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Husband guilty in pregnant teacher’s killing

(Joel Mills/The Lewiston Tribune)

Sarah Parks’ family badly wants to know how she died.

With that in mind, they are supporting a plea agreement that will send her husband Silas Parks to prison for a maximum of 40 years, Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson Jr. said.

“I think at this point, in addition to wanting to be assured that an appropriate punishment is handed down, they also want to know exactly what happened,” Thompson said.

Silas Parks pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and one count of first-degree arson in connection with the death last year of his pregnant wife, Sarah Parks, a third-grade teacher at Moscow Charter School.

Silas Parks, 26, of Kendrick, Idaho, was initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder and the arson count.

But a plea deal negotiated with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office reduced the murder charges. It also stipulated that as part of a presentence investigation, Silas Parks will describe in detail how he killed Sarah Parks and then set fire to their Moscow duplex.

Read the rest of the Lewiston Tribune story here.

Drifter gets 25 years for ‘08 strangulation

A panhandler who murdered a woman in a dispute over $20 was sentenced today to 25 years in prison.  

Michael A. Quinones, 29, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2008, strangulation death of 28-year-old Jennifer L. Siria.

“This was not a planned thing,” Quinones said. “Frankly, I don’t remember half of it. I’m not a brutal savage. This just got out of hand that night. I’m sorry it occurred.”

Another defendant, 19-year-old Matthew T. Shope, is expected to be sentenced for the murder soon.

Read Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Panhandler sought in woman’s killing

Second suspect charged in murder

Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim/a>

Panhandler to plead guilty in woman’s death

A man accused of strangling a woman to death over $20 is set to plead guilty and be sentenced today in Spokane County Superior Court.

Michael A. Quinones, 29, is charged with first-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2008, death of Jennifer Lee Siria, 28. Quinones and a teen were panhandling in north Spokane when Siria let them stay at her apartment at 537 E. Hawthorne Road.

Quinones was arrested at a Montana homeless shelter on Oct. 10. His alleged accomplice, Matthew T. Shope, now 19, was already in jail on a first-degree murder charge. His trial is set for April 12.

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy picked up Shope and Quinones while they were walking in the area of Siria’s apartment at 537 E. Hawthorne Ave. about 3 a.m. Oct. 6, 2008,shortly after authorities believe they killed Siria. The deputy drove the two to Garland Avenue and Division Street, as Quinones had requested, and let Quinones go.

But Shope refused to exit the car and said he’d run away from Daybreak, a teen drug rehabilitation center, and had a warrant in Kootenai County. After dispatchers failed to find an arrest warrant, Palmer drove the boy to Daybreak, where Shope told a caseworker he’d told Palmer about the warrant because Quinones had threatened to kill him and he feared him, according to court records.

As Shope began to wash his bloody clothes, he told his caseworker “he had been involved in something that could send him to prison for a long time,” according to court documents. “Matthew stated that he did not do the act he was talking about but that he did nothing to stop it and had been going through the victim’s belongings when the act was committed.”

Quinones’ sentencing is set for 2:30 p.m. before Judge Maryann Moreno.

Past coverage:

Panhandler sought in woman’s killing

Second suspect charged in murder

Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim/

38-year fugitive found running chapel


HELENA, Mont. — A hitchhiker originally sentenced to be executed for the 1951 killing of a Montana man who picked him up during a blizzard has been found running a wedding chapel under an assumed name in Arizona 38 years after he skipped out on parole.

Frank Dryman was found after the victim’s grandson hired an investigator who tracked the fugitive to his Arizona City notary and chapel business, where he was known as Victor Houston.

Now 78, Dryman is awaiting extradition proceedings today, a day after his arrest by the Pinal County sheriff’s office.

Dryman initially received a hanging sentence after a quick trial in 1955. His case became the focus of a battle over the death penalty and frontier justice, and he received a new sentence of life in prison with the help of the Montana Supreme Court.

