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Idaho sgt. in fatal shooting interviewed

An Idaho State Patrol officer recently was interviewed about an officer-involved shooting that took place a month before.

ISP Cpl. Dan Howard shot and killed Christie O’Leary Little on Feb. 7, but for weeks declined to be interviewed by investigators.

Recently, however, Howard “agreed to (the interview) and contacted us,” Lt. Lee Richardson of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.

The interview on March 8 lasted “a couple of hours,” he said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell is investigating the shooting, during which Little’s husband, Mark Marion Maykopet, was wounded.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs' story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 24: Couple shot by ISP trooper were married

Feb. 18: ISP corporal fired fatal shots

Feb 9: Fugitive shot dead by Idaho State Police trooper

Somali pirate suspects charged w/ piracy

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Thirteen Somalis and a man from Yemen pleaded not guilty to piracy, kidnapping and firearms charges today in the February hijacking of a yacht that left four Americans dead.

They entered their pleas in federal court in Norfolk, where five other men convicted of piracy in a separate case last year had been sentenced to life in prison a day earlier.
 
“There's nothing I know about these charges. I do not admit that I was a pirate,” Mohamud Salad Ali said through an interpreter Tuesday.
 
Each of the men requested a jury trial and all were ordered to remain jailed until then by Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller, who said they are a threat to society and a flight risk.
 
A trial has been set for May 17, although prosecutors want it pushed back because trying such cases is complicated.
 
Pirates have rarely been charged in the U.S. The case against the five Somalis sentenced Monday for attacking the USS Nicholas was the first to go to trial since the Civil War, when a New York jury deadlocked on charges against 13 Southern privateers.
 
If convicted of piracy against the yacht Quest, the 14 men would face mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph DePadilla said several have already confessed their involvement in piracy to the FBI.
 
Prosecutors have said other charges are also possible.
 
The yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle (pictured), were shot to death after they were taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman.
 
They were the first U.S. citizens killed in a wave of pirate attacks that have plagued the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in recent years. The pirates are typically motivated by the potential for millions of dollars in ransom money.
 
The men who pleaded not guilty Tuesday were all in their 20s or early 30s, though at least two said they weren't sure exactly how old they were.
 
Most said they had little or no education or that it was of little value to them.
 
“I am illiterate,” Mounir Ali, the Yemeni, said through an interpreter who was translating for him through a speaker phone. “I went to school but I did not learn anything.”
 
Several said through an interpreter that they did not understand all of the charges they face, although 22-year-old Ahmed Sala Ali Burale said he did because he is “a wise person.”
 
Each was previously assigned a defense attorney by the court because they couldn't afford them.
 
The government is prosecuting a separate group of Somali defendants for an alleged April 10 attack on the USS Ashland, also off the African coast. A judge in Norfolk dismissed the piracy charge, but the government is appealing. Oral arguments on the definition of piracy are scheduled for March 25.

Man admits shooting driver in head

A 26-year-old man who was shot in the head early Saturday has been identified as Shane Reilly.

Reilly is at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Court documents filed today say he is on life support and is not expected to survive.

Suspect Robert Dean Startin, 27, remains in jail on $750,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court today on a first-degree assault charge.

According to court documents, Startin told detectives he was walking home from the Ironhorse Saloon when he joined Reilly - whom he referred to as “the big guy” - and three others as they drank around a fire at 615 S. Woodruff.

Read my full story here.

Jury deadlocks in police shooting trial

A hung jury led to a mistrial today in the case of a man charged with assault after he was shot by Spokane County sheriff's deputies.

A new trial will be held for Michael E. Young, 56, who is charged with two counts of second-degree assault after deputies said he pointed a gun at them as they responded to reports that he was suicidal.

Deputies Walter Loucks, Darell Stidham and Scott Bonney shot Young outside his home at 11709 E. Fairview Ave., on Dec. 27, 2009.

A neighbor who witnessed the shooting said Young never pointed his gun at deputies but refused orders to drop it.

The jury of five women and seven men began deliberating about 10:30 a.m. today and announced they were deadlocked about 3 p.m. The trial began Monday.

Young's lawyer, James Kirkham, said the jury was divided 6-6.

Past coverage:

March 2: Man shot by deputies on trial for assault

Pete’s civil suit against Olsen dismissed

Former Spokane Police Officer James “Jay” Olsen won’t face any civil penalties for shooting a fleeing, unarmed man in the head in 2007. 

U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Shea agreed with a request by Olsen’s attorney, Rob Cossey, to dismiss the civil lawsuit brought by Shonto Pete, who was unable to find an attorney to represent him after Shea ruled last year to drop the City of Spokane from the case.

