reports that Abbey told Simpson, “I probably did make the wrong decision, and the result of that is I got beat up pretty bad.” Check out Morlin's full report here.

Man arrested for hate crime at Irv’s bar

A man was arrested for a hate crime Monday for allegedly throwing a glass at a downtown Spokane bartender and yelling slurs against homosexuals.

Two customers at Irv’s bar held Sean D. Slechta, 38, on the ground until officers arrived to arrest him, Spokane police say.

Slechta remains jailed on $1,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court on a malicious harassment charge.  Irv's bartender told police Slechta stumbled into the bar about 7 p.m. and tired to take customers’ drinks, so he asked him to leave.

The bartender told police Slechta yelled profanities and homophobic slurs at him and customers, then picked up an empty pint glass and threw it at him. The bartender was not injured.

Police said Slechta continued to yell homophobic slurs as he was led from the bar in handcuffs.

The hate crime charge alleges Slechta attacked the bartender and the patrons because of their sexual orientation.

Hate crimes alleged in assault spree

A 19-year-old man and his two brothers have been charged with hate crimes for allegedly attacking people because of their race.

Deven James-Allen Hood is accused of smashing car windows and beating people Jan. 20 in what police allege was a hate-fueled drive through Spokane.

He is wanted on a $100,000 warrant for 10 felony charges filed Monday in Spokane County Superior Court

Police say Hood threw something at a truck driving through the intersection of West Wellesely Avenue and North Cedar Street early Jan. 20, then punched the driver, Anthony Martinez, when Martinez got out to confront Hood about 1 a.m. Martinez said his assailant repeatedly called him a derogatory term for Hispanic people.

Then at 1:46 a.m., a woman, Jaylean Tayloe, went outside her home along North Cedar to confront two men she believed were attempting to steal a truck, according to court documents.

The men, later identified as Hood and his 15-year-old brother, attacked her, according to court documents. Two men, Dumar Jones-White and Sean Michels pursued Tayloe's attackers in the truck only to be attacked by Deven Hood as his younger brother yelled racial epithets. Hood's other brother, Jeaun Don Hood, 17, also participated in the beating, police allege.

Deven Hood stole the truck, and his youngest brother followed Michels and Jones-White back to a home on Cedar while yelling racial epithets about black people, documents allege.

Police caught the 15-year-old as he tried to run from a home in the 5400 block of North Adams Street. Deven and Jaeun Hood were found hiding on a bed inside the home.

The Hoods were booked into jail Jan. 20 but later released because no charges were filed.

Prosecutors on Monday charged Deven Hood with two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of malicious harassment (a hate crime), four counts of second-degree assault, and single counts of third-degree malicious mischief and attempted first-degree robbery.

Jeaun Hood was booked into jail early today on a $100,000 warrant for two counts of second-degree assault and single counts of malicious harassment and first-degree robbery.

Their 15-year-old brother is charged in juvenile court.
  

Woman pleads not guilty to 4 hate crimes

A woman arrested after a black man said she dressed in a white sheet and yelled racial epithets at him and his two children on Halloween night has been charged with four hate crimes.

Sharyl Ann Curtis, 42, pleaded not guilty Monday to four counts of malicious harassment - Washington's hate-crime statute - for the alleged incident in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street.

She was arrested early Nov. 1 after Tyree Brown told Spokane police he opened his front door to her yelling racial epithets while wearing a white sheet with “KKK” written on it. She also allegedly did the same thing to Brown's neighbor, Teravia McDonald.

Curtis is pictured courtesy KHQ-TV. Check out their interview with her here.

Curtis also sprayed a liquid at Brown's children that she said was bleach that would make everyone white, according to a probable cause affidavit written by police. Police said they found Curtis sitting in a nearby “yelling unintelligibly.”

While being treated at a hospital for a broken nose apparently sustained during a fight with pursuing neighbors, Curtis told officers “I will raise my son white power” and used a racial slur while raising her right arm in the air, according to the affidavit. She also allegedly said her son would shoot police and she would provide the ammunition.

Curtis posted $2,500 bond after her arrest and remains out of jail. Her trial is scheduled to begin April 2.

