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2 cars seized; murder probe continues

Police today seized two cars near the scene of last week's homicide as part of an ongoing effort to find any possible evidence related to the case.

“At this point, we need anything and everything,” said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department. “We're not receiving a lot of tips.”

Police are canvassing the area of 1800 E. South Riverton today with fliers showing a car battery found where Sharlotte McGill, 55, (pictured) was fatally stabbed in an apparent attack as she walked her dog last Thursday.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information on the battery, which detectives believe may be associated with McGill's killer.

Officers found a car missing a battery while canvassing at an apartment complex right near the scene. That car is being processed for evidence, as is another car that was possibly prowled but not reported, DeRuwe said.

“We are literally going door to door and car to car,” DeRuwe said.

Detectives have checked homeless shelters and have contacted recycling centers where car batteries can be sold for scrap, DeRuwe said.

McGill, 55, (pictured) was walking her dog on a trail along with the Spokane River when a stranger jumped from the bushes about 8 a.m. Thursday and repeatedly stabbed her.

Police say the car battery found nearby was stolen in the same area within a few days of the attack and may be associated with the killer.

McGill was able to describe her attacker before she died. Police say she described him as a black man, about 30 years old with a bad eye.

Anyone with information on the battery, or who may have information on the man or may have seen someone similar is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

DeRuwe urged anyone to call, even if they're not sure of what they saw or they think police already know about their information.

As police continue to search for McGill's killer, her daughter said last week that she feels “really sorry for whoever did this.” “Because if they had a mother like I did … they wouldn’t have done this to anybody,” said Billie McKinney, 24. Read more here.

2 homicide victims killed each other

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

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

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

Read the rest of my story here.

‘48 Hours’ to feature Reynolds case

Ronald Reynolds, left, returns to his seat as his wife, Linda Reynolds, looks on and his son Jonathan Reynolds, right, steps up to speak during a news conference at an attorney's office Nov. 10, 2011, in Olympia. Jonathan and Ronald Reynolds say they did not kill Ronda Reynolds in 1998, disputing the conclusion of an inquest jury. They said the accusations against them have been wrecking their lives. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The TV show “48 Hours Mystery” on Saturday will feature the 1998 death of Cheney native Ronda Reynolds, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in her Toledo home.

The former state trooper's death was ruled a suicide, but her mother, Barb Thompson, (left) who lives near Spokane, never believed it. Last year, an inquest jury ruled it was a homcide, and her death certificate was changed.

That was after famed crime author Ann Rule released her book “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth.”

Reynolds graduated from Cheney High School and Eastern Washington University before spending several years as a state trooper. She was considering transferring to a security position with a Spokane department store when she died.

For Reynolds, “Spokane was home,” Rule told The Spokesman-Review in October 2010.

“If she’d just gotten away that night, she was planning to fly to Spokane early in the morning, she would still be alive,” Rule said.

Jurors in October named Reynolds' husband, Ronald Reynolds, and her stepson, Jonathan Reynolds, as suspects, but authorties say there is not enough evidence to charge them. They deny involvement and are interviwed by CBS correspondent Peter Van Sant in the “48 Hours” episode, which airs Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Man gets 31 years for wife’s murder

A Stevens County man who shot his wife to death was sentenced Tuesday to 31 years in prison.

Craig Raymond Cosby, 70, called 911 on Oct. 2, 2009, and said he'd shot his wife, Susan May Cosby, 53.

Susan Cosby (pictured) was found dead of gunshot wounds in the home in the 1200 block of Overlook Boulevard in Marcus, a small town along the Columbia River in northern Stevens County. Craig Cosby was arrested in the front yard and underwent mental evaluations before being declared competent to stand trial.

A jury convicted him of first-degree murder March 30, rejecting his claims of self defense.

Cosby said at his sentencing in Stevens County Superior Court that he did not plan or prepare to murder his wife, and that he did have remorse but hadn't shown it “due to the way he was raised,” said Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said neither drugs nor alcohol, which are common in violent crimes, were a factor. He said Judge Nielson imposed the maximum sentence of 380 months as recommended.

“Previously Judge (Allen) Nielson stated that from what he had heard, Susan was a caring compassionate person who was loved by many people,” Rasmussen said in an email. “The fact that she had raised good children was a testimony to her character and nature. ”

Past coverage:

Dec. 11: Murder trial delayed for months while judge, prosecutor squabble

St. Maries woman admits killing uncle

A North Idaho woman who killed her uncle and burned his body has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Melisa R. Bates, 28, is to be sentenced May 18 for the murder of Robert D. Marek, 43, last May at his home eight miles south of St. Maries, where Bates had been staying.

Bates originally was charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was reduced as part of a plea deal approved Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Bates shot Marek with a handgun before beating him with a metal rod, Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne said.

She underwent a psychological evaluation that declared her to fit to stand trial.