“I know this is a sad day for you Mr. Pete,” Shea said. “I gave you 100 days to complete discovery. You have simply failed to carry that out, so I’m dismissing the case.”

Pete yelled at Shea as he walked off the bench: “That’s what you call justice? Justice is a joke.”

Read Tom Clouse's full story here.

Man shot by deputies on trial for assault

Trial began Monday in the case of a man charged with assault after he was shot by Spokane County sheriff's deputies.

Michael E. Young, 56, is charged with two counts of second-degree assault after deputies said he pointed a gun at them as they responded to reports that he was suicidal.

Deputies Walter Loucks, Darell Stidham and Scott Bonney shot Young outside his home at 11709 E. Fairview Ave., on Dec. 27, 2009.

Young had reportedly threatened to kill himself and was armed with a .40-caliber Glock. A neighbor who witnessed the shooting said Young never pointed his gun at deputies but refused orders to drop it.

Loucks and Sgt. Dale Golman received life-saving awards for their work on Young after he was shot, but a review by sheriff's officials criticized the move.

“Was it possible their rapid response saved the suspect's life? Possibly,” according to a report by Daniel Knight, the sheriff's lead firearms instructor. “But rushing up to someone who was armed and just fell to the ground is dangerous…The deputies could have stayed in position and assessed the situation for a short period of time before making the approach to ensure their safety.”

Golman is credited with helping control Young's bleeding; Loucks established an airway to keep Young breathing, according to a sheriff's office report. Sheriff's officials recommended reiteration training on how to respond to injured suspects and to “continue to reinforce the concept of 'shoot until the threats ceases to exist.'”

Young is represented by private defense lawyer James Kirkham. Patrick Johnson is prosecuting and Judge Sam Cozza is presiding.

A similar jury trial ended in acquittal last month.

Suspect says ISP fired at fleeing vehicle

A fugitive shot by an Idaho State Police corporal claims he was driving away from the man when shots were fired. 

“Why did you shoot us in the heads while we were driving away from you. (sic) That’s not protocol,” Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, wrote of Cpl Dan Howard in a letter sent to The Spokesman-Review from the Kootenai County Jail. Maykopet also claims he was unarmed, but investigators say they found two firearms in his vehicle.

Maykopet was married to Christie O’Leary Little, 40, who was killed when Howard fired on the Jeep Cherokee following a high-speed chase initiated after Howard pulled the car over for speeding.

Howard has refused to talk with investigators from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

A Kootenai County marriage license shows Little was divorced and refers to her as Christie Ann O’Leary of Butte.

“I love her more than you can imagine,” Maykopet wrote. He said he met her in April when she was released from prison in Butte. “We fell in love. No one wanted to see us happy but we didn’t care.”

Read Alison Boggs' story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 18: ISP corporal fired fatal shots

Feb 9: Fugitive shot dead by Idaho State Police trooper

ISP corporal fired fatal shots at fugitive

An Idaho State Police report confirms that Cpl. Dan Howard fired the shots that killed one person and injured another after two Montana fugitives rammed his patrol car on Feb. 7.

Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, of Butte, was treated at Kootenai Medical Center then jailed on a $1.5 million bond.

His passenger, Christie O’Leary Little, 40, also known as Christie Ann Little, was killed.

Following the incident, detectives found two guns on the floor of the Jeep Cherokee driven by Maykopet, the report said. A fully automatic 9 mm was found behind the rear seat with an empty 32-round magazine.

A .25 caliber pistol was found under the passenger seat toward the rear with an eight-round magazine, but the chamber was not loaded.

Read Alison Boggs' story here.

Past coverage:

Feb 9: Fugitive shot dead by Idaho State Police trooper

Man shot by police acquitted of assault

A Spokane Valley man was cleared Thursday of charges that he assaulted the sheriff’s deputies who shot him in 2009, leaving him paralyzed below the chest.

David J. Glidden, 28, broke into tears as the Spokane County Superior Court jury read the verdict of “not guilty” on two counts of third-degree assault on law enforcement officers, neither of whom were injured.

“The cops overreacted. They shot me so many times. I was worried that no one would listen to me,” Glidden said after the decision.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Nov. 9, 2009: Man shot by police: 'It will be on the news'

Nov. 4, 2009: Man shot by police had pellet gun

Hoopfest shooter faces 9 years in prison

The Hoopfest gunman who opened fire on rival gang members last year, injuring three bystanders in the downtown Spokane crowd, pleaded guilty today to assault charges.

Miguel C. Garcia, 19, was originally charged with 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder but instead pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He’s expected to serve nearly nine years in prison but sentencing was delayed until April 12.