Hate crime alleged in attack on gay teen

Two teenage boys are accused of damaging a Spokane Valley teenager's property because he is gay.

Andrey A. Babakov, 17; and Svitoslav A. Liashedko, 16; pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and malicious harassment - a hate crime - for an alleged attack Nov. 6 at an apartment at 13303 E. Mission Ave.

The teens are accused of breaking into the apartment and stealing an iPod and laptop computer. Svitoslav told deputies they assaulted the victim because he is gay, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies saw blood inside and outside the victim's home, as well as blood on his face, nose, neck and clothes. The boy told deputies Babakov and Liashedko assaulted him because he got his ears pierced and “no Russian should pierce their ears,” according to court documents.

The boys were charged as adults in Spokane County Superior Court. The newspaper does not identify juveniles unless they are charged as adults with serious felonies.

Neither suspect is in custody. Trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 27.

Racial slurs, ‘KKK’ costume lead to arrest

A woman was arrested on suspicion of a hate crime on Halloween after a black man told Spokane police he opened his front door to her yelling racial epithets while wearing a white sheet with “KKK” written on it.

Sharyl Ann Curtis, 42, also sprayed a liquid at Tyree Brown's children that she said was bleach that would make everyone white, according to a probable cause affidavit written by police in support of a malicious harassment charge against Curtis. (Curtis is pictured courtesy KHQ-TV. Check out their interview with her here.)

Police found Curtis sitting in a park near Brown's home in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street “yelling unintelligibly.”

While being treated at a hospital, Curtis allegedly told police “I will raise my son white power” and used a racial slur while raising her right arm in the air, according to the affidavit.

“My son will shoot a cop one day and I will give them the ammo,” Curtis also allegedly said, along with repeated racial epithets against the police.

Brown told police he'd heard a woman yelling racial epithets and asking if he had candy. The sheet fell off when the woman walked down the apartment stairs, and Brown recognized Curtis “from fights and other incidents in the neighborhood.”

Brown's two children were standing in the stairwell when Curtis sprayed the bottle toward them. None of the liquid hit them, but police observed a Halloween decoration that was splashed. Witnesses said Curtis ran to the nearby park and yelled that she would get a gun and shoot everyone. A neighbor confronted her and a fight ensued before police arrived, according to the affidavit.

Curtis left the Spokane County Jail after posting bond imposed during her first court appearance on Tuesday, according to online jail records. She was arrested on a malicious harassment charge last August after a neighbor told police Curtis yelled racial slurs and started a fight. No charges were filed.

Is Gay Bashing A Problem In Idaho?

Boise police data show that attacks motivated by bias against someone’s race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — generally called “hate crimes” — are rare. In 2010, there were a total of seven hate crimes reported in Boise, including five listed under race, and one each listed under ethnicity and religion. Hate crimes due to sexual preference reported? Zero. So far this year, there has been just one reported hate crime due to sexual orientation, Boise police data show. But the data don’t reflect the reality on the street, according to Idaho state Sen. Nicole LeFavour (pictured) and other members of Boise’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. LeFavour put out a warning on Twitter this week about a “horrible rash of anti-gay hate crimes.” She encouraged readers to watch out for each other and report what they see/Katy Moeller, Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you believe hate crimes are becoming rarer in Idaho, especially those based on sexual orientation? Or they're being reported less?

Vestal: Hate Crimes Not Taken Lightly

Are we in the midst of a wave of anti-gay violence in Spokane? A pattern with ongoing momentum? Some people think so. But there is unquestionably a pattern emerging from several recent events, and it has to do more with the response of the gay community and Spokane at large: an outpouring of concern, outrage, indignation and passion. If there is discouraging news in recent incidents in which gay men were beaten – and there is plenty – there is also a silver lining in the insistence that such crimes not be taken lightly. “People are standing up and speaking about this,” said Matthew Cannon, board member of the Inland Northwest LGBT Center. “I don’t think this is something that’s going to go away”/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever witnesses a hate crime?

