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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fuentes cleared in 2011 killing

A Spokane jury acquitted a gang member Monday of second-degree murder and two other charges that would have resulted in a prison term of life without the possibility of parole. Stafone N. “Stix” Fuentes, 27, collapsed into tears and hugged defense attorney Rob Cossey as Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno read the not-guilty verdicts.

Reworked plea nets 60 days for shooter who missed kids

A man who fired several gunshots into a house, narrowly missing two toddlers, after a 2009 dispute over a dog accepted a plea bargain Monday that called for 60 days in jail, which he’s already served. Lucas J. Merrill, 28, had faced seven counts of first-degree assault in a case that previously had been negotiated down to two misdemeanors by Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. However, a District Court judge in November refused to approve the deal after Tucker declined a request to appear in court and explain the reduction in the severity of the charges against Merrill.

Man convicted again in ’07 shooting death

A jury on Monday found a man guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the 2007 slaying of a man in Hillyard. As a result, Michael D. Coombes, 31, faces about seven more years in prison than he would have under an earlier plea agreement, which he was allowed to withdraw because of a technical error. Coombes, who tattooed an image of the gun that he used to kill 53-year-old William “Red” Nichols on his leg, hung his head after Superior Court Judge Annette Plese read the jury’s decision.

Murder trial starts for man who withdrew guilty plea after appeal

The trial began Tuesday of a Spokane man who pleaded guilty to a Hillyard slaying in 2007 but was allowed to withdraw the plea after a mistake was made on his sentencing paperwork. Michael D. Coombes, 31, faces a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 31, 2007, slaying of 53-year-old William “Red” Nichols, whose body was found near Beacon Hill.

Prosecutor rankles judge

A judge refused this week to honor a plea agreement brokered by Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker after Tucker brushed off her demand to appear in court and explain his actions. Earlier this month, Spokane County District Court Judge Debra Hayes put off the deal – which would have reduced seven felony charges from a shooting incident to two misdemeanors – and ordered Tucker to attend a hearing on Tuesday; Tucker was a no-show.

Trial opens in bloody, gang-related melee

Attorneys gave opening arguments today in a trial that a prosecutor described as a gang fight on Oct. 28, 2009, that ended with two men being stabbed. But defense attorneys essentially argued that the prosecution lacks enough evidence to convict their client.

Hoopfest triggerman ordered to prison

The triggerman in the Hoopfest shooting last summer has been sentenced to nearly nine years in prison after previously pleading guilty.

Gunman at Hoopfest pleads guilty to assault

The Hoopfest gunman who opened fire on rival gang members last year, injuring three bystanders in the downtown Spokane crowd, pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges. Miguel C. Garcia, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He’s expected to serve nearly nine years in prison; sentencing is set for April 12. Since he used a gun in the commission of the assaults, six years of the agreed upon 105-month sentence will be served as part of a weapon enhancement.

Attempted murder charges in Hoopfest shooting softened

Spokane County prosecutors will not pursue the dozens of attempted murder charges filed against four men arrested after shots were fired at Hoopfest. Deputy Prosecutor Steve Garvin said in court documents filed this week that he will instead seek assault charges against the men, whose lawyers cited lack of probable cause in arguing for the charges’ dismissal in court last week.

Defense lawyers claim overkill on Hoopfest charges

Defense attorneys told a judge today that prosecutors don’t have a legal basis for a long list of attempted murder charges levied against three of four men in connection with a shooting at Hoopfest that injured three bystanders.

Burglar found guilty of Spokane Valley murder

An eight-woman, four-man jury took only about three hours Wednesday, including the time to eat lunch, to find a career burglar guilty of murder, ensuring he will never again walk free. David K. Brewczynski, 44, didn’t react except to shake his head at the jury that finally ended his criminal career. The conviction of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and theft of a firearm became his third strike.

Trial starts in death of 80-year-old

A jury will soon decide whether a career burglar murdered an elderly Spokane Valley man in 2008. David K. Brewczynski, 44, is accused of killing 80-year-old Kenneth Cross in a botched burglary at Cross’ Boone Avenue home on Sept. 20, 2008.

Spokane shooting case rests with jury

Jurors will continue this morning deliberating on whether a Spokane man was justified for twice shooting another man during a 2007 dispute – or if he should go to prison for murder. Prosecutors charged Allan L. Turnipseed, 51, with second-degree murder in the June 14, 2007, shooting death of Joshua A. Smith at Eighth Avenue and Ferrall Street, outside Turnipseed’s lower South Hill home.