Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A Spokane transient has been sentenced to 10 ½ years in prison for the slaying of a 46-year-old man last April.
Roland E. Benton II, 35, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon for the beating death of Douglas J. Klages.
Klages' bludgeoned body was found April 30 in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park at Dishman Hills.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced Benton to 126 months, which is the high end of the sentencing range for the manslaughter charge.
The charge came with a deadly weapon enhancement that mandated two years in prison. Benton had been charged with first-degree murder before attorneys worked out a plea agreement.
In solving the case, detectives retraced Klages’ final hours and found video of him leaving a Spokane Valley Rosauers store with Benton on the day Klages’ body was discovered by hikers in the area.
Detectives arrested Benton May 5. He'd been released from jail just days before the slaying.
A Spokane transient faces 10 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaguther for the beating death of a man last April.
Roland E. Benton II pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Douglas J. Klages, 46.
Klages' badly beaten body was discovered by hikers April 30 in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park at Dishman Hills.
Detectives retracing Klages' final hours found surveillance video of Klages leaving a Spokane Valley Rosauers store with Benton the day his body was discovered. Benton was arrested May 5.
Benton, who appeared in Spokane County Superior Court before Judge Sam Cozza, initially was charged with first-degree murder. The lesser charge to which he pleaded guilty carries a sentencing range of 102 to 126 months.
The deadly weapon adds two years to the sentencing range, and Benton will not be eligible for an early release based on good behavior. His sentencing is set for April 25. "The victim's family members were present and were satisfied," Deputy Prosecutor Jim Kaufman said. Klages is pictured with his two daughters. Past coverage: May 5: Homicide victim hoped for fresh start
A man accused of beating another man to death in the Dishman Hills Natural Area pleaded not guilty today to one count of first-degree murder.
Roland E. Benton II, 34, appeared in Superior Court via video feed from the jail, where he’s been since May 5, nearly a week after Douglas J. Klages, 46, was found beaten to death in a small cave where he camped. Klages’ pants pockets were turned inside out, and his cell phone was missing.
A Rosauers receipt found with Klages helped police identify Benton, who had left the store with Klages just hours before the April 30 murder. Benton also reportedly told a friend on the day of the killing that he had done something that would be on “the national news,” according to court documents.
Klages’ family and friends, including his parents and one of his daughters, attended Benton’s arraignment today before Judge Linda Tompkins.
Benton’s public defender, Victoria Blumhurst, did not ask for a reduction in bond, which was set at $500,000 during his first court appearance May 6.
His next court appearance is set for June 22.
Police are searching for the cell phone of a man found murdered in the Dishman Hills Natural Area late last month.
Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives hope information from AT & T on the time and location of calls made since Douglas J. Klages’ murder will help them solidify their case against Roland E. Benton, who was arrested for first-degree murder last week.
Benton, who’s in jail on $500,000 bond, is to be arraigned May 18.
Klages used his cell phone to call his parents the day before he died.
“At the time the body was discovered, the victim’s pants pockets had been turned inside out, as if someone had gone through them,” according to a search warrant filed today in Superior Court. “(This detective) believes that it is possible that the cell phone, as well as other items, may have been taken from the victim at the time of his murder.”
A Rosauers receipt found with Klages helped police identify Benton, who had left the store with Klages just hours before the murder.
Benton also reportedly told a friend on the day of the killing that he had done something that would be on “the national news.”
A Spokane transient was arrested Wednesday for the murder of a man found beaten to death in the Dishman Hills Natural Area on Friday.
Roland E. Benton, 34, was booked into Spokane County Jail about noon Wednesday – one week after he was released on a domestic violence charge.
Jail records show it’s his third booking this month: He also spent two days behind bars on a warrant for not complying with court orders for a 2006 misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Benton is the only suspect in the murder of Douglas J. Klages, 46, said Sgt. Dave Reagan. No other arrests are expected.
Read the rest of my story here.