Hate crime alleged at Spokane 7-Eleven

A Spokane man was arrested on a hate-crime charge late Thursday for allegedly threatening two 7-Eleven clerks with a weapon while yelling racial slurs.

Anthony C. Brockie, 37, had a 12-inch strait razor blade in his pants pocket when a police officer approached him at the store at 323 W. Indiana Ave. about 11:22 p.m. after hearing reports of an assault, according to a probable cause affidavit supporting second-degree assault and malicious harassment charges against Brockie.

A store clerk told police she refused to sell a 40-ounce bottle of Olde English to Brockie because he was intoxicated but Brockie loitered in the parking lot and became combative with two clerks.

Another clerk told police that Brockie pulled the blade out, cursed and referenced his Middle Eastern heritage. Another third clerk said Brockie referenced his race and asked if he wanted to die while waving the blade.

Spokane police say they heard Brockie say “those bastard Arabians beat me up,” according to the affidavit.

Brockie was booked into the Spokane County Jail.

Aryan in hate crime faces 5 years to life

A Coeur d'Alene man and reputed racist faces five years to life in prison if convicted of a hate crime under Idaho's repeat offender law.

 Joel Townsend Diekhoff, 29, an associate of local Aryan Nations member Jerald O'Brien, remains in the Kootenai County Jail on $50,000 bond for malicious harassment.

Diekhoff was arrested Saturday after Demetrius K. Lee, 39, said a white man with several Aryan tattoos yelled slurs and threatened him for walking in front of his house near South 19th Street and East Mullan Avenue

Lee said the man, whom police identified as Diekhoff after interviewing witnesses, came out of the house with three other men to “beat him up.”

Lee returned to the area with a baseball bat and had a heated conversation with Diekhoff before calling police.

Diekhoff has previous convictions for felon in possession of a firearm in Washington state in 2005 and theft in Georgia in 2000, according to court documents filed this week in Kootenai County District Court. Idaho law calls for criminals to serve five years to life in prison for felony crimes if convicted of two previous felonies.

Aryan in hate crime jailed on $50k bond

A Coeur d'Alene man and reputed racist remains in jail on $50,000 after appearing in court on a hate-crime charge Monday.
Joel Townsend Diekhoff, 29, an associate of local Aryan Nations member Jerald O'Brien, was arrested Saturday after Demetrius K. Lee, 39, said a white man with several Aryan tattoos yelled slurs and threatened him for walking in front of his house near South 19th Street and East Mullan Avenue. Lee said he was on his morning walk to Sanders Beach and has lived in the area for six years.

Lee said the man, who police identified as Diekhoff after interviewing witnesses, came out of the house with three other men to “beat him up.”

Lee ran to his friend's house and got a baseball bat, police said, then returned to the area and had a heated conversation with Diekhoff. He then left and called the police.

Diekhoff was holding his baby daughter in his arms when he confronted Lee, police say.

Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood said Diekhoff was a suspect in a battery investigation last November that never led to charges after police heard reports that he beat a man who refused to chase after a black man with him and O'Brien.

The alleged victim, William Moore, said he was staying with O'Brien because of his Aryan ties when the men were outside O'Brien's house on Thanksgiving Day and yelled “White Power” at two men who were walking by. One of the men said he was black, and Diekhoff ran after him as O'Brien followed, according to a police report.

When they returned, they attacked Moore and struck him several times in the head, saying he was angry Moore hadn't backed them up. Moore tried to superglue his head wound but went to the hospital the next day.

O'Brien told police he'd kicked Moore out of his home because “he couldn't be a true Aryan if he would associate with members of the other churches,” according to the police report.

“He called members of other churches 'the enemy' and said there was only one true church.' He then almost immediately calmed down,” according to the report.

Hate crime alleged in neighbor dispute

An ongoing neighbor dispute has resulted in a rare hate-crime charge against a 49-year-old Spokane man who police say targeted a man because of his race.

Page Lloyd Wrencher was charged with malicious harassment - Washington's hate-crime law - after his downstairs neighbor at 2303 W. Mallon Ave., Joseph D. Landry, said Wrencher called him a racial epithet, repeatedly threatened him and followed him for about two blocks while threatening to kill him on June 3. Landry is black.