3rd man arrested in Rosalia murder

In this January 1997 photo, Marcus Schur, then eight-years-old, uses a wet-vac to suck up the remaining water in a family friend's kitchen after homes along Pine Creek in Rosalia flooded. Schur was murdered in Whitman County in December 2011. (SR archives)

A third suspect has been arrested in the December murder of a 23-year-old Rosalia man whose body recently was recovered from a Whitman County creek.

Lorin Travis Carlon, 35, is accused of helping murder suspects Frank Lazcano, 24, of Pine City, and Daniel Lazcano, 20, of Spokane, try to avoid arrest after the shooting death of Marcus Allen Schur, officials say.

Whitman County sheriff's deputies arrested Carlon Monday on a felony charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

The Lazcano brothers were arrested Friday and remain jailed on murder charges.

Schur's body was pulled from the creek at the south end of Bonnie Lake March 25 after a fisherman spotted his body. An autopsy showed he was shot to death.

Schur had been missing since a dinner party on Dec. 27.

Host Nick Backman told The Spokesman-Review last week that Schur fled the rear door of a home in Malden when one man burst in and chased him out.

Backman said Schur's arms and legs were bound when his body was removed from the lack. He said the chase may have proceeded a home burglary.

Detectives still are investigating a motive, Whitman County Undersheriff Ron Rockness said today.

“Of course, the whole town of Rosalia assumes they know the motive,” Rockness said.

Rockness said the suspects knew Schur since childhood.

Schur's mother, Grace Schur, said memorial service plans are not yet finalized. A donation fund to help with expenses has been set up at the Bank of Fairfield.

Schur's uncle, Gene Schur, of Spokane, said he was shocked to learn of his nephew's murder from a TV news station.

“It happens to other people, but when it actually hits home it makes you more aware of what's going on in the community,” he said.

It's the first mruder arrest in Whitman County since 2005. A murder-suicide was reported there in 2010.

Man, 20, gets 15 years for ‘07 murder

A 20-year-old man arrested for a 2007 murder was sentenced recently to 15 years in prison.

Derrick Gregory Martin-Armstead (right) also was ordered to pay $6,651 restitution after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the Nov. 12, 2007, shooting death of Daniel Burgess, 30.

Burgess was killed while in the living room of a home at 2413 N. Dakota Ave.

Martin-Armstead, his girlfriend, Jaleesa D. Anderson, 22; and her brother, Marc A. Anderson, 20 (left), each were charged with a single count of first-degree murder. Martin-Armstead's charge was reduced as part of a plea deal.

The Andersons, who are out of jail on bond, are scheduled to go to trial in June.

Martin-Armstead was arrested Oct. 24 after an informant told police he'd implicated himself in the murder during conversations at the jail in May and June 2008.

Torture dungeon trucker pleads guilty

By MICHAEL GRACZYK,Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas trucker who kept a torture dungeon in the cab of his long-haul rig has avoided the death penalty by accepting life prison sentences for murdering a hitchhiking couple two decades ago.

 Robert Ben Rhoades, who already is serving a life sentence for killing a 14-year-old girl in Illinois, pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder when he appeared before a West Texas judge this week. He has no chance of parole.

Described by authorities as a sadistic killer, Rhoades was charged with the 1990 abductions and slayings of newlyweds Douglas Scott Zyskowski, 28, and Patricia Walsh, 24. Authorities said the couple left Seattle in November 1989, and were hitchhiking to Georgia to preach the Christian gospel when they accepted a ride from Rhoades near El Paso.

Zyskowski's body was found in January 1990 along Interstate 10 east of Ozona, about 320 miles east of El Paso. He'd been shot, and his body wasn't identified until 1992. The remains of his wife were found in October 1990 by deer hunters in central Utah, but they weren't identified until 13 years later by dental records.

Police believe Rhoades held the woman captive for about a week, systematically torturing and assaulting her before shooting her several times.

Rhoades was initially charged in Utah with her death, but he was later extradited to Texas where authorities said the kidnappings took place. Prosecutors in Ozona said they would seek the death penalty, but his trial was repeatedly delayed since 2009.

Under the plea agreement accepted Monday, the life prison sentences in Texas would keep him behind bars if he somehow gets out of prison in Illinois. The 66-year-old also agreed to waive any rights to appeals and parole. It's unclear whether he'll stay in a Texas prison or be returned to Illinois.

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap in Houston said agents couldn't comment on the case because investigations involving Rhoades are continuing. District Attorney Laurie English was not available Thursday, and messages left with Rhoades' lawyers were not immediately returned.

Rhoades' Illinois conviction stems from the abduction and slaying of Regina Walters, a 14-year-old runaway from Pasadena, Texas. She disappeared in February 1990 with an 18-year-old boyfriend who told friends they planned to hitchhike to Mexico.

Her body was found months later at an abandoned farm near Greenville, Ill. Her companion has never been located.

By the time Walters' remains were found, Rhoades was in custody — after authorities discovered what was inside his truck.