Because he used a gun in the commission of the assaults, six years of the agreed upon 105-month sentence would be served as part of a weapon enhancement.

Read Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 11: 3rd man in Hoopfest shooting sentenced

Oct. 1: Deal gives Hoopfest suspect light sentence

Sept. 13: Hoopfest suspect pleads to riot, gun charges

June 29: Hoopfest shots not 'surprising'

Drive-by shooting targets club bouncer

A Spokane man upset that a club bouncer approached his girlfriend sprayed the man's home with bullets in a recent drive-by shooting, police say.

Derek L. Wilson, 24, (pictured above, in 2007) appeared in Superior Court Monday via video from the jail, where he is charged with seven counts of first-degree assault and seven counts of drive-by shooting for Feb. 3 gunfire at a home at 2812 E. Hoffman Ave. in Hillyard.

No one was injured in the shooting, which resident John Seyler, a bouncer at Raw, 723 W. 1st Ave., told police occurred hours after he'd approached a woman he'd frequently kicked out of bars for being underage.

The woman, later identified as Kassandra Darby, just recently turned 21 and was allowed to stay at the bar, but her boyfriend, later identified as Wilson, was angry with Seyler for approaching her, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Seyler said he saw the two in a black Audi at a convenience store at Market and Wellesley later that morning and noticed them watching him. They followed him to the residence on Hoffman; shots were fired about five minutes later. Bullets entered the home, where Seyler, three other adults and two children were staying.

Darby told police she'd been “manhandled” by a bouncer but denied knowing anything about a shooting.

Police found a .380 caliber handgun believed to have been used in the shooting at Wilson's ex-girlfriend's apartment at 4223 N. Progress Road and located a .380 caliber unfired bullet in Wilson's Audi. Wilson was arrested for driving while suspended on Feb. 4 and has been in jail since. Prosecutors filed the 14 felony charges on Friday.

Wilson is considered a gang associate by police.

He has previous convictions for second-degree robbery in 2005 and for second-degree assault in 2007 after a shooting at the skate park under Interstate 90 in downtown Spokane.

The picture above is from that arrest.

Drunk man can’t recall shooting sis’ car

A 19-year-old Nespelem man was so drunk he didn't realize he'd targeted his sister when he fired shots at people and cars on the Colville Indian Reservation in September 2009, according to court documents.

Robert L. Picard III is to serve 84 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three counts of assault . A co defendant, John Edward McGinnis, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of assault last November and is to be sentenced in April.

According to court documents prepared for Picard's defense, McGinnis had recently been released from prison when Picard and others picked him up after a night of heavy drinking on Sept. 20, 2009. The men drove around Nesplelem looking shooting at cars after McGinnis said he was looking for someone, according to court documents.

“Mr. Picard was extremely intoxicated to the extent that he is unable to recall much, if anything, from that night. Ultimately, he had no idea who was in the vehicles that he shot at,” according to a sentencing memorandum prepared by his public defender, Jaime Hawk. “He was particularly saddened to later learn that his own sister was an occupant of one of the vehicles.”

Picard was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane. He's at the Spokane County Jail waiting transport to federal prison.

3rd man in Hoopfest shooting sentenced

A teenager involved in a shooting at Hoopfest last summer was credited for time already served in jail after pleading guilty to two felony assault charges this week.

Adam Doe, 19, remains in jail pending the resolution of riot and assault charges related to an October 2009 stabbing outside Club Uno in downtown Spokane. Trial is set for March.

Doe pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree assault and third-degree assault related to the June 28 shooting at Hoopfest that hit three bystanders. Police say the shooting occured when the men approached rival gang members.

The accused gunman, Miguel C. Garcia, remains in jail on several assault charges. Spokane police say Garcia passed the gun to Doe after the shooting, and Doe fought with an officer trying to detain him. Doe was on house arrest at the time after his release from jail on the Club Uno stabbing charges.

Another accomplice in the Hoopest shooting, Marquis Johnson, was given an exceptionally low sentence of six months after pleading guilty to second-degree assault last October.

A third suspect, Rashjel “Reggie” Cage, is to receive a light sentence for gun and riot convictions once he testifies at Garcia's trial.

All four men had originally been charged with about a dozen counts of attempted murder.

Past coverage:

June 29: Hoopfest shots not 'surprising'

Before and after: Montana fugitive

A Butte man arrested after a police shooting that killed his passenger in North Idaho had escaped from a halfway house in Helena last October.

Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, is pictured at the far left in 2009, courtesy of the Montana Deparmtent of Corrections.

