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

Convicted murderer who was already sentenced to life in prison pleads guilty to spraying women, kicking them

Gary Ault, who killed 83-year-old Richard Purdy in his home in 2022, reacts as he is brought into a courtroom for sentencing on Wednesday at the Spokane County Courthouse in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

A 39-year-old man who was sentenced last month to life in prison for a Deer Park murder pleaded guilty last week to seemingly unprovoked assaults leading up to the killing, and is still on the hook for another assault involving a hammer at a north Spokane Target.

A jury in March convicted Gary Ault of killing 83-year-old Richard Purdy Dec. 26, 2022, at Purdy’s Deer Park home. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Rachelle Anderson sentenced Ault May 8 to life in prison without parole.

Ault’s attorney, Michelle Hess, filed a notice of appeal to the sentence.

Ault pleaded guilty Friday as part of a deal to two counts of second-degree assault before Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke III handed down a six-year prison sentence that will run at the same time as his murder sentence.

Jessica Schreiber was a victim in one of the second-degree assaults, though she asked victims in the world to avoid a “victim mentality.”

Schreiber told Clarke Friday she appreciated Ault’s plea and hopes he work on healing and making better decisions.

Schreiber, an employee at Rosauers near the north Spokane “Y,” was standing outside the building Dec. 17, 2022, when Ault approached her, smiled, sprayed her in the face with a spray canister and kicked her in the hip, according to court documents.

The other second-degree assault charge stemmed from about an hour and a half earlier.

Video surveillance showed two women sitting outside Wheatland Bank in downtown Spokane when Ault sprayed the women with apparent bear spray and kicked them in the head before walking away, documents say.

Surveillance showed Ault getting on a Spokane Transit Authority bus downtown and getting off near the “Y,” court records show. Police say Ault then assaulted Schreiber at the nearby Rosauers.

Ault, wearing red Spokane County Jail clothing, apologized to Schreiber Friday and thanked her for comments.

“I’ll devote all my energies to making better decisions,” said Ault, noting he will take advantage of the opportunities available to him while incarcerated.

Ault is scheduled for trial in August for a first-degree assault charge regarding an alleged beating of a man three days after the other assaults in the North Newport Highway Target.

A man told police he was in the store’s bathroom at about 10:50 p.m. Dec. 20, 2022, when Ault punched him multiple times and struck him with a hammer twice in the head, documents say.