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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels archive for Jan. 1, 2010


Prosecutor rules police shooting justified

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — The Whatcom County prosecutor says a Bellingham police officer was justified in shooting at a murder suspect in February who later took his own life.Prosecutor Dave McEachran said in a report last week that Daniel Salas had shot his ex-girlfriend and…

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Bust could solve 100+ burglaries, prowlings

An interstate fuel theft investigation unveiled hundreds of pieces of suspected stolen property Tuesday after law enforcement arrested seven people and seized heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.Law enforcement raided five places early Tuesday that Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives say could be connected to more than 100…

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Jail consultant: Swift justice hits 'roadblock'

Meet Charles D. Baker. The 50-year-old convicted child molester is a level 1 sex offender, considered the least likely of the classifications to reoffend. But his lengthy criminal history shows a likelihood to reoffend when it comes to property crimes - Crime Stoppers called him…

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GU joins forces with police to fight fraud

Spokane's three city fraud detectives now have help from a dozen Gonzaga University accounting students. In a new program called the Justice for Fraud Victims Project, three supervised student teams gather the paperwork needed so a business owner can recover money, plus help law enforcement…

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Crash leaves SUV in spectacular spot

A crash in Hayden Monday left an SUV entangled in power pole wires and partially suspended above the ground. Timothy J. Toboyko's 1997 Chevy Suburban was balanced on its back left corner, facing upward at a 45-degree angle, after Toboyko crossed into the eastbound lanes…

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Police: Oxy robbery suspect targeted witness

A Spokane man accused of helping a woman rob a pharmacy last fall is suspected of threatening a witness in the case. William E. Higgins pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault and intimidating a witness today in Spokane County Superior Court. He's been…

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Child-molesting school counselor: I'm guilty

By Thomas ClouseCOLVILLE — A longtime psychologist for the Colville School District who also volunteered with police to help investigate child abuse pleaded guilty today to molesting one of his students and attempting to molest another.Craig L. Figley, 59, of Colville, could be sent to…

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County settles suit over deputies' fatal fight

Spokane County commissioners approved a $50,000 settlement Tuesday in the May 2007 death of a Spokane Valley man who fought with sheriff’s deputies. Trent Yohe, 37, lost consciousness after being restrained hand-and-foot, and died 12 days later of what a county medical examiner said was…

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Man in fatal CdA shooting pleads guilty

A man who fatally shot another man after a fight at a Coeur d'Alene bar last year pleaded guilty this week to second-degree murder. Juan C. Aldana Villanueva, 23, (right) is in Kootenai County Jail awaiting sentencing for the murder of Timothy I. Wolfe, 21,…

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State schools chief suspected of DUI

ORTING, Wash. (AP) — The state's Superintendent of Public Instruction was arrested over the weekend for suspicion of driving under the influence, his office confirmed Tuesday. Randy Dorn was stopped by police around 1:30 a.m. Sunday near Orting High School in rural Pierce County. The…

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John Clark argues a traffic case in the Spokane Courthouse Annex late last week. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Defense attorney Clark to be honored

Spokane defense attorney John Clark will be honored Wednesday by the Spokane County Bar Association.The 2010 Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award, named after the former U.S. magistrate judge and dean of the Gonzaga University School of Law, will be presented at a ceremony at the…

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MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2010

Defense wants Zehm's medical records 

Thursday was the fourth anniversary of the confrontation with Spokane police that led to unarmed shopper Otto Zehm's death. A gathering sponsored by the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane took place at the Zip Trip, 1712 N. Division St., where Officer Karl Thompson…

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Another arrested in gang-related homicide

Another man has been arrested in connection with an unsolved gang-related shooting in January. Justin A. Battle, 29, is accused of possessing the stolen Ruger mini rifle police think was used to kill 38-year-old John S. Williams in an alley behind 5405 N. Crestline on…

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Police seek developer's associate in car theft

A man arrested outside a once-prominent Spokane developer's home during a lengthy drug investigation is wanted by police. Shad A. Johnson, 37, didn't show up for a pre-trial conference March 5 on charges of first-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and first-degree unlawful possession…

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Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help identify a suspected check forger.
The man pictured in the Nike sweatshirt is accused of cashing checks stolen from 1997 Dodge Dakota in the 3700 block of North Audubon between Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. A GPS device also was stolen from the car.
In the days following the break-in, the unidentified man forged and cashed checks totaling more than $1,2000 at Fred Meyer, Huckleberry's and other businesses. (Crime Stoppers)

Tips sought on check-forgery suspect

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help identify a suspected check forger. The man pictured in the Nike sweatshirt is accused of cashing checks stolen from 1997 Dodge Dakota in the 3700 block of North Audubon. A GPS device also was stolen…

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3 arrested in murder of Grant Co. teen

Two men and a juvenile have been charged with the murder of a 17-year-old in Grant County this month. Luis A. Mejia Nunez, 20 (right); Martin Ochoa Ramos, 41 (left); and a 15-year-old boy are accused of a drive-by shooting that killed Carlos D. Leyva…

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Sale ad for 4-year-old prompts investigation

For sale: One 4-year-old boy. That recent advertisement on a popular classifieds Web site has triggered a sheriff’s investigation into who was behind it. Was it a hoax, a desperate cry for help or something more sinister? Investigators haven’t determined, but they’ve seized records from…

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Election update: Stevens gets new manager 

The former deputy prosecutor challenging his boss for the top prosecutor's spot has a new campaign manager. Rae Lynn Conger will manage Dave Stevens' campaign against Prosecutor Steve Tucker, Stevens announced today. His former manager Michael Cathcart, left the campaign to become campaign manager for…

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Escaped Idaho killer captured in Spokane 

An escaped killer from Idaho was arrested in north Spokane today. Kelly Renee Norton, 44, walked away from the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center Sunday night, according to the Idaho Department of Correction. She was arrested at Francis Avenue and Division Street about 10 a.m. this…

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Pot activist survives shootout

KIRKLAND (AP) — A spokesman for the King County Sheriff's Office says deputies found 385 marijuana plants at the home of a medical marijuana activist who was in a shootout with robbers.Sgt. John Urquhart (URK'art) says investigators also found marijuana products such as butter, baked…

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Door-to-door sales prompt police reports

Door-to-door sales representatives from an Idaho company are prompting a flurry of calls to Crime Check from concerned Spokane Valley residents. Salesmen with Rocky Mountain Insulation in Pocatello are selling insulation they say "may" qualify homeowners for an Avista Utilities or federal tax rebate, according…

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