News coverage of crime and public safety in the Northwest.

Spokane Police

Spokane Police say they have solved a 62-year-old rape and murder case.

In 1959, nine-year-old Candice Rogers, or Candy, as she was known by her family, disappeared.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Downtown Spokane Partnership is offering financial rebates to its member businesses that work to make their buildings and land more of a deterrent to crime.

“Things like lighting, cameras, trimming vegetation,” said Daniel Hall, the partnership’s director of ambassadors and its clean team.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Friday on the Inland Journal podcast, Spokane County sues the state to challenge a new law that requires Spokane move from three county commissioners to five. We’ll talk with Commissioner Mary Kuney and Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane). A WSU researcher is using a new computer model of Spokane’s West Central neighborhood to explore ways to reduce neighborhood crime. And we’ll talk about what’s the next step in improving downtown Spokane.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

(Updated at 11:05 am)

Spokane police are investigating the fatal shooting of a suspect believed to be connected to an armed robbery at the Safeway store on Northwest Boulevard Tuesday morning.

Homicide Sheriff's office
Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Spokane’s fire department will host a memorial this week for the three people killed in an apparent homicide north of Spokane. Fire Lieutenant Terry Canfield, his wife Lisa Canfield, and her son John Constable died at a home near Colbert in May.

New Analysis: Teen Biker Fell, Wasn’t Hit by Deputy

May 29, 2015
Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Spokane Valley teenager Ryan Holyk died a year ago in May while riding his bike. Initially, law enforcement thought Holyk was run-over by deputy Joe Bodman, but new analysis suggests Bodman’s car never hit the teen.

Sheriff Expects Arrest in Triple Homicide in Chattaroy

May 29, 2015
Ozzie Knezovich

The Deer Park community, local firefighters, and Spokane’s comedy scene are mourning the deaths of three people by homicide. The Spokane County Sheriff says investigators have found good evidence in the homicide and house fire that happened Tuesday, but have not arrested a suspect.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Spokane County is one of 20 locales nationwide selected to receive a $150,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to reduce jail overcrowding. Four criminal justice reform agencies will send experts to Spokane to come up with ideas on how to reduce the use of jails, without compromising public safety.

DNA Match Blows Open Spokane’s Ruby Doss Cold Case

Apr 30, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

People living in Spokane in 1986 may remember this name: Ruby Doss. She was strangled to death and found by a transient, and police never found her killer. Thursday, Spokane Police said they have a suspect: Richard J Aguirre.

When a 16-year-old student fired shots at North Thurston High School Monday morning, Lacey, Washington, Police Commander Jim Mack said an armed officer assigned to the school was nearby and ran toward the noise.

Witnesses on the scene at North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington said shots were fired on campus Monday morning by a student.

Washington State high court justices were sharply split Thursday on a 37-year old murder case involving a determined Seattle police detective who testified as a victim advocate. In 1978, an 80-year old woman was attacked, tied up and strangled in her mobile home, but no suspect was ever found, and the case languished as an inactive file for years.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Wednesday night, Spokane Police officers busted three men for soliciting prostitution on east Sprague Avenue. It was the first sting since the police department started an anti-prostitution campaign there last month.

A Moscow, Idaho man has pleaded guilty to neglect in the death of a 67-year old man in his care. 25-year old Charles W. Wright pleaded guilty to one count of neglect of a vulnerable adult. Two other felony charges were still pending.

68-year old Lee O. Pohrman died in November 2013 at a Moscow hospital. An autopsy listed malnutrition and starvation as the cause of death. A primary care provider at the Good Samaritan Village in Moscow said that Pohrman weighed a healthy 162 pounds when he voluntarily left the facility in April that year. When he died, Pohrman weighed 97 pounds.

The trial began Wednesday in federal court in Spokane for a group of people accused of growing marijuana near Kettle Falls in northeast Washington. The case is seen as a test of federal drug laws, in a state that has legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

In the case known as the Kettle Falls Five, there are now only three defendants. Charges were dropped (earlier this month) against 71 year old Larry Harvey, who has been diagnosed with stage five pancreatic cancer. Miller's family members are accused of growing marijuana, which they say was for medicinal purposes.

Domestic Violence Survivors Have New Support At YWCA

Feb 5, 2015

Victims of domestic violence in Spokane now have a warm, family friendly center where they can get help. Thursday, city leaders opened a new Family Justice Center in the YWCA building.

