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Man accused of robbing local pharmacy

A 30-year-old man has been arrested for robbing a north Spokane pharmacy of Oxycodone.

Paul Raymond Hunt, Jr., was arrested Monday for the June 5 robbery at Rite Aid, 12420 N. Highway 395.

Pharmacy employees identified him as the man who showed up at the store in a black baseball cap and sunglasses and slid one of them a note demanding Oxycodone. A pharmacist handed him a bottle of the drug, but he told him he knew there was more and waited for another bottle, according to court documents.

The pharmacist said he asked the man “are you sure you want to do this? There are cameras everywhere,” and the man replied “Just do it or something really bad will happen,” according to court documents.

Sheriff's deputies obtained surveillance video of the robbery. It's unclear how they identified Hunt as a suspect. He already was in jail on a residential burglary, drug and theft of a firearm charges after an arrest on Saturday. He appeared in Superior Court Tuesday on a charge of second-degree robbery.

VA hospital locked down over gun threat

The Spokane veterans hospital was locked down Tuesday after a man with a history of gun threats said he was going to return with a gun when his narcotics prescription refill was denied.

John Alvin Barr II, 26, apparently was upset he couldn't immediately the prescription when he went to the Spokane Veteran Affairs Medical Center at 4815 N. Assembly St., Tuesday about 5:45 p.m.

Employees told Barr that his physician had left for the day and was unavailable to authorize the refill. A hospital administrator refused to authorize the refill because he noticed it wasn't the first time Barr had requested unscheduled refills.

When told that, Barr reportedly said “I guess I'm just gonna have to go home and get my .45 then,” according to court documents.

It was the third time since September 2010 Barr had made threats involving a firearm, hospital staff say. The facility was locked down because employees were concerned Barr might carry out the threat.

Barr brought firearms to the hospital in October 2005 and was put on probation for three years beginning in March 2006.

Barr, of Wallace, Idaho, appeared in U.S. District Court on gun charges Wednesday and was ordered to remain in jail. A hearing to determine if he can be granted bail is scheduled for today at 2:30 p.m.

Man arrested for DUI, drugs after crash

A man described by sheriff's deputies as “extremely intoxicated” crashed his Jeep Cherokee into trees near Handy and Hatch roads in Colbert early Saturday.

Warren Anderson, 22, said he couldn't remember how much he had to drink but “it was a lot,” the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today. Anderson had a pill in a piece of burned foil that he said he was a “Roxi” but also said “that he did not really know what he was smoking,” the sheriff's office said.

Deputy Chad Ruff determined the pill was the narcotic Roxicodone. He and Deputy Scott Kenoyer contacted Anderson after responding to the one-car crash about 4:30 a.m.

A witness told dispatcher he'd seen the Jeep at the intersection of Handy and Hatch about a half an hour earlier, and the driver was sitting in the driver's seat not moving. He saw the Jeep crashed when he drove back through the intersection.

Deputies said they smelled a strong odor of intoxicants as they approached the Jeep. They said Anderson refused to exit the vehicle but “was placed under arrest” for drunken driving and began to cooperate, according to the sheriff's office.

Anderson was booked into jail on charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

Women arrested in Oxycodone fraud

Two women are accused of trying to obtain the powerful prescription painkiller Oxycodone through fraudulent prescriptions Sunday night at a Spokane Valley pharmacy.

Police were called about 6 p.m. after a pharmacist at a store in the 13400 block of East Sprague Avenue realizing a prescription attempting to be filled by Justine A. Diaz, 22, was written on a pad that had been reported stolen through the Spokane Pharmacy Association, and that a woman matching Diaz' description had tried to fill the stolen prescriptions Saturday night at several Albertsons pharmacies, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said tdoay.

Diaz and Crystal A. Russell, 24, were detained after deputies arrived at the pharmacy and saw Russell, who was “visibly nervous” try to walk away with Diaz.

The pharmacist told deputies Diaz tried to fill a prescription in another name that she said belonged to a friend who had been in a collision. Diaz reportedly said she would pay cash because her friend did not have health insurance, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies say Diaz refused to speak to deputies and Russell said she had no idea the prescriptions were stolen and forged, the sheriff's office said.

