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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Padden calls for Senate probe of Airway Heights prison slaying

A fence topped with barbed wire surrounds the Airway Heights Corrections Center in 2018. A former guard was sentenced to two months in federal prison after pleading guilty to smuggling drugs in the compound, while his coconspirators received sentences longer than three years.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

The Senate should investigate the decisions that led the Department of Corrections to place a convicted child molester in the cell with the relative of one of his victims, Sen. Mike Padden said Tuesday.

Padden, a Spokane Valley Republican, is urging Senate leaders to form a special committee to investigate Robert Munger’s death last month at the Airway Heights Corrections Center by his cellmate, Shane Goldsby.

The suggestion has the support of Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville. Sen. Jamie Pedersen, chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said the matter might best be handled by the panel that has jurisdiction over the Corrections Department, the Human Services, Rehabilitation and Reentry Committee.

Munger, 70, was serving a 43-year sentence for child rape and child molestation when he was beaten to death June 2. Surveillance cameras captured Goldsby knocking Munger to the ground, then hitting and kicking him.

“He probably would have died in prison, but he shouldn’t have had to die like that,” Padden said

Goldsby had recently been transferred to Airway Heights from another facility and was placed in the same cell as Munger.

In an interview with detectives and another with KHQ-TV, Goldsby said he was enraged at being placed in the same cell because his younger sister was one of Munger’s victims, noting he requested a different cellmate but wasn’t transferred.

Padden said there was no proof officials at Airway Heights “definitely knew” of the connection between the inmates, but the department has a policy to check such information.

“It’s one of the most outrageous mistakes the Department of Corrections has ever made,” Schoesler said, adding a special investigating committee is an “excellent suggestion.”

Jim Camden can be reached at 509-879-7461 or at