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Woman arrested for vehicular assault

A Spokane woman sentenced to prison on drug charges who went directly to probation was arrested early Saturday for a one-vehicle crash in the Otish Orchards area that injured her passenger.

Deputies believe Jenelle L. Cuculich, 26, was drunk and speeding when she crashed in the area of 24000 East River Road about 12:50 a.m. She and her passenger were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Cuculich faces a felony charge of vehicular assault.

Cuculich was sentenced to prison last August after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, but she went immediately to probation, according to the DOC. She also was charged in a leading organized crime case last year and arrested with meth in February 2011. She also won $3,000 in the lottery in 2007, according to news archives.

The crash was the second investigated over the weekend. A motorcyclist and a bicyclist died in a crash near the intersection of East Buckeye Avenue and North Dick Road Saturday. Read more here.
  

Suspicious vehicle leads to meth arrest

A suspicious vehicle report in north Spokane led deputies to arrest a wanted man on new drug charges early today.

Deputies were watching a Suzuki that was parked on he wrong side of the road in the area of 630 West Ivanhone Road when they contacted the driver, Bryan E. Aden, 42, and asked what he and his passenger,

Jason William Gilmore, also 42, were dong out at 2 a.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Gilmore said they were gong to his mother's house near Chattaroy to help her, deputies say.

Deputies say Gilmore gave them permission to look inside a backpack, which contained a ski mask, tire iron, taped-up wrench and a flashlight with a blue lens cover.

Gilmore also had a felony warrant for his arrest through the Washington Department of Corrections. He was arrested for that as well as a new charge of possession of burglary tools. He also faces a drug charge after deputies found meth in a small vial where he had been standing.

Aden was cited and released for third-degree driving while license suspended.

Spokane burglary suspect turns self in

A man suspected of burglarizing a north Spokane County home of a shotgun and a video game system turned himself in after being confronted by a detective Wednesday.

Kory M. Roberts, 23, is suspected of stealing the gun and X-Box 360 from a home in the 31300 block of North Staghorn Road on Tuesday, then selling them at a Spokane pawn shop.

The victim located the items at the pawn shop and contacted police. Roberts provided the shop his contact information when he sold the goods, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Tamie Spitzer called Roberts on Wednesday and gave him two options: turn himself for the burglary or have a warrant issued for his arrest.

Roberts turned himself in at the Public Safety Building “within a couple hours,” according to a news release by sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Roberts told Spitzer “he had a prescription medication addiction and his criminal activity fed his addiction,” Chamberlin wrote.

Roberts was booked into jail about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday on two counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Home loses $20k in items to burglary

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help solve a south Spokane County residential burglary in which about $20,000 in items was stolen.

A homeowner reported electronics, firearms, bank cards and jewelry among items stolen from the home in the area of the 8000 block of Highway 195 between noon and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Lewis due in court today for murder

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a retired principal who was trying to break up an underage drinking party is to appear in court this afternoon on a murder charge. 

Treven Lewis is scheduled to appear before Judge Annette Plese today at 1:30 p.m.

Lewis will formally hear the new charge against him, will be assigned a court date and will have an opportunity to ask for his bail to be reduced.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed the charge on Monday after an autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office concluded Frank J. Motta, 65, (pictured) died of contusions to the brain because of blunt head injuries. His manner of death was ruled homicide.

Lewis had been jailed on a first-degree assault charge since March 13. Lewis is accused of beating Motta and Motta tried to clear out a party thrown March 10 by a neighbor’s son in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Drive in north Spokane County.

Court records show his criminal activities began at a young age. Read much more here.

Past coverage:

March 16: VA hospital grieving after beaten employee dies

Cell tower info may aid murder probe

Detectives are seeking cellphone tower location information for phones belonging to a Spokane murder victim and two men with romantic ties to her.

 Kimberly Rae Schmidt, 34, was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head Jan. 1 in what the medical examiner's office has ruled a homicide.

According to court documents filed today, a man with whom Schmidt had past romantic ties with told detectives they recently began rekindling their relationship and that he was to spend New Year's Eve with her, but she cancelled about 10:40 p.m.

The man told detectives he knew Schmidt was seeing another man that night, documents say. That man told detectives he last saw Schmidt about 4 a.m. when she was sleeping in her bedroom.  Schmidt's daughter saw the two together earlier that night when they dropped her off at a friend's home for a party.

