Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Suspect arrested in Pullman robbery

A suspect has been arrested in a home-invasion robbery in Pullman earlier this week.

Matthew E. White, 35, of Clarkston, is in the Whitman County Jail on charges of robbery, kidnapping, burglary, theft and harassment.

Tips helped police identify him as one of two men who tied up and robbed a Pullman man at gunpoint Tuesday.  Police and the Whitman County SWAT team searched White's home in the 2800 block of 6th Avenue in Clarkston just before 8 p.m. Thursday.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Pullman police at (509) 334-0802.

Surveillance photos and videos of the suspects can be viewed here.

Five accused of kidnapping, torture

Five suspects have been accused of kidnapping and torturing a Spokane woman before shaving her head and writing “narc” and “thief” on her face.

Waylon M. “Creeper” Azure, 33, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and torture charges Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court, five weeks after police say he helped abduct Doreen Wiker from the Select Inn, 1420 W. Second Ave., in Spokane.

Wiker said one of her assailants was in a wheelchair when he threatened her with the gun.

Read the rest of my story here.

Robbery targets medical pot patient

A home-invasion robbery targeting a medical marijuana patient led to the arrests of two suspects this week.

Nicholas S. Gardner, 28, and his girlfriend, Jill A. Benton, 26, are in jail on robbery, assault and kidnapping charges for allegedly attacking John J. Beck, 30, on Jan. 15 at his home in the 5400 block of North Lincoln Street. 

Beck has a medical marijuana prescription and grows a small amount in his basement, according to police. He'd met Benton on two occasions when she stopped by about 12:30 p.m. last Friday and stayed for about 10 minutes.

About 15 minutes after she left, two men - one with a gun and the other with a baseball bat - knocked on Beck's back door, then pushed him into the house, according to police.

They asked where his “stash” was and tied Beck's hands behind his back and feet together using electrical cords. One of the robbers said “we got the gimp” during a phone call, then fled, Beck told police.

Benton told police she'd stopped by Beck's to look for her $350 sunglasses. She said “she has no idea about any robbery,” Spokane police wrote in a search warrant. But police say her phone records showed a call just before 1 p.m. through a tower near Beck's home.

Gardner was given $150,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Thursday. Benton's bond is at $20,000. A third suspect has not been identified.

Cards could deal cold cases new clues

One Spokane woman is hoping to combine the two for a greater good.

Rita Amunrud wants to produce decks of playing cards that feature details of unsolved homicides and missing persons cases from Spokane County and distribute them among inmates inside state prisons.

Each card would promise a reward for helpful tipsters. The cards were designed nearly three years ago, but supporters haven’t raised enough money to get them printed.

Now, as the 40th anniversary of her mother’s unsolved murder approaches, Amunrud is trying to revitalize that effort.

“It’s going to take someone coming forward,” she said. “What better way to spread the word than through playing cards?”

Read my full story here.

Jury acquits man of attempted murder

A Deer Park man was acquitted Thursday of allegations that he’d kidnapped his wife and her new lover and tried to throw them off a bridge.

 A jury of seven men and five women found David E. Epley (pictured) not guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping for the May 12, 2009, incident.

“I think it was grossly overcharged,” said Epley’s lawyer, Gloria Ochoa. “At most what (prosecutors) had was maybe an assault, but it was not first-degree premeditated attempted murder.”

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece declined comment. The jury deliberated for about a day.

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Dec. 2: Trial begins in love triangle case

Oct. 5, 2009: Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim

June 1, 2009: New charges in bridge-pushing case

May 13, 2009: Man charged with kidnapping, attempted murder

Police hope for new clues in cold case

Laurie Partridge’s disappearance not only stumped detectives, it pushed her parents apart and prompted her family to move far from Spokane County.

“It determined the whole way my family lived,” said Partridge’s sister, Taryn Chambers, who lives in Florida.

Their parents reunited and remarried more than a decade later, but the girls’ mother died in 2004 not knowing what happened to Partridge, who was 17 when she left Ferris High School for home on Dec. 4, 1974.

She never made it, and no trace of her was ever found.

Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Mike Ricketts is taking a renewed look at the case and hoping the 36th anniversary of one of the county’s most talked-about cold cases will generate new clues.

“With cold cases, one of the things that is on your side is that time sometimes affects relationships,” Ricketts said. “Sometimes people who were unwilling to talk at the time become willing to talk.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Trial begins in attempted murder case

Breaking up may be hard to do, but a Deer Park man is facing substantial time in prison for the way investigators say he ended the relationship with his wife: by trying to throw her new lover off the Wandermere Bridge. 