Russell was booked into jail on a charge of controlled substance conspiracy and Diaz was booked on charges of prescription fraud and second-degree possession of stolen property.

A man and woman were arrested in a similar case in Spokane Valley last week.

2 arrested on drug fraud charges in Valley

Two suspected prescription drug forgers were arrested Monday night after a chase with police in Spokane Valley.

Employees at a pharmacy in the 15700 block of East Broadway Avenue told police about 8:45 p.m. Monday that a woman attempted to fill an Oxycodone prescription written on a pad that had been reported stolen from a doctor's office, but left when she was told they would need to verify the prescription with the doctor, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies spotted a woman and man running through the parking lot and detained them for questioning. Nicole Wright, 27, said she was filling a prescription for a friend, but deputies cold find no record of the friend's name.

The other suspect, Coby Adams, 33, stepped on a scrap of paper that fell out of his pocket and slid it under a patrol car, but deputies retrieved it and discovered it was “the same stolen prescriptions Wright presented at the pharmacy, all for Oxycodone, all prescribed to Wright,” according to a news release.

Wright and Adams were booked into jail on charges of prescription fraud and second-degree possession of stolen property.

Drug take back and shred event

Residents can bring their old prescription drugs and documents to the Spokane Valley Police Precinct Saturday for free disposal. The drug take back and shred event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12710 E. Sprague. You can bring in all types of drugs (including over the counter medications), vitamins, ointments, inhalers, liquid medicines and pre-dosed syringes (without needles). You can also bring up to three boxes or 150 pounds of documents for shredding.

Items that won't be accepted are needles, lancets, syringes, thermometers, hydrogen peroxide, medical waste, empty containers or personal care products. This is a great chance to clean out your cupboards and medicine cabinets and dispose of everything safely.

2 more suspects ID’d in drug robbery

Two suspected accomplices have been charged with robbing a Spokane clinic of prescription drugs in December.

 Shawn Savynjo Struck, 41, was arrested this weekend on a second-degree robbery charge for allegedly helping Brian Lee “Rowdy” Riley rob the Spokane Falls Family Clinic, 120 W. Mission Ave. on Dec. 29. He remains in jail on $25,000 bond after appearing in court today.

Riley (pictured) was armed with a paintball gun when he robbed the clinic, police say. Struck held the door open for him, police say, and suspect Mary Jane Eilliot, 30, is accused of driving the getaway car. Elliot is wanted on a $30,000 warrant for second-degree robbery.

Riley pleaded guilty earlier this month to attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree robbery for the December case and for a gunpoint home-invasion robbery last August. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Riley told Elliott he shot the pharmacist with his paintball gun and someone threw a bottle of Hydrocodone at him, according to court documents. Elliott said she drove Riley to the clinic in exchange for 45 pills, police say.

Riley's girlfriend, Erica M. Solberg, is charged with witness tampering for allegedly intimidating a witness in the case.
  

Serial robbery suspect pleads not guilty

Pepper spray apparently didn't deter a drug-seeking pharmacy robber in Deer Park: Police believe he tried robbing the store two more times.

Aaron David Kenny Miller, 24, pleaded not guilty today to first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and attempted second-degree robbery for holdups at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Deer Park in December and February.

Detectives believe Miller was the gunman who robbed the store of oxycodone on Dec. 5 after displaying a gun and placing a note on the counter that demanded drugs and said he needed rent money for his children.

A pharmacy employee pepper sprayed Miller, but police believe he again robbed the store on Dec. 30 with a note claiming he had a gun and demanding drugs. He was pepper sprayed again but returned to the store Feb. 21 seeking more drugs, police say. He didn't get them that time, but he did get another dose of the spray.

Miller ran  from the pharmacy to a home at 116 S. Fir in Deer Park covered in pepper spray, according to court documents. A resident called police after Miller told him he'd tried to rob a store, documents say.

Miller reportedly confessed to Spokane County sheriff's deputies that he'd robbed the pharmacy twice before. He remains in jail on $100,000 bond.

Past coverage:

Jan. 27: Sketch shows OxyContin robbery suspect

Drug suspect wanted after missing court

 A man charged with a drug felony after police found him passed out just east of downtown is wanted by Crime Stoppers.