In 1969, after just 15 years in prison, he was paroled. The Montana Department of Corrections said that today, the soonest a person convicted of murder could gain parole is 30 years. Dryman disappeared three years later. No Montana offender had been missing longer. “He just went into thin air in 1972,” said Clem Pellett, the victim’s grandson. “I don’t think that my grandfather’s death was well represented; it just got lost in all the ideologic conversation of the time.”

Pellett, a surgeon in Bellevue, Wash., pursued the case after first learning details last year while digging through old newspaper clippings in storage. He said the issue was never discussed in the family. Pellett said he was driven by a sense of curiosity, and does not feel like he needs any revenge since he never knew his grandfather Clarence, and knew little about the murder.

Newspaper clippings from the time say that Clarence Pellett stopped to pick up Frank Dryman in 1951 during a spring blizzard near Shelby, a small town in northern Montana. Pellett, who ran a small cafe, was shot seven times in the back as he tried to run away, according to the accounts.

The private investigator hired by the grandson used scores of documents the family dug up from old parole records, the Montana Historical Society and Internet searches to trace Dryman to the Cactus Rose Wedding Chapel. Pellett told Montana corrections officials of the discovery. Officials said Dryman acknowledged his identity to officers.

A call to the wedding chapel Wednesday was not answered.

The Montana Department of Corrections said that Dryman will be sent back to the state prison. He will face a parole revocation hearing within the next few months — and possible resumption of his life in prison sentence.

Pellett said he has learned his family has a long, coincidental history with Dryman. Records show that Pellett’s great aunt once testified in support of Dryman when the then 16-year-old was accused of robbing a liquor store.

“She came to his defense so that he was not labeled as a delinquent,” Pellett said.

Pellett, who only decided to hire a private investigator on a whim during a dinner party conversation, said he is not driven to see Dryman punished.

“The legal system will handle it,” the grandson said. “Whatever they decide is fine with me. I mean he is 78 years old.”

But Pellet, 56, said would like to finish writing the family history of the long trial.

“I want to see if he wants to talk to me,” Pellett said. “I just want to get information. There are holes in the story he could really add to.”

Another arrested in gang-related homicide

Another man has been arrested in connection with an unsolved gang-related shooting in January.

Justin A. Battle, 29, is accused of possessing the stolen Ruger mini rifle police think was used to kill 38-year-old John S. Williams in an alley behind 5405 N. Crestline on Jan. 17. He was arrested after detectives searched his apartment at 1839 E. Marshall Ave. last week on suspicion that he was selling marijuana.

Police found crack cocaine and marijuana, along with a bullet and a firearm part that belonged to the mini rifle, which was stolen in a burglary in Chattaroy on Jan. 4, according to court documents. Battle is accused of helping a defendant in that burglary sell the mini rifle.

Battle, who was convicted of second-degree burglary in 1998, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court March 18 on charges of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and trafficking in stolen property. He’s out on $10,000 bond.

Three other men, Eric Burton, Jr., Antonio Cook, Jr., and Elexander R. Burgess have already been charged with possessing the mini rifle, which police found in a car rented by Burton. Burton and other reputed gang members were attending a birthday party at the Crestline apartment complex when Williams was killed.

Williams’ mother, Cindy Williams, said she believes the killer was after her grandson, John Williams’ 21-year-old son.

Past coverage:

‘Not a simple investigation’

Police find gun used in slaying

3 arrested in murder of Grant Co. teen

Two men and a juvenile have been charged with the murder of a 17-year-old in Grant County this month.

Luis A. Mejia Nunez, 20 (right); Martin Ochoa Ramos, 41 (left); and a 15-year-old boy are accused of a drive-by shooting that killed Carlos D. Leyva on March 7.

Leyva and two friends were walking in the 1700 block of Road T.5 SW, between the small towns of Mattawa and Beverly, when men inside a passing car flashed hand signs.