Legal Catch-22 Keeps Drug Dealer in Prison

Jan 28, 2015

A one-time Washington drug gang leader thought he could get out of prison earlier under relaxed federal sentencing for crack cocaine offenders. But he was wrong. Back in 2005, Tyrone Davis, a boss of the notorious Seven Deuce Mob in Tacoma, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for making and selling crack cocaine.

Cyber Tip Program Leads to Child Porn Conviction

Nov 20, 2014

A tiny bit of computer spyware helped convict a Medical Lake man of producing and distributing child pornography and to send him to prison for 20 years. 26 year old James Dean Poindexter was sentenced this week to the long prison stretch by a Spokane federal judge.

Spokane Woman's Murder Conviction Upheld

Oct 8, 2014

A Spokane woman, serving 25 years for murdering her estranged husband, has lost her bid to have her conviction overturned for the second time. Shelly Stark, now 52 years old, contended she was unfairly convicted of first degree murder when the Spokane trial judge shut the public out of closing arguments after lurid testimony about spousal abuse, forced prostitution, and a plot to kill her husband, Dale Stark.

But two out of three appeals court judges rejected her argument that the courtroom had been closed to the public.

South Hill Rapist Loses Demand to Go Free

Sep 18, 2014
Treatment Center
Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times

The man known as Spokane's notorious South Hill Rapist has struck out again in his latest bid to go free. Kevin Coe, now 67 years old, is locked up indefinitely at Washington State's McNeil Island facility for sex criminals.

Parking Maids Beef Up With Automatic Cameras

Sep 9, 2014

Stolen cars could be found faster, and people with outstanding parking tickets will be caught earlier too, thanks to a new city resolution. Monday, the city council voted 6-to-zero to give parking enforcement staff surveillance equipment.
The Spokane Police already use automatic license plate readers, ALPRs, to track stolen cars or people with warrants. Now, city parking enforcers are getting ALPR cameras. City planner David Steele says it’s a force multiplier for the department. As is, license plates are only looked up if the vehicle’s meter is expired.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

A Clarkston Washington man, in prison for making bombs and trying to give material support to terrorists, has lost a bid to go free after a search of his prison cell. 24-year old Joseph Jeffrey Brice, a college dropout, was sentenced two years ago for terrorism-related crimes. Before he was arrested and tried in Spokane federal court, Brice nearly killed himself in 2010 when a bomb he build blew up prematurely.

For years now, state and federal courts have tied themselves in knots trying to decide if a Spokane man, Dwayne Woods, ought to be put to death for two brutal murders in Spokane Valley in 1996. But whatever the final decision is, Woods won't be executed any time soon.

Virtually any convicted rapist in Washington State may now be able to demand and get DNA testing which might, or might not, point to his innocence. In a case dating from 1993, a majority of the state's high court has ruled that a man serving time for five counts of first degree rape has a right to have DNA from the crime scene tested.

City leaders announced the proposed 2015 budget Tuesday in a parking lot in Hillyard, northeast Spokane. Mayor David Condon says in the past two years the city has built a sustainable operating budget, which allows them to shift attention to the capital budget in 2015.

Federal Judge Demands End to Executions by Drugs

Jul 24, 2014

A day before the state of Arizona took nearly two hours to execute a condemned convict, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote a scathing opinion on the use of drugs to carry out death sentences. Alex Kozinski wrote that using drugs meant for medical purposes is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful.

Coeur d’Alene’s police chief has admitted the controversial police shooting of a dog inside a parked van last week  was “a regrettable tragedy”. At this weeks City Council meeting, interim Chief Ron Clark addressed last Wednesday’s fatal shooting of the 2-year-old black Labrador named Arfee. The incident has divided the community.

Police Chief: ‘Public Health Crisis’ in Spokane

Jul 10, 2014
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

This week, law enforcement and mental health officials have been overloaded in the Inland Northwest. Two people in Spokane and two people in Post Falls have died from domestic violence attacks. These tragedies, plus a rise in self-harm cases, have officials putting the spotlight on mental health.

Police say Tuesday, Chris Henderson arrived at his wife Sheena Henderson’s work, at Deaconess Medical Center, and shot her, then himself. They had two children, who are now with relatives. Officers say this is an example of a regional need for mental health resources.

The city administration will start the process of creating a police ombudsman commission this month. The commission will be made up of Spokane citizens, and its formation begins with two public hearings. The police ombudsman is tasked with reviewing police conduct and doing outreach with citizens. The commission will monitor the quality of the ombudsman’s work, and can request the ombudsman perform further investigations.