A state trooper near Casa Grande, Ariz., stopped on I-10 to check on a tractor-trailer with blinking lights in April 1990. He discovered Rhoades inside the cab with a hysterical naked woman who had been chained and shackled to a wall.

She later told investigators that she'd been tortured and whipped, that Rhoades told her he was known as “Whips and Chains” and had been involved in such activity for years.

Houston police found another woman who'd managed to escape from Rhoades and told a similar story of torture. FBI agents called into the case searched his Houston apartment and found torture devices and photos of a teenage girl handcuffed and shackled and in various poses at a barn. The girl subsequently was identified as Walters, who had been strangled with bailing wire attached to a piece of lumber.

Rhoades was convicted and sentenced in Arizona on aggravated assault, sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment charges stemming from the woman being held in his truck, then was charged with the Illinois slaying. He pleaded guilty.

Duncan still getting competency hearing

Condemned serial killer Joseph E. Duncan is getting another day in court.

Duncan, on death row for the torture slaying of a North Idaho boy he abducted in 2005 after slaughtering most of the youngster’s family, will undergo a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent when he decided to represent himself and waive his appeal rights.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

July 11: 9th Circuit orders Duncan back into court in Idaho

Full coverage of the Duncan case is available here.

Teen arraigned in veteran’s murder

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage party pleaded not guilty today to second-degree murder.

In a hearing before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese, Treven Lewis was given a pre-trial conference date of May 11 and a trial date of May 21, although the case is expected to take many more months to resolve.

Lewis was ordered to remain in jail on $500,000 bond. He's been in custody since March 12, two days after he's accused of punching Frank J. Motta as Motta tried to clear out an underage drinking party at his out-of-town neighbor's request.

Motta, a patients advocate at the Spokane veterans hospital, died later that week.

Read more about Lewis' background here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

1 officer cleared, 1 charged in shooting

(AP and staff reports) — A Nez Perce Tribal Police officer has been cleared in the fatal shooting of a Lewiston man, but one of his colleagues could be in trouble.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced Thursday that the officer who shot 46-year-old Jeffery Allen Flinn would not be prosecuted.

But another officer, Trevor Michael Garrett, had been charged with making false statements to FBI agents investigating Flinn's death.

Flinn died following a 50-mile car chase that ended in gunfire Nov. 12.

Police say earlier that day, Flinn had been released from jail following a drunken driving arrest and then got involved in a one-vehicle crash outside Lewiston. Police say he then stole a truck from another motorist and fled before officers arrived.

Tribal police say they tried to pull Flinn over, but he refused.

The indictment, returned Wednesday by a grand jury in Coeur d'Alene, alleges Garrett lied to FBI agents when he told them he didn't remember the details of what happened between the time he fired at Flinn and the time another officer secured Flinn's rifle.

The indictment alleges those statement were false “because Garrett knew that he remembered that Flinn exited a truck, and that Flinn stood facing law enforcement officers with his hands in the air for three to five seconds before he was shot and killed,” according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. “The indictment further alleges that Garrett's statements were false because he did know the name and identity of the police officer who shot Flinn.”

The incident was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Idaho State Police. 

In a prepared statement Thursday, Olson called the investigation “detailed and thorough.”  “We pursued and obtained all the information necessary to make a prosecutive decision,” she said.  

To prove a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statute prohibiting law enforcement officer misconduct, prosecutors must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer intentionally used more force than he or she could reasonably have thought necessary under the circumstances, according to a news release. 

“That issue was the focus of the investigation,” said Olson.

A decision not to prosecute may be made for a variety of reasons, Olson said, including insufficiency of evidence to prove the police officer intentionally used more force than was necessary.  

“The statute sets out a tough standard in cases involving allegations of unreasonable force by a police officer,” she said.  “It requires that we be cautious, thorough and deliberative, and that's what we've been in this case.  We determined that under the circumstances, including the weather conditions, lighting and officer's knowledge and state of mind leading up to the shooting, we could not prove all of the elements of this offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  In such situations, we are obligated to decline prosecution.  We do so here.”

Lewis to remain in jail on $500k bond

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage party will remain jailed on $500,000 bond.

If Treven Lewis does post bond, he is required to check in with his attorney regularly, refrain from using alcohol and must have no contact with what Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell described as “a lengthy list of people.”
 
Lewis' public defender, Kari Reardon, agreed to the conditions and did not ask Superior Court Judge Annette Plese to reduce the $500,000 bond at Lewis' court appearance this afternoon.
 
Lewis' family members attended his court appearance but declined to speak with reporters. Lewis' next court appearance is March 27 at 9 a.m.
 
Haskell noted that Lewis was supposed to stay away from alcohol as part of his conditions for leaving jail on a separate assault charge last summer.
 
Lewis was awaiting trial on that case when he was arrested for the beating of Frank J. Motta, 65, who died last Thursday after being attacked while trying to clear out his neighbor's teen son's drinking party the previous weekend.
 