The car drove by again, and someone inside fired shots. One killed Leyva, another injured one of his friends in the ankle.

Nunez, of Mattawa, and the 15-year-old, also from Mattawa, were arrested Wednesday. Ramos, of Sunnyside, was arrested Thursday on a felony warrant for being an accomplice to first-degree murder.

Suicidal gunman was sued for ‘05 shooting

 The man who shot his wife’s ex-husband before killing himself had been sued for a shooting incident in 2005.

Chad L. Moore, 35, (left) was serving as his own lawyer in a lawsuit filed by 70-year-old Orville Robert Boyd, who accused him of negligence and recklessness in a March 20, 2005, incident near Athol.

Moore and a friend, Ryan W. Beamer, were shooting Glock pistols on a private road about one mile north of Chilco Road when Boyd approached on an ATV with a gunshot to his right chest.

Moore called 911, and Beamer ran up the road to meet medics. Moore told a Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputy he’d been target shooting there since he was a small child, according to a report.  The shooting was ruled accidental, and Moore was never charged with a crime. The police report listed his employer as a Coeur d’Alene lumber company. He told police he’s worked there for 15 years.

Boyd sued Moore and Beamer in 2007. Moore began serving as his own lawyer in September “due to lack of funds,” according to a letter he wrote in the Kootenai County District Court file.

A five-day jury trial is scheduled for August.

Moore was found dead last week after an overnight manhunt. Before he killed himself, Moore shot and killed Ryan William Taylor, 28, the ex-husband of his pregnant wife.

Taylor had confronted Moore at his Hayden apartment March 9 after hearing from his ex that Moore hit her.

A memorial fundraiser was held for Taylor Saturday at The Grail nightclub in Huetter. His funeral took place earlier today.

Past coverage:

Family: Jealousy, abuse led to murder

Family: Jealousy, abuse led to murder

When Ryan William Taylor showed up at a Hayden apartment Tuesday afternoon, he was there to confront the husband of his ex-wife – a man he believed had been abusing her.

But Taylor, 28, (pictured above with his daughters) never left the property alive. The man he confronted fired four rounds at Taylor, family members say, one striking him in the back of the head.

A search team from Kootenai and Spokane counties found the suspected gunman, Chad Lee Moore, (right) dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday morning east of Hayden Lake.

After an overnight manhunt, searchers found Moore’s pickup truck, which had been burned, before spotting his body on a logging road about one mile north of Triangle 7 Road and Hayden Creek Road.

Moore, 35, had a handgun and a military-style rifle with several ammo clips, said Maj. Dan Mattos of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

“One conclusion drawn is that perhaps he was lying in wait for police, but we’ll never know because he took his own life,” Mattos said. Investigators believe he set fire to the truck (right) before walking down the road and shooting himself.

Moore’s wife, Amber Kern, previously was married to Taylor. Nine months pregnant with Moore’s baby, Kern was taken to a hospital Wednesday but was not expected to give birth immediately, said Taylor’s mother, Barbara Taylor.

Mattos said Moore and Ryan Taylor had ongoing problems.

Barbara Taylor said Kern had called her Tuesday and said Moore had hit her after asking if she’d been talking to Ryan Taylor on the phone.

Taylor was out on a birthday shopping trip with his girlfriend and daughter, Jordan, who turns 12 Friday.

The three stopped by Moore and Kern’s apartment at 10102 N. Government Way, where Taylor found Moore armed with a loaded handgun, Barbara Taylor said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Manhunt under way for homicide suspect

A cross-state manhunt is underway for the suspect in a fatal shooting in Hayden today.

The suspect, Chad Lee Moore, 35, (left) was last seen northbound on Government Way in a blue Toyota pickup with a white stripe, Idaho license plate K433586. He is believed to be armed and dangerous.

The victim, 28-year-old Ryan William Taylor, of Coeur d’Alene, was found near the front door of an apartment building at 10102 N. Government Way, at 2:50 p.m.

