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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels archive for Feb. 2011

THURSDAY, FEB. 17, 2011

Driver gets 33 mos. for crash w/ police

A Spokane woman who ran a red light and crashed into three police detectives last summer was sentenced to nearly three years in prison. Tonia S. Vansant, 38, is to spend 33 months behind bars for the July 16 crash that seriously injured Spokane police…

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Drunken church break-in leads to arrest

A transient was arrested for burglary Wednesday after a neighbor saw him drunkenly punch out a glass window and enter a Spokane Valley church, police said. Officer Mike McNees found Paul M. Peterson, 50, straddling a window sill at Valley View Baptist Church, half inside…

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Judge rejects Edgar Steele's bail request

A North Idaho lawyer accused of hiring a hitman to kill his wife remains jailed after a failed attempted by his lawyers to implement a $1 million bond. Edgar J. Steele's new private attorneys, Gary Amendola, of Coeur d'Alene and Robert McAllister, of Denver, asked…

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Hoopfest shooter faces 9 years in prison

The Hoopfest gunman who opened fire on rival gang members last year, injuring three bystanders in the downtown Spokane crowd, pleaded guilty today to assault charges. Miguel C. Garcia, 19, was originally charged with 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder but instead pleaded guilty to…

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King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announces criminal charges will not be filed against Seattle police Officer Ian Birk in the fatal shooting of woodcarver John T. Williams, during a news conference on  Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 in Seattle.   Washington law protects police officers from a homicide charge unless there's evidence of malice or bad faith,  Satterberg said at a news conference.   Satterberg called the Aug. 30 shooting of John T. Williams by Officer Ian Birk troubling and said Birk may be disciplined by the Seattle Police Department, and the city could face a civil lawsuit. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

No charge in fatal Seattle police shooting

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors said Wednesday they won't criminally charge a Seattle police officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding, homeless woodcarver during a brief encounter on a street corner in a case that has prompted angry protests and calls for increased scrutiny of police…

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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 16, 2011

2-time bank robber sentenced to 10 years

A longtime fraud convict who robbed two Spokane banks in December 2009 is to spend a decade in prison. Michael R. Kent, 39, was sentenced to 129 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree robbery. Kent also was ordered to…

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Man with 67 arrests pleads not guilty

A Spokane man who avoided prison as a teenager for his role in a murder because a judge believed he could be rehabilitated pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a second-degree burglary charge. If convicted, it would be his 10th felony since 2007. Nicholas Adam Limpert,…

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Cole Strandberg is restrained and fitted with a spit guard while leaving the courtroom for noon recess during his trial in Spokane County Superior Court Tuesday. The mesh guard was installed after Strandberg spit on his own attorney Monday. 
  (Christopher Anderson)

Strandberg to Bugbee: 'I have a wife' 

Accused killer Cole K. Strandberg has done little during the two days he's spent in Judge Tari Etizen's courtroom. But on Monday, he made sure his marital status was clear. After his lawyer, Chris Bugbee, (left) asked a neuropsychologist about discussions of Strandberg's mystical world…

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Judge Neal Rielly, now retired. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Judge remembers Byron Scherf well

The retired judge who sentenced a Spokane-area sex offender now suspected of murdering a corrections officer said he's "just heartsick for that poor woman." Retired Spokane County Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly (above) said Tuesday that he remembers Byron Scherf (right) very well and said…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 15, 2011

Medical marijuana advocate pleads guilty

A medical marijuana advocate arrested on felony drug dealing charges has pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor. Darren J. McCrea, 43, was given a suspended jail sentence and credited for two days already served. He was a given a suspended $5,000 fine, will be on…

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Man owes $15k for Craigslist rental scam

A Spokane man who swindled several potential renters out of about $15,000 has been sentenced to a year pin prison. Jeffery S. Crutchfield, 40, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was ordered to spend a year and a day behind bars and pay $15,070 in…

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Child rapist now living in Colbert 

A child rapist recently released from prison has registered at an address in Colbert. Devin K. Porter, 27, will be living in the 17900 block of North West Trial, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office announced today. Porter served 12 months in custody for third-degree rape…

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Derek L. Wilson, 20, is arrested Tuesday  near the intersection of Division  and Third  after a shooting incident  at a nearby skate park. 
 (The Spokesman-Review)

Drive-by shooting targets club bouncer

A Spokane man upset that a club bouncer approached his girlfriend sprayed the man's home with bullets in a recent drive-by shooting, police say. Derek L. Wilson, 24, (pictured above, in 2007) appeared in Superior Court Monday via video from the jail, where he is…

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Drunk man can't recall shooting sis' car

A 19-year-old Nespelem man was so drunk he didn't realize he'd targeted his sister when he fired shots at people and cars on the Colville Indian Reservation in September 2009, according to court documents. Robert L. Picard III is to serve 84 months in federal…

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Complex case came down to 15 cows

For some of the best legal minds in Washington state, a complicated Spokane divorce that spanned two continents and a bloody civil war came down to this: 15 cows. The missing herd was part of several legal arguments before the Division III Court of Appeals…

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MONDAY, FEB. 14, 2011

Suspects ID'd in Zip Trip mace attack

UPDATE: Sweetland and Smith were arrested on Feb. 16. Spokane police have identified two suspects in a convenience store robbery in which a clerk was attacked with bear mace. Crime Stoppers issued a reward offer today for tips that helps arrest Daniel A. Sweetland (left)…

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Steele's supporters propose $1m bond

Edgar Steele's new lawyers want him freed from jail before his murder-for-hire trial. Steele's wife and alleged victim is prepared to "put all of her property on the line in order to obtain a bond for her husband," according to documents filed in U.S. District…

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K-9 helps nab sibling burglary suspects

A sheriff's dog helped deputies arrest two brothers suspected of an attempted burglary this morning in north Spokane County. A resident in the 1000 block of West Eastmont Way called 911 a few minutes before 7 a.m. and said he was following two burglars. He…

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Bar owner attacked in Spokane Valley

A Spokane Valley tavern owner was robbed of her purse and suffered a bloody nose as she arrived at the business Sunday morning, police said today. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest the person who attacked the 61-year-old woman about…

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Probe continues into pedestrian crash

For a vehicular homicide charge to be filed against a Spokane police officer who hit and killed a pedestrian last month, investigators must show that he was intoxicated, driving recklessly or driving with a flagrant disregard for the safety of others, according to Washington law.…

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Pot provider acquitted of drug charges

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A Southwest Washington man who grew marijuana for a dying cancer patient has been acquitted of drug charges. Mark Hensley of Vancouver was arrested a year ago with 133 marijuana plants, many of them small clones. Hensley's lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, says…

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SATURDAY, FEB. 12, 2011

Online posts lead to officer's resignation 

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) — A sheriff's lieutenant in Douglas County, Colo., being investigated for posting controversial comments from his county computer while on duty has resigned. Denver's KMGH-TV reports that Lt Jeff Egnor, with the sheriff's department for 13 years, resigned Tuesday in the…

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