Witnesses said Lewis pushed Motta to the ground and punched him once in the head after Motta nudged Lewis' girlfriend while telling her and others they needed to leave.
 
Motta, a Vietnam veteran and patient advocate at the Spokane veterans hospital, will be remembered Sunday in a memorial service open only to friends and family.

Lewis' criminal history began at a young age and includes an adult felony conviction and six juvenile misdemeanors.

Last July, he was arrested after a woman rding her bicycle near 1500 E. Upriver Drive told police she saw Lewis slap his girlfriend, then yell at her to get up when she fell to the ground. Lewis posted $1,000 bond, and prosecutors dismissed the misdemeanor assault charge because his girlfriend would not cooperate, accoridng to court documents.

Read more about Lewis' background here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

Lewis due in court today for murder

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage drinking party is to appear in court this afternoon on a murder charge. 

Treven Lewis is scheduled to appear before Judge Annette Plese today at 1:30 p.m.

Lewis will formally hear the new charge against him, will be assigned a court date and will have an opportunity to ask for his bail to be reduced.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed the charge on Monday after an autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office concluded Frank J. Motta, 65, (pictured) died of contusions to the brain because of blunt head injuries. His manner of death was ruled homicide.

Lewis had been jailed on a first-degree assault charge since March 13. Lewis is accused of beating Motta and Motta tried to clear out a party thrown March 10 by a neighbor’s son in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Drive in north Spokane County.

Court records show his criminal activities began at a young age. Read much more here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

Teen gets 33+ years for torture slaying

A 19-year-old Spokane man was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison recently for his role in the murder and kidnapping of a 22-year-old man whose burned body was found in the back of a car last year.

Justice E. D. Sims, 19, (left) pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping Friday in connection to the slaying of Nicholas J. Thoreson, who was found dead in the trunk of his Thunderbird on Forker Road April 13.

  Detectives believe Sims, his sister Breeanna C. Sims, 20, and Taylor J. Wolf, 21, brutally beat Thoreson (right) in a garage at the Knotty Pines apartment complex, 13615 E. Trent Ave., in Spokane Valley. Sims then fatally shot Thoreson.

In addition to 400 months in prison, Sims was ordered to pay $5,268 restitution.

Wolf is scheduled to begin trial Aug. 20. Breeanna Sims is scheduled to begin trial April 2.

Detectives say Wolf (left) made incriminating statements to Britney Bjork, girlfriend of jailed Hells Angel Ricky Jenks, just after his arrest in April, leading them to charge her with conspiracy to commit perjury, rendering criminal assistance and arson. Bjork is scheduled to begin trial April 16 and is represented by Chris Bugbee.

Detectives say Wolf told Bjork he was going to shoot Thoreson but “I couldn’t do it, so me and Justice did it together,” according to court documents, which cite recorded phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”

Sims originally was charged with aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty, and the charge was amended to first-degree murder as part of a plea deal.

Also charged in the case is the Simses' half-brother, who pleaded guilty in juvenile court to threatening a witness in the case. The teen is not being named because he was charged as a juvenile.

Emily K. Karlinsey, 19, who is accused of making threatening phone calls to a witness, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in January and was credited for a day already spent in jail and given two years probation.

Past coverage:

Dec. 6: Murder suspect's love letters seized

May 20: Sibling murder suspects plead not guilty

May 3: Homicide victim remembered in obituary

April 21: New details released in Forker Road homicide

Cell tower info may aid murder probe

Detectives are seeking cellphone tower location information for phones belonging to a Spokane murder victim and two men with romantic ties to her.

 Kimberly Rae Schmidt, 34, was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head Jan. 1 in what the medical examiner's office has ruled a homicide.

According to court documents filed today, a man with whom Schmidt had past romantic ties with told detectives they recently began rekindling their relationship and that he was to spend New Year's Eve with her, but she cancelled about 10:40 p.m.

The man told detectives he knew Schmidt was seeing another man that night, documents say. That man told detectives he last saw Schmidt about 4 a.m. when she was sleeping in her bedroom.  Schmidt's daughter saw the two together earlier that night when they dropped her off at a friend's home for a party.

Both men allowed detectives to review their cellphones. Detectives say the men had “numerous text correspondents” with Schmidt on Dec. 31.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Mike Drapeau filed search warrants with phone companies last week seeking cell tower information for the three phones that could help him determine where the three were about the time of the murder, according to documents filed today. Results have not been released.

Drapeau said in January that he believes one of the men is a likely suspect.

Schmidt’s mother found Schmidt dead in her home at 37 E. Regina Ave. on Jan. 1. Detectives seized a cloth drawstring bag with a gun barrel sticking out. Drapeau said he believes a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun was the homicide weapon, but he has to wait for the lab to confirm it.

Detectives also are looking into two civil lawsuits that name Schmidt and scuba diving instructor Daniel R. Arteaga, who both worked part time for the Scuba Center of Spokane. The suits involve two scuba diving accidents; on that left a man dead another that allegedly left a woman with brain damage.