Trial started Wednesday for David E. Epley, 37, who faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in connection with a confrontation on May 12, 2009.

Attorneys presented opening statements that offered very different views of what happened on the darkened bridge that night.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kyle Treece described a man who hid in his wife’s car for hours as she shared a drink with her guitar instructor at Cinola’s Restaurant, at 147179 N. Newport Highway.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 5, 2009: Police: Accused killer wrote rape suspect’s alleged victim

June 1, 2009: New charges in bridge-pushing case

May 13, 2009: Man charged with kidnapping, attempted murder

Woman accused of assault, kidnapping

A Spokane woman accused of kidnapping her girlfriend at knife point last weekend remains in jail on $10,000 bond.

Emily J. Lystad, 25, was arrested Saturday after her girlfriend, Serena King, told police Lystad assaulted her at Irv’s bar, 415 W. Sprague Ave., and drove her to a cabin in Worley, Idaho, while threatening her with a knife.

Lystad then drove King to their home at 10714 E. Augusta Ave., in Spokane Valley, where the couple have lived for about a month, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Lystad choked and hit King after tying her to their bed “with ropes that were tied to the bed frame,” according to the affidavit.

A roommate helped untie King and noticed bruises on her face, deputies said. Lystad was arrested at 312 W. 8th and reportedly admitted to deputies that she’d assaulted King and forced her into her car at knife point. Deputies described her as “remorseful.”

“Lystad admitted to saying she wanted King dead if she could not be with her,” according to the affidavit.

Lystad appeared in Superior Court Monday on first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault charges. Her arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Report: Rape suspect posed as cop

A man accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Spokane park early Saturday claimed to be a police officer, then told her he would take her to jail for illegally possessing alcohol if she didn’t have sex with him, police said Monday.

According to police, Christopher M. Clough, 29, met the woman, who had been walking on Monroe Street, at about 1 a.m. in the McDonald’s parking lot at Monroe and Indiana Avenue, where he told her he was investigating rapists and offered to give her a ride home.

Believing Clough was an undercover officer, the woman got in his car but was soon handcuffed by Clough, who pointed to a cup of alcohol she was carrying and said she wouldn’t go to jail “if I gave him a piece of me,” the woman told police.

Read the rest of my story here.

Gunpoint car repossession leads to arrest

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — Police in Marysville have arrested three men from Cheney for investigation of kidnapping and robbery after the men allegedly tried to repossess two vehicles at gunpoint.

The men — 19, 33 and 45 years old — were in a pickup truck Friday night when they confronted a Mount Vernon man and his teenage in a sport utility vehicle outside a restaurant, police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureaux tells The Daily Herald of Everett. Police allege the men pointed a handgun and a shotgun at the man and son, then took the boy out of the SUV and put him in the pickup.

Officers say another man got into the SUV and demanded to go to the man’s home to repossess the other car. Police, alerted by witnesses, then stopped the car and truck and arrested the men.

Stevens Co. warns of convicted rapist

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a sex offender who is considered likely to reoffend and lives in Colville. 

Daniel I. Buchmann, 38, is not wanted by authorities, but he is on probation for a 2001 conviction for fist-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping and the sheriff’s office wants the public to be aware of his presence. His victim was a 14-year-old female neighbor.

Buchmann, 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, is prohibited from entering bars, taverns, lounges, parks, playgrounds, schools or any place frequented by minors.

Buchman is living in the 1000 block of Middle Basin Road in Colville. He’s a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

Extortion claim leads to $2,500, SWAT team

A 28-year-old Spokane man suspected of kidnapping and extortion remains in Kootenai County Jail after escaping a friend’s home during a SWAT standoff Thursday in Post Falls, only to be caught later.

Post Falls police responded to a house at 204 W. 17th Ave. just before noon Thursday, where Joshua M. Moses allegedly held and beat up Joshua M. Branam, 34, on Saturday, Post Falls police Chief Scot Haug said.

Police believe Branam, of Coeur d’Alene, owed Moses money, but the investigation is ongoing. Branam’s family paid Moses $2,500 for his release, Haug said.

The homeowner told officers as they toured the scene of the beating  that Moses was in the house, and that he had a gun. Officers called the SWAT team, but Moses sneaked out the back door, Haug said.

Police apprehended Moses around 6:30 p.m. at the Post Falls Club, a bar at 611 E. Seltice Way. A 15-year-old runaway also was arrested today in connection with the Saturday incident. Branam was arrested Wednesday on an outstanding warrant, Haug said.