Both men allowed detectives to review their cellphones. Detectives say the men had “numerous text correspondents” with Schmidt on Dec. 31.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Mike Drapeau filed search warrants with phone companies last week seeking cell tower information for the three phones that could help him determine where the three were about the time of the murder, according to documents filed today. Results have not been released.

Drapeau said in January that he believes one of the men is a likely suspect.

Schmidt’s mother found Schmidt dead in her home at 37 E. Regina Ave. on Jan. 1. Detectives seized a cloth drawstring bag with a gun barrel sticking out. Drapeau said he believes a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun was the homicide weapon, but he has to wait for the lab to confirm it.

Detectives also are looking into two civil lawsuits that name Schmidt and scuba diving instructor Daniel R. Arteaga, who both worked part time for the Scuba Center of Spokane. The suits involve two scuba diving accidents; on that left a man dead another that allegedly left a woman with brain damage.

Arteaga and Schmidt were notified about the pending suit two and a half weeks before Schmidt was murdered. Schmidt was expected to be a key witness in the case.

Schmidt, a Spokane native and graduate of Shadle Park High School, worked at Pitney Bowes with Tracy Ader, Tracy Ader, who was killed with her two sons in February by 22-year-old Dustin Gilman, who killed himself.

Past coverage:

Jan. 11: Murder victim's family grateful for support

Robot, tear gas help end 9-hour standoff

A nine-hour SWAT team standoff in Spokane Valley early Saturday ended with the arrest of a 31-year-old domestic violence suspect.

Justin D. Chance surrendered after SWAT members pumped tear gas into the 3500 block of North Ely Road, where officers were called to late Friday on a domestic violence report, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The SWAT team arrived after Chance barricaded himself inside the home and threatened to shoot officers if they tried to enter. A robot was used to establish radio contact with him inside the home.

“The Sheriff's Office specialty units train together on a regular basis for events such as this one.,” according to a news release from sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin. “These situations require a combined effort with these units to ensure the safety of the officers, citizens of Spokane County and people directly involved with the incident.”

Chance remains jailed on charges of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Man arrested, released, arrested again

A 45-year-old Spokane man was arrested last week after deputies responded to a suspicious vehicle at a north Spokane construction company.

Theodore Francis Gilman was booked into jail Thursday on second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle charges after deputies found him driving a white truck with no headlights on a fenced commercial property belonging to Lance Pounder Excavation, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The truck also belonged to the company.

Deputies first responded to the neighboring IBEX Construction at 8015 N. Regal St. and spotted a hole cut in a fence and several gas cans gathered next to it. A woman sleeping in a vehicle nearby was detained and later released.

Gilman was released from jail when charges weren't filed with 72 hours, but he returned to jail Sunday on new charges of resisting arrest and taking a motor vehicle without permission. A woman he was on a date with in Airway Heights accused him of steaing her car and almost running over her foot.

Guns seized from mental health patient

A Cheney man with suspected mental health issues remains in protective custody after police found an arsenal of weapons at his home Wednesday  following weeks of threats against public officials.

Douglas J. Dibiasi, 53, was already in protective custody when law enforcement searched his home at 9018 S. Medifor Road about 9:30 a.m.

Spokane County sheriff's officials seized 26 pistols, rifles and shotguns as well as 4,000 to 5,000 rounds of ammunition throughout the home, according to a search warrant.

The search came after officials with the State Bar Association said Dibiasi had filed a grievance against an attorney that had been dismissed, and he continued to leave voicemails threatening to kill federal officials. He threatened to blow up the post office in Cheney and has repeatedly alleged that the sheriff's office is out to get him.

A store owner in Cheney told detectives that he had to tell Dibiasi to stop entering the business with his pistol after an incident with an employee last fall.

Dibiasi was taken into protective custody March 7, and a doctor on March 12 forbid him from possessing weapons.

Man beaten while breaking up party dies

The Spokane veteran’s hospital community is grieving for a beloved employee who died after being assaulted while trying to break up an underage party.

 Frank James Motta, a retired high school principal, teacher and football coach, began volunteering at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2009 and was hired as a patient’s advocate four months ago. His wife, Virginia, and daughter, Jami, also volunteer there.

