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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Court: Inmates don’t have right to die

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Inmates in Washington’s prison system can’t die on their own terms any more than they can live on their own terms, an appellate court said Thursday in the case of a Spokane man who tried to starve himself to death.

The Spokane division of the Washington Court of Appeals said state Department of Corrections officials didn’t violate Charles Robert McNabb’s privacy rights when they force-fed him until he agreed to end a five-month hunger strike that began in the Spokane County Jail. McNabb was put on a feeding tube two days after he arrived at the Airway Heights Corrections Center last July.

McNabb, 51, claimed he was acting out of remorse for setting a May 23 fire that severely burned his stepdaughter. He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree arson, and was sentenced to 14 1/4 years in prison.

McNabb had lost about 100 pounds by the time prison officials intervened. He claimed he had a right to die, but his keepers said he had no right to commit suicide on their watch.

The Court of Appeals said McNabb’s case was governed by Washington’s privacy rules for prisoners, which are more protective than federal rules. But the state’s interest in maintaining order in its prisons outweighs McNabb’s rights, the court said.

Man charged with firing gun downtown

A man was arrested in downtown Spokane early Thursday after he allegedly fired a gun.

Two people told police that they saw a man fire shots at a person running in or near the 200 block of West Second Avenue, said police spokesman Dick Cottam in a news release. Officers found no evidence anyone was hit.

Based on descriptions of the gunman, police found Bobby R. McBride, 19, nearby and arrested him, Cottam said. He told police that he fired a gun at a bottle, not at a person.

McBride is not allowed to own or possess a firearm because he has two felony convictions, Cottam said. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and first-degree possession of a firearm. Bail was set at $50,000.

Man faces 8 more charges in Valley chase

A Spokane Valley man faces eight more felony charges in connection with events a week ago that sparked a police chase. The chase ended in a crash that injured the driver in another car.

William James Lawrence, 26, was charged with attempting to elude police, vehicular assault, attempted first-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of second-degree assault, Spokane Valley Police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said Thursday. Lawrence was originally charged with one count of first-degree assault.

Lawrence fled from police, who were searching for him after his ex-girlfriend reported he tried to force her into a car at gunpoint. Lawrence crashed his Chevrolet Blazer into a Honda at Locust Road and Boone Avenue, ending the six-minute pursuit that reached speeds of up to 75 mph.

Christopher Farnsworth, 20, was hospitalized with injuries from the crash. Officials said Thursday he’s been released from the hospital.

Lawrence remains in at Spokane County jail on $100,000 bond, Reagan said.

Racers to compete in Soap Box Derby

Racers will compete Saturday in the All-American Soap Box Derby for two spots in the world championship.

The 22 to 24 racers guide their soap box cars down Skipworth Road for about four blocks.

The race will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday in front of Bowdish Middle School, 2109 Skipworth Road in Spokane Valley. The road will be blocked off between 20th and 24th avenues during the derby.

The first and second place winners will go to the world championship this August in Akron, Ohio.

Firm offers billboards to help search

Three billboards in the Inland Northwest are being donated by Lamar Advertising to display photos and descriptions of the two missing children from North Idaho.

Authorities continue to follow leads and tips in the disappearance of Shasta Groene, 8, and Dylan “D.J.” Groene, 9. Their mother, 40-year-old Brenda Groene, her boyfriend, 37-year-old Mark McKenzie, and her 13-year-old son, Slade Groene, were found dead in their home near Wolf Lodge Bay on May 16.

No new information on the investigation was released Thursday by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

The billboards will be located at U.S. Highway 95 and Garwood Road in North Idaho and at two locations in Spokane.

The FBI is offering a reward up to $100,000 for information leading to the safe return of the children. Secret Witness also is offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Shasta is 3-feet-10, 54 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes. Dylan is 4 feet tall, 60 pounds and has short blond hair and blue eyes.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is operating a tip line at (208) 446-2292. Information also can be e-mailed to kcgovtips@hotmail.com.

Woman tops every continent’s tallest peak

Seattle

A 20-year-old woman from tiny Bow, Wash., reached the summit of Mount Everest on Thursday, completing her conquest of the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Danielle Fisher reached the 29,035-foot summit with an expedition led by David C. Morton, 34, a guide with Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International.

Fisher, who has been climbing since her father introduced her to the sport at age 15, arrived in Katmandu, Nepal, on March 28. The Seven Summits are: Everest; Mount Aconcagua (22,834 feet) in Argentina; Mount McKinley (20,320) in Alaska; Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340) in Tanzania; Elbrus (18,150) on the Georgia-Russia border; Vinson Massif (16,066) in Antarctica and Australia’s Kosciusko (7,310).

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