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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bail set for suspect in 1986 murder

DNA tests ordered to check for match in three other cases


A suspect in the 1986 murder of a Spokane woman remains in jail on $1 million bond after making his first appearance before a Spokane County judge Thursday.

Police obtained new DNA samples from Gary Lyle Trimble, 62, that will be analyzed to see if they match DNA found on three other Spokane homicide victims, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Trimble was arrested in Montana in October after DNA he submitted for a felony conviction there was linked to Dorothy E. Burdette, who was 62 when she was found strangled in High Bridge Park in December 1986.

She was last seen leaving a downtown Spokane bar with a man police now believe was Trimble.

Trimble appeared via video feed from Spokane County Jail, where he was booked at about 3 p.m. Wednesday after being extradited from Teton County, Mont.

Spokane police Detective Kip Hollenbeck traveled to Montana on Tuesday to retrieve Trimble.

“All I do know is the detective did a great job,” said Burdette’s son, Bob Wold, who attended the hearing. “The whole family is thrilled with his work.”

Wold called Trimble’s arrest “a huge relief.”

Trimble said nothing during his brief court appearance. His public defender, Kari Reardon, did not object to Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll’s request to hold Trimble on $1 million bond.

Superior Court Judge Michael Price set Trimble’s arraignment for Jan. 19. Trimble is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors also filed a second-degree murder charge as a backup, Driscoll said.

Trimble is considered a person of interest in three other strangulation killings in 1986 and 1987: Ruby Jean Doss, 27; Mary Ann Turner, 30; and Kathleen D. Dehart, 37.

Trimble fought extradition to Spokane.

Trimble had been on probation for felony intimidation in Teton County for an incident with his girlfriend at the time. His extensive criminal history dates back to at least the 1960s, when he was imprisoned for robbery and car theft in King County.

He returned to prison in 1989 for a robbery, kidnapping and burglary case in Clallam County in which he attacked a 75-year-old woman at knifepoint. He was released in May 1995. He has drunken driving convictions in Benton and Whitman counties and was cited for trespassing in Pasco in 2004.

Trimble had a misdemeanor warrant in Spokane County for allegedly stealing his daughter’s car in 2005 and misdemeanor warrants in at least two other Washington counties for drunken driving and trespassing.

He’s lived in several places, including an apartment at 419 S. Washington Ave. in Spokane – just two blocks from the Mayfair bar where police believe he met Burdette 24 years ago.