Motta was attacked by a partygoer while trying to break up a large gathering at his neighbor’s house. The neighor was out of town and had asked Motta to clear out the party, thrown by her teenage son. Motta died Thursday night at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, friends confirmed.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

March 14: Man badly beaten while trying to break up party

‘Grandparents scam’ costs man $20k

Authorities are again warning of the “grandparents scam” after a north Spokane County man wired nearly $20,000 to Peru.

The man said he received a call about 10 a.m. Tuesday from a man he thought was his grandson. The caller said he needed $2,400 to get out of jail and that if he wired the money to Lima, Peru, they would avoid a two-day waiting period, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

He did so, and the man called again saying the judge increased bail and he needed $6,250. She transferred that money, then transferred another $6,250 upon request.

The man called again Wednesday about 9:30 a.m. and asked for $4,800 to pay lawyer fees. The victim transferred the money, but he refused another request for money that afternoon and called the sheriff's office.

It turns out the man was not his grandson.

The sheriff's office released the phone numbers the man called from today as part of a warning to the public:  438-998-6142, 514-458-3080, 438-993-6948, 438-998-6142

Similar scams were reported in spring 2010, December 2010 and in fall 2009. Anyone with an elderly relative should warn them of the scam.

Man near death after breaking up party

A man severely beaten at an underage drinking party last weekend was a 65-year-old neighbor who was trying to break up the gathering as sheriff’s deputies stood outside.

Doctors do not expect Frank James Motta to survive the attack.

Witnesses said Treven Lewis, 18, attacked Motta about 10 p.m. Saturday after Motta nudged Lewis’s girlfriend while telling her and other young people to leave the house, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Lewis is accused of pushing Motta to the ground, then punching him in the head once after he stood up.

Read the rest of my story here.

Teen arrested after assault at party

An assault that left a man in critical condition at a large party in north Spokane County led to the arrest of an 18-year-old suspect today.

Treven Lewis is accused of beating a man at a home in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Road Saturday night. Deputies arrived to find the victim badly beaten and more than 100 people still at the property.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and is listed in critical condition, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team located Lewis today. He was interviewed by major crimes detectives and booked into jail on an assault charge. The investigation is ongoing.

Rapist registers as Spokane transient

A sex offender considered likely to reoffend has registered as a transient in Spokane County.

 Harold David Werstein, 48, spent nearly 18 years in prison for raping a 13-year-old girl. He was convicted of first-degree rape in Lewis County in 1990. His victim was a stranger.

Werstein is no longer under supervision by the Washington Department of Corrections, but he's required to check in with authorities once a week so long as he doesn't have a permanent address.

Werstein is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

He is not wanted by authorities, but the Spokane County Sheriff's Office wants people to be aware of his presence.

Spokane County's sex offender registry is available here.

Sheriff’s ‘copter helps bust drunken party

A sheriff's helicopter helped police track drunken partygoers in Spokane Valley early Sunday.

Officers called in back up from other law enforcement agencies to help them control people at the part in the 16100 block of East Broadway Avenue, which they responded to about 1 a.m. after reports of a party and disturbance.

Sheriff's helicopter Air 1 was patrolling and alerted police to several people in the road and surrounding yards.

Police said several drunken people refused to obey their commands. The majority eventually went back inside as requested, but Rion Holmes, 24, was arrested after refusing commands to stop walking in he middle of Broadway and disrupting traffic, police say.

Police say Holmes also continued to yell at others around the home and encouraged them not to cooperate with police. He was arrested for riot, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

Nicholas Loverro, 22, also allegedly refused commands and was arrested for riot, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Homeowner Justin Doggett, 25, was booked into jail on suspicion of providing alcohol to minors. An underage female was cited and released for possession of alcohol. Officers arrested a total of nine people, police said.

Deer Park house ‘rental’ actually a scam

Brooke Bear was surprised when several people stopped by her home interested in renting it.

They referenced the ad she posted on Craigslist, but she isn’t renting out the house; she’s selling it, and she never posted an ad on Craigslist.

Bear knew something was fishy, so she hopped online and found the ad, which included a picture and description of her four-bedroom house, located in a rural area south of Deer Park, as well as an email address using her name.

“I was kind of scared,” she said. “I pulled it up and thought, ‘Who is doing this?’ You just kind of go, ‘Ew, creepy.’ ”

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Owner finds Craigslist ad for own home

An occupied home in north Spokane was recently listed for rent on Craigslist by someone in Africa.