The picture to the right is at the Kootenai County Jail after his arrest Monday night.

Investigaors say the deadly police shooting occured just after Maykopet rammed an Idaho State Police car.

Christie Ann Little, 40, (right) was shot by a trooper and pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center on Monday. 

Charges filed against Maykopet allege he rammed Cpl. Dan Howard’s patrol car during a police chase.

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller said he could not confirm that Howard is the trooper who fired the shots, but authorities said previously that the trooper who fired shots did so after the Jeep collided with his patrol car.

Read my full story here.

Gunfire at Spokane police earns 13 years

A Spokane man who opened fire on a police officer during a two-day crime spree was sentenced Wednesday to 13 1/2 years in prison.

Tony E. Dawson, 21,(left) pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and attempted first-degree robbery and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza to 162 months.

The charges say Dawson was with Greg Sharkey, Jr., on Dec. 23, 2009,  when he fired several shots at Spokane police Officer Kristopher Honaker, who was not injured.

Dawson was a passenger in a stolen Suburban when they inadvertently drove by the area where one of them had allegedly shot a teenager in the back the night before. Honaker, (right) who was monitoring the area, recognized the stolen Subaru and followed it. 

Margaret D. Shults, 23, who police say was driving the Suburban, told investigators Dawson ordered her at gunpoint to keep driving, then fired several shots at Honaker.

Dawson said he did not want to go back to prison and threatened Shults that if she stopped the vehicle, “he had no problem killing either Shults or Sharkey,” documents state.

Shults was sentenced to 77 months in prison last month after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.

Dawson had several previous felony convictions, including first-degree robbery and second-degree escape. He had been charged with nearly a dozen counts of attempted murder for the shooting spree; he'll be sentenced in that case next month. Sharkey, 26, remains in jail on similar charges.

2nd deputy hurt in shooting goes home

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — The Kitsap County sheriff's office says the second of two deputies wounded during a deadly shootout in the parking lot of the Port Orchard, Wash., Walmart has been released from the hospital.

The agency says 48-year-old Andrew Ejde (Eh-dah) was discharged Wednesday afternoon from Tacoma General Hospital. He was shot in the left shoulder and right arm.

Deputy John Stacy was wounded in the right shoulder and went home from the hospital Monday.

Killed in the Sunday gunfight was 31-year-old Anthony A. Martinez of Salt Lake City. The parents of a missing Utah teen say they believe their daughter is the 13-year-old girl who was also shot and killed. She has not yet been positively identified.

A third deputy, who shot and killed Martinez, was identified as 38-year-old Krista McDonald.

Read more by clicking the link below.

Suspect: Gunfire, robbery targeted meth

A suspect in a home-invasion robbery in which a woman was shot told police he intended to steal two ounces of methamphetamine, according to court documents filed Monday.

 Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, is jailed on $250,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree burglary charge.

He was arrested with a BB gun after an officer spotted him running from 11309 E. 40th Ave., just after the robbery was reported about 12:34 a.m. on Sunday.

The victim, Tammi L. Putnam, was shot in each leg and lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed.

Putnam was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.

“She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Cooper, a repeat offender with several felony convictions, told police his friend, whose name has not been released, shot the woman.

Man ID’d in shootout that hurt deputies

SEATTLE (AP) — Investigators face a difficult puzzle to piece together as they work to determine why a Utah man bolted and began shooting at sheriff's deputies in a Walmart parking lot, leading to a gunfight that left him and a young woman dead and two deputies wounded.

A day after the shootout in Port Orchard, Wash., a small city about 15 miles west and across Puget Sound from Seattle, officials said Monday they still couldn't say why Anthony A. Martinez, 31, of Salt Lake City, suddenly ran and opened fire during what began as a routine contact by deputies.

“That's going to be the million-dollar question,” said Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson. “We certainly can't talk to him anymore or to the young woman who is believed to be with him.”

Despite a number of attempts using photos and other methods, the young woman's name and age could not immediately be determined, said Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Washington State Patrol, which is leading the investigation.

“So far, we've come up with nothing,” she said.

She said an autopsy Monday might provide more clues, but doubted that a positive identification and notification of next of kin could occur by the end of the day.

The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported last week that police had issued an endangered persons advisory for a 13-year-old runaway believed to be traveling with Martinez. The girl, who fled from a South Salt Lake foster home on Tuesday, also had run away last fall and was found in Sacramento with him, the newspaper said.

Hedstrom said investigators learned of the advisory Monday morning.

