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Spokane County appears poised to overturn decades of precedent and hand the responsibility of representing indigent suspects to lawyers who work for a nonprofit rather than the county. The move comes as turnover in the Public Defender's Office has meant more time in jail for some clients as they await progress on their cases.
Every release from the Spokane County Jail, from the least serious to the most, from allegation to conviction to dismissal, tells a different story. But we apply the same blunt tool to every one: a jail cell, at a daily rate of $133.
Spokane County’s top law enforcement officials say proposed budget cuts would force them to lay off deputies and prosecute fewer cases.
Thursday was the last day on the job for Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Joe Kuhlman, who resigned. But nobody is saying why.
Convicted killer Roy H. Murry will not face the death penalty. But barring a successful appeal, the gun-loving Iraq War veteran will never again walk free.
A jury convicted Roy H. Murry of murdering three members of his ex-wife’s family in a grisly ambush that ended when he torched the family’s Colbert-area home to try to conceal his crimes.
Jurors will now decide whether Roy H. Murry will spend the rest of his life in prison for a grisly triple murder or walk free from a prosecution that lacked direct evidence such as a murder weapon. The jury began deliberations 3 p.m. Monday afternoon after weeks of testimony in the killings of Terry and Lisa Canfield, and John Constable.
A jury of eight women and four men has been selected to hear the case against 31-year-old Roy H. Murry, who faces three counts of aggravated murder in connection to the deaths of his estranged wife’s family.
Roy H. Murry either planned and carried out a “swift attack” in May 2015, when he shot three members of his estranged wife’s family and then waited in vain to ambush her before setting fire to the victims’ Colbert home; or Murry, a 31-year-old Republican who was once considered to fill an open state Senate seat, is the victim of Spokane County sheriff’s detectives who immediately focused on the disabled Iraq War vet and pulled out every stop to convince prosecutors he’s a killer. “Mr. Murry has no history of violence,” Public Defender Tom Krzyminski wrote earlier this year in court records. “To date, the physical evidence against Mr. Murry is either nonexistent or a stretch of the limits of imagination.”
Billie McKinney, the daughter of the woman stabbed to death as she walked her dog along the Spokane River last year, told the young man taking a plea bargain in the murder case Thursday she can’t fathom the 10-year sentence he was given. “The world is scary enough without thinking about the man that killed my mother out walking the city streets a few years from now,” McKinney, herself a suspect before being cleared, said in a statement read in court by her attorney, Jeffry Finer.
A first-degree murder trial began Tuesday in the 2007 bludgeoning death of an adult-bookstore owner, even though another man already was convicted for that crime. The man on trial now, Julio J. Davila, 46, became a suspect last year after DNA evidence was re-run on the murder weapon. Davila’s name came back as a match in a computer database of convicted felons.
Testimony from three witnesses put the gun in her boyfriend’s hand either during or immediately after a Spokane man was shot to death last December following a bizarre altercation, but Melinda R. Barrera insisted she pulled the trigger, and a jury on Thursday convicted her of second-degree murder while acquitting her boyfriend of all charges. Barrera, 32, faces a minimum 15 years in prison; she was detained pending sentencing. Despite his acquittal, 22-year-old David C. McLaughlin was not released. He still has two drug trafficking charges pending and a recent federal indictment for a gun charge, his attorney said.
Three witnesses put the gun in her boyfriend’s hand either during or immediately after a Spokane man was shot last December following a bizarre altercation. But Melinda R. Barrera admitted pulling the trigger and a jury convicted today her of second-degree murder while acquitting her boyfriend of all charges.
The murder trial is under way of a man and woman charged in the shooting death late last year of a man who called police as he was dying from a gunshot wound in his bedroom. Melinda R. Barrera, 32, and David C. McLaughlin, 22, are charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Dec. 7 shooting death of 46-year-old Robert A. Nelson. Their trial opened Wednesday.
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.
A couple charged with killing a Spokane man over a thrown cellphone appeared in court Thursday, where a judge sent them a lifeline in reducing their bonds but kept the amounts high enough that will likely keep them incarcerated. David C. McLaughlin, 21, and Melinda R. Barrera, 31, both pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder before Superior Court Judge Michael Price. Neither suspect has a prior felony conviction and McLaughlin’s appointed defense attorney, Tom Krzyminski, asked Price to consider that past in his request for McLaughlin’s release.