Crime, Law and Justice

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Four years ago this month, 25-year-old Keaton Farris died naked, dehydrated and malnourished on the floor of an isolation cell in the Island County Jail on Whidbey Island. Farris, who was bipolar and in the throes of a mental health crisis, had been arrested 18 days earlier for failing to appear in court for allegedly stealing and cashing a $355 check.

The reflection of a jail cell window is visible in this stainless steel mirror in a Clark County Jail cell in Vancouver, Wash., on March 14, 2019.
Bryan M. Vance/OPB

Editor’s note: This story contains descriptions of suicide and may not be suitable for all readers. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call for help now. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free service answered by trained staff 24 hours per day, every day. The number is 1-800-273-8255. Or text 273TALK to 839863.

After 40 days in the Josephine County Jail, Janelle Marie Butterfield looped a white sheet around her neck and tied the other end to the metal bunk bed in cell 408.

Deputies found her during their hourly rounds, around 8:45 in the morning. She was slouched in the corner of her cell, wearing her jail blues. Her long, dark hair covered the sheet around her neck.

Jeremy Lavender opens gifts with his daughter in an undated photo.
KUOW Photo/Sydney Brownstone

When Jeremy Lavender came back from a 15-month Army deployment in Iraq to live with his wife and new baby, “he wasn’t the same person,” according to Lavender’s ex-wife, Myra Shearer.

Shearer met Lavender when they were both just shy of 21. They loved hiking, fishing, taking trips to the ocean. Lavender was a great boyfriend — attentive, emotionally aware. Shearer said she was the only person he let touch his rebuilt, teal green Camaro, his “baby.”

The couple got married in 2006 while Lavender was home on leave. Shearer had found out she was pregnant.

Office of the Washington State Attorney General

Two people who allegedly placed online ads to sell elephant ivory carvings are the first to be charged under wildlife trafficking laws passed by Pacific Northwest voters a few years ago.

Booked and buried: Northwest jails' mounting death toll

Apr 2, 2019
 Incomplete data tracking hides a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened Northwest jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe.
Jonathan Levinson/OPB

In 2012, Michael Saffioti turned himself in on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. The next day at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett, Washington, he was served oatmeal that contained milk. The 22-year-old with severe asthma and a dairy allergy went into anaphylaxis and died.

GOOGLE MAPS

A legal case involving the Yakama Nation and Washington state taxes that started in 2013 came to an end Tuesday with a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

 In a 5-4 ruling, the court decided in favor of tribal treaty rights in a case between the Washington Department of Licensing and Cougar Den, a gas station in White Swan on the Yakama Reservation.  

Prenters Broughton argues for early release before the state clemency board in Olympia on Thursday, March 7. The board is one of the only ways for long-time inmates to have their sentences reduced or thrown out.
Max Wasserman / Northwest News Network

Prenters Broughton was always getting into trouble as a kid. So, his older sister came up with a nickname for him.

“He was just a little devil,” Alana Ervin, a Tacoma resident, said of her brother. “So PB, just to shorten it up for peanut butter because he’s always in the thick of things.”

Carolina Landa hugs her son, Zach, in their living room before he leaves for school on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. The two have been living together in the same home in Olympia since 2015.
Shauna Sowersby / The (Tacoma) News Tribune

Carolina Landa’s 12-year-old son has a new obsession: an old Scooby-Doo movie.

It’s part of Zach’s life with autism. He fixates on certain objects — a movie, sometimes food, anything he needs to feel safe — but has difficulty communicating since he’s also nonverbal.

TVW / TVW

Four Bills in Washington’s legislature this year offer differing views on the death penalty following a state Supreme Court decision last year.  A similar debate is playing out in Oregon.

 

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

 

Murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls are the focus of a bill introduced in the Washington House of Representatives on Friday.

Last year, Washington Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, a Republican from Goldendale, sponsored a bill that calls on the Governor’s office and Washington State Patrol to find a way to count every murdered and/or missing Indigenous woman in the state.

Washington Supreme Court

Attorneys General from 21 U.S. states, including those in Oregon and Washington, filed briefs this week urging a federal appeals court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, aims to keep Native American children with their Native family members during adoption proceedings and in cases of neglect or abuse.

