A Spokane Valley man was charged with first-degree murder Monday, weeks after the stabbing death of a man at an encampment near Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley.
Spokane Valley sheriff’s deputies arrested Jordan D. Knippling, 40, shortly after the incident. The charges against him were elevated to first-degree murder Monday.
Deputies responded to a report of a stabbing near Interstate 90 and Sullivan Road at about 11:30 p.m. on May 31.
They found a 53-year-old Clifford Breeden lying on the ground, bleeding from multiple stab wounds in his torso. The victim was transported to a hospital, where he died a short time later, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
The Spokane County medical examiner indicated the victim had been stabbed at least 13 times.
As backup arrived, deputies established a perimeter and did a K-9 search. Deputies observed Knippling exiting some brush near the scene and took him into custody.
Knippling appeared to have bloodstains on his hands, according to deputies.
During the investigation, Major Crimes Unit detectives discovered deputies had spoken to Knippling just 30 minutes before the stabbing for disorderly conduct.
Knippling had been involved in a heated argument with a transient who was not the stabbing victim, according to deputies. Deputies de-escalated the situation, warned the transients they were trespassing and told them to move their camp, according to the statement.
Deputies indicated Knippling was not cooperative with investigators or jail staff.
Knippling pleaded guilty May 14 to two counts of third-degree assault for an incident at MultiCare Valley Hospital in April 2019.
Knippling had checked himself into the hospital, saying he thought he had a broken rib. Agitated, he tried to throw a $30,000 EKG machine, but a nurse practitioner stopped him. According to court records, Knippling turned and threw several punches before nurses and security staff subdued him.
After the hospital incident, Knippling was released on his own recognizance. Knippling was arrested weeks later on suspicion of stabbing his roommate in the arm, shoulder, abdomen, back and neck.
The roommate survived. Hospital staff told a detective they had removed enough blood to fill a wine bottle from the victim’s lungs.
Knippling was charged with first-degree domestic violence attempted murder last year for stabbing his roommate. The charges were dropped in March due to the victim’s and witnesses’ lack of cooperation, according to the Sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich used Knippling’s attempted murder case as an example of a justice system that has become too lenient on violent offenders, in a 2019 interview with The Spokesman-Review.
Knippling was arrested for panhandling on May 28, just three days before the fatal stabbing. The charges were dropped a day later by the prosecutor’s office.
Knippling has been convicted of 12 felonies, including several counts of assault and one count of animal cruelty.
Knippling is being held in the Spokane County Jail on a $1 million bond.
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