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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man sentenced to 10 years in prison for stabbing, killing 53-year-old at Spokane Valley homeless camp

A 44-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week for stabbing and killing a man at a Spokane Valley encampment in 2020.

Jordan Knippling pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on Friday.

Deputies responded to a report of a stabbing near Interstate 90 and Sullivan Road just before midnight on May 31, 2020.

There, they found Clifford Breeden, 53, lying on the ground with more than a dozen stab wounds. He was transported to a local hospital but died a short time later.

Deputies found Knippling exiting some brush near the scene with bloodstains on his hands and arrested him, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

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.

Knippling has a lengthy criminal history, including two assault convictions for punching MultiCare Valley Hospital nurses in 2019.

He was accused of stabbing his roommate, who survived, a few weeks later, but those charges were dropped in March of 2020 due to the victim’s and witnesses’ lack of cooperation, the sheriff’s office said.

Knippling initially was charged with first-degree murder for killing Breeden, but the charge was reduced as part of a plea agreement. Knippling had multiple mental health evaluations and had to undergo treatment before being found competent to stand trial, according to court records.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fennessy followed the joint recommendation of the defense and prosecution and sentenced Knippling to 10 years in prison.