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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sirens & Gavels archive for Jan. 1, 2009

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 12, 2009

The 'big' in big-time criminal history

A woman with a criminal history so extensive a prosecutor told a judge she has "more experience with misdemeanor citations than all of us combined" is back in jail on a charge she knows well: theft. Nearly eights years after Lawanda R. Hopkins-Sparks, 57, stole…

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'She sets fires to help ease the pain'

One woman. One trailer park. A string of suspicious fires. These elements converged in a probable cause affidavit that led to the arrest of a Spokane woman Tuesday. Carol J. Haloburdo, 53, is in Spokane County Jail on $20,000 bond, charged with second-degree reckless burning…

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'A danger to women'

A Spokane jury got its first glimpse Wednesday of the past sex crimes and current violent sexual fantasies that persuaded state officials to try to keep Shawn Dale Botner in custody for the rest of his life. The state wants to civilly commit Botner, 36,…

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Courthouse watch: 8.13.09

A Spokane County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday there was no probable cause to charge a man arrested in connection with a shooting in a Spokane fast-food parking lot last week. But Jason M. Giles will remain in Spokane County Jail on District Court charges.…

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TUESDAY, AUG. 11, 2009

Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas (The Spokesman-Review)

Bearded woman back in court 

A woman who sometimes grows a full beard as a symbol of her activism for human rights is back in the Spokane County Superior Court system after a police officer said she grabbed his left testicle.Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas, 42, was convicted of stalking in 2006…

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Two stabbings; one family

Last night, police found a man with stab wounds his mother said were inflicted by his girlfriend.Today, a 35-year-old man was sentenced for the stabbing death of his cousin last year.In each case, police responded to the same location - the 1400 block of West…

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Courthouse watch: 8.11.09

A bounty hunter accused of forcing an elderly Spokane man to give a bondsman thousands of dollars was released from jail on his own recognizance today.Brian D. Steenhard, 38, is charged with first-degree theft and obtaining a signature by duress or deception after a 70-year-old…

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On July 11th, a Spokane man had his wallet stolen and in it was a check made out to him as payee.  He alerted the woman who wrote him the check of the theft and she in turn alerted her bank. 
    On July 16th, a man entered the Washington Trust Bank branch at 407 N. Sullivan and attempted to cash the stolen check using the victim’s stolen identification.  The bank did not cash the check, but it did cache his image in their security system. 
    Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s identity is encouraged to call Crime Check at 456-2233. 
 (Spokane Valley Police Department)

Man caught on camera with stolen check 

Police say the man pictured above tried cashing a stolen check on July 16 using a identification from a wallet stolen five days earlier. Employees at Washington Trust Bank, 407 N. Sullivan Road, didn't cash the check but found the man's image in their security…

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MONDAY, AUG. 10, 2009


Medicaid fraud gets woman 2 1/2 years

A Spokane woman who defrauded the Idaho Medicaid program of more than $200,000 will spend 2 1/2 years in prison. Candace J. Elmer, 53, operated a psychosocial rehabilitation center, Behavioral Intervention Services, which illegally billed Medicaid for services Elmer didn’t provide or wasn’t authorized to…

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Two accused of bachelor party brawl released

The wedding will go on.A judge today ordered a groom released on his own recognizance after his bachelor party turned into a bar brawl early Sunday.Groom Brandon N. Peterson, 27, and Shad E. Armstead, 22, were released from Spokane County Jail this evening after appearing…

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Courthouse watch: 8.10.09

If it seems like just last week that Thomas Clouse was reporting on a former Spokesman-Review employee being sentenced for a sex-related crime, that's because it was.Here's Clouse's report on the sentencing of a former employee of The Spokesman-Review, who received a 12-month suspended sentence…

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Aryans move to Athol

Not that there's ever an appropriate place for the Aryan Nations, but if they're going to insist on calling a North Idaho town home, a place called Athol seems a bit fitting. (This is not an affront to the fine people of the tiny town…

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FRIDAY, AUG. 7, 2009


Courthouse watch: 8.7.09

A landlord shot to death by a tenant in Coeur d'Alene two years ago should have been trained on how to deal with dangerous renters, a lawsuit filed this week claims. Bette Fears, 67, died Aug. 8, 2007, when Evelyn Botto (right), 44, shot her…

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Girl admits to killing father 

A teenage girl has admitted to killing her father in his Spokane home last year. Jacqueline A. Wortham, 18, faces 22 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Her sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16. Daniel Wortham, 39, lived with his…

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THURSDAY, AUG. 6, 2009

'A threat to the administration of justice' 

The prosecution calls him “a threat to the administration of justice.” His lawyer says he’s the victim of a civil dispute turned media circus. Whatever the case, the legal problems for a Spokane bail bondsman accused of forcing a customer to give him thousands of…

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Courthouse watch: 8.6.09

The former security supervisor for The Spokesman-Review pleaded guilty today to three sexual assault charges that could keep him in prison for life. Robert J. Robel, 61, (right) pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of a child, second-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation.…

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WEDNESDAY, AUG. 5, 2009

Marijuana grow gets man 6 years in prison 

A Mexican man will spend more than six years in prison for operating a large marijuana grow that did more than $10,000 damage to the Okanogan National Forest, according to the U.S attorney's office. Moyses Mesa-Barajas, 43, was arrested last August after federal and state…

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Courthouse watch: 8.5.09

A 21-year-old Spokane man pleaded not guilty today to second-degree rape of a woman who said she was sexually assaulted at a party.Here's Thomas Clouse's report: "Anthony J. Wilson appeared before Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark, who ordered a sexual assault protection order against…

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Department of Corrections prison cell phones (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

'If it were legal'

The Washington Department of Corrections has joined agencies in more than two dozen states in calling on the Federal Communications Commission to allow cell phone signals to be jammed in prisons. Shortly after that was announced, the DOC scheduled media events to demonstrate how DOC…

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TUESDAY, AUG. 4, 2009

Boyfriend of Resort victim ran for Idaho Senate

Check out my story here for new information on the tragic death at the Coeur d'Alene Resort last week. UPDATE: Hambrice's blood-alcohol level was .23, police said Wednesday. The article includes comments from a colleague of Lynea M. Sprung Hambrice at Louisiana State University. What…

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Courthouse watch: 8.4.09 

The defendant seemed disgruntled as he said "not guilty" after each charge. "Almost done," his public defender whispered to David L. "Cowboy Dave" Harwood, 39. It took Harwood saying "not guilty" 19 times, but eventually his arraignment for a bust connected to a major Sheriff's…

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MONDAY, AUG. 3, 2009

Alleged groping incident caught on tape

A woman who claims a Coeur d’Alene police officer groped her during a drunken driving arrest last summer has video of the interaction from a police cruiser’s dash camera.But what the 45-minute video (a segment is posted above) means for the lawsuit filed by Coeur…

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