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Tucker close to decision in Creach case

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said Friday that he is close to making a decision on whether Deputy Brian Hirzel will face criminal charges for shooting Pastor Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25 in Spokane Valley. 

Tucker said Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Jack Driscoll needs to review the report with Spokane Police Detective Brian Hamond early next week before handing it over for Tucker’s review.

“Also, I understand that SPD investigators are meeting on Tuesday to consider if any of the private investigators’ information has criminal/civil implications and needs further investigation before a final decision is made,” Tucker wrote in an e-mail responding to questions.

 Alan Creach, son of the slain pastor, reminded Tucker in a different e-mail Friday that he promised to meet with the family before announcing his decision.

Creach expressed concern that he has had no updates about the progress of the case from the prosecutor’s office.

Crenshaw declines to speak at sentencing

In the end, after 2 1/2 years and a two-week trial, the killer had nothing to say.

“No thank you, your honor,” said Justin Crenshaw when Judge Tari Eitzen asked him if he had anything to say for the murders of Sarah Clark and Tanner Pehl. “I don’t want to take away anything from the families. My attorney covered it, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Eitzen pressed the 22-year-old, reminding him it was his only opportunity to speak.

“That’s correct. I understand that your honor,” said Crenshaw, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit and sporting newly buzzed hair and scruffy facial hair. “Thank you.”

Crenshaw sat stoically through more than three hours of emotional testimony from Clark and Pehl’s loved ones.

He watched witnesses but typically sat with his chin resting on a closed fist, appearing uninterested. 

At least five jurors attended the sentencing; the group of 12 took four hours to convict Crenshaw of two counts of aggravated first-degree murder July 27.

Eitzen sentenced the recovering heroin addict from Las Vegas to two consecutive life terms this afternoon, the only punishment available other than the death penalty, which prosecutors already ruled out. 

Eitzen said she felt the grief in this case “more acutely than I have before, ever.”

“To look at the mothers, and to see the pain on Ms. Pehl and Mrs. Clark’s faces for all these weeks, it was an extraordinary experience in my life,” the judge said.

“I can’t make it any better,” she said. I can’t give you closure. There isn’t any. There won’t be any.”

Etizen said that anyone who sat through the trial “won’t forget.”

“That’s all I have to tell you, that nobody will forget,” she said.

Eitzen said her sympathy extends to Crenshaw.

“Because I think, Mr Crenshaw, you’re just, you’re a damaged person that you could find yourself in these circumstances,” Eitzen said. “I don’t know how someone could be that hurt and damaged. You’re so young. And I think it’s a terrible, terrible tragedy for anyone to sit in a courtroom…with someone your age and to look at the destruction and havoc that’s been caused by your behavior.”

She said she sentenced Crenshaw to lief terms because the law requires and “because it’s the right thing to do.”

“I think you are a dangerous person,” Etizen told Crenshaw. “I don’t say that with animosity or hatred.”

Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said the murder case was the most brutal he’d seen.

“I’d look at the pictures, I’d have to go for long walks just because it was horrible,” Driscoll said.