A friend of Landry's also said Wrencher called her slur for a white person who spends time with black people.
Spokane police said Wrencher was “extremely intoxicated” when they contacted him.

He was allowed to stay out of jail pending trial but was arrested July 24 after another dispute with Landry in which Witnesses told police Wrencher held a large rock to Landry's head as if he was going to assault him.

Police say Wrencher “has a history of harassing people in this neighborhood and he has been arrested in the past for harassment,” according to court documents.

He remains in Spokane County Jail on $8,000 bond for the assault charge and $25,000 for the hate crime.
  

Photos place Harpham at MLK march

Federal prosecutors for the first time today revealed that domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham took pictures of himself at the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March, where he is charged with leaving a bomb along its route.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice said in court that Harpham, 37, also photographed young black children gathering for the march and a Jewish man who was wearing a yarmulke.

“Whether rightfully or wrongfully, how the defendant sees the world,” Rice said of Harpham, “he intended to target those individuals.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Racist knocked out by hate-crime target

A self-proclaimed skinhead was knocked unconscious by a black man after threatening to stab him last weekend in Bayview, Idaho, officials said Friday.

Daren Christopher Abbey, 28, was booked into jail on malicious harassment charge after being treated at a hospital for facial fractures, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

Abbey is accused of threatening to stab Marlon L. Baker, 46, inside J.D.'s Resort July 3 in Bayview after telling him he didn't belong in the bar because he was black, said Lt. Stu Miller.

Baker left the bar to avoid a fight, but Abbey followed to a marina about 300 yards away, called him racial slurs and again threatened to stab him.

“He said black people don't belong in Bayview,” Miller said.

Baker punched Abbey once in the face, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

Sheriff's officials already were in Bayview patrolling the Independence Day weekend festival that included a boat parade that night. Miller said they arrived about 8:50 p.m. to find Abbey unconscious.

Abbey apparently was unaware of the writing on the back of Baker's t-shirt: “Spokane Boxing Club champion.”

“If he had been able to read that maybe he wouldn't have done that,” Miller said.

Spokane Boxing Club President Rick Welliver said Baker, who could not be reached for comment, is not affiliated with his organization and is not a boxer.

Miller said Baker acted in self defense.

“He felt threatened - there was an actual threat that was made that he was going to get stabbed,” Miller said. “(Abbey) actually followed him for quite some distance”

Baker told deputies he punched Abbey instinctively as the skinhead approached, Miller said.

Abbey has several neo-Nazi tattoos and told Coeur d'Alene police in 2004 that he was an “independent skinhead” who didn't like minorities, Miller said.

The 2004 contact with police didn't lead to an arrest or citation, Miller said. Miller didn't have details on the reason for the contact but said Abbey's twin brother was there and said he wasn't racist but was in the area helping his brother look for work.

Abbey, of Sacramento, Calif., said he lives as a transient in the Coeur d'Alene area after moving from Montana, Miller said. He remains in jail on $75,000 for felony charges of malicious harassment (Idaho's hate crime law) and battery.

Ex-local Aryan convicted in racist beating

A white supremacist who ran for the Hayden City Council in 2003 has been convicted of a racially motivated attack on a black man in southwestern Washington.

Zachary Loren Beck, 32, (pictured in 2003) was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to violate civil rights after a bench trial in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Beck, Kory Boyd and Lawrence Silk attacked the man in January 2010, shouting racial epithets.

Boyd was sentenced to 34 months in prison after pleading guilty to interference with a federally protected right. Silk pleaded guilty to malicious harassment in state court and was sentenced to 24 months. Beck is to be sentenced Sept. 2.

The men were at a bar in Vancouver when Beck told a bartender that the victim should leave “or there would be a problem,” according to court documents. The man didn't leave, so Beck met with Silk and Boyd to plan the attack. Beck reportedly told the man that she should not be “kissing our girls,” documents say.

The three assailants are described as “self-avowed white supremacists” by federal prosecutors.

Beck was a member of the Aryan Nations in North Idaho and was arrested for malicious harassment while a city council candidate.