Joseph Wade Davis, 27, has a colorful criminal history that includes a chase with a sheriff's deputy in June 2010 and another chase in April 2010 that ended with a car running out of gas near the Splash Down Water Park on Interstate 90.

He was arrested Sept. 13 after a Spokane police officer found him passed out in a grassy area on East Riverside Avenue at North Hogan Street and discovered prescription pills in his pocket that were authorized to him, according to court documents.

The officer said Davis had a felony warrant for his arrest at the time. He also was wearing a hospital ID bracelet - he told the officer he'd obtained the drug by using a false name at a hospital.

Davis was summonsed to court earlier this month for an arraignment on a felony charge of prescription fraud of a legend drug. He didn't show up, and a $5,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to his arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online

Cops: Paintball gun-toting robber ID’d

A 26-year-old convicted felon has been identified as a suspect in a robbery with a paintball gun at a Spokane clinic last month.

Brian Lee “Rowdy” Riley, 26, is in jail on a  first-degree robbery charge for the Dec. 29 drug heist at the Spokane Falls Family Clinic, 120 W. Mission Ave.

Sheriff's deputies seized the black Volvo used in he robbery from a parking lot at 921 S. Pines Road in Spokane Valley later that night. The owner said a man named Corey had borrowed the car and returned with a bag full of Hydrocodone pills. A week later, a jail inmate identified Riley as being responsible for the robbery.

One woman also told police a friend of her son's - who she later identified as Riley - had bragged about robbing the pharmacy and had talked about planning more robberies, including attacks on pharmacy delivery vehicles, according to court documents. Police say the man's cell phone was registered to Riley, which led them to search his home the 2300 block of North Hutchinson on Jan. 19, according to a search warrant.

Detectives say the Volvo's owner told them in another interview on Jan. 25 that she'd driven Riley to the clinic in exchange for 45 Hydrocodone pills. Riley told her he shot the pharmacist with his paintball gun and someone threw a bottle of Hydrocodone at him, according to court documents. She has not yet been charged.

Riley was arrested after a pursuit with sheriff's deputies on Jan. 27 near 9526 E. Broadway Ave. He remains in jail on $100,000 for second-degree robbery.

RIley also has a $150,000 bond for first-degree burglary and robbery charges for an alleged gunpoint home-invasion robbery last August. He was charged in that case in December but showed up for an arraignment and was out of jail awaiting trial when he allegedly robbed the pharmacy.

Sketch shows pharmacy robbery suspect

Detectives today released a sketch of a possible suspect in two gunpoint robberies at a Deer Park pharmacy.

 The first robbery at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy, 11 E. H St., occurred Dec. 5 about 4:40 p.m. when a man demanded OxyContin and displayed a silver pistol that was in his waistband.

The pharmacy was robbed again Dec. 30 about 4 p.m. by a man who claimed he was armed with a gun but never displayed one.

The robber in both cases is described as a white man in his early 20s, 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6 and thin, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information on the robberies or the robber's identity is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Ex-postal worker sentenced in mail theft

An ex-postal supervisor and Air Force veteran will be on probation for five years for stealing prescription medication from mail.

Mark Charles Raley, 46, of Spokane also will pay $5,045 in restitution under a sentence imposed this week in U.S. District Court in Spokane. He pleaded guilty in May to two counts of theft of mail by a postal service employee.

Raley was a supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service Spokane Processing and Distribution Center when he became addicted to hydrocodone after undergone gastric bypass surgery. He was being treated at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center but grew heavily addicted and began sorting mail looking for VA package containing hydrocodone. He wouldn't steal any other prescription drugs, according to court documents.

“Mr. Raley does not have a checkered past and was not looking to profit from his conduct by selling to others; rather, he simply sought to support his hydrocodone addiction,” according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by his lawyer, John McEntire.

In a prepared statement, Michael Seitler, an Office of Inspector General special agent in charge of the VA’s northwest field office, said Raley “prevented numerous veterans from receiving the medication they desperately needed.”

Raley entered a drug treatment program offered by the VA in December shortly after being confronted about the thefts. He continues to attend drug rehab and is living in a clean-and-sober house that requires him to take random drug tests.

Raley wants to attend school to be a substance abuse counselor, McEntire said.

Chronic prescription forger arrested again

A Spokane woman arrested on prescription forgery charges six times in one year returned to jail again this week less than two weeks after pleading guilty to four felonies.