Man accused of holding girl, 2, at knifepoint

A 22-year-old man is accused of holding a 2-year-old girl at knifepoint during a confrontation with tribal police on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Samuel G. Laverdure appeared in U.S. District Court in Spokane on Thursday, where he’s charged with kidnapping after investigators say he held a girl hostage after police were invited inside his trailer regarding a domestic dispute on May 10.

Laverdure first gave a false name, but when police confronted him about an arrested warrant he pulled a knife and grabbed a 2-year-old girl.

Police shocked him with a Taser after he charged at an officer with the girl, according to an affidavit.

Laverdure already is a convicted felon, including conviction in 2005 for assault and obstructing a law enforcement officer. He’s in custody at the Spoakne County Jail.

Hunt still on for alleged bank robber’s driver

A bank robbery suspect who used a carjacked vehicle as his transportation was arraigned on two felonies Tuesday as police continue to search for his getaway driver.

Police still haven’t determined who was driving the stolen Buick Lucerene when Gorder got into the car as a passenger after allegedly robbing Washington Trust Bank, 3810 N. Maple, on May 28.

Gorder was arrested the next day, but he refused to talk to detectives and police didn’t recover the Buick for several days.

Now they’re searching Gorder’s cell phone records for clues about how might have driven him from the bank robbery. If you have any information, all Crime Check at 456-2233.

Gorder pleaded not guilty today to charges of first-degree escape and first-degree burglary connected to an alleged crime spree that began when he escaped from a work release center May 25.

He’s already pleaded not guilty to robbery and attempted kidnapping charges. Prosecutors will be seeking an exceptionally long sentence.

Past coverage:

June 1: Carjacking suspect has history with ‘Cops’

Men admit to kidnapping, assaulting burglar

Two men who kidnapped and assaulted a burglary suspect will serve time for the crime.

Jesse T.R. Bushnell, 19, (right) was sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty Friday to second-degree kidnapping and second-degree attempted assault.

Chaz P. Crow , 21, was sentenced earlier that week to a year and 10 days in jail for the same charges; he’ll be credited for time served. Crow’s sentence was a few days longer than prosecutors recommended - Judge Jerome Leveque said he deserved it.

Crow and Bushnell were arrested in April after an attack on a suspected burglar who reportedly bought marijuana from Crow and was caught leaving Crow’s apartment with a rifle and a half-ounce of pot, according to court records.

The men dragged the burglar from his apartment hours later and beat him until he told them where to find some of the items. They kidnapped him again later that night and demanded the stolen marijuana.

Firefighters found the victim walking near the Palouse Highway and Valley Chapel Road with a broken nose, concussion and wounds “all about his head and body,” according to court documents prepared by Spokane police.

Charges against a 17-year-old boy arrested with Crow and Bushnell have been dismissed.

Past coverage:

Police: Pot dealer tortured burglary suspect

Police: Robber held toddler at knifepoint

A home-invasion robber held a toddler at knife-point to coerce a woman who later used a MySpace photo to identify him, according to police.

The suspect, Pierre J. Davis, 21, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Tuesday, more than four months after police say he held a knife to a 2-year-old boy’s throat while demanding debit card information from the boy’s mother.

Detectives used interviews and a search warrant for cell phone records to develop a case against Davis after the woman spotted his photo on MySpace. He was booked into jail on Monday. Court documents do not identify two additional suspects but said each was armed with a knife. 

Read the rest of my story here.

It’s not the first time Davis has been linked to a crime connected to the once-popular social networking site.

He has a conviction for riot in connection with a February 2008 gang-related shooting that stemmed from a message posted on a Murder 1 Crips gang member’s MySpace page. The message targeted a rival gang, the Blocc Hustler Crips, of which Davis was reportedly a member, according to court documents. Read more here.

Donation account created for reunited family

A donation account has been created to help a father who’s reuniting with his sons after more than a decade.

A reader who wishes to remain an anonymous set up the account for Bill Connington. Connington’s ex-wife, Jill D. Haugen, is accused of taking the couple’s sons from Spokane 12 years ago, despite a court order granting Connington custody.

Connington, who works in maintenance at the NorthTown Mall, didn’t hear from them again until police Milton, Pa., located them in December.

The boys are to move to Spokane this summer to live with Connington. Donations could help buy furniture for the teens and help Connington visit them before the move.

To donate, visit any U.S. Bank.

Read more about the case in my Sunday story: Rebuilding a fractured family

Teen torture suspects due in court today

Two teens accused of kidnapping and torturing a suspected burglar are in police custody.

Jesse T.R. Bushnell, 19; (left) and Jesse R. James, 17, are due in Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where they’ve been since Tuesday.

Bushnell and James are accused of helping Chaz P. Crow, 20, kidnap and torture a burglar on two occasions last week.

