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Rape suspect wanted after skipping plea

UPDATE: Green is no longer wanted. He appeared in court and pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. The rape charge was dismissed.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an accused rapist who missed his scheduled plea hearing.

J. Bailey Green, 24, was to plead guilty and be sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court June 19 for a second-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment case, but he never showed up. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Green was charged after a woman told police he raped her while at a home on West Sharp Avenue Dec. 3. The victim told police she bit Green. When police asked him about the bite mark on his cheek, Green said it occurred “maybe when I was trying to hold her down,” according to court documents.

Anyone with information on the location of Green, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Kidnapped man escapes from car trunk

A kidnapped man forced into the trunk of a car in Montana freed himself on a Pend Oreille County highway early Sunday, leading to two arrests.

A motorist said he was driving on Highway 2 near Pend Oreille Park about 7:10 a.m. when the trunk of the vehicle in front of him opened and a man started waving his arms and yelling for help, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office said today.

The vehicle stopped and the man jumped from the trunk and ran toward the witness's vehicle. He said he'd been beaten, bound and forced into the trunk while in Montana.

Sheriff's deputies stopped the suspect vehicle a short time later near Newport, Wash. The driver initially refused to stop, and someone threw a firearm from the vehicle that was later recovered.

Kenny J. Morrison, 29, and John M. Davis, 39, of Columbia Falls, Mont., were arrested on charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault, possession of methadone without a prescription and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pend Oreille County sheriff's investigators are working with detectives in Flathead County, Mont.

Level 3 sex offender moves to Valley

A sex offender recently released from prison for the unlawful imprisonment and robbery of a 16-year-old is now living in Spokane Valley.

Joseph R. Wheeler, 34, is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

He served about eight years in prison after being convicted of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, harassment in April 2004, according to court records. He was credited for about 1 1/2 years spent in the county jail before he was convicted. Wheeler's victim was a stranger.

Wheeler is being supervised by the Washington Department of Corrections but is not wanted by authorities. However, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office wants people to be aware of his presence.

Wheeler is living in the 1300 block of South Robie Road, which is a few blocks from Opportunity Elementary School.

The Spokane County Sex Offender Registry is available here. Anyone with questions about the sex offender community awareness program is asked to call (509) 477-6609 or email RSOUnit@spokanesheriff.org.

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.

Porn shop robbery suspect still jailed

A Spokane man accused of tying up an porn shop employee during a robbery early Tuesday remains jailed on $75,000 bond.

James Allen Turnipseed, 32, appeared in Superior Court Tuesday afternoon on charges of unlawful imprisonment and first-degree robbery.

Turnipseed was stopped on a bicycle just after the 2 a.m. robbery at Hollywood Erotic Boutique, 3813 N. Division St. Police say he matched a description of the robber as “chubby” and “wearing blue parachute pants,” according to court documents.

The employee identified Turnipseed as one of two men who tied her up and stolen cash and merchandise from the store, including sex toys, smoking pipes and lingerie.

Police say Turnipseed had a phone in his pocket that matched the description of a phone stolen from the store, as well as smoking pipes with price tags still affixed. Turnipseed also had two bags with him, which were partially open and had sex toys inside, police said.

A second suspect has not been identified.

Turnipseed, a 2009 Crime Stoppers graduate, has previous convictions for assault, making false statements, robbery and probation violations.

Man arrested 30 mins after eluding police

A police chase through downtown ended this morning because officers deemed it too dangerous, but the suspect was arrested 30 minutes later.

Leroy K. Berra, 44, was stopped just before 3 a.m. near Monroe Street and Shannon Avenue and arrested for drunken driving, driving while suspended and for cocaine found in his pants pocket.

His female passenger told officers she feared for her safety during the earlier pursuit, which began when Officer Scott Lesser tried to stop Berra's speeding gray Chevrolet Suburban about 2:30 a.m. in downtown Spokane, police said.

The Suburban had ran red lights without slowing down, and Berra looked at Lesser and accelerated once Lesser tried to stop him. Lesser ended the pursuit because Berra driving “was so reckless that it presented a danger to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” police said.

Berra faces an unlawful imprisonment charge for not allowing his passenger out of the car during the chase, according to a news release.

He was arrested on the same charge in July 2001 after a woman called police and said he would not let her out of the car as he sped away from police on Fort George Wright Drive, according to news archives.

Berra is due in Superior Court this afternoon.

Duo eying ‘fresh start’ accused of robbery

A Texas couple who reportedly moved to Spokane to kick their heroin addictions are in jail after police say they attacked a cell phone clerk and threatened to tie her up, then stole a phone and nearly $700.

Derrick D. Saldana, 27, and Jennifer R. Martinez, 29, are to be arraigned Wednesday on first-degree robbery and unlawful imprisonment charges related to an alleged assault April 10 at the Cricket cell phone store, 21 S. Thierman.

A woman working at the store said the couple asked if she should give them a new phone number with a San Antonio, Texas, area code, then attacked her after she opened the register to get change for $5. Saldana grabbed $672 from the register, then struggled with the clerk before Martinez threw her down and punched her in the head, according to court documents. Saldana then sat on the clerk’s back and tried to steal her wedding ring before the two fled.

The clerk suffered minor scrapes.

Two people told police that Saldana and Martinez were staying with them at 6321 E. Fourth in Spokane Valley after leaving Texas “to get a fresh start,” according to court documents.

But the couple began asking where to get drugs shortly after arriving in Spokane and said that morning that they were going to go shoplifting to get money for drugs, the witnesses told police. When Martinez returned with cash later that day, she said she’d stolen three purses and sold them for cash.

The couple was going to the Greyhound bus station to buy tickets back to Texas. Charges were filed April 28; they were arrested June 16.

Martinez and Saldana were booked into Spokane County Jail, where they remain on $60,000 and $50,000 bond, respectively.