Theresia L. Beckett, 56, was out of jail on bond awaiting sentencing when she was arrested for the same thing she's been arrested for six other times since last June: forging a prescription and trying to pass it at a local pharmacy.

She was arrested Wednesday at Deaconess Pharmacy, 800 W. 5th Ave., for allegedly trying to collect on a forged prescription for Ambien.

Beckett earned the ire of Superior Court Judge Michael Price last month when she was arrested for the sixth time.

“I've seen Ms. Beckett time in and time out,” Price said at the time. “I'm certainly not trying to be gruff or rude to her, but…every time she bonds out, arguably, she just goes right back out and does it again, possibly within hours.”

Beckett's bond was set at $150,000 Thursday.

She's expected back in court for four no-bail warrants for the cases she's awaiting sentencing on. Her lawyer, Tim Note, told Price he was “speechless” over her latest arrest.

4 shot dead in NY pharmacy robbery

People line up to view and bring flowers and memorials Wednesday at outside Haven Drugs pharmacy in Medford, N.Y. Four people were shot to death there during a weekend painkiller robbery. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

By FRANK ELTMAN,Associated Press
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — Two years ago, they posed for a wedding photo: Him beaming broadly in a dark suit, she a pudgy fresh-faced bride. They soon started a promising life together in the suburban New York home where he was raised.

Police mug shots of David Laffer and Melinda Brady released Thursday portrayed an altogether different couple: Gaunt, stone-faced suspects charged with a drug-store robbery and the killings of two pharmacy employees and two customers on Father's Day.

Laffer, 33, had two black eyes and bruises all over his face during his arraignment on first-degree murder charges, where a court-appointed attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

 A police complaint says Laffer sustained the injuries when he grabbed for a police officer's weapon during a raid at his Medford home on Wednesday. He was tackled to the ground and placed in handcuffs, the complaint said.

Brady, 29, now many pounds lighter than her wedding photo, was being treated at a hospital for an undisclosed ailment, forcing authorities to temporarily postpone her arraignment. She is charged with robbery and obstructing governmental administration, although a prosecutor said Thursday that upgraded charges were likely.

Both were high on drugs when they were arrested, police said.

Read the rest of the AP story by clicking the link below.

Drug fraud suspect arrested 6x in 1 year

A Spokane woman arrested on felony prescription forgery charges six times in one year has been jailed on an usually high bond of $125,000.

Theresia L. Beckett, 56, has at least eight pending felony charges related to alleged prescription forgeries at Spokane pharmacies since last June.

Beckett was arrested June 16, July 20, Sept. 26, Oct. 14 and April 12 but was out of jail on $60,000 bond when she was arrested again Wednesday at a Walgreens in Spokane Valley.

Beckett is accused of forging a prescription for hydrocodone at the pharmacy, 15510 E. Sprague Ave. Deputies said she tried to flee the business before she was arrested.

Prosecutors asked Judge Michael Price to impose the extraordinarily high bond after Beckett's latest arrest.
Her lawyer, Tim Note, said he “understands the state's frustration.”

Price said the prosecutor's request was reasonable.

“I've seen Ms. Beckett time in and time out,” Price said. “I'm certainly not trying to be gruff or rude to her, but…every time she bonds out, arguably, she just goes right back out and does it again, possibly within hours. I have some real concerns for Ms. Beckett.”

Beckett was convicted of six counts of prescription fraud in 2008 and given two years of probation.

Crash in stolen Honda leads to 2 arrests

An early-morning crash involving a stolen Honda led to two arrests and the discovery of drug material in the driver's purse today in north Spokane.

Rachel A. Banks, 24, and her passenger, Randy A. Fisher, 24, ran from the car after Banks crashed into the back of a Ford pickup parked in a driveway in the 700 block of West Wedgewood Avenue shortly after midnight today, authorities say.
 
Spokane County sheriff's deputies found Banks and Fisher walking near North Monroe Street and West Avon Avenue. Banks was wanted on a warrant for driving while suspended; Fisher had a warrant for city theft.
 
A neighbor identified them as the pair who fled the crash scene. Banks' purse contained a drug scale, meth pipe, a baggie with prescription rugs, shaved keys and a lug nut key, according to a news release.
 
