City and county leaders announced Tuesday that they have formed a commission to continue to work toward reforming the criminal justice system.
The Regional Commission for Justice System Reform will oversee and help guide the process, a joint city-county news release said.
“Our ultimate goal is to be the safest region of our size in the nation,” Spokane Mayor David Condon said in the release.
The commission members include former U.S. Attorney James McDevitt, retired Judge James Murphy and local attorney Phillip “Dutch” Wetzel.
The commission will continue to look for reforms that will rely less on jail beds and more on preventing crime.
“We want to continue this work with our partners and take the next step in advancing these initiatives for the benefit of our region,” Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard said in the release.
Death penalty won’t be sought in killings
TACOMA – Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he will not seek the death penalty for a Spanaway man who pleaded guilty to killing his wife and daughter.
Lindquist said Tuesday his office will recommend that 40-year-old Dean Holmes be sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Holmes pleaded guilty last week to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Kristi Holmes, and their 11-year-old daughter, Violet. He told authorities that financial and marital issues led him to do it.
Lindquist said he weighed Holmes’ remorse, quick pleas, lack of felony criminal history and the likelihood of the death penalty being upheld in making his decision not to seek capital punishment. Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 7.
Woman sentenced after bomb warning
A 45-year-old Bonners Ferry woman charged with calling in a bomb threat in an apparent effort to delay her sentencing in a drug case has been sentenced to three to six years in prison.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reports Robin Ann Eby was sentenced on Nov. 9, four days after she had been scheduled to be sentenced for possession of methamphetamine. District Judge Steve Verby retained jurisdiction.
Sandpoint police say Eby tried to call the newspaper to warn of the bomb threat on Nov. 5, but accidentally called an assisted-living facility and relayed the threat to officials there.
The threat forced the evacuation of the Bonner County Administration Building during a training session for election workers.
A preliminary hearing on the bomb threat charge is set for today.
Browne’s Addition cars must be moved
Residents of Spokane’s Browne’s Addition neighborhood are being asked to move their cars next week when city crews conduct leaf pickup.
The streets of the downtown neighborhood are so narrow the trucks cannot get through with parked vehicles lining the streets, a news release from the city said. Vehicles blocking the trucks will be towed.
Leaf pickup will begin at 9 a.m. Trucks will be on north-south streets in Browne’s Addition on Tuesday and on east-west streets Nov. 28.
Crews also will post signs in the neighborhood this week to notify residents.
Emphasis on DUI over holidays
Extra officers will be looking for impaired drivers in the region during the holiday season.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is launching its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign today through Jan. 1 in Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.
Cheney, Airway Heights, Eastern Washington University, Spokane and Spokane Valley police departments will participate, as well as the Spokane, Pend Oreille and Ferry county sheriff’s offices and the Washington State Patrol.
“Don’t let a DUI ruin your holidays,” director Darrin Grondel said. “Before you leave home for a holiday party, think about how everyone can get home safely.”
Man pleads guilty to firing at helicopter
LEWISTON – A North Idaho man has pleaded guilty to shooting at a helicopter in October 2010, at one point telling authorities he was upset because the chopper was flying over an area where he was hunting.
The Lewiston Tribune reports that 58-year-old John E. Ross of Fernwood pleaded guilty Monday in Shoshone County District Court to felony interfering with or destruction of an aircraft.
Prosecutors allege Ross fired at least four shots at a helicopter that was monitoring controlled burn work on Potlatch Corp. land near Clarkia. Two shots hit the helicopter, including one that damaged housing for part of the helicopter’s steering mechanism.
The pilot was able to land the helicopter safely.
Court records say Ross also told authorities that he probably shot at the helicopter, but couldn’t remember.