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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Woman found nearly decapitated in north Spokane motel room last week identified

UPDATED: Tue., March 3, 2020

Lionel E. White, 32, (left) and Anthony D. Fuerte, 27, are suspects in the killing of a woman whose body was found in a north Spokane motel on Friday. (Facebook)
Lionel E. White, 32, (left) and Anthony D. Fuerte, 27, are suspects in the killing of a woman whose body was found in a north Spokane motel on Friday. (Facebook)

A woman found dead in a north Spokane motel room last week was stabbed and nearly decapitated.

Two suspects were charged with murder Monday.

A housekeeper at the Rodeway Inn at 20 W. Houston Ave. saw blood on the room’s door handle and on the concrete outside, according to court records.

Police found 24-year-old Makayla Young face down on the bed with her arm bent behind her back, partially nude with bedding covering her nearly decapitated head, records show.

There were multiple stab wounds to her chest.

Investigators said the state of the room appeared consistent with a fight and the victim likely tried to defend herself.

The room was rented by Chadd Benefield Thursday and no one else was listed on the registration, court records show. Benefield told police he rented the room for Anthony D. Fuerte and his friend Lionel White, 32.

Fuerte, 27, was arrested Thursday, the day before the body was discovered, on suspicion of first-degree robbery and carjacking. Police allege Fuerte tried to carjack a woman at about 3 p.m. Thursday on North Atlantic Street close to West Lyons Avenue.

The woman told police he ran up to her driver’s side window and yelled at her multiple times to “get out of her car,” court documents show.

He “forcefully” tried to open her door handle with blood on his hands, the victim told police. The woman had her doors locked and sped away. She immediately reported the incident.

Fifteen minutes later a woman was buckling her children into her car on North Atlantic Street. Fuerte ran toward her causing the victim to run around to her driver side door but was unable to get inside the car before Fuerte grabbed her and put his arm around her neck, according to court documents.

The victim told police Fuerte said, “Give me your keys and get your kids.”

Fuerte succeeded in getting into the woman’s car and the victim started to unbuckle her kids before a group of bystanders ran up to her car scaring Fuerte off, according to court documents.

Police arrested Fuerte behind Wake-Up Call coffee on North Division Street. He did not speak to police, only grunted, according to court documents.

Police determined Fuerte qualified for a mental health evaluation. He was transported to a hospital to be treated for a cut on his finger.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail afterward. The sheriff’s deputy who took Fuerte to jail threw away – at the suspect’s request – his bloodstained jeans, which had been cut open at the hospital, and shoes.

When police discovered the body the next day, they found a trail of blood and bloody handprints leading to the Wake-Up Call where Fuerte was arrested.

He was charged with second-degree murder Monday.

White was seen by housekeeping staff at the Rodeway Inn on Thursday morning putting bloody towels outside the room’s door.

When a housekeeper asked White if he needed more towels he said yes, court records show. The same housekeeper saw White leave the room later that day.

Police arrested White in downtown Spokane on Friday after he was identified by the housekeeper and through video footage. When he was arrested, White had methamphetamine and a tool with a pointed shaft several inches long, according to court documents.

White told police that he had been at the hotel with Fuerte and Fuerte’s “girl.” White admitted to leaving the towels outside the hotel room door but said that when he left the hotel Thursday the woman was alive.

White told police that Fuerte and the woman were arguing when he left. White denied hurting the woman or witnessing an assault.

White was charged with second-degree murder and possession of controlled substances.

White has been convicted of a number of felonies in Yakima County, according to court records.

He is being held in the Spokane County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Fuerte also has prior criminal convictions, including first-degree robbery of a convenience store and residential burglary. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge Monday. He is being held on a $1.5 million bond.

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