He died at Kootenai Medical Center, Lt. Stuart Miller said. Miller said the victim and Moore knew knew each other but provided no other details.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office dispatched its helicopter about 6:30 p.m. to assist in the manhunt, which extended across state lines.

Miller said authorities have sent out bulletins to all law enforcement, including the Border Patrol in the region, and in Idaho, Washington and Montana.

Moore is 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs 195 pounds. He is wearing camouflage clothing and Carhartts overalls.

If anyone sees him or knows where he might be, call 911 immediately.

Homicide case ‘not a simple investigation’

Witnesses to Spokane’s only homicide this year share a common theme, police say: All were there, but all say they know nothing about the early morning shooting that left a man dead in an alley.

Six weeks after John S. “Q” Williams, 38, was killed outside a birthday celebration attended by Atlantic Drive Crips gang members, four men have been charged with drug or gun crimes connected to the shooting, but police haven’t identified the killer.

“This is not a simple investigation,” said Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Those arrested include Eric Burton Jr., (right) and Antonio E. Cook, Jr. (left).

A similar gang-related homicide in 2007 ended in an unusual plea deal that gave the alleged shooter credit for about a year served in the county jail and a conviction for manslaughter after a jury couldn’t reach a verdict. (Read about here.)

Details in newly filed court documents reveal similar problems for investigators trying to solve the city’s latest gang-related homicide: uncooperative witnesses who have criminal backgrounds, gang loyalties, a disdain for police and a fear of retaliation.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage: Police find gun used in slaying

Grant Co. teen killed in drive-by shooting

A Grant County teenager was killed Sunday in a drive-by shooting that also injured another boy in the ankle.

Carlos D. Leyva, 17, of Beverly, was shot to death about 6:18 p.m. on a road about 5 miles north of Mattawa. Investigators haven’t identified his killer but say the shooting appears to be connected to a gold or tan Nissan-type vehicle.

An unknown number of people inside that vehicle argued with Leyva and two other boys before the shooting in the 1700 block of Road T.5 SW, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The three boys were walking between Mattawa and Beverly when the shooting occurred.
The second victim was treated and released at Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake. The third boy was not injured.

Neither witness is cooperating with investigators, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators aren’t sure if the shooting is part of the increase in gang violence the county has seen over the last few years, said Undersheriff John Turley.

Read about a recent homicide in Grant County, a triple murder in December: Man told police he killed for revenge

Police: Gun in homicide belonged to felon

A gang member involved in a fatal shooting five years ago is accused of possessing the gun that was used to kill a man outside a north Spokane party 10 days ago, newly filed documents alleged.

ahdwEric Burton Jr.,Ö is charged with illegal weapons possession after police determined a semiautomatic rifle used to kill John S. Williams, III on Jan. 17 belonged to Burton. Burton, 24, has previous felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing owning firearms.

Burton was arrested two days after the slaying murder but is free on $10,000 bail. No charges have been filed in Williams’ death — the city’s first homicide this year — and detectives haven’t determined who killed him.

Police found Williams, 38, dead in an alley outside an apartment building at 5405 N. Crestline about 3:40 a.m., then spotted Burton running into an apartment, according to court documents.

He volunteered to be taken to the police station for questioning, where he told police he’d driven a rented 2008 Nissan Altima to the party. Police had found the gun used to kill Williams in the back of that Altima.

The car was rented to Burton’s girlfriend, Lacey L. MeachamÖ, 27, according to court documents. Burton reportedly told police he’d driven the car back to the party alone.

About 40 people had gathered at 5405 N. Crestline, apartment 3, for a birthday party that night before fights broke out and shots were fired, witnesses told police.

One man told police he’d heard two or three gunshots “and then heard someone saying ‘What did I do? What did I do?,’” according to a search warrant.

The man then saw a man matching the description of Burton try to enter apartment 3 three before entering a nearby unit.