The owner earned about the ad when a couple arrived at her home asking about it. The woman is trying to sell he home - not rent it - and said she never posted an ad on Craigslist. Several other people have also stopped by the home asking about the rental.

The woman emailed the poster and was told the owner was in Africa, had keys to the home and required a minimum of $1,700 be sent to him through Western Union for rent and security deposit.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Brandon Armstrong says the ad was posted through an Internet service provider in Nigeria. The ad has been been removed.

A sheriff's office news release called the case  “a reminder to the public that if a Craigslist offer seems too good to be true, it may very well be,” though it's unknown who would consider sending $1,700 to a homeowner you've never meet for a Craigslist rental ad “too good to be true.”

I-90 traffic stop leads to meth bust

A traffic stop on Interstate 90 Saturday led to the arrest o a 54-year-old woman on drug charges, police said today.

Deputies credited “training and experience” with helping them identify a bag of a white substance as methamphetamine when it fell from a purse belonging to Feryl D. Woodworth, 54, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Woodworth was retrieving her driver's license after being stopped in her red Honda by two sheriff's deputies in a patrol vehicle.

Woodworth told police she didn't know what the baggie was and that she was taking it to her friend “to find out what it was,” Chamberlin wrote.

Woodworth was booked into jail on a felony meth possession charge, according to jail records. She was released today on her own recognizance after appearing in Superior Court.

Man arrested w/ burglary tools, again

 A man arrested during a vehicle prowling patrol in the Morgan Acres area of north Spokane County in January was arrested again early today by the same deputy during another patrol in the same area.

Yuriy V. Siriy, 22, had a large bulge sticking out from under his coat when Deputy Daryl Smith contacted him about 12:34 a.m. as he walked north on North Regal Street. It turned out to be a metal pry bar and a large screwdriver that he'd secured through the belt loops of his pants.

Siriy's pants were sagging from the weight of items in his pockets, which turned out to be two smaller screwdrivers, a key ring with several keys, a folding knife, a small flash light, another full key ring and a pair of black gloves. Smith said Siriy allowed him to remove the items from his pocket.

Siriy said he was walking to a friend's home to work on cars, but when Smith called a number for the friend, a man who answered  “sounded like he just woke up and hung up the phone,” according to a news release by Deputy Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Smith said the pry bar had been modified, and the screw driver had gouge marks on the top consistent with being used on ignitions or key locks. Several of the keys were modified and shaved. Siriy was booked into jail for possession of burglary tools, which is a gross misdemeanor.

Smith arrested Siriy Jan. 30 on misdemeanor charges after investigating suspicious activity at the Morgan Acres Community Church, 7319 N. Regal St.

5 cited for porn shop indecent exposure

Five people were cited for indecent exposure during an undercover police investigation at a Spokane Valley porn store Tuesday.

Undercover detectives walked through the Hollywood Erotic Boutique in the 9600 block of East Sprague Avenue and observed five acts of indecent exposure, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives also checked for criminal activity at the boutique in May 2009 and May 2011. Seven violations were reported during those visits.

The five people identified Tuesday were cited for indecent exposure and released at the scene. Their names have not been released.

Detectives checked other adult stores in the area, but no other violations were reported.

Deputy avoids spit; suspect faces felony

A Spokane man arrested on a disorderly conduct charge Friday upped the judicial ante by spitting at a deputy's face, authorities said today.

Christopher Joseph Davison, 23, faces a felony third-degree assault charge after the incident at the jail with Deputy Liljenberg. Liljenberg arrested Davison on a misdemeanor charge after contacting him in the parking lot at Safeway on West France Avenue.

Davison was confrontational and drunk and had been walking in the roadway and disrupting traffic, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Liljenberg asked Davison if he could give him a ride somewhere, but Davison declined “and told the deputy he was going to walk to the moon,” Chamberlin wrote.  “As expected, Davison continued to yell and kick at traffic causing traffic to slow due to Davison unpredictable actions.”

Davison was transported to jail, where he spit at Liljenberg's face while being escorted to the booking area. Liljenberg avoided the saliva, Chamberlin said.

Davison remains in jail on $1,000 bond after appearing before a judge Monday.
  

Geiger fight leads to stitches, charges

An inmate assaulted another inmate at Geiger Corrections Center Friday evening, officials said today.