“I don't want to speculate whether it's the runaway girl because we don't know that,” she said.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

(Sgt. Russ Clithero and Deputy Chris Andrews of the Kitsap County Sheriff's Department are pictured above exiting Tacoma General Hospital after visiting their wounded colleague.)

2 deputies hurt in fatal Walmart shooting

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — Detectives are investigating why a man ran from deputies and then opened fire in a Walmart parking lot in Western Washington, sparking a shootout that killed him and a young woman who ran to him after he was shot. Two sheriff's deputies were shot but are expected to survive.

The officers were responding to a call Sunday about a suspicious person at the store in Port Orchard, about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound. Two deputies found the man and tried to talk to him but he began running, and they gave chase.  “For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots,” Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said.

Both officers were hit and unable to return fire, but a female officer arriving on the scene shot and killed the gunman, Wilson said. It's not yet clear who shot the woman, believed to be in her late teens, who died later at a Tacoma hospital. Ballistics tests on the bullets could show whether it was the deputy or the suspect, the state patrol said.

“We believe that she and the deceased gunman knew each other, that they were together,” Wilson told The Associated Press. He said investigators don't know yet the relationship between the two.

Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, said the two people killed appeared to be a couple.

“As soon as she saw him get shot, she ran for him,” she told The News Tribune of Tacoma. “She put herself in the line of fire.”

Tacoma police said the deputies were both shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition.

“I've seen just the one deputy, he's in one of the rooms talking with family and co-workers,” said Mark Fulghum of the Tacoma police. “Both of the deputies are going to be fine. They're going to be kept overnight for observation.”

Autopsies were scheduled Monday for the two people killed. Their names — as well as the names of the three deputies — haven't been released. Investigators said the Kitsap County coroner was still trying to confirm the dead man's identity Monday morning.

A blue minivan that apparently belonged to the suspect has been impounded and will be searched for possible evidence, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Krista Hedstrom. The van has out-of-state plates, but Hedstrom didn't know what state.

The female deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative assignment until the investigation is completed, which is standard practice.

Shoppers raced to take cover as the incident unfolded.

The officers were about 30 to 40 feet behind the suspect when he started firing, Ray Bourge told KOMO-TV. “Five or six shots were fired. … I just went and took cover,” he said.

Victor Meyers told the station that he heard the first shot, then six more in rapid succession.

“I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire,” Meyers said.

He said he saw a female deputy running toward a victim on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.

The store was immediately locked down. Customers in the store were allowed to leave after investigators questioned them. The store reopened Sunday night, Hedstrom said, and the shooting scene was cleared.

Port Orchard is the county seat and has about 8,250 residents. The last time a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy was shot in the line of duty was in April 1978, according to The Tacoma News Tribune. Deputy Dennis Allred stopped to help what he believed to be a stranded driver towing another vehicle. The vehicle turned out to be stolen, and Allred was shot and killed by the suspects.

Woman shot, loses tooth in break-in

A Spokane Valley woman who admitted to housing drug users suffered a gunshot wound to her thigh and lost a tooth during an attempted home-invasion robbery early Sunday.

One man remains at large, but, Spokane Valley police arrested suspect Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, a longtime felon who they say was carrying a high-powered BB or airsoft gun shortly after the incident.

Police believe Cooper and the other man broke into the woman's home in the 11300 block of East 40th Avenue wearing gloves and ski masks. The woman fought the first man until a second man appeared with a handgun and threatened to shoot her, police said.

The woman realized she'd been shot in the thigh and soon lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed. The woman was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.

“She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Cooper is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked on one count of first-degree burglary.

He's a repeat offender whose previous convictions include first-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, hit and run, and domestic violence harassment and at least seven probation violations, according to a 2008 Crime Stoppers news release.

Anyone with information about Sunday's incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Ariz. suspect could get Duncan’s lawyer

A well-known anti-death penalty lawyer tapped to represent alleged Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner led child-killer Joseph Duncan's defense team during his 2008 trial in Boise.

Judy Clarke, formerly federal defender for Eastern Washington and Idaho, has also defended Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, child-killer Susan Smith and domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Eric Robert Rudolph.

Clarke (pictured in 2007) was present during Duncan's death penalty trial in Boise, where he represented himself as his team of court-appointed lawyers stood by. They had earlier tried to leave Duncan's case, saying their participation would violate their professional ethics.

“We are not gunslingers who do the bidding of someone who does not have a rational understanding,” Clarke told U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge.

Lodge declined Clarke's request.

Clarke currently is a lawyer in San Diego, where she has also been a federal defender.

She was called on over the weekend to defend Loughner, who is accused of shooting U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during an event in Tucson on Saturday. He's also accused of killing six others, including U.S. District Judge John Roll.