A defense lawyer listed in court records for Burton, Christian Phelps, did not return an after-hours phone call seeking comment.

Burton was convicted of second-degree assault in 2005 for the New Year’s Day murder of 24-year-old Calvin Banks, who police said was a rival gang member. Burton was first charged with second-degree murder but took a plea deal that gave him a year in prison.

This year’s shooting victim, Williams, was at the birthday party on Crestline with his 21-year-old son, police said.

Williams was enrolled at the Spokane Community College Apprenticeship and Journeyman Training Center, according to a March 2009 newspaper article. He joined the painters union and praised the training he’d received but told the newspaper he needed to “clock hours” to have insurance coverage for his family.

“It’s hard right now,” he said. “There’s no work out there.”

Wife killer in MySpace case gets 18 years

A Spokane man who killed his estranged wife, then impersonated her on MySpace to try duping family members into thinking she was still alive, will spend 18 years in prison, a judge ruled today.

Uriah J. Brosnan, 34, (pictured above, courtesy KHQ) pleaded guilty to the Jan. 28, 2009, beating death of Becky Brosnan, 32, in December in a plea deal that called for him to serve 220 months, the most possible for second-degree murder.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen imposed that sentence today after about two hours of testimony from family, including Uriah Brosnan’s current girlfriend.

“This was a vicious murder that went on for some period of time,” said Eitzen. “220 months is all the law allows me to impose, and I apologize for that because I don’t think it’s long enough.”

The Brosnans were married for about 10 years and had two children before a contentious divorce sparked the ongoing custody dispute that court documents say led to Becky Brosnan’s murder.

Detectives found her body Feb. 9 in a debris pile behind a roofing company where Uriah Brosnan worked.

Past coverage:

Man faces 18 years in wife’s death

Man impersonated wife online after killing her

Brosnans had no contact order in 1997

One dead in weekend shooting

Police have seized guns and drugs as part of their probe into the city’s first homicide this year, a suspected gang-related shooting early Sunday in a north Spokane alley.

Multiple shots were fired after fighting partygoers spilled from an apartment at 5403 N. Crestline St. into the muddy alley. The gunfire killed a 38-year-old man, whom friends and neighbors identified as John Williams.

Neighbors said it sounded like fireworks as at least 15 bullets riddled garages and fences.

“I sprang out of bed when I realized it was gunshots. It freaked me out, so I made sure my doors were locked,” said Aimee Kowell, who lives with her three school-age boys across the alley.

Read the rest of John Stucke’s story here.

Family seeks Spokane man’s killer

Everywhere she goes, Heather Tipke looks for him. The man with glasses and short, “military-style hair,” as the few people who saw her brother’s killer have described him.

It’s been nearly five months since William O. “Billy” Floyd, 22, was stabbed to death in a central Spokane parking lot.

His assailant hasn’t been found, but his family remains hopeful. “We’re never going to give up,” said Tipke, 25. “As long as my heart keeps beating, I’ll keep looking.”

Floyd (right) died Aug. 15 in the parking lot of the Spokane Dance Company at 902 W. Indiana Ave. He’d been stabbed in the heart.

He and a friend were walking to an apartment to get something to eat after a night of playing video games and drinking alcohol when they encountered a man at Shannon Avenue and Lincoln Street.

Ge’d been walking east from Monroe and handed Floyd a cigarette when they asked, police said. But the 2 a.m. encounter quickly turned contentious, and Floyd soon stumbled to the ground with a knife wound to the heart. He died shortly after medics found him almost unconscious and barely breathing.

The assailant ran northeast toward Shannon Avenue and has never been identified.

Floyd’s relatives are convinced he’s still in Spokane. They say someone has been ripping down police sketches of the man posted throughout the city. (The sketch is shown at left.)

They wonder: Could it be the killer? Or someone covering for him?