KingCounty.gov

Washington state's attorney general wants to know if emergency response was delayed to anyone during a nearly statewide 911 outage late last month. The accounts of victims, if there are any, could figure into a penalty against call network manager CenturyLink.

Two former Jesuit officials resign from Gonzaga University after revelations about abusive priests

Dec 21, 2018
Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

  This story was produced in partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

 

Two priests in high-level positions at Gonzaga University resigned today. Both previously held leadership roles in the Jesuits’ Oregon Province while it sent Jesuits accused of sexual abuse to live in a home on campus.

Jesuits sent priests accused of sexual abuse to retire on Gonzaga's campus

Dec 17, 2018

On the surface, Father James Poole seemed like the cool priest in Nome, Alaska. He founded a Catholic mission radio station that broadcast his Jesuit sermons alongside contemporary pop hits. A 1978 story in People magazine called Poole “Western Alaska’s Hippest DJ … Comin’ at Ya with Rock’n’Roll ’n’ Religion.”

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

According to the National Institute of Justice, four in five Native American and Alaska Native women will experience some kind of domestic violence in their lifetime. It’s a subject that’s long been whispered about. But now, recent headlines about victimized Native women have sparked a larger conversations and calls to action in Indian Country. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Former Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley will remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction for possession of stolen funds, making false statements and filing false tax returns.

Andrew Choy / Wikimedia Commons

Hackers are using various forms of digital skullduggery to steal frequent flyer miles from customers of Delta, Alaska and other airlines. The thieves then resell the miles on the dark web.

Inciweb

An Australian newspaper is reporting that hunters shot at two firefighters from down under while they were battling the Miriam Fire near White Pass, Washington, but law enforcement has debunked the claim.

Bureau of Prisons

A federal detention facility in Sheridan, Oregon, must continue to open its doors to attorneys representing dozens of immigrant detainees, a judge ruled today.

Katheirne Hitt / Flickr - tinyurl.com/mobc9zf

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state in 2012 resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of people sentenced for marijuana-related felonies, according to an analysis conducted for public radio by the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council.

Washington Legislature

This story has been updated

Calling former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley a "patriot," but also someone who took actions that "were wrong and were criminal," a U.S. District Court judge on Friday sentenced him to one year and one day in prison and one year of supervised release. 

Washington Legislature

Calling former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley "as unrepentant as any defendant in memory," federal prosecutors are asking that a judge sentence him to more than seven years in federal prison when he is sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Tacoma Police Department

Earlier this week in Tacoma, Washington, police tactical squads staged coordinated raids on middle class homes converted into indoor pot farms. What the authorities found follows a recent pattern in West Coast states: all of the marijuana growers arrested were immigrants from China who spoke little or no English.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The pastor of the Oakville, Washington Assembly of God church said he was trying to protect his family and the public when he drew his concealed pistol and shot a gunman on Father’s Day.

David George cried at times as he spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since the shooting.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

What caused 44-year-old Tim Day to go on a carjacking and shooting spree on Father’s Day that left one man critically wounded?

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

This post has been updated.

A shooting spree in Tumwater, Washington, ended in a sun-drenched Walmart parking lot when a civilian shot the suspected gunman to death, police said Sunday evening.

Three people were hurt: a teenage boy with minor injuries, another person with minor injuries, and a man who was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He is now in critical condition, Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office

A Chinese immigrant arrested during the bust of a sprawling illegal pot growing operation last November wants to withdraw his guilty plea. The man claims he didn't understand his conviction could lead to deportation.

Daderot / tinyurl.com/y7dy7pyt

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrowly focused ruling Monday that favored Masterpiece Cakes, a Colorado bakery, which refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and staff dead, the state of Washington established a “work group” on mass shootings. It will hold its third meeting on Tuesday.

Steven Friederich

The Olympia city prosecutor's office confirmed to public radio Thursday that it will file animal neglect charges in the next day or two against the owner of an Oregon-based sloth sanctuary. This is fallout from a raid two months ago on a satellite center under development in Olympia, Washington.

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