Anthony Neil Carson, 33, was moved to the Spokane County Jail to face a second-degree assault charge after entering the victim's room and punching him in the face and body repeatedly, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The victim, whose name has not been released, received stitches and treatment for a facial fracture at a local hospital.

Carson “apparently felt the victim inmate was spreading rumors and talking bad about him,” according to a news release by sheriff's spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory.

Carson was serving a 180-day sentence for a District Court bench warrant, according to jail records. He was convicted last year of possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated and third-degree theft.
  

Suspended driver arrested after chase

A driver with a suspended license who fled a traffic stop in his 2006 Ford Mustang was arrested on a bevy of charges late Sunday, officials said today.

David B. Middleton, 44, stopped his black Mustang near East Sprague Avenue and North Farr Road about 9:13 p.m. and reached toward the passenger's console as if he was complying with orders to show his documentation, but he suddenly drove off at a high rate of speed, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Russ Olson joined Corporal Dave Ellis in the pursuit, which they ended near the 8800 block of Sprague as Middleton's exceeded 100 mph in the 35 mph zone, according to a news release.

Deputy Jason Karnitz spotted Middleton turn north into a parking lot of on Sprague, and he and Olson pinned Middleton's Mustang with their patrol cars as Middleton accelerated toward Karntiz, the sheriff's office said. Middleton resisted arrest and “received a small abrasion” when the deputies took him to the ground, according to the release.

Deputies say a bag from Middleton's Mustang was found on the ground about five feet from the passenger's door. It contained plastic baggies, glass pipes commonly used to smoke illegal narcotics, scales, a pellet gun and paperwork with Middleton’s name on it.

Middleton was booked into jail on felony charges of eluding police, second-degree assault, possession of meth with intent to deliver and possession of heroin. He also faces misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest and third-degree driving while suspended.

Shooting in Bella Vista neighborhood

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office arrested a man early Sunday morning after he allegedly fired a gunshot through a home's front window, according to a Sheriff's Office press release. Deputies responded to the 13700 bock of East 46th in the Bella Vista neighborhood at 3:26 a.m. Sunday. The man also allegedly pointed the gun at a man and fired several shots in the area, the press release said. Deputies arrested Jason Cunningham, 37, for drive-by shooting, first degree burglary, first degree assault and reckless engangerment. Click here for more details.

Cops: ‘Bobcat bandit’ stole laughing gas

A medication and laughing gas thief who fled on a snow removal vehicle was arrested early Thursday in north Spokane County, officials say.

Joseph Franklin Knapp, 30, told Deputy Dan Dutton he was working for the state when he was stopped about 1 a.m. while driving the skid steer-style Bobcat northbound on the shoulder of Highway 395, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Knapp said he'd finished moving snow near West 4th Street and Northwest Road in Deer Park, but Dutton knew the Deer Park roads were clear of snow, and that the city had its own road department.

Dutton then noticed two bottles of nitrous oxide and other medications, syringes and needles in the front loader of the Bobcat. Knapp said he found the items when he was plowing and planned to dispose of them in Clayton “so no children would find them,” according to a news released.

Dutton detained Knapp as other deputies checked the area of Deer Park and Riverside. They located a medical facility in the Riverside area that had the door torn off - Dutton suspects Knapp stole the laughing gas and medication from the facility.

The Bobcat was stolen 27 miles away at the Winco on North Nevada Street.

Sheriff's spokesman Craig Chamberlin dubbed Knapp “the bobcat bandit.”

He remains jailed on $30,000 bond for felony charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree theft and second-degree malicious mischief and a misdemeanor charge of third-degree driving while suspended.

Court records show he was sentenced in early January to seven days in jail for misdemeanor making or having burglar tools, possession of marijuana, malicious mischief personal property and two counts of theft.

Blown stop sign leads to felony arrest

A traffic stop for running a stop sign turned into a short vehicle and foot chase Tuesday in Spokane Valley.

Joseph Louis Barton, 48, was arrested after rolling out of the driver's seat of his car and onto the ground, then running into a backyard.

A large bush proved to be his undoing - Deputy Kevin Mosher saw he was having trouble getting past the bush and arrested him, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Mosher tried to stop Barton after seeing him run a stop sign at Third Avenue and Havana Street. Barton accelerated westbound on Third, then stopped at Second Avenue and Dearborn Road, where Barton fled the vehicle.

