Spokane police have arrested two men on suspicion they were involved in the murder of a woman whose body was found at a north Spokane motel on Friday.
Lionel E. White, 32, of Yakima, was booked into the Spokane County Jail at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday morning, according to jail records. He is suspected of second-degree murder and drug possession. His bond has not been set by a judge.
Anthony D. Fuerte, 27, of Spokane, was already in custody on suspicion of first-degree robbery and carjacking when police connected him to the case, according to police Sgt. Terry Preuninger. He is also suspected of second-degree murder and is being held on a $500,000 in the Spokane County carjacking case.
But the start of the incident is believed to go back to late Thursday afternoon, when Spokane police responded to reports of a man breaking into cars near the motel, Preuninger said. Civilians had detained Fuerte, who was acting erratically. He was also covered in blood but only had minor injuries.
Spokane County sheriff’s deputies arrived in the area at about the same time as Spokane police because they had probable cause to arrest Fuerte for robbery and carjacking nearby and just outside city limits, Preuninger said. Deputies arrested him at that time near the Wake Up Call on North Division Street.
Because of the concerning amount of blood on Fuerte, police and deputies continued investigating in fear that a more serious crime had taken place and someone was injured, Preuninger said. They searched around the area of North Division Street and Houston Avenue, which included contacting hotel staff at the Rodeway Inn. Investigators eventually left the scene empty-handed.
Then Rodeway Inn cleaning staff reported finding a woman’s body the following morning.
Patrol officers located White at the Ruby Hotel after he had been involved in an alleged assault at the Downtowner Motel, Preuninger said. White was also wanted in Yakima County for an unrelated crime and had meth on him when he was arrested.
Preuninger said he did not have details about the relationship between the victim and the suspects. He said the Spokane County medical examiner will release the victim’s identity once her family is notified.
White has been convicted of a number of felonies in Yakima County, according to court records. He most recently pleaded guilty to a felony in August and was sentenced to 15 months in prison with credit for time served, but the charges he was convicted of are not listed in a state court database. He was also involved in a car chase with eastern Oregon police while using a stolen vehicle in 2016, when he was enrolled as a member of the Yakama Nation, the East Oregonian reported.
Fuerte appeared in Spokane County Superior Court for the robbery and carjacking case Friday afternoon, according to court records. He was convicted of second-degree malicious mischief in Spokane County in 2017, in addition to first-degree robbery of a convenience story in 2012 and residential burglary in 2011.
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