Crow was arrested Thursday and is to be arraigned this afternoon on two counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault: torture.

The suspects are accused of kidnapping a man they caught burglarizing Crow’s home, then beating him until he told them where to find some of the stolen items. Bushnell then pistol-whipped  the man with the stolen rifle, police said.

The attackers kidnapped the man again from a home at 2525 E. 53rd later that night and demanded the stolen marijuana, according to court documents. Bushnell reportedly poked the alleged victim repeatedly with a metal wire during the long car ride, according to court documents.

Read more about the case here.

Police: Drug dealer, teens tortured burglar

Two teenagers and a Spokane man are accused of kidnapping and torturing a suspected burglar.

Police believe Chaz P. Crow, 20; Jesse T.R. Bushnell, 19; and Jesse R. James, 17, kidnapped Russell Cole on two occasions in revenge for Cole stealing from Crow’s apartment, according to court documents filed this week.

Crow is in jail on a $5,000 cash-only bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court today.

James and Bushnell are not in custody, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help catch Bushnell. (Bushnell is pictured at left.)

Two other suspects have not been identified.

The case began last weekend when detectives say the suspects spotted Cole, who reportedly bought drugs from Crow, leaving Crow’s apartment with valuables, including a rifle and a half-ounce of marijuana.

The suspects are accused of dragging Cole from his apartment at 3005 E. 35th hours after the burglary, then beating him until he told them where to find some of the stolen items. Bushnell then pistol-whipped Cole with the stolen rifle, police said.

The attackers left but kidnapped Cole again from a home at 2525 E. 53rd later that night and demanded the stolen marijuana, according to court documents.

Firefighters found Cole walking on near the Palouse Highway and Valley Chapel Road with a broken nose, concussion and wounds “all about his head and body,” according to court documents prepared by Spokane police.

James’ brother, Martin Garcia, lives at the home on 53rd. Garcia told police the men bound Cole’s hands with black electrical tape before tying a bandanna around his eyes.

James reportedly apologized to Garcia and assured him they wouldn’t kill Cole, but Crow said “You don’t know that,” according to court documents.

The men drove about 40 minutes to a field before pulling Cole from the car and assaulting him.

Crow, Bushnell and James are charged in Spokane County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault: torture.

The assault charge alleged the men inflicted harm “which by design did cause such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture.”

Ex-caretaker accused of kidnapping woman

 A man already accused of assaulting a woman he used to care for now is accused of kidnapping her from the Coeur d’Alene Casino, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department. 

John M. Costa, 47, of Chewelah, appeared in Kootenai County District Court today after he was arrested Saturday about 4:20 p.m. on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping.

He’s accused of kidnapping a 49-year-old woman he used to care for from the Coeur d’Alene Casino, then taking her to a hotel in Plummer to try to persuade her to drop battery charges against him in Washington, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Costa faces possible assault charges in Benewah County for the incident at the hotel.

Security detained Costa after he took the woman back to the casino, where her son and caregiver found her. Deputies responded to the casino for a report of a man causing a disturbance.

The woman was taken to Kootenai Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Court documents show Costa was not facing criminal charges in Washington involving the woman, but the Department of Social and Heath Services sought a protection order  for the victim after she declined to press charges against Costa.

The woman was hospitalized Jan. 27 after Costa allegedly assaulted her and threatened her with a gun. He’d been staying at her home “because of her care needs and his house was flooded due to a pipe breaking.”

He’s now in Kootenai County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Report: Trucker helped rescue rape victim

A Cheney man is accused of kidnapping a woman and raping her before she escaped to safety with the help of a passing trucker.

Charles V. Huckabee, 47, has been in Spokane County Jail on $100,000 bail since his arrest March 16.

The woman told police Huckabee attacked her on March 8 after the two left “an informal bonfire gathering” at a bar in Medical Lake. He told her they were going to friends home but drove erratically to a trailer park, where he forced her to ingest a “small, dark solid substance” that she said effected her balance, according to court documents prepared by Cheney police.

“He basically terrorized her into submissive compliance to his demands,” according to court documents.

Huckabee told police the sex was consensual. The woman said she ran from the trailer and was driven by a tucker to a Cheney fast food restaurant.

Huckabee’s arraignment is scheduled for March 30 on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

Huckabee, who reportedly told the victim he’d served 12 years in prison, had been arrested a day before the alleged attack after his wife said he’d threatened her, according to court documents.

News archives show he was involved in a big methamphetamine bust as a Cocolalla, Idaho resident in 1997.

Mom in ‘98 kidnapping due in Spokane soon

A woman accused of kidnapping her sons from her ex-husband 12 years ago is expected back in Spokane this week to face a felony charge after fighting extradition from Pennsylvania.