Fisher was booked into jail for his warrant; Banks was booked for her warrant as well as second-degree possession of stolen property, hit and run, and two drug charges.

Man jailed in police chase, robbery spree

A man faces several felony charges after allegedly punching someone in the face, stealing their car, and robbing two Walgreens pharmacies before fleeing from police Wednesday evening.

Jordan M. Lewis, 21, is jailed on charges of second-degree assault, first-degree theft, three counts of first-degree robbery and eluding.

He allegedly made off with an undisclosed amount of a prescription drug in the first robbery, about 8:15 p.m. at 12315 N. Division St.;  it was unclear Wednesday whether he made off with any in the second, said

Sgt. John Roys of the Spokane Police Department. Lewis allegedly told employees he had a weapon, but was actually unarmed, Roys said.

He robbed the second store, 1708 W. Northwest Blvd., about 9 p.m. An officer who was staking out the area saw the stolen car, a Subaru SUV, parked behind a nearby business. Lewis led him on a short pursuit before he was caught at Buckeye Avenue and Cannon Street.

“There were drugs on the ground, drugs all over the car,” Roys said. “It appeared like he was ingesting some of the drugs.”

As a result, Lewis was taken to a local hospital and was later booked into Spokane County Jail, where he remained Thursday night on $30,000 bond.

The driver of the Subaru, who Lewis allegedly punched in the face before stealing the car, was treated at a local hospital for some facial injuries, police said.
  

Woman accused of OxyContin fraud

An additional '1' on an OxyContin prescription didn't earn a Deer Park woman the pill haul police say she wanted.

An employee at Medicine Shop Pharmacy in Deer Park called police Friday after Bowman attempted to fill a prescription for 160 Oxycontin pills.

The prescribing doctor had told employee that the prescription was for just 60 of the powerful pain pills.

The employee “noted the “one” in 160 was in a slightly different color of ink” and called police, according to  the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Dan Dutton arrested the suspect, Shannon B. Bowman, 33, on a felony charge of prescription fraud.

Prescription leads to arrest, not 90 pills

A forged prescription intended to garner 90 Hydrocodone pills instead led to the arrest of a 20-year-old Spokane Valley man on Thursday.

Employees at Walgreens, 2702 N. Argonne Road, suspected Robert G. Morey was handing them a forged prescription and called 911 after an employees confirmed the forgery by calling the doctor's office listed on the prescription, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

Deputy Tom Edelbrock arrived just as Morey was receiving the medication and arrested him about 3:45 p.m. He believes Morey had been offered cash to obtain the pills.

Morey was booked into jail for felony possession of a controlled substance and is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon.

Chronic DUI suspect Batty arrested again

A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of impaired driving and a conviction for vehicular homicide was arrested again Thursday after a state trooper smelled alcohol on his breath.

David W. Batty, 55, of Elk, had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit for driving when he was stopped for speeding about 11:30 a.m. at milepost 310 on U.S. Highway 2, according to Washington State Patrol.

Batty was arrested for felony drunken driving because of a conviction in 1993 for a fatal, alcohol-related car crash on the same road.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price set Batty’s bond at $5,000 today and prohibited him from driving and from consuming alcohol.

“Apparently Mr. Batty’s had some alcohol treatment on a couple of occasions, and, regretfully, it doesn’t appear to have taken hold,” Price said. I’m sure Mr. Batty is a nice gentleman, but I’ve got some real concerns about him being out there driving a vehicle with his inability to control his alcohol consumption.”

Deputy Prosecutor George Gagnon said he wasn’t concerned that Batty was a flight risk.

“We’re more interested here in community safety,” Gagnon said. “He’s already killed one person.”

Batty was rehired by the Spokane Fire Department after serving time in prison for vehicular homicide but was on medical leave when he caused a crash in January 2007 that killed three people. He was not charged in that crash but never returned to the Fire Department.

Batty’s latest DUI conviction came after he was stopped in July 2008 and tests showed he was impaired on prescription drugs and alcohol. He was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 for felony drunken driving.

Batty told police on Thursday that he had two drinks early that morning and had taken four prescription medications.

His public defender, Derek Reid, said Batty is in “significant pain” because of a back injury.