Clarke worked in Eastern Washington and Idaho from 1992 to June 2002. Her husband, Speedy Rice, was an instructor at Gonzaga Law School. She has twice argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and named one of her dogs in honor of former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas.

Read an in-depth profile on Clarke from 1996 here.

Fatal shooting suspect back in Spokane

A Spokane man suspected of shooting his 20-year-old girlfriend to death was transported back to Spokane Thursday after undergoing treatment at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Spokane police officers drove to King County Jail to take custody of Tristen Nebrae Jordan, 24, and bring him to Spokane, where he was booked into on a second-degree murder charge. He's to appear in court this afternoon.

Jordan, a former Marine, allegedly shot Samantha Clark Franco about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 12 on the 800 block of East Augusta Avenue before turning the gun on himself.

Police found him on the Gonzaga University campus near the McCarthey Athletic Center with a gunshot wound to the head. He was arrested after leading police on a short foot chase and taken to Harborview for treatment.

Spokane police hired Seattle police to guard Jordan while in the hospital. Friends said Franco had a 9-month-old baby and lived with her mother at the Augusta Avenue home.

Past coverage:

Dec. 15: Murder suspect a former Marine

Dec. 13: Police: Murder suspect shot self on Gonzaga campus

Boy’s Uzi shooting video shown at trial

By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of a former police chief watched video Thursday of an 8-year-old boy accidentally shooting himself to death with an Uzi submachine gun at a 2008 gun fair, a sight that prompted a collective gasp in the courtroom.

The video, taken by the boy's father, shows Christopher Bizilj, of Ashford, Conn., shooting the 9 mm micro Uzi when the front of the weapon kicks back toward his head and part of the boy's skull appears to fly off.

Former Pelham, Mass., police Chief Edward Fleury, (right) whose company co-sponsored the gun fair at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and furnishing weapons to a minor. He's on trial in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.

  The boy's father, emergency room Dr. Charles Bizilj, testified Thursday that he videotaped Christopher with the micro Uzi, which jammed several times. He said he started and stopped videotaping several times as the gun jammed. At one point, he said he picked his camera up, looked toward the firing line and couldn't see Christopher.

Chris was not in the viewfinder,” Bizilj (left) testified calmly with no visible signs of emotion. “Chris was on the ground. I ran over to him. His eyes were open. I saw no reason for him to be on the ground. I tried to talk to him. He didn't respond. I put my hand behind his head to pick him up. … There was a large portion of his cranium missing.”

Bizilj said he gave medical attention to Christopher until paramedics arrived.

Some relatives began to cry during the testimony, and several left the courtroom. They declined to comment earlier in the day.

Dr. Bizilj said his two young sons were excited about the gun fair, which he had first heard about months earlier at a Labor Day party and in talks with friends.

“This was a big event,” Bizilj testified. “Christopher wore his special camo pants, camo shoes and a jacket with big pockets because he had been in the habit of collecting shells off the ground.”

The doctor said his sons had used firearms but had never shot automatic weapons before the machine gun shoot in Westfield, about 10 miles west of Springfield.

Bizilj said he, his father-in-law and his older son Colin, then 11, fired a larger Uzi that they selected before they went shooting. He said the Uzi jammed when Colin was shooting it, and the range master picked out the micro Uzi.

Bizilj said Colin fired the micro Uzi. When he was done, Christopher stepped up to the firing line with the range master, who was next to the boy when the shooting happened.

 Prosecutor William Bennett has said Christopher was too young to control the powerful weapon, which fires 1,200 rounds per minute. A now-retired state medical examiner (pictured below who performed an autopsy on Christopher testified that the boy died from a single bullet wound that caused major brain damage and bleeding.

Fleury's company, COPS Firearms & Training, co-sponsored the event with the Westfield Sportsman's Club. When asked by Bennett if he had thought about safety before the event, Bizilj said, “You can imagine this has gone through my head a thousand times.”

He said that from reading the flier for the machine gun shoot and talking with friends, he thought the event would be safe and well-supervised.

Bizilj acknowledged under cross-examination by Fleury's lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, that he signed a waiver at the Sportsman's Club before the shooting saying he was aware of the possible risks, including death, and absolved anyone of liability. He also acknowledged that he told reporters soon after the event that he believed it was a tragic accident but later decided to file a lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against the Westfield Sportsman's Club, Fleury and two other co-defendants for negligence. It was settled last month for about $700,000, but Fleury wasn't part of the settlement, Scapicchio said.

Bizilj said his family would use the money to set up a foundation for children's activities.

