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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels archive for Jan. 1, 2009

FRIDAY, NOV. 20, 2009

Mother arrested in bus plaza assault

An anonymous tip led Spokane police today to arrest the woman accused of assaulting her 3-year-old son at the downtown bus plaza. Keyana L. Key, 28, was hiding with her three young children at an apartment at 1400 N. Lincoln when police arrived about 4…

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THURSDAY, NOV. 19, 2009

Gerrin LaFleur, 3, picks up his feet and lets his father, Les LaFleur, carry him by his child restraint up Government Way during Bloomsday 2008 on Sunday, May 4, 2008. At right is his sister, Alzera, 6. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Father charged in death of boy, 4 

A vehicular homicide charge was filed Thursday against the father of a 4-year-old who died near Mount Spokane in August. Lester C. LaFleur, 35, will be arraigned Dec. 2. Gerrin P.R. LaFleur died Aug. 19 during a family firewood-gathering trip in the foothills near North…

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Joe Pickert, right, was executive director of both organizations when the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch deeded real estate to the Morning Star Foundation. Ranch executive director Richard I. Petersen, left, said charitable organizations often form foundations. “There was no attempt to defraud anybody,” he (Dan Pelle)

Ranch moves assets before abuse trial

Morning Star Boys’ Ranch has moved the bulk of its assets, including securities and real estate worth millions of dollars, to a nonprofit foundation in advance of the first trial over sexual abuse lawsuits against it. In 2007, the ranch transferred more than $12 million…

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Poison maker contests prison sentence

A Spokane Valley man serving 10 years in federal prison for making a deadly poison is asking to have his sentence and conviction overturned because one of the government’s expert witnesses was later fired for misconduct in other criminal cases. Kenneth Olsen, a former computer…

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Pharmacy employee tackles armed robber 

A Coeur d'Alene pharmacy employee tackled a masked armed robber and held him for police Wednesday night. Jason Anthony Wahl, 28, will appear in Kootenai County District Court this afternoon after police arrested him at the Shopko pharmacy, 217 W. Ironwood Drive. Wahl is accused…

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 18, 2009

Another charge for Oxy robbery suspect

A man charged with robbing two pharmacies is now accused of trying to flee from police before his arrest. Aaron M. Weyrauch, 27, (right, in 2007) appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video Wednesday, two months after a police chase that ended in his…

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Drunken driver hits school bus, police say

A motorist who authorities believe was drunk slammed into a school bus filled with children Wednesday, but no one was injured, according to the Idaho State Police. Julie Witlicki, 38, was arrested after her 1995 Volkswagen Jetta crossed the center line on Highway 95 near…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 17, 2009

Spokane police, Spokane County sheriff's deputies and firefighters load up at Sherman Street and Seventh Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009, after a man was arrested in connection with a Monday night robbery in Spokane Valley. Law enforcement officials surrounded a home and blocked off the streets as they searched. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Suspects arrested in home invasion robbery

Masked gunmen pistol whipped a woman in her Spokane Valley apartment late Monday before forcing her into a closet as her child slept in another room. The men stole a cell phone, TV and computer after demanding marijuana and “everything you have” from the 25-year-old…

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Brothers arrested in road rage attack

One man grabbed her phone before she could call 911, breaking her hand in front of her husband and grandchildren as he screamed at the family for driving too slowly. The other ripped the license plate off his own car in an apparent attempt to…

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Man named Steele Brown involved in gunfight

If you were looking for a Wild West-like story involving a man named Steele Brown mowing down one assailant before exchanging gunfire with the others, you're in luck. Here's a report from Sara Leaming:A Grant County resident who surprised three men attempting to burglarize his…

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Molestation charges dropped in plea deal

A bookstore owner police arrested for third-degree child molestation in March had the accusation dismissed in a plea deal today. A 15-year-old girl told police that Harold "Hal" N. Moos, 76 ,offered her $50 in December to massage her, then touched her inappropriately. The girl…

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MONDAY, NOV. 16, 2009

Accused bank robber experienced in crime

A man accused of robbing a Spokane Valley bank last week served time in federal prison for robbing five banks on the West Side in 2005. Christopher J. Cook, 42, drove his mother's car to AmericanWest Bank, 15606 E. Sprague Ave., on Thursday and left…

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Robbery suspects arrested after chase

A deputy rammed the car of two suspected robbers Sunday night after they tried to turn around from a dead end road, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. Justin R. Booth, 29, (left) and Bodi C. Dotson, 19, (right) and are accused of robbing…

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Sherry L. Prickett, of Spokane, was stopped at a red light on Farwell Road when her Ford Ranger was rear-ended by a pickup driven by Spokane police Sgt. Bradley Thoma.  (Dan Pelle)

Police sergeant avoids prosecution 11 

A police sergeant was granted deferred prosecution for a drunken driving charge on Friday. Brad Thoma also had a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge (failure to remain at the scene of an accident-attended vehicle or other property) dismissed under the misdemeanor compromise statute. He could have tried…

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FRIDAY, NOV. 13, 2009

Teen gets 30 years for shooting

A Spokane teenager will spend 30 years in prison for shooting at two men in a motel parking lot a year ago, a judge ruled Friday.Anthony R. Covert, 19, was found guilty of attempted murder, first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two weapons…

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Christopher J. Cook is taken into custody near 29th Avenue and Fiske Street by police after a short car chase Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. Cook is a suspect in the robbery of an AmericanWest bank branch Thursday in Spokane Valley. (Christopher Anderson /

PC plate gives probable cause for arrest

That didn't take long. Assisted by a personalized license plate, Spokane County sheriff's detectives this morning arrested a man suspected of robbing a Spokane Valley bank on Thursday. Christopher J. Cook, 42, was booked into jail on one count of first-degree robbery for an incident…

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Turnipseed guilty, but not of murder

A jury convicted a Spokane man of first-degree manslaughter today for the shooting death of a 24-year-old man more than two years ago. Allan L. Turnipseed faces at least 11 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Joshua A. Smith on June 14, 2007.…

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THURSDAY, NOV. 12, 2009

Man arrested after skipping jury verdict

A man convicted last week of stealing from an elderly woman was arrested after failing to show up for the jury's verdict. A jury convicted Thomas A. Sankey, 57, of first-degree theft last week for stealing about $1,600 from an 87-year-old woman. He and his…

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Murder plot suspected at county jail

Detectives started monitoring the inmate’s phone calls months ago. Jailed on assault and robbery charges, Michael L. Olson (left) had fled police after a fiery car crash that killed his girlfriend June 19. He was arrested that night, accused of stealing a car and assaulting…

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