He also was accused in 2004 of shooting at a police officer during a standoff in Longview, Wash.

Feds release Harpham booking photos

 

The U.S. Marshals Service has released booking photos of Kevin William Harpham.

The photos were taken the day of his arrest in connection with the bomb found along the planned route of the Martin Luther King, Jr., United march in downtown Spokane Jan. 17.

Photos of Harpham after he was booked into the Spokane County Jail already have been released.

The recently released images were taken before those shots and show Harpham in his street clothes.

Harpham, who turns 37 on Sunday, pleaded not guilty Monday to a superseding indictment charging He now faces a minimum of 30 years in prison if convicted.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

MLK bomb suspect not due in court today

UPDATE: Harpham's arraignment was moved to Monday.

Kevin William Harpham is to be arraigned on a hate crime charge in U.S. District Court today at 1:30 p.m.

A grand jury indicted the Martin Luther King, Jr. march bomb suspect Thursday.

Harpham, who has been in the Spokane County Jail since his arrest March 9, already has pleaded not guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and unauthorized possession of an unregistered explosive device.

The superseding indictment includes those charges, as well as the hate crime and a charge of use of a firearm (the bomb) in relation to a crime of violence (the hate crime).

The hate crime charge alleges Harpham, who recently turned 37, targeted the march “because of actual or perceived race, color and national origin of any person.”

Harpham faces up to life in prison if convicted.

His father, Cecil Harpham, has told The Spokesman-Review that his son was with him Jan. 17, the day the backpack bomb was discovered along the planned march route.

Read past coverage here

Chief praises police action in MLK bomb

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick on Wednesday praised Sgts. Jason Hartman and Eric Olsen for their decisions to reroute the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade after a sophisticated bomb was found along the original route.

“We are trying to have a national conversation to learn to say, ‘See something, say something,’ ” said Kirkpatrick, pictured above with Olsen. “I’d like to get all of our residents to

put that phrase into their thinking. We don’t want to be a city paralyzed by fear, but we must be a community that is mindful.”

Olsen, who was managing the traffic around the MLK march, said Hartman (right) called him at 9:37 a.m. Monday and told him about the backpack, which was discovered by three workers from the Spokane Public Facilities District.

Without enough time to determine what was inside, the sergeants decided to change the route of the march.

“We always assume the worst,” Olsen said on Wednesday. “But when I found out it was a viable device, I was both scared and relieved. I was scared that someone would do that but relieved that it was resolved. I felt very fortunate … just from the chaos and devastation it would have caused.”

The FBI said on Wednesday that hunt for the person who left the bomb will focus on two aspects: forensics and the region’s violent history with white supremacists.

Read Thomas Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Jan 18: FBI says backpack on Spokane parade route was bomb

Brothers guilty in CdA hate-crime case

Following the third trial in eight months, two Coeur d’Alene brothers  were found guilty Thursday of racially harassing and threatening a Hispanic man in August 2009.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 13 for Frank James Tankovich, 47, (right) and William Michael Tankovich Jr., 50, (left) who were found guilty of malicious harassment and conspiracy to commit malicious harassment against Kenneth Requena, a Puerto Rican man.

“For a while there, I felt like I was on trial,” said Requena, who felt so threatened when the Tankovich brothers drove by his home on Aug. 16, 2009, that he pulled a gun and had his wife call 911. Defense attorneys said it was Requena’s actions that escalated the incident.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.

Hate-crime trial begins in Coeur d’Alene

The third round of a hate crime trial opened Tuesday in Coeur d’Alene, with two brothers accused of racially harassing a Hispanic man in the summer of 2009.

The first trial ended in mistrial in March after the first witness took the stand and referred to the incident on a 911 tape as a “racist thing,” offering an opinion for which Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster said the prosecution had not laid proper foundation.

The second trial ended in April with a hung jury on the two counts against William (right) and Frank (left) Tankovich.

Jurors voted 11-1 in favor of acquittal on the charge of malicious harassment and 8-4 in favor of not guilty on a second charge of conspiracy to commit malicious harassment. The verdict must be unanimous.

