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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Culps, who murdered pot shop employee, sentenced to life in prison for a different murder

The man who already pleaded guilty to the murder of a pot shop employee in Cheney has now been sentenced to life in prison for killing another man on the Yakama Indian Reservation.

After being arrested for the employee’s murder in Cheney in 2017, Donovan T. Culps, 39, reportedly admitted to KHQ that he killed another man, 20-year-old Neil Cloud, whom he accused of murdering his child’s mother, Felina Metsker.

Culps was sentenced Thursday for Cloud’s killing.

Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, who decided Culps’ sentence for the murder of Cloud, described Culps as having a “history of violence” and described the crime he committed as an “execution,” according to a news release from William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Culps is a registered Yakama Nation tribal member.

In March 2016, Metsker was murdered in her residence within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation, the release said. Culps learned the FBI suspected George Cloud and Neil Cloud of murdering the mother of his child. Just over a year later, Neil Cloud drove to Culps’ house in Harrah, Washington.

When Neil Cloud arrived, Culps beat him until he lost consciousness, the release said. Culps and an accomplice then dragged him behind a trailer and tried to put zip ties on him. When the victim regained consciousness, Culps took out a hunting knife and stabbed him in the chest, neck, and stomach. Then he slit the man’s throat.

After the murder, Culps wrapped up Neil Cloud’s body, transported it to another location, and dumped the body. Culps then fled. Two months later, Neil Cloud was reported missing, the release said.

In September, one month after the missing person report for Neil Cloud, Culps murdered a pot shop employee in Cheney. He pleaded guilty to that murder just weeks later.

Cameron Smith worked at Lucid Marijuana and refused to sell Culps marijuana in September 2017. Culps then decided to kidnap him at gunpoint in his own car before shooting him in the head and dumping his remains in Airway Heights.

Culps fled and was eventually apprehended by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, according to the release. Culps was sentenced to 416 months (34⅔ years) in prison for the Cheney murder.

Culps also admitted to homicide investigators that he murdered Cloud and told them where they would find his body, the release said. On Sept.18, 2017, when homicide investigators searched that area, they found the remains.

Federal charges were also filed against George Cloud arising from the murder of Metsker, the release said. On Jan. 17, 2019, a federal jury found George Cloud guilty of first-degree murder and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. On May 1, 2019, Bastian sentenced George Cloud to a term of life imprisonment.

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