Police haven’t ruled it out. “I’m convinced someone knows who it is and they’re protecting him,” said Spokane police Detective Terry Ferguson.

Read the rest of my story here

Read past coverage here.

Clemmons dead…

Good morning, Netizens…

This AP Photo of Maurice Clemmons in his jail suit does him no justice. Prior to two nights ago, Clemmons was listed by the Lakewood Police Department as a “person of interest” in four murders. Overnight, however, he became listed as the prime suspect being sought in the calloused murder of four Lakewood Police Officers shot while they were sitting in the Forza Coffee Shop in Western Washington.

A marathon search began, with police jurisdictions in various parts of the State of Washington actively looking for Clemmons, whom they suspected was either injured or dead from his exchange of gunfire with the Lakewood officers. His relatives apparently rendered him assistance during his short run from the law, and at least three people have been arrested for rendering assistance to a fugitive.

However, according to Seattle Police Department Clemmons was finally cornered early this morning in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street and killed there by Seattle police at about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, Pierce County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Troyer said.

In life as in death, Maurice Clemmons was a poster child for criminal and aberrant behavior, having been charged with assaulting a police officer, rape of a child and of course, the shootings of the four Lakewood police officers. Not to mention his incarceration in Arkansas, which was then commuted by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee. When Seattle Police shot him last night, he was going for a gun stolen from the Lakewood Police Department.

His death brings his criminal spree to a close, but it does little for the spouses and children of the four officers in Lakewood.

(Portions of this post attributed to Seattle Times, KREM-2 TV, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Portland Oregonian)


Suspect in double homicide remains at large

A man accused of helping a double homicide suspect has been arrested, Spokane police announced early this morning.

Mark H. Toner, 33, (left) is in Spokane County Jail on charges of rendering criminal assistance and witness intimidation after being captured without incident at a motel on the Sunset Highway.

The man he’s accused of helping, Merle W. Harvey, 27, remains at large.

Harvey (bottom right) is accused of gunning down two men Saturday night near Boone Avenue and Adams Street.

Police were called to an apartment at 1310 W. Boone Ave about 9:30 p.m., where Jack Lamere was living with his girlfriend. Toner’s first appearance in Spokane County Superior Court is set for 1:30 p.m.

Read Jonathan Brunt’s story on the homicides here. .

One of the victim’s, Jack Lamere, was involved in a major methamphetamine bust in the late 1990s.

Read about it here.

Police haven’t released the name of the second victim.

3 men sentenced in Dobson Pass murders

The last three suspects in a double homicide in Shoshone County have been sentenced.

Corey Reid, 20, (left) of Kellogg, will spend at least 30 years in prison after being convicted of two counts of aiding and abetting in the August 2008 murders of Neil Howard, 20, and Cynthia Bewick, 18.

Hiram N. Wilson, (right) the 18-year-old son of Pinehurst police Chief Rocky Wilson, will spend two to five years in prison on two counts of accessory to murder after the fact.

The third man sentenced Thursday, Braecyn C. Wood, (bottom left) was sentenced to 120 days with credit for 25 days served for two counts of obstructing an officer.

Reid’s girlfriend, Christian Purtill, 18, was sentenced earlier to a year in the Shoshone County Jail on the same charges.

The gunman, Jon “Bubba” Kienholz, 21, (bottom right) was sentenced in June to at least 30 years in prison for two counts of first-degree murder. Shoshone County Prosecutor Val Siegel said Reid told Keinholz they needed to kill the couple, and that Wilson witnesses the fatal shootings at the top of Dobson Pass.

Kienholz said the group had planned to go to Boise because Howard and Bewick thought they had arrest warrants, Siegel said. But the couple, who had a baby together, were apparently worried about Purtill turning them in, Siegel said.

Reid heard Howard talk about that and decided he needed to die, Siegel said.

“It’s just so senseless,” Siegel said. Purtill and Wood were with the three men when the started driving the dead couple’s stolen car to Boise.