Arteaga and Schmidt were notified about the pending suit two and a half weeks before Schmidt was murdered. Schmidt was expected to be a key witness in the case.

Schmidt, a Spokane native and graduate of Shadle Park High School, worked at Pitney Bowes with Tracy Ader, Tracy Ader, who was killed with her two sons in February by 22-year-old Dustin Gilman, who killed himself.

Past coverage:

Jan. 11: Murder victim's family grateful for support

Man beaten while breaking up party dies

The Spokane veteran’s hospital community is grieving for a beloved employee who died after being assaulted while trying to break up an underage party.

 Frank James Motta, a retired high school principal, teacher and football coach, began volunteering at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2009 and was hired as a patient’s advocate four months ago. His wife, Virginia, and daughter, Jami, also volunteer there.

Motta was attacked by a partygoer while trying to break up a large gathering at his neighbor’s house. The neighor was out of town and had asked Motta to clear out the party, thrown by her teenage son. Motta died Thursday night at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, friends confirmed.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

March 14: Man badly beaten while trying to break up party

Ex-Spokane man faces life for murder

A 27-year-old Pasco murder suspect facing life in prison under the three-strikes law got his first strike in Spokane County.

Joseph William Hart pleaded not guilty Tuesday n Franklin County Superior Court for second-degree murder.

Hart is accused of killing Rodger A. Lincoln, 53, outside their east Pasco mobile home last Tuesday.

Hart was 20 years old when he was convicted in Spokane County of first-degree robbery and sentenced to 46.5 month in prison. Hart stabbed a man after the man picked Hart up in a car near Coeur d'Alene Park in Browne's Addition in May 2004.

Hart got his second strike in prison for beating up a cellmate, according to the Tri-City Herald.

Though Hart's defense attorney, Scott Johnson, told Judge Craig Matheson that he's not requesting an evaluation of his client's competency, Johnson did note that “there are clearly mental health issues in this case,” according to the Associated Press.

Hart and Lincoln shared a home in the Sundance Mobile Home Park, 925 N. Elm Ave. space 72. The mobile home is one of several owned by Lourdes Health Network and is used as supported housing for people with mental illnesses.

Lincoln died of multiple stab wounds to his head and torso, autopsy results showed.

Hart is being held in the Franklin County jail on $750,000 bail.

Did ‘Whitey’ Bulger write his memoirs?

By DENISE LAVOIE,AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) — Mobster James “Whitey” Bulger may have written two autobiographies, according to prosecutors, who have notified his lawyers that they may use the memoirs against him at his upcoming trial.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang and a longtime FBI informant, was captured last year in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. He is charged with participating in 19 murders and is awaiting trial.

In a status report filed in court Tuesday, federal prosecutors said they found one document, entitled “My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars,” at a South Boston home in 1995 and a second document at the apartment in Santa Monica where Bulger was captured last year with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors say it's unclear whether Bulger wrote the document found in South Boston. They say the document found in California “appears to be autobiographical.”

The government included descriptions of the documents in a list of evidence prosecutors have turned over to Bulger's lawyers but didn't reveal specifically what was written in them. Prosecutors informed Bulger's lawyers that they may use the document found in 1995 “as evidence in (the) case-in-chief and/or to impeach the defendant” at his trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.

Bulger's lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined to comment.

In the new court documents, prosecutors list hundreds of pieces of evidence they say they have turned over to the defense, including: surveillance photos and video of various locations frequented by Bulger and other members of his gang; crime scene and medical examiner photos of people Bulger and his gang are accused of killing; and statements made by Bulger, including those included in his FBI informant file. The list of evidence was filed in court ahead of a March 19 status conference in the case.

Bulger, who gave the FBI information on the rival New England Mob, fled Boston in late 1994 after being tipped by his former FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., that he was about to be indicted. Connolly later was convicted of racketeering for warning Bulger about the impending indictment.

Bulger, now 82, has pleaded not guilty. His girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60, (pictured right) is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to charges she helped Bulger evade capture during their 16 years on the run together.

June 29: Case continues against 'Whitey' Bulger

June 24: Boston mob boss hid in plain sight

No death penalty for racist double killer

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A man pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his father and stepmother after a prosecutor decided not to seek the death penalty.

David”Joey” Pedersen, 31, is set to be sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole, the only other possible sentence, The Daily Herald reported (http://is.gd/oCxIAI ).

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe has not yet announced a decision on whether to seek the death penalty for Pedersen's girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, 28, who also was charged with aggravated murder in the September killings of 56-year-old David “Red” Pedersen and 69-year-old Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen.

The prosecutor said he declined to pursue the death sentence for Joey Pederson after police turned up significant and credible evidence that his father had sexually abused his children and others decades ago. Joey Pedersen said the abuse was the reason he chose to kill his father.