During opening statement Tuesday, Scapicchio said Fleury wasn't to blame for the boy's death and that much of the responsibility fell on Dr. Bizilj for allowing his son to shoot a dangerous weapon.

Prosecutors have said that Charles Bizilj was not charged because he was a layman and based his decision to allow his sons to fire the gun on information from others who should have known it was too dangerous.

Two men who supplied the machine guns for the event, Carl Giuffre and Domenico Spano, both of Connecticut, had conducted the same gun shoot at the Westfield club for seven years without incident. They have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and are awaiting trial.

Slain official caught suspect on camera

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine police investigating the New Year's Eve shooting death of a local councilman did not have to look further than the last photograph the victim took.

That photo led to the arrest of one of two alleged gunmen and an accomplice, police said Wednesday.

The picture, taken outside the councilman's house in metropolitan Manila, clearly shows a man aiming his gun from behind the victim's smiling three-member family, seconds before he was shot.

The relatives — Councilman Reynaldo Dagsa's wife, daughter and mother-in-law — are seen standing beside the family's car, which has lights on, and the gunman, wearing a baseball cap with its visor turned back, is bracing himself against the vehicle and pointing his gun at Dagsa. His face is slightly obscured by the gun. The car was parked along an alley outside the Dagsas' house.

In another corner of the photograph (shown above) is a man police identified as the assassin's lookout.  Police investigator Cris Galvez told The Associated Press Wednesday that Dagsa was shot as he pressed the shutter of his camera. Dagsa's family gave police the photo, which ran on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's front page Tuesday.

The gunman in the picture fired about four shots but only one hit Dagsa, Galvez said. The bullet went through Dagsa's arm and hit him in the chest. He later died in a hospital.

Galvez said a second gunman, who was standing behind Dagsa and is not seen in the photo, also fired one shot but missed.

Caloocan city police chief Jude Santos earlier said a man identified as the gunman in the picture, Arnel Buenaflor, was arrested Monday, but later corrected himself saying police nabbed the second shooting suspect, Frederick Sales, and one of two suspected lookouts. He said Buenaflor was a car thief who was released on bail and likely sought revenge against Dagsa for ordering his arrest last year.

All the suspects are members of a gang involved in car thefts and robbery holdups, police said.

“It was personal revenge. They all helped each other,” Galvez said.

Dagsa, 38, had a reputation of a hardworking councilman tough on crime, he said.

His wife and daughter, speaking to reporters at their home Tuesday, said the victim had asked them to wake him up before the stroke of midnight so he could join in the usually noisy New Year's street revelry that comes with lots of firecrackers.

The family members said they did not hear a gunshot because the firecrackers were exploding all around them. They only saw Dagsa falling to the ground after he was hit. They said they rushed him to the hospital but it was too late.

Shooter in cat fight claims self defense

A Spokane man accused of trying to kill another man during a dispute over a cat’s mess said the shooting was in self defense.

Alan D. Kintner, 55, told sheriff’s deputies he shot Steven W. MCormick in self defense, according to court documents.

Kintner remains jailed on $100,000 bond after appearing before Judge Michael Price Tuesday on a second-degree attempted murder charge.

Kintner was arrested Saturday after witnesses said he shot Steven W. McCormick at least twice during a fight over McCormick’s cat at 9519 W. Seven Mile Road.

Kevin Maynor, who lives nearby on the property and witnessed the shooting, told police he heard Kintner “say he could probably kill Steven and get away with it.”

McCormick was shot in the stomach with a  .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and remained at Holy Family Hospital Tuesday, where his condition was not available.

Kintner told deputies he was an expert marksman in the Marine and that “he only shot Steven because he had attacked him,” according to court documents. Kintner said “that Steven got too close to o he shot him in the stomach to sop him, and if he wanted to kill Steven he would have shot him in the head.”

Man shot in dispute over cat messes

A north Spokane man is facing an attempted murder charge after an argument over feline cleanliness led to gunfire that sent a roommate to the hospital, authorities said.

Alan D. Kintner, 55, is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked late Saturday after deputies took him into custody at his home in the 9500 block of Seven Mile Road.

The victim, described by sheriff's officials only as a 44-year-old man, reportedly was in stable condition after being rushed to a Spokane hospital by another roommate. Deputies were dispatched to the scene about 9:15 p.m.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the roommates were watching television when a dispute arose over Kintner's cats “making messes in the bathroom.” Kintner and one of his roommates began wrestling and kicking at each other.

Kintner left the house after getting pinned on his back but returned with a .22-caliber rifle and opened fire, the Sheriff's Office said.

The victim, despite having a bullet wound to his stomach, charged the gunman and knocked the rifle away.