Jill D. Haugen, who also is known as Jill Connington, has been in a Pennsylvania jail since Dec. 29, when police arrested her on suspicion that she picked up her sons for a visit in 1998 but never returned them.

The boys, now 17 and 15, were living with Haugen in Milton, Pa., where she was going by the name Ann Thompson.

Spokane police are expected to travel to Pennsylvania this week to get Haugen, who faces one charge of child custodial interference, said Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor John Love. The felony carries a maximum penalty of about a year in jail. The boys were set to return to their father, William Connington of Spokane.

“The bigger picture is here’s a father who hadn’t seen his kids for 10 years, and thought he probably never would see his kids again,” Love said.

Haugen, 48, said as said that she is a victim of domestic violence and her sons are victims of sexual abuse. Police say there’s no merit to her claims. She faces a $25,000 bail in Spokane County, the same amount she’s been held on in Pennsylvania.

William Connington testified at an extradition hearing in Northumberland County on Friday, according to The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.

“She ran because she knew she was going to lose the kids. Not because of anything else,” he said, according to an article you can read here.

Police: Knife-point kidnapping closes U.S. 95

An estranged Spokane couple shut down U.S Highway 95 near Athol today after police say the man held the woman hostage at knife point.

Damien L. Bunch, 27, (right) was arrested after police investigating a crash about 7:15 a.m. found him holding Deanna Lafrombois, 29, at knife point inside a car at milepost 444, the State Police reported.

Police were able to rescue Lafrombois after about 30 minutes spent negotiating with Bunch. Lafrombois was taken to Kootenai Medical Center with knife wounds.

Bunch faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of methamphetamine. He’s already on probation in Spokane County after pleading guilty to harassment in December. He was credited for 58 days served in jail.

In February, Bunch and Lafrombois petitioned for divorce, according to news archives.

Bunch also has convictions in Spokane for domestic violence harassment and first-degree criminal trespass from 2007.

Kidnap suspect facing extradition to Spokane

MILTON, Pa. (AP) — A woman accused of kidnapping her own sons after their father was awarded custody about 12 years ago has been arrested in central Pennsylvania and faces extradition to Spokane.

The woman was arrested Tuesday at her home in Milton, Pa., where she was going by the name Ann Thompson, but police say she was known in Spokane as Jill Haugen. Police say she fled with her sons when they were 4 and 5 years old and has been living in Milton for two years.

The woman said today that she is a victim of domestic violence and her sons are victims of sexual abuse. Police say there’s no merit to her claims.

Milton is about 115 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The animals in our midst…

Good morning, Netizens…


Phillip Garrido looks out at the courtroom during his arraignment on 28 felony counts stemming from the abduction of Jaycee Dugard in 1991, in the El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. Garrido pleaded not guilty on charges including forcible abduction, rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment. At left is court-appointed attorney Susan Gellman who represented Garrido. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Phillip Garrido, convicted sex offender, rapist, kidnapper and former prison inmate steps up to the stage and after throwing himself on the mercies of the criminal justice system quickly scurries and hides behind his attorney. Garrido, in case the name doesn’t ring a bell, is the man who, on June 10, 1991, kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard, aged 11 years, from her school bus stop and held her captive until this week. Here’s a few dates from the long list:


In June 8, 1999, Garrido’s parole is transferred to California from Nevada. He is subject to home and office visits and had to wear a GPS monitoring device on his ankle. No parole violations were reported. Well, until recently, that is. His parole agent made several house visits during this time.


Day before yesterday, Garrido and his wife were arrested and charged with allegations of kidnapping, rape by force, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and kidnapping someone under 14 with intent to rape.. The girl was taken into custody only briefly enough to verify that she was that kidnap victim, now aged 29 years old, with two children fathered ostensibly by Garrido. Garrido fathered her first child at age 14, and none of her children have been in either public schools or treated by medical professionals prior to this time.


The entire criminal justice system, including the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Probation Departments have yet to explain why, despite several visits by members of the Sheriff’s Department and his probation officer, nobody was aware Dugard was living in Garrido’s back yard in a warren of tents and other buildings, being held against her will, one presumes.


In April 2008, Garrido registered a corporation called Gods Desire at his home. Those who knew him said he became increasingly fanatical about his religion in recent years, breaking into song and claiming that God spoke to him through a box. As if to prove how crazy and stupid he was, he put up a set of web sites. Consider the madness at http://voicesrevealed.blogspot.com/


Hopefully he’ll have to talk to God from behind bars the rest of his life. We do live in very strange times, indeed.


Dave