The jury foreman at the time said the jury had struggled to connect the threats with race.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 10: Hate-crime suspect gets 9 years for firearm

9th Circuit court rejects ‘absurd’ Idaho hate crime appeal

Here’s a news item from the AP:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal court has rejected an appeal from an Idaho man who was convicted of a hate crime for beating a black man outside a Nampa Wal-Mart. In his appeal, Richard C. Armstrong said his sentence was too harsh because he said he wasn’t guilty of selecting a victim on the basis of race. Rather, Armstrong contended, his co-defendant is the person who actually selected their victim. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel agreed with a lower court judge who said Armstrong’s argument was absurd. Armstrong was sentenced last fall to 3 years and 10 months in prison for the 2008 attack, based on federal sentencing guidelines that allowed the judge to give additional time because he found Armstrong lied during the trial and the assault had a hate crime motivation. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Hate-crime suspect gets 9 years for firearm

One of three Coeur d’Alene brothers accused of racially harassing a Hispanic man last August was sentenced today to nine years in prison for being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Ira Tankovich (pictured), 48, will be eligible for parole in three years. 

Adding to Tankovich’s potential sentence was his status as a persistent violator which gave Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster the option of imposing up to life in prison.

During an Aug. 16 incident at the home of Kenneth Requena in Coeur d’Alene, police arrested Tankovich after seeing him throw his .22-caliber handgun into a nearby driveway. Tankovich later pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Court documents show Tankovich’s previous felony convictions stretch from 1989 to 2001 and consist of voluntary manslaughter, grand theft by possession of stolen property, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property.

In connection with the Aug. 16 confrontation with Requena, a jury found Tankovich guilty on April 19 of conspiracy to disturb the peace, a misdemeanor.

The jury split 11-1 in favor of not guilty on two felony counts of malicious harassment against his brothers, William M. Tankovich, 50, and Frank J. Tankovich, 47.

The latter two are scheduled to be retried in October.

Luster also sentenced Ira Tankovich on Tuesday to six months in prison each for the misdemeanor convictions of conspiracy to disturb the peace and for obstructing a police officer during the Aug. 16 incident.

Tankovich, who has been in the Kootenai County Jail for almost a year, will receive credit for time served.

In the April trial, Ira Tankovich was found not guilty of the more serious felony charge of conspiring to commit malicious harassment.

The jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of not guilty on similar conspiracy counts against his brothers.

New hate-crime trial for 2 CdA brothers






Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Thursday that he will re-try two Coeur d’Alene brothers on malicious harassment charges stemming from a racial incident last summer.

Frank J. Tankovich, 46, and William M. Tankovich, 49, will be tried on charges of conspiracy to commit malicious harassment and malicious harassment, related to an incident that occurred in August. The brothers are accused of making racially motivated threats toward Kenneth Requena, who is Puerto Rican.

The brothers were tried earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene, along with a third brother, Ira G. Tankovich, 48, in the first hate-crime case to go to trial in North Idaho in recent years.

Read Alison Boggs’ story here.

Ira, Frank and William are pictured above from left to right.

Misdemeanor conviction in hate-crime trial

Jurors convicted a North Idaho man of conspiracy to commit disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor, in the first hate-crime case to go to trial in Coeur d’Alene in recent years.

The jury hung on two counts against the man’s brothers.

Ira G. Tankovich, 48, (left) was charged with conspiracy to commit malicious harassment, while his brothers, William M. Tankovich, 49, and Frank J. Tankovich, 46, faced that charge as well as the charge of malicious harassment.

The charges stemmed from an August incident with a Coeur d’Alene man, Kenneth Requena. Ira Tankovich will be released on his own recognizance, having already served six months in jail — the equivalent to the maximum penalty on the misdemeanor conviction.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.

Read past coverage here.

Jury expected to get hate-crime case today






Closing arguments are expected today in the trial of three brothers accused of harassing a Coeur d’Alene men man because of his ethnicity.

