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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bill Morlin

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All Stories

News >  Spokane

Ex-reporters recount Ruby Ridge standoff, aftermath

The 11-day siege known as Ruby Ridge became a bookmark in the lives of two Spokane journalists who covered the event before their careers moved in other directions. “I remember going to the Bonners Ferry airport the morning of the second day, as military helicopters and what appeared to be armored personnel carriers were deploying from the airstrip,” recalled former KXLY-TV reporter John Allison, who’s now a Spokane attorney. 
News >  Spokane

Dale Ford’s WSU legacy still shines

At Washington State University, Dale Ford played varsity football, basketball and baseball – an accomplishment that’s almost unheard of today at large universities. Before college, Ford was a standout athlete who played football, basketball and baseball at North Thurston High School near Olympia and was recruited by the University of Washington, Notre Dame and WSU, along with other schools, his brother recalls.

News >  Spokane

Theft suspect sought

Paralyzed and a wheelchair-user, James Shelly Gant died suddenly from a fast-spreading bacterial infection in early January after complaining about a newly assigned home-health caregiver. The death of the Spokane man was ruled accidental after family members initially were told it may have involved suspicious circumstances, triggering investigations of the caregiver by police and Adult Protective Services.
News >  Spokane

VA fraud case allowed to proceed

A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss charges against a 58-year-old Spokane man who is accused of pretending to be paralyzed and successfully collecting $1.5 million in monthly payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush, however, ordered separate trials for James M. Sebero, who is charged in the Eastern District of Washington and the District of Idaho with federal crimes related to the alleged fraud. It started in the mid-1970s, authorities say, when Sebero claimed he suffered a paralyzing injury while in the Air Force.
News >  Spokane

City sued over Otto Zehm death

A federal civil rights damages suit was filed this afternoon against the city of Spokane and nine of its police officers by the estate of the late Otto Zehm.
News >  Spokane

Homeland Security official withdraws appeal

The region’s fired Homeland Security coordinator, who was scheduled to fight his termination today before the Spokane County Civil Service Commission, has withdrawn that appeal, officials say. By withdrawing the appeal, his termination has now been finalized.
News >  Spokane

Father and son sentenced for fraud

An 81-year-old former prisoner of war and his 46-year-old son received prison sentences Friday in U.S. District Court in Spokane for a fraud conspiracy involving the sale of locomotive and diesel engine parts to customers worldwide. The younger of the two, Frederick Manfred Simon, was the former president of Railway Logistics International Inc. and its predecessor, Engineering International Corp. Judge Frem Nielsen sentenced him to 125 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $594,993 in restitution to two dozen corporations in England, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, India and the United States.
News >  Spokane

Hells Angel’s conviction upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld the 2007 racketeering and conspiracy conviction of Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel, who at the time was the president of the Spokane-based chapter of the Hells Angels.
News >  Spokane

Warrant covered strip search, city says

Looking at the prospect of paying more than $1 million in damages, the city of Spokane and its Police Department tried Monday to persuade a federal judge to reverse his ruling pertaining to strip searches. The Spokane Police Department, which hired private attorney Steve Lamberson to represent it in the case, now says detectives had a warrant to search a West Central neighborhood home in 2005 when suspected drug dealer John Burton showed up there and was arrested on charges of selling crack cocaine.
News >  Marijuana

20 suspects arrested in marijuana ring

An organized crime task force has arrested 20 suspects and is looking for six more in what authorities describe as a major marijuana growing and distribution ring that’s operated in the Spokane area for eight years. Authorities also haven’t disclosed how or where the marijuana was grown, processed and sold by the ring’s participants. Search warrants related to the case remained sealed.
News >  Spokane

New trial ordered in reservation killing

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Shea, reversing a decision he made last May, ordered a new trial Thursday for Norman “Griz” Ford, convicted in a 2006 home-invasion slaying on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Ford, 32, will now be tried a second time, on May 24, on charges related to the June 1, 2006, shooting death of Gary R. Flett Jr., who died in his home on the reservation northwest of Spokane.
News >  Marijuana

Feds arresting two dozen in drug bust

Federal agents are arresting an estimated two dozen people in the Spokane area and a few from Seattle in what’s described as a huge marijuana growing and distribution ring.

‘I was 17 and he was 50’

When she was just 17, Mary Mackert was forced to marry a man who was 50.

She'd been taught there was nothing else she could do.

News >  Idaho

Polygamist sect on Idaho-B.C. border drawing new scrutiny

In the scenic international border region where Idaho’s Panhandle meets British Columbia, polygamy is a way of life for hundreds – the open secret that’s gone untouched by authorities until now. The arrests in Canada last month of two fundamentalist Mormon leaders are bringing renewed interest to their polygamous communities near Creston, B.C., and loyal followers living just across the border in Idaho’s Boundary County.
News >  Spokane

Judge, city spar over representation in strip search case

A federal judge says the city of Spokane appears to be “judge shopping” by hiring a new attorney to defend police officers for strip searching a man in 2005. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Whaley previously ruled the Spokane Police Department violated the civil rights of John Burton by requiring him to undress and submit to a body-cavity search for drugs in a house in the West Central neighborhood in 2005.
News >  Spokane

Man left in jail wins $3 million

A $3 million jury verdict in Spokane sends a message to Washington counties: It’s past time to end their practice of flat-fee contracts for public defenders, legal experts said Friday. Such contracts can short-circuit constitutionally guaranteed fair trials for indigent defendants when the defenders pocket the money instead of using it to build their clients’ cases.
News >  Spokane

Jailed man sues attorney

A man who spent seven months in jail falsely accused of child molestation is suing the former public defender who represented him. Felipe G. Vargas said his Grant County public defender provided “ineffective assistance” by representing more than 550 other felony clients. Vargas wants $500,000 for lost wages and unspecified punitive damages.
News >  Spokane

Agents seize weapons cache

An arsenal of weapons, including seven machine guns, was seized by federal agents in Spokane after the arrest of a man now charged in Western Washington with illegally possessing an impressive array of firearms and explosives. The military weaponry discovered in a storage locker in Bellevue rented by Ronald L. Struve included 7.5 pounds of the highly dangerous C-4 plastic explosives, federal authorities confirmed Friday. Additional weapons were later found in Spokane.