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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels archive for Feb. 2011

SATURDAY, FEB. 12, 2011

A group of bagpipers leads a procession for a memorial service for slain prison guard Jayme Biendl, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Everett. Biendl was found dead Jan. 29, 2011, at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, Wash., where she worked as a guard. (Ted Warren / Associated Press)

Report: Rapist admits to guard's murder

MONROE, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state reformatory inmate has acknowledged killing Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl in the prison chapel, saying he was angry with the way she spoke to him minutes earlier, according to a search warrant made public Friday. The search warrant said…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 11, 2011

3rd man in Hoopfest shooting sentenced

A teenager involved in a shooting at Hoopfest last summer was credited for time already served in jail after pleading guilty to two felony assault charges this week. Adam Doe, 19, remains in jail pending the resolution of riot and assault charges related to an…

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Sheriff's deputy fired for bad behavior

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy was fired recently after multiple investigations into allegations of criminal misconduct and poor work performance revealed a pattern of bad behavior. “If you’re a law enforcement officer, you shouldn’t be committing crimes,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. The latest internal investigation…

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A photo of Jayme Biendl is surrounded by flowers and candles during a candlelight vigil outside the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, Wash. Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011. Biendl was found dead Saturday night in the chapel at Monroe Correctional Complex (Sarah Weiser / (AP Photo/The Herald / Sarah Weiser))

Guard's alleged killer asked for prayers

MONROE, Wash. (AP) — A search warrant issued in connection with the death of a Monroe correctional officer says the suspect had asked people to pray for him because he was struggling with temptation, the Daily Herald reported Friday. Inmate Byron Scherf, a Spokane-area sex…

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Jon Strine waits in Judge Tari Eitzen's courtroom on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, for the jury decision in his vehicular homicide trial.  The judge declared a mistrial. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Bizarre jury verdict leads to mistrial

Wails from a victim’s daughter filled the courtroom just after the judge read what was presented as a unanimous acquittal. But seconds later, a juror said she didn’t agree with the verdict. Then five more said the same thing. The bizarre series of events, which…

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Police detective accused of obstruction

A Spokane police detective has been placed on administrative leave after he was charged with obstructing a Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officer. Detective Jeff Harvey, 46, who is vice president of the Spokane Police Guild, was charged with the misdemeanor offense last week in…

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Man accused of raping 15-year-old girl 

UPDATE: Bear was arrested on Feb. 13. A reward is being offered for tips on a 33-year-old Spokane man suspected of raping a 15-year-old girl. Tracy M. Bear is charged with unlawful imprisonment and two counts of second-degree rape for an alleged incident on Nov.…

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Jurors want to pay man they acquitted

CLEVELAND (AP) — At least three jurors in Cleveland say the evidence was so thin against a man jailed for weeks in an assault case that they want to give him their juror pay. The jury quickly acquitted 19-year-old Demrick McCloud on Friday. He'd been…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 10, 2011

Kevin Coe appeals civil commitment

Attorneys gave oral arguments Wednesday in an effort to undo the civil commitment of South Hill rapist Kevin Coe, whose legal fight has now moved into its fourth decade. An attorney representing Coe argued that Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor erred in 2008 when she…

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Judge nixes publicity law in Hendrix case

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge has struck down parts of Washington's "right of publicity" law in a long-running legal fight over the use of the name and likeness of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly made the ruling this week in…

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Trooper charged with poaching moose

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho State Police trooper accused of shooting a moose in Bonner County before the start of last fall's hunting season has been charged with misdemeanor poaching. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson says he filed a misdemeanor charge because Cpl. Jeff…

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Mother charged w/ baby's 1957 murder

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — Judith Post says she remains haunted by a memory more than half a century old — the sight of her older sister tossing her own baby several feet and watching the infant land on the floor. Though Post tries to forget…

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Several probes into DOC officer's death

MONROE, Wash. (AP) — Several investigations are under way in the strangling death of Monroe Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl. Monroe police must wrap up their investigation of suspected inmate Byron Scherf, a Spokane area sex offender, before the Monroe Correctional Complex can conduct its own…

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Teen sentenced for '09 fatal beating

A teenager involved in the fatal beating of a Spokane man in November 2009 was sentenced recently to five months in jail. Justin A. Summa, 18, also will be on probation for a year after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. He had been charged with…

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Chainsaws stolen in business burglary

Here's a news release from the Spokane Valley Police Department: "A thief smashed a window in the front wall of Country Homes Power Equipment overnight and made off with a pair of high-end Stihl chainsaws. The store is located at 5323 East Sprague. The company…

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Phone scam targets jury duty absconders

A nationwide identity theft scam is targeting citizens who may have neglected to fulfill their civic duties. The Grant County Sheriff's Office is warning of a cam that involves a caller telling citizens a warrant has been issued for the their arrest because they failed…

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Steele's lawyers hint at defense plan 

Two private defense attorneys representing accused North Idaho lawyer Edgar Steele said in documents filed this week that they intend to "introduce expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect." That disease or defect has "bearing on (Steele's) guilt or his lack of a…

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Before and after: Montana fugitive

A Butte man arrested after a police shooting that killed his passenger in North Idaho had escaped from a halfway house in Helena last October. Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, is pictured at the far left in 2009, courtesy of the Montana Deparmtent of Corrections. The…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 8, 2011

Traffic moving south on Ash Street flashes past a memorial for Susette G. Werner at the corner with Maxwell Avenue on Monday. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Woman's dragging death still unsolved

Vicky Littell will never lose hope. Two years after her daughter was dragged to death by a motorist who has never been identified, the Spokane woman prays that someone, somewhere will help her find closure. “There is someone out there who knows who did this,”…

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Suspect sought in pizza place hold-up

Detectives are asking for help finding a man suspected of robbing a Newport pizza place last week. Benjamin Thomas Watson, 24, is considered armed and dangerous after the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office linked him to a robbery at Westside Pizza, 325 S. Washington Ave.,…

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This combination of photos provided by the City of Lakewood, Wash., shows, from left to right, Lakewood police officers Greg Richards, 42,  Tina Griswold, 40, Ronald Owens, 37, and Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39. The four were killed when a gunman opened fire on them at a Parkland, Wash. coffee store on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. (City Of Lakewood)

Deputies saw Clemmons before murders

SEATTLE (AP) — Two deputies in Washington state encountered a convicted felon less than eight hours before he slaughtered four police officers, but a warrant check came up empty, leaving the man free to commit the slayings, documents state. Those details, first reported by The…

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2 searches reveal meth in rectum, bra

Two law enforcement searches Sunday and Monday revealed methamphetamine in a man's rectum and in a woman's bra. A jailer found 14 grams of meth in Richard D. Hall's shoe and "a bodily orifice" after the 27-year-old was arrested with a drug pipe, cash and…

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Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

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