Joey Pedersen and Grigsby, who have white supremacist ties, also are accused of killing 19-year-old Cody Myers in western Oregon because his name sounded Jewish, and Reginald Clark near Eureka, Calif., because he was black. Those crimes potentially could result in federal prosecution because of civil rights issues.

Red Pedersen was shot once in the back of the head while he drove the suspects to a bus station in Everett after a visit. His son was accused of firing the fatal shot. Investigators believe the suspects then returned to the couple's home to kill DeeDee Pedersen.

Investigators found her bound with duct tape with her throat slashed. The evidence suggests Grigsby wielded the knives, court papers said.

DeeDee Pedersen was not married to Red Pederson (pictured right) at the time of the alleged child abuse and was in no position to prevent or even know about it, Roe said.

Family members of the victims did not agree with the prosecutor's decision against seeking the death penalty, even though Roe said it would have been appropriate.

“They were disappointed, but I believe understand my decision and my reasons for it,” Roe said in a statement.

Joey Pedersen was an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter. He grew up in Salem, Ore, and spent more than half of his life in prison, including an 11-year stint for threatening to murder a federal judge in Idaho. He was released in May.

After the homicides, investigators said he and Grigsby drove to Oregon in Red Pedersen's Jeep and ditched the vehicle with the slain man still inside off a logging road. Authorities believe they crossed paths with Cody Myers, who had left home to attend a jazz festival near the Oregon coast. Myers, a devout Christian, turned up dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators believe the couple continued to Eureka, where Clark, a disabled black man, was killed.

The suspects were arrested Oct. 5 north of Sacramento.

ast coverage:

Feb. 12: Murder spree suspeect wants Coco Puffs

Oct. 10: 4th victim identified in alleged murder spree

Oct. 6: Racist in murder spree threatened to kill Idaho judge

Oct. 5: Couple in NW. manhunt arrested in Calif.

Oct. 5: Body found in manhunt may be that of teen

DNA evidence tangles ‘07 murder case

Jerry Allen and his family are facing the rekindled pain of losing their uncle, John G. “Jack” Allen Jr., who was killed in 2007 at the age of 74. Jerry Allen did odd jobs for his uncle, who helped raise him. (SR/Colin Mulvany)

Water cascades from the roof in heavy droplets inside the abandoned brick-and-glass building on Sprague Avenue where an adult bookstore owner was bludgeoned to death nearly five years ago.

 Just as the building crumbles, cracks also have begun forming in the case against the admitted thief who was sent to prison for the brutal murder of 74-year-old John G. “Jack” Allen Jr.

DNA evidence on the murder weapon has implicated a new suspect in the 2007 slaying, which prosecutors successfully argued in 2008 was the work of just one man: Jeramie R. Davis, 41 (pictured).

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 5: New suspect charged in porn shop owner's murder

July 28: Convicted killer hopes for freedom

July 26: DNA reveals new suspect in 2007 slaying

Man guilty in Bayview hammer murder

In this Sept. 30 photo, Bayview hammer attack vicitm Yvonne Wallis says she wants Larry Cragun to receive the death penalty for the attack. (SR/Kathy Plonka)

A North Idaho man who bludgeoned four people with a hammer in a brutal murder in Bayview last year has pleaded guilty.

 Larry Ward Cragun, 32, faces a mandatory life sentence with possible eligibility for parole after 10 years when he’s sentenced in May, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Friday.

McHugh said he’ll recommend Cragun serve 40 years before he’s eligible for parole.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 23, 2011: Bayview victim: 'I'm just an invalid'

Dec. 20, 2010: 1 dead, 3 injured in Bayview hammer attack

TV show to feature Post Falls murders

In this 2008 photo, Kootenai County sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell stands in the area where newspaper carrier Gary Loesch was murdered in November 1995. (SRarchives)

 A cable TV show on Saturday will feature the case of two fugitive North Idaho women who committed suicide in Arizona after America's Most Wanted detailed their ties to two murders.

 Tina R. Loesch (left) and Skye M. Hanson (right) were wanted for the 1998 murder of Loesch's mother, Barbara, and suspects in the 1995 murder of her father, Gary, when America's Most Wanted spotlighted them in November 2008.

Gary Loesch, who was killed while delivering copies of The Spokesman-Review, had written his daughter out of his will after she told him she was in a lesbian relationship with Hanson, according to previously published reports.

Detectives believe the women hired Bradley Steckman to kill Barbara Loesch, who was found dead in her hot tub with the TV inside. Steckman is serving life in prison for Loesch's murder and for the 1996 murder of an 89-year-old Pullman woman.

Police have long suspected the father-daughter rift and a $500,000 life insurance policy Tina Loesch took out on her mother were motives in the killings.

Post Falls police had been trying to find the women for years - they were last seen with Loesch's son, Kristopher, in Spokane in 2000. The night the program aired, Loesch and Hanson were found dead of suicide in their SUV northwest of Tucson. Police had no idea the women were in Arizona.