Wood heard what happened and asked to go home. But he denied knowing anything about the murders when approached by police, Siegel said, leading to his criminal charge.

The four others were arrested in Boise.

iegel said the sentencings Thursday were emotional, but not as emotional as Kienholz’s in June.

Howard’s father testified at that sentencing and repeated a chilling exchange Kienholz reportedly had with his son before he shot him.

The couple had started a campfire at Dobson Pass. Kienholz asked Howard what was ironic about the fire.

Howard thought about it a bit then told Kienholz he didn’t know.

“It’s ironic because there’s going to be a lot of it where you’re going,” Kienholz said before pulling the trigger.

The couple’s parents are raising the child, Siegel said.

“They’ve said that if there’s anything positive about the whole thing it’s that they have become closer to the child,” Siegel said. “I’m sure they see their children in him.”

Courthouse watch: 9.24.09

A man who investigators say killed his wife and severely beat the man she was having sex with when he walked in on them earlier this month pleaded innocent today to murder and other charges in U.S. District Court.

Kevin I. Pakootas, 23, is accused of fatally beating Colette Peone Pakootas, 23, and injuring Mark Edgett after leaving a party and discovering the pair together about 4:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at his home in rural Inchelium, Wash., which is on the Colville Indian Reservation south of Kettle Falls.

Read the rest of my story here.

Crenshaw double murder trial delayed

The trial of young man accused of a grisly double murder has been postponed.

Justin W. Crenshaw, 21, will stand trial in early February 2010 - nearly two years after prosecutors and detectives say he stabbed Sarah A. Clark and Tanner E. Pehl to death, then tried torching the home to cover the crime.

The trial had been scheduled to start Oct. 12, but Judge Tari Eitzen agreed to the extension at a status conference Tuesday. Both sides had said they needed more time to prepare, including interviewing witnesses.

Last week, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office searched a cell phone belonging to Crenshaw that had been in evidence since his arrest Feb. 28, 2008. Crenshaw told Eitzen he’d agreed to the extension but wanted no further delays.

Crenshaw’s lawyer, Chris Bugbee, is his fourth in the case.

In July 2008, he got his case moved from the Spokane County public defender’s office, citing an office investigator’s relationship with Clark’s family. (Clark is pictured at right.)

The Counsel for Defense then left the case, citing a heavy workload, and it went to an anti-death penalty lawyer in Tacoma.

The case was given to Bugbee when the prosecutor’s office decided not to pursue the death penalty.

Read past coverage here and here.

Spokane sees two homicides in one week

A lot happened in the past two weeks, and I’m still catching up.

Most notable is two homicides. Seven months into a year with an unusually low murder rate, the city recorded two homicides in one week: the stabbing death of Vitaly M. Shevchuk, 24, Monday night (he died Tuesday) and the police shooting of Jason M. Poss, 23, Friday morning.

Two men interviewed in the Shevchuk case, Nathan D. Gilstrap, 28, and Matthew M. Nedeau, 24, remain in jail on unrelated charges.

Maggie May Tyler, 24, (right) is wanted for second-degree murder, police say. Read past coverage of the murder here and here.

Read coverage of Poss’ death, which is still under investigation, here and here.

Police responded to 5th Avenue and Green Street on July 6, where they found Shevchuk with a stab wound to his neck. He died the next night at Deaconess Medical Center.

Shevchuk was walking with a friend to buy cigarettes when a red car drove by with its windows down and he made a comment, according to a search warrant filed last week in Spokane County District Court.

The car stopped and two men and a woman exited the vehicle, witnesses told police.

An argument ensued and Shevchuk picked up a large rock, witnesses said.

One witness recalled Shevchuk saying, “I have a brick and you have a knife. What are you going to do?” according to the search warrant.

Police on Friday released a photo of Tyler and named her as a suspect in the murder.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111 or 1-800-222-TIPS, or submit tips online at crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.