The prosecution and defense rested Thursday in the trial of Ira G. Tankovich, 48, Frank J. Tankovich, 46, and William M. Tankovich, 49 (left to right). The brothers are charged with malicious harassment after an encounter with Kenneth Requena, who is Puerto Rican, in August.

The judge presiding over the trial said Thursday if he were ruling on the case instead of the jury, he wouldn’t convict.

Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster made the comment outside the presence of the jury while denying a defense motion to dismiss the case against three brothers accused of racially harassing a Hispanic man in August.

Read Alison Boggs’ story here.

Hate-crime defense targets alleged victim

Defense attorneys in the Coeur d’Alene hate crime trial of three brothers lost an attempt Wednesday to challenge the alleged victim’s credibility by introducing his criminal record, which includes felony convictions for illegally transporting guns.

At one point, defense attorney Brad Chapman asked the alleged victim, Kenneth Requena, if he was in the federal witness protection program, but the prosecution quickly objected and 1st District Judge John Luster threw the question out.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.

Tankovich erases the smile just in time

By Thomas Clouse

The hate crime trial in Coeur d’Alene taught one of the defendants to check his gear before he draws a practical joke.

Deputy Prosecutor Art Verharen used an erasable board to have a witness draw how the Tankovichs’ pickup, which had a swastika and “born to kill” written in the dirt, parked in front of the home of Kenneth Requena in Coeur d’Alene.

During a trial break, Frank Tankovich (right) drew a smiley face on the board. But to Tankovich’s chagrin, he didn’t realize it was a permanent marker until he tried to erase the face before Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster returned to the courtroom.

At one point, Tankovich improvised by scribbling over the black permanent marker with the blue erasable marker. But Luster’s break lasted long enough for Tankovich to finally rub the board clean.

Read Clouse’s complete coverage of the trial’s opening day here.

Hate-crime trial begins in CdA, again

Opening statements are expected today in the trial of three brothers accused of harassing a Coeur d’Alene man because of his ethnicity.

Ira Gino Tankovich, 47, Frank James Tankovich, 46, and William Michael Tankovich Jr., 49, (left to right) were indicted by a grand jury last under Idaho’s hate crime law.

The men were to stand trial last month, but Kootenai County 1st District Judge John Luster declared a mistrial after the jury heard a recording of a 911 made by a next-door neighbor, who called the incident “a racist thing.” (Read the story here.)

Selection of a new jury concluded Monday.

Ira Tankovich, who has a star with the word “Aryan” tattooed on his left calf and a star with the word “pride” tattooed on his right calf, was arrested Aug. 16 after Requena and his wife told police he’d been approached by Tankovich and his brothers in a truck decorated with swastikas and the words “born to kill.”

The men left after Requena got a gun from his wife, then returned about 20 minutes later with a gun and a pit bull, yelling racial slurs, according to court documents Requena told police he asked his wife to bring him a gun from inside the home when the men first pulled up because “he knew he was about to get a beat down,” according to a police report.

Frank and William Tankovich were arrested after a grand jury indicted them in November. William Tankovich posted $100,000 bail but was jailed in December after a judge ruled he’d fraudulently posted a property bond. He’s since been released on bond.

Their lawyers have characterized the Aug. 16 incident at the home of Kenneth H. Requena as a misunderstanding blown out of proportion after Aryan literature was distributed in Coeur d’Alene.

The brothers say they simply asked to buy electrical equipment from the man and were stunned when he pulled a gun on them.

Spokane taco truck attack called hate crime

A man accused of trying to rob a Spokane taco truck owner may have targeted the victim because of his race, new court documents allege.

Michael A. Brewer, 22, has been charged under Washington’s hate-crime law after police say he yelled racial slurs while trying to rob Jonas J. Perez-Lopez at knifepoint last week.

Brewer is to be arraigned on charges of attempted first-degree robbery and malicious harassment April 13 in Spokane County Superior Court. He’s being held at Geiger Corrections Center on $7,500 bail after appearing in court this week.

Charging documents filed Monday accused Brewer of targeting Perez-Lopez because of “his perception of the victim’s race, color, (or) national origin.”

Brewer declined an interview request.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage: Taco seller escapes knife-wielding robber