Lt. Greg McLean said Thursday that detectives still are trying to find Kristopher Loesch, who would be 21. Cadaver dogs have searched for his body in Arizona amidst rumors the couple had killed him, but his location still is unknown.

“We're not sure if he was dropped off somewhere before they decided to end their lives,” McLean said. “if he was, we haven't been able to find him yet.”

“It's just been a long-term investigation that in my opinion still hasn't been closed because we're still missing Kristopher,” McLean said.

The show airs at 9 p.m. as part of Investigation Discovery's new series, Deadly Sins. It features interviews with Loesch's brother, Charles Loesch, Paul Farina of the Post Falls Police Department and Brad Maskell of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. A channel finder is available here.

Past coverage:

Nov. 18, 2008: Murder suspects found dead in Arizona

Jan. 6, 2008: Missing women remain key in 2 murders

2 men get 25+ years in Colville murder

Two men will spend at least 25 years in prison for killing a 63-year-old homeowner last July near Colville.

  Jesse J. Fellman-Shimmin, 27, (left) pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and Eric L. Booth, 26, (right) pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Wednesday in connection to the killing of Gordon Feist during a botched robbery attempt, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 26: Two more charged in Stevens County homcide

Aug. 2: Murder suspect may claim insanity

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

July 20: Slaying near Colville baffles neighbors

Man pleads not guilty in fatal stabbing

A man accused of stabbing another man to death in downtown Spokane pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a second-degree murder charge.

David J. Fagundes, Jr., 34, is accused of killing Casey W. Anderson, 23, during a fight that included Anderson peppery spraying Fagundes, according to court documents.

Anderson fell into traffic near the intersection of Third Avenue and Howard Street about 4:50 a.m. Feb. 19 with two stab wounds to his back and bite marks on his forehead.

Anderson broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, assaulted her and stole her cellphone, police say. He then went to Fagundes’ apartment at 225 S. Wall St., where the men fought and Fagundes bit Anderson on the forehead several times.

The two men fell to the floor and “Anderson apparently ‘fell’ on top of a ‘butterfly knife,’ ” according to documents prepared by police.

Detectives say Fagundes became uncooperative during questioning and tried to grab a concealed firearm. He was disarmed and detained after a brief struggle.

Fagundes has a felony conviction for burglary in Montana in 1996 that prohibits him from possessing firearms. He also has a conviction in Bonner County for felony battery.

Fagundes remains in jail on $100,000 bond after his arraignment Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

Body found downtown; suspect arrested

A man was found dead from a stab wound in a downtown Spokane street early Sunday.

The man has not been publicly identified, but suspect David Joseph Fagundes, Jr., 34, has been jailed on a second-degree murder charge.

The victim was found near the intersection of Howard Street and Third Avenue shortly before 5 a.m., according to the Spokane Police Department.

Police dispatched major crimes detectives to the scene. A portion of Third Avenue was closed to traffic for about four hours as police scoured the scene for clues.

Fagundes also faces a charge of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because of a previous felony conviction, according to the jail roster. '

Fagundes has a felony conviction in Bonner County, Idaho, for felony battery. He also had a misdemeanor warrant there for failing to pay fines on convictions for driving without privileges and failure to provide proof of insurance.
  

Murder spree suspect wants Cocoa Puffs

(AP) EVERETT — Lawyers spent more than two hours arguing whether a woman charged with murder should be allowed to eat Cocoa Puffs and other snacks while in the county jail, the Everett Herald reported Tuesday.

And they're not done. Another hearing is scheduled for March, when a judge is expected to decide if jail staff must allow the woman access to the Snohomish County Jail's commissary, the paper said.

Attorneys for Holly Grigsby and David “Joey” Pedersen have filed motions complaining about jail conditions and that their clients are not allowed to use the jail store to supplement their meals. A hearing on the complaint went on for more than two hours Monday.

The pair are accused of killing Pedersen's father, David “Red” Pedersen, and his wife, DeeDee, of Everett, last September. Police believe the pair also killed two other people — an Oregon teenager and a disabled California man — in October before their capture in northern California.

Staff at the Snohomish County Jail said that inmates like Grigsby and Pedersen are denied commissary rights since they are maximum-security prisoners and because sugary snacks can be used to make jailhouse alcohol. Grigsby wanted to buy Cocoa Puffs and coffee.

Grigsby defense lawyer, Pete Mazzone, said it violates his client's constitutional rights to deny her access to the commissary based on the nature of the charges against her.

The Herald said Grigsby has received several violations since she's been incarcerated, including trying to brew alcohol in her cell.

Grigsby and Pedersen are white supremacists who reportedly claimed they wanted to “kill more Jews.”

Past coverage:

Oct. 10: 4th victim identified in alleged murder spree

Oct. 6: Racist in murder spree threatened to kill Idaho judge

Oct. 5: Couple in NW. manhunt arrested in Calif.

