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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels archive for Jan. 1, 2010

TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 2010

Pierre West enters court in May 2009 to face charges of first-degree kidnapping, rape and assault for attacks on prostitutes that date to 2005.  (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Trial this week for accused prostitute rapist 

Jury selection is set to begin today for the second trial of a convicted sex offender accused of raping prostitutes. Pierre D. West, 49, was convicted of two counts of second-degree rape, three counts of unlawful imprisonment, three counts of felony harassment and two counts…

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One dead in weekend shooting

Police have seized guns and drugs as part of their probe into the city’s first homicide this year, a suspected gang-related shooting early Sunday in a north Spokane alley. Multiple shots were fired after fighting partygoers spilled from an apartment at 5403 N. Crestline St.…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 15, 2010

SWAT team nabs robbery suspect

A man police believe robbed a coffee stand was arrested Friday after a SWAT team standoff. Shawn Michael Westlie, 41, hid inside a home in the 2100 block of Montgomery Avenue in west Spokane when police arrived about 3:30 p.m. but surrendered about 90 minutes…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 14, 2010

Sometimes you just need a nap

The snores started a few minutes into the court hearing. She was there to support Peter Krueger, the man badly burned by John C. Palmer, but Krueger grew upset when the woman wouldn't wake up and left court without her. So she kept sleeping, eliciting…

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Police keep $400k from vacant house

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — The Walla Walla Police Department can keep $401,000 officers found in a vacant house. Walla Walla Superior Court Judge Donald Schacht ruled Thursday that it be forfeited as drug money and a man who claimed it is not the rightful…

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Jail deputy accused of beating wife

A Spokane County Jail deputy accused of attacking his wife last month was arrested again after police say he violated a court order. Jeffrey S. Leavey, 40, (right) was booked into jail just after noon today. He was arrested at his lawyer's office after his…

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Man back in jail on rape charges

A 20-year-old former Post Falls church volunteer accused of raping teen girls is back in jail on new charges. Jordan C. Vernon was arrested Tuesday on three counts of felony rape of a minor. He's in Kootenai County Jail on $100,000 bail. Vernon faces five…

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The classic architecture of the Spokane County Courthouse rises above the fog covering downtown Spokane Wash. Wed. January 13, 2010. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Today at the courthouse...

The classic architecture of the Spokane County Courthouse rises above the fog covering downtown Spokane Wednesday in a photo by Christopher Anderson. Today's happenings at the courthouse include a trial for a 22-year-old man accused of second-degree rape, jury selection for the Morning Star Boys'…

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Seattle judge smacked in mouth

A mental patient threw his sandal at King County Superior Court judge Palmer Robinson, hitting the judge in the mouth but causing minimal injury.Three bailiffs subdued the attacker, who was identified by The Associated Press as 22-year-old Abdi Abukar of Seattle.Find the AP story by…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 13, 2010

Rico, a Belgian malinois, hangs from the arm of Deputy Nate Nelson of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office  while Rico's human partner, Sgt. Troy Teigen, left, of the Spokane Police Department tries to get the dog to disengage Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. Rico was demonstrating his training for the media. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

New police dogs ready for patrol

Rico sprang out of the police cruiser and demonstrated a takedown he’d perfected during more than 400 hours of training with the Spokane Police Department. The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois (left) grabbed the pad-covered arm of the provoking deputy and didn’t let go. He was demonstrating…

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Grizzly killers lose hunting rights

Two men who killed a grizzly bear in Pend Oreille County are prohibited from hunting for two years and will be on probation for five years, according to a plea deal approved this week. Brandon D. Rodeback, 26, and Kurtis L. Cox, 30, of Moses…

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Brittany Edelblute, 18,  listens Tuesday as her friend Stephanie Guy, left, describes a few of the racial incidents that have occurred in front of their Coeur d’Alene home.  Edelblute’s car was recently spray-painted with swastikas. (Kathy Plonka)

Another hate crime reported in CdA

Someone early Friday spray-painted swastikas on a car outside the downtown Coeur d’Alene home of a woman who regularly has African-American friends visiting. In addition, about two weeks ago, some men drove past the Front Avenue home in a white pickup, slowed down and yelled…

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Sentencing for criminally insane could change

Legislation inspired, at least in part, by criminally insane killer Philip Arnold Paul's escape from a mental hospital field trip to the Spokane County Fair last fall, is getting a gubernatorial push in Olympia.Gov. Chris Gregoire is calling for an overhaul of the way mentally…

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Man sought in north Spokane rape

A 16-year-old girl was raped last Friday near the NorthTown Mall, and police are looking for help finding the assailant. The rape occurred during the middle of the afternoon, police said. Police said the rapist was last seen by residents walking west toward the mall…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 12, 2010

Charges dropped against bondsman 

A bail bondsman once called "a threat to the administration of justice" by a prosecutor has been cleared of wrongdoing in a case his lawyer said amounted to a "media circus."Ryan M. Holmes, 46, owner of Holmes Brothers Bail Bonds, was accused of forcing a…

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This surveillance photo is from a robbery on Tuesday in Coeur d'Alene at the Washington Trust Bank. (Coeur d'Alene Police Department)

Man robs bank in Coeur d'Alene

A man robbed a bank today in Coeur d'Alene. The robber, who authorities said did not appear to be armed, entered the Washington Trust Bank, 218 East Lakeside Ave., about 12:30 p.m. and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was last seen walking…

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MONDAY, JAN. 11, 2010

Lawyer mistaken for bank robber 

Coeur d'Alene lawyer Scott Reed was handcuffed in his office last month after police mistook him for a possible bank robber. This case of mistaken identity prompted Reed to commend the department's handling of the situation. It also prompted his son, who was President Clinton's…

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Madsen sworn in as new chief justice

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Supreme Court has a new chief justice. Barbara Madsen was sworn in to the top administrative role on the state's high court Monday morning.She replaces Gerry Alexander, who has served as chief justice since 2001.Alexander, who is set…

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Drugs, helicopters and death threats 

A reputed drug runner who leased the helicopter flown by the young man who committed suicide in Spokane County Jail has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle. This came after Colin Martin reportedly tried negotiating U.S. protection for his smuggling ring in exchange…

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Murder trial delayed, again

Trial for the man accused of killing two people in north Spokane nearly two years ago has been delayed again. Justin W. Crenshaw will go to trial in May on two counts of aggravated first-degree murder for the February 2008 deaths of Tanner E. Pehl…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 8, 2010

Adam Johnson in his office in Coeur d’Alene on Dec. 8. Adam, 25, had a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest. (Kathy Plonka)

Man cleared in CdA shooting

A man accused of shooting two men during a night of drinking in downtown Coeur d’Alene left jail Friday after a grand jury declined to indict him. Adam M. Johnson, 25, said he shot Brandon R. Burgess and Bradley J. Phillips in self-defense after the…

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Accused killer 'severely disturbed'

A 24-year-old accused killer is not mentally competent to be tried for the crossbow slaying of a Spokane woman two years ago, a judge ruled today. Cole K. Strandberg, charged with first-degree murder for the Jan. 7, 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Jennifer Bergeron, has a…

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