He was arrested on a felony charge of attempted to elude as well as misdemeanor charges of driving while license suspended, hit and run, drunken driving, violating an ignition interlock requirement.

Traffic school paper IDs theft suspect

A shoplifting suspect was identified as a traffic school student after the teenager dropped his paperwork in the parking lot while fleeing the store Sunday, police say.

Cameron Rose, 18, was on a lunch break from class at the Sheriff's Office training center when employees at Rosauers, 10618 E. Sprague Ave., contacted instructors and said one of their students had possibly stolen soda and candy.

A loss prevention officer tried to detain the man, but he escaped by running through the parking lot. The officer picked up paperwork Rose dropped while running, “and to his surprise, the paperwork showed Mr. Rose was scheduled for class right next door at the Training Center,” according to a news release by Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The security officer identified Rose after the students returned from lunch. He was cited and released for third-degree theft and dismissed from traffic school.

Suspect displayed victim’s death notice

A Deer Park man accused of strangling his ex-wife and posing her dead body had her death certificate displayed in his home when detectives arrested him this week, detectives say.

  Clay Duane Starbuck, 47, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and sexually violating human remains in the death of Chanin Denice Starbuck, 42. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. The only other punishment if convicted of aggravated first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Starbuck, a former Alaska oil worker with no criminal history, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Friday afternoon via video from the jail after prosecutors formally charged him Thursday. He remains in jail on $1 million bond.

Read the rest of my story here.

Feb. 9: 911 dispatcher broke protocol in homicide call

Feb. 7: Police: Starbuck hid in home, posed ex-wife's body

‘Bad-tooth bandit’ of ‘95 arrested again

A Spokane man dubbed “the bad-tooth bandit” for a robbery spree more than 17 years ago was arrested Thursday after fleeing a traffic stop, officials say.

 Aaron Wayne Coats, 48, (pictured left in 2009 and below in 1994) was arrested minutes after a police chase ended in north Spokane when a sheriff's deputy spotted his vehicle at an apartment complex at 6800 block of North Atlantic Street.

 Deputy Clay Hilton had tried to stop Coats for running a stop sign at Atlantic and West Lyons Avenue when Coats sped away, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Hilton pursued Coats to the area of Lyons Street and Division Street before ending the chase for safety reasons.

Minutes later, Deputy Michael McNees located Coats' vehicle at the apartment complex. Two passengers, Ronald Clement, 31, and Angelica Myers, 20, were arrested on warrants.

A Spokane police dog was called in after officer learning Coats had locked himself in a closet.

Coats surrendered after the K-9 officer announced his presence. He was arrested on charges of attempting to elude police, first-degree driving while suspended, obstructing and violation of a no contact order. Another passenger, Lori Peterson, had a no contact order against Coats. Peterson told police Coats fled because he knew he was violating that order and driving on a suspended license, according to court documents.

Coats was sentenced in 1995 to 20 years in prison for an armed robbery spree that terrorized Spokane store clerks. Coats said he commited the 31 holdups to feed his heroin habit. He also made headlines when he attacked a bailiff in court. He'd been dubbed the bad-tooth bandit because of witness reports that the robber had a mouthful of crooked, decayed or missing teeth.

Coats was released from prison in November 2009, according to the Washington Department of Corrections. He complete probation last May.

Past coverage:

Nov. 23, 1994: Suspect grins, denies he's 'bad-tooth bandit'

New details in Starbuck murder case

A Deer Park mother of five found strangled to death in her home was positioned in a way to humiliate her and make detectives believe she had been sexually assaulted, according to information released Tuesday.

Clay Duane Starbuck, 47, is accused of murdering his ex-wife, Chanin Denice Starbuck, 42, after luring her from her home with their children, then breaking in and hiding until she returned, detectives wrote in a warrant that was used to search the suspect’s home at 1625 E. 2nd St. Monday night. Investigators seized dozens of items, including cameras, documents, computers and a cell phone.

Starbuck, a former oil worker in Alaska with no criminal history, was arrested Monday morning during a traffic stop in Deer Park. He remains in jail on $1 million bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon on charges of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. He’s prohibited from contacting his children, who are witnesses in the case. Spokane County sheriff’s officials say the children are staying with a close family friend.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 6: Ex-husband arrested for Deer Park woman's murder

Dec. 14: Search warrants sealed in Deer Park murder case