Oct. 5: Body found in manhunt may be that of teen

Man charged with woman’s Aug. murder

A sex offender suspected of killing a Spokane woman who was working as a prostitute last August has been charged with murder.

Derrick Ross Vargas, 25, is to appear in Superior Court today on a first-degree murder charge for the brutal slaying of Evon M. Moore, 48, whose body was found in an alley near North Ralph Street and East Riverside Avenue Aug. 13.

Vargas was released from federal prison on Aug. 2 after serving about four years for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl when he was 19.

He's been in the Spokane County Jail since Sept. 23 after a Washington State Patrol trooper contacted him during a traffic stop and a woman jumped out of his truck and said she'd been raped. 

Police say the woman was working as a prostitute on East Sprague Avenue when she met Vargas.

Police realized Vargas' truck matched a truck seen on the surveillance video near where Moore's body was found.

Detectives found a pair of shoes with blood on them in Vargas' East Trent Avenue apartment that matched the shoe tread pattern found near Moore's body. They also found a purse believed to belong to Moore, who was a student at Spokane Community College.

Spokane police recommended murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping charges against Vargas in a case sent to prosecutors earlier this month. Look for an update later this afternoon on the formal charges against Vargas, which were filed Monday.

Suspect’s body found; questions remain

The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Monday. (Colin Mulvany/SRphoto)

A tracked cell phone signal led police Monday to the body of the suspected killer they’d been hunting ever since a mother and her two children were found dead Friday in their North Spokane home.

A police dog found 22-year-old Dustin William Gilman’s body in on a forested hillside near the Wandermere area, just north of Spokane city limits, about 10 a.m.

Gilman’s father and others had speculated earlier that he’d shot himself after fleeing the murder scene but Spokane police did not disclose how the suspect died or whether firearms were found near the body.

Gilman is the only suspect in the murders of Tracy Ann Ader, 32, and her sons, 8-year-old Kadin, and 10-year-old Damien, who were found dead in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 13: Killing suspect remains at large

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Trio charged in Bonner County homicide

A Bonner County man on Monday was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 19-year man who was reported missing in September and found recently buried in a shallow grave, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office reported.

   Austin Blake Thrasher, 19, (left) is accused of killing Michael Wyatt Smith, (right) the sheriff’s office said.  

Thrasher’s wife, Jennifer Dunnagan Thrasher, 22, (bottom left) and Christopher Garlin, 19, (bottom right) each face a charge of accessory to murder.

Smith was reported missing Sept. 15 from a residence on the Hope Peninsula and was last seen walking on Penninsula Road in Hope on Sept. 13, the office reported.

Detectives received a tip early last month that a 19-year-old was picked up near Hope “on the pretense of attending a party,” the news release said.

Detectives were told that the teen was instead driven to a woods, shot twice and moved to an unknown location and buried.

Detectives found Smith’s body in a shallow grave on private property off of Wellington Road, north of Hope, the news release said.

The defendants already were in the Bonner County Jail when they became suspects in Smith’s murder.

Last month they were arrested in connection with the burglary of Pawn Now in Ponderay.

Killer still sought in triple homicide

A 2007 Nissan Pathfinder is towed Sunday after being taken from the Aders’ home and left parked near Monroe Street and Wellesley Avenue. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

UPDATE: Gilman's body has been found. Read more here and look for updates.

Police continue to search for a man suspected of killing two young boys and their mother Friday in Spokane.

Dustin William Gilman, 22, (pictured) is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him or has information on where he may be should call 911.

Gilman has been wanted since Friday, when the bodies of Tracy Ader, 32, and her 8- and 10-year-old boys were found in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. Police believe he may be heavily armed with weapons stolen from the home, including a bullet-proof vest.

Police believe Gilman murdered the three while Ader's husband, Nick Ader, was in the hospital. 

Gilman has been staying with the Aders for the last few months. Tracy Ader's mother and stepfather said he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them at their Spokane Valley and was great with the boys.

Ader and her sons are pictured left in a photo provided by her family.

Ader worked at Pitney Bowes, a business service company, with Kimberly Rae Schmidt, 34, who was found shot to death in her north Spokane home on New Year’s Day. No one has been arrested in that case, but sheriff’s detectives say they have a person of interest.

“Tracy was having a hard time dealing with that because (Schmidt) was a direct coworker of hers,” said Steve Ponsness, Ader's stepfather.

Ponsnesskept a gun at his side Saturday as police searched for Gilman, who is believed to have stolen Ader's 2007 Nissan Pathfinder.

A citizen spotted the Pathfinder near West Wellesley Avenue and North Monroe Street Sunday and notified police, who are searching it for evidence.

Gilman is a convicted felon who was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree trafficking in stolen property. He has an extensive juvenile criminal history, including convictions in Kootenai County in 2005 for stolen property and car theft. Court records show he was arrested for assault when he was 10.

See a picture story about the case here.