Warrant issued for teen after 3 jail releases

A Spokane teen who said he was high on meth when he handed a knife to an assailant-turned-killer two years ago is wanted again, this time for a stolen property case that began when he crashed an Eastern Washington University basketball player’s stolen car. 

Christopher E. Hooper, 19, is charged with five counts of second-degree possession of stolen property, one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Hooper was arrested three times last month but continued to leave jail because charges weren’t filed within 72 hours.

Now that prosecutors have issued arrest warrants, Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to Hooper’s capture. (And with that offer comes a new mug shot. Kid’s really growing up.)

Hooper was arrested in early July with prescription drugs and suspected burglary tools, then again July 6 after state troopers said he crashed a Honda Accord that had been stolen from an Eastern Washington University women’s basketball player July 3.

Hooper was allowed to leave jail pending trial but was arrested again July 14 on new stolen property charges, along with 18-year-old Bowe T. Frank. A 17-year-old boy also was arrested that day after a standoff at 2510 W. Boone. (A search warrant shows Washington State Patrol detectives had heard the boy may have been a person of interest in the unsolved homicide of Nathan “Trigger” Gilstrap, but Spokane police say there’s no connection.)

Hooper left jail again after prosecutors didn’t file charges within 72 hours. New warrants were issued July 23.

Hooper already is on probation after in April in connection with the January 2009 murder of Shannon A. Cochran.

Anyone with information on Hooper’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Teen back in jail after 2nd arrest in 6 days

A teenager convicted of assault for his role in a fatal stabbing last year is back behind bars after his second felony arrest in a week.

Released on his own recognizance last Friday on a drug charge, Christopher E. Hooper, 19, was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly crashed a stolen Honda Accord on state Route 291 near Rutter Parkway Road. The Honda had been discovered stolen early Saturday from the 5800 block of N. F. Street.

Witnesses said Hooper lost control of the Honda as he drove northbound on the highway and collided with a rock embankment. Hooper “was acting unusual and very nervous, wanting to get away from the scene,” according to court documents.

Washington State Patrol detectives are sorting through a large amount of property found in the car, some already identified as loot from vehicle prowlings. Hooper was treated for minor injures at Providence Sacred Heart before being booked into jail for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. His bond was set at $2,500.

Police already suspect Hooper of vehicle prowlings - he was arrested early July 1 after police patrolling for vehicle prowlers said he lied about his identity and was found with burglary tools and prescription drugs.

Hooper already is on probation after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in April in connection with the January 2009 murder of Shannon A. Cochran. The teen said he was high on methamphetamine when he handed Michael L. Summa the knife that Summa used to kill Cochran.

Accomplice in fatal stabbing jailed again

A teenager who blamed his methamphetamine addiction for his role in a fatal stabbing last year returned to jail Thursday on suspicion of drug possession and vehicle prowling.

Police say Christopher E. Hooper, 19, lied to police about his identity but granted them permission to search his backpack, where they found a prescription pill bottle with his true name, according to an affidavit filed in Superior Court.

Police had been paroling the area of North Martin Street and East Rich Avenue about 2 a.m. Thursday after a rash of vehicle prowlings when they spotted Hooper dressed in dark clothing “ducking behind cars when the patrol car approached,” according to the affidavit. He first told police his name was Chris E. Collins “and removed shaved keys and a mini flashlight from his pants pockets in an attempt to prove he was not lying about his name.”

Police found prescription drugs, along with rubber gloves, cell phones “and other vehicle prowling items” in Hooper’s backpack, according to the affidavit.

He was booked only on a charge of possession of a controlled substance and was released on his own recognizance by Judge Michael Price. Hooper left jail about 3 a.m. today, records show.

Hooper already is on probation after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in April in connection with the January 2009 murder of Shannon A. Cochran.

Hooper said he was high on methamphetamine when he handed Michael L. Summa the knife that Summa used to kill Cochran. Hooper was sentenced on April 22 to a year in jail but credited for about 10 months already served.

Summa pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in May and was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison with credit for 562 days served in jail.

An accomplice, Tylor T. Buttolph, 19; was sentenced to five years in prison last month after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

Wasden recovers $1.2M for Idaho from drug firms

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reached a settlement with two prescription drug manufacturers that requires them to pay Idaho more than $1.2 million in a dispute over how much they charged Idaho Medicaid for drugs based on published average wholesale prices. “Where published prices are false or misleading, the taxpayers are significantly harmed by excessive Medicaid reimbursements,” Wasden said.  “This settlement reimburses unfair costs to Idaho taxpayers.”