Guard’s family, killer hope for closure

The family of a security guard killed last summer has spent hours poring over the 700-page police investigation, reviewing crime scene photos and highlighting what they say are discrepancies in witness accounts.

The shooter, Jason Hartell, told The Spokesman-Review that he’s positive he saw the guard, George Al Hayek, holding a gun, but according to the police report, he told detectives it may have been a cell phone.

Meanwhile, there was no Christmas celebration for Al Hayek’s family, who moved to the United States from the Bethlehem area about eight years ago. 

Their Palestinian Christian heritage calls for years of skipped celebrations after a tragic loss, and the loss of their youngest son is tragic beyond words.

Hartell said he thinks of their son every day.

“There’s not a night I don’t see his face. That poor guy. I feel so bad for his family,” Hartell said. “My life’s just been hell.”

Read my full story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 1: Family seeks answers in security guard's death

Gunfire over $40 leads to standoff

A Spokane man celebrated the holiday in jail after he was teargassed and arrested during an hours-long Christmas Eve standoff.

Robert T. Finkbeiner, 44, is set for trial next month for allegedly shooting a woman in her leg last March during a fight over a $40 debt.

Two young children were in the room when Finkbeiner pulled the gun, police said. Finkbeiner was allowed to leave jail pending trial on assault, burglary and robbery charges, but a warrant was issued Dec. 7 after prosecutors said Finkbeiner had contacted the alleged victim, Rachel A. Mitchell, 24, several times recently to try to persuade her not to testify.

“Mitchell stated she has full intent to show up in court against Finkbeiner because he should not get away with shooting her over $40,” according to court documents.

Finkbeiner also is charged with five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm for guns seized at his apartment at 1924 W. Gardner in March.

Finkbeiner was living at 121 S. Haven St. when police tried to arrest him about 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

A SWAT team used chemical agents to help take him into custody. Finkbeiner remains in jail on $50,000 bond. His girlfriend, Julie K. French, was arrested on second-degree rendering criminal assistance after telling police he wasn't at the house. French was released on her own recognizance on Christmas.

Suspect arrested in EWU recruit’s murder

KENT, Wash. (AP) — Police say a suspect in a fatal Halloween shooting in Kent has an extensive criminal history.

The 20-year-old Auburn man was caught Tuesday night after detectives got a tip, followed a car and chased down a passenger who tried to run away. A police dog tracked him to a convenience store where he was arrested.

The man is jailed for investigation of murder in the killing 18-year-old Devin Topps on Oct. 31 outside a house party.

Topps graduated from Kentridge High School and had signed a letter of intent to play football for Eastern Washington University
  

Past coverage:

Nov. 2: EWU football recruit shot to death

Triple tragedy highlights Mexico impunity

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — A daughter is found dismembered. Her mother is shot dead trying to bring the killer to justice. Two days later, a brother-in-law's body is dumped on the street after his lumber business is torched.

No one is under arrest for any of the crimes, and there is little hope the cases will be solved. The tragedies befalling an extended family in Ciudad Juarez lay bare the lawlessness that plagues not only Mexico's most violent city, but the entire country.

The case of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, slain recently as she demanded justice for her dead daughter outside the Chihuahua state governor's office, has gripped the country. President Felipe Calderon, kidnap victim Diego Fernandez de Cevallos and even the Sinaloa drug cartel have all weighed in; Fernandez de Cevallos spoke about Escobedo just hours after he was released by his captors Monday from his own seven-month ordeal.

“On the one hand, I'm very happy to be reunited with my loved ones, my family,” the wealthy power broker said in a radio interview. “At the same time, I feel enormous pain to hear of the disgraces being done in this country, like the poor woman who was assassinated in Chihuahua.”

The Sinaloa cartel, waging a deadly battle with the rival Juarez cartel for control of the city, hung two banners early Tuesday claiming solidarity with Escobedo's family and offering to find her killer.

Escobedo's daughter, Rubi Frayre Escobedo, was killed in 2008 allegedly by her live-in boyfriend, Sergio Barraza, who was arrested then later released for lack of evidence.

Escobedo's death last week was captured on a surveillance video that showed a masked man shooting her point-blank in the head as she tried to flee — even though state security officials had been assigned to protect her.

Two days later, the body of Manuel Monge Amparan, 36, was found asphyxiated and wrapped in a blanket after his family business, “Lumber and Materials Monge,” was apparently deliberately set on fire, prosecutors said. Monge was the brother of Escobedo's partner, Jose Monge.

Read the rest of the story by Associated Press writer Olivia Torres by clicking teh link below.