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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Victim in deadly explosion identified

Christapher A. Harris at the Kootenai County Jail in January 2010. (Kootenai County Sheriff's Department)
Christapher A. Harris at the Kootenai County Jail in January 2010. (Kootenai County Sheriff's Department)

A man killed in an explosion outside a weekend party north of Chattaroy was identified Monday as Cody R. Hathaway.

Hathaway, 28, died after checking on a homemade explosive device that was ignited outside a home at 3110 E. Dennison-Chattaroy Road late Saturday. Investigators say the device hadn’t exploded right away, but blew up after Hathaway approached.

Christapher A. Harris, 19, is accused of bringing the devices to the party. He was ordered released from jail on his own recognizance Monday after appearing in Superior Court on a felony charge of possession or manufacture of an incendiary device.

Harris was arrested Sunday after 19-year-old John M. Williams, a roommate of Harris’ girlfriend, said Harris had gone to work after the party and told co-workers he’d taken explosives “and a guy died.”

“Williams said at one point Harris chuckled and said, ‘Huh, I killed someone,’” according to a probable cause affidavit. “Williams said he at first thought Harris was playing a practical joke on him, but instead Harris asked Williams to assist him at this apartment by getting his ‘bomb-making stuff.’”

Williams went with Harris to the apartment, 7723 W. Sunset Highway, where they loaded materials into Harris’ 1995 Chevrolet pickup. Detectives were expected to search the truck on Monday.

Williams said Harris has been making bombs at his apartment for a year and a half. Williams said he’d seen smoke bombs, as well plastic explosives and “CO2 bombs that he described as CO2 cartridges filled with homemade gunpowder lit with fuses,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators believe Harris brought several of those devices to the Halloween-themed party on Saturday.

Partygoer James J. Crouchman, 35, said he ignited three of the devices, which included a small CO2 canister and a white, cube-shaped device “that looked like a candle with a green fuse wrapped in plastic or cellophane,” according to the affidavit.

Crouchman said he ignited the last device in a poorly lighted area near the south side of the home, then saw Hathaway run and collapse after the explosion. Sheriff’s deputies found Hathaway bleeding heavily from his neck. He died at the scene.

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