Twice on a February day, Spokane firefighters were called to a home on Rockwell Avenue where they found a 77-year-old man bruised and beaten. Now, four months after his death the man’s final statements led to the arrest of his friend for the beating that led to his death.
Kenneth Whitton died weeks later from his injuries, but not before telling police that his former neighbor had beaten and assaulted him for hours, according to court documents.
Last month, the Spokane County Medical Examiner sent police a report classifying Whitton’s death as a homicide.
George Sessions, 44, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder on Friday.
First responders were dispatched to 730 E. Rockwell Ave. just before 5:40 a.m. on Feb. 1 after Sessions called and said a friend fell and couldn’t get up, according to court documents.
They found Whitton on the floor in the kitchen with skin tears on his arms and bruising on his ribs, according to court documents. Whitton told the firefighters that Sessions had beaten him up, but he declined to go to the hospital.
Firefighters told Sessions he should leave and lock the door behind him, according to court documents. They also told police Sessions’ car was frosted over and appeared to have sat there all night.
At about 2:20 p.m. firefighters responded to the home again and were let in by Sessions. This time they found Whitton wedged between the bedframe and the wall, according to court documents.
Whitton again told first responders that Sessions had attacked him. Firefighters noticed bruises in various stages of healing throughout Whitton’s body.
He was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical center, where a doctor said he had serious injuries, including multiple rib fractures on his left side, a spinal fracture along with cuts, scrapes and bruises all over his body, according to court documents.
In the hospital, Whitton told police that he and Sessions had been friends for six or seven years and that Sessions used to be his neighbor. The two of them hung out and drank together.
Whitton said Sessions uses methamphetamine and marijuana, which he had used with him a few times, according to court documents. Due to his age, Whitton needed help around the house, so he gave Sessions his truck in exchange for Sessions taking him to the store and helping out when needed, according to court documents.
The week of the assault, Sessions came to Whitton’s house and accused him of talking about his family, Whitton told police. The accusation kicked off a brutal 12-hour assault, where Sessions would knock Whitton to the ground, help him up, then assault him again, Whitton told police.
“I could not fight this guy,” Whitton told police.
At one point, Session jumped up and down on Whitton’s back, he told police.
Whitton said Sessions told him “I’m in charge now, I make the decisions, not you, I might let you live another day, I might not,” according to court documents.
Sessions was interviewed by police on Feb. 17. Sessions told police that he found Whitton on the floor of his bedroom babbling and decided to call 911, according to court documents. At first Sessions didn’t mention the earlier 911 call but once prompted, Sessions said the fall in the kitchen would have been the same day, according to court documents.
When asked he had something to do with Whitton’s injuries, Sessions said maybe he should get an attorney, according to court documents.
After a few weeks and an infection, Whitton’s condition worsened and he was placed on hospice. He died on Feb. 28, according to court documents.
While Whitton’s autopsy was conducted shortly after his death, the Spokane Police Department did not receive the final report until June 30.
Sessions was arrested Friday afternoon and booked into the Spokane County jail where he remained Monday afternoon on a $750,000 bond.
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