This is the fifth such case Wasden’s resolved since 2005, resulting in a total of $5.1 million recovered for Idaho; three more cases are pending. Click below to read Wasden’s full announcement.

Imprisoned physician’s aide gets probation

An assistant to a physician serving time in federal prison for overprescribing drugs to patients will be on probation for the next three years.

Steven M. Featherkile, of Deer Park, pleaded guilty to three counts of making fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicaid in an agreement that dropped the original charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy charges.

Those charges were filed in 2007 after a lengthy investigation into Deer Park physician Keith Hindman, who employed Featherkile as an assistant for about four years.

Hindman was sentenced to nine months in prison in April. Federal prosecutors connected him to the death of at least one patient.

But Featherkile had nothing to do with Hindman’s actions, his lawyer, J.J. Sandlin, said today after Featherkile was sentenced in U.S. District Court.

Featherkile has always been upfront about accepting responsibility for overcharging Medicare, according to the defense’s sentencing memorandum. The total amount overbilled was $20.67, according to court documents.

Along with probation, U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley ordered Featherkile to perform 200 hours of community service each year for three years and pay a $2,000 fine.

“I’m going to let the DEA figure out whether you have a license or not,” Whaley said.

Sandlin said he sees no reason why Featherkile shouldn’t be allowed to keep his license. “I would take my children to him,” Sandlin said.

Sandlin said pain management has been too influenced by addiction specialists that push for limits on drugs. Those limits lead to continued pain for patients, Sandlin said.

“Physicians are easy targets for the DEA,” Sandlin.

Past coverage:

Former physician sentenced to prison

Indictment: Clinic gave abusers painkillers

Jury clears doctor in drug case

A jury cleared a former North Idaho doctor this week of allegations that he overprescribed drugs nearly a decade ago.

Chris Arthur Christensen was acquitted on three federal charges in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene after a week-long jury trial.

It was the second trial for the former Silverton, Idaho doctor, who was indicted in 2006 after a lengthy investigation by Idaho State Police.

The first jury acquitted Christensen on six counts in June but couldn’t reach a verdict on 12 counts.

Federal prosecutors retried Christensen on three counts of prescribing methadone, hydrocodone and/or alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug, “outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose” for incidents between Dec. 28, 2000 and Jan. 12, 2001. Witnesses included an ISP detective who posed as a patient to visit Christensen.

Christensen always denied wrong doing, according to his defense lawyer, David E. DokkenÖ, of Lewiston.

“He was a thorough and competent doctor who passionately pursued his practice,” according to court documents prepared by Dokken.

Christensen originally was indicted on charges relating to the deaths of several patients.

In 1998, a state investigation found that Christensen prescribed painkillers and narcotics to seven patients without treating their underlying problems, according to previously published reports.

In 2001, Christensen agreed to voluntarily give up his license for two years and undergo at least a six-month pain management course after the Idaho State Board of Medicine accused him of prescribing drugs that resulted in a patient’s death.

He also agreed to pay the state $2,000 to cover its investigative costs.

Jurors deliberated for about 10 hours before acquitting Christensen on Wednesday.

Christensen had a practice in Victor, Mont, as of May 2009, but it’s unclear if it’s still open.

Robbers tie up disabled woman

Two people seeking prescription drugs tied up a Bonner County woman in her home early today.

Cynthia White was asleep on her couch when the robbers entered, forced her into her wheelchair and tied her to it about 3:50 a.m. in the Cedar View Estates area south of Oldtown on Highway 41.

In a press release, sheriff’s Lt. Doug Harris said the robbers searched the house for prescription drugs and did not injure White, who has physical disabilities.

The robbers untied the woman before leaving. A K-9 from the U.S. Border Patrol joined deputies in an attempt to follow the robbers.

The trail led to a nearby road before it was lost. Harris said the robbers apparently left in a vehicle from there.

Anyone with information about the case should call Bonner County Sheriff’s investigators at (208) 263-8417, extension 3051, or the dispatch center at (208) 265-5525.