Northwest briefly: Mistrial in 2nd assault trial for King Co. deputy

SEATTLE — A mistrial has been declared for a second time in the case of a former King County deputy charged with assaulting a teenage girl in a jail cell.

The November 2008 beating of Malika Calhoun, then 15, was caught on jail surveillance video. Later, former deputy Paul Schene was charged in King County Superior Court with fourth-degree assault.

A mistrial was declared in the first trial in January with one juror refusing to go along with others who wanted to convict Schene.

The Seattle Times reported that on Thursday a second mistrial was announced after the jury failed to come to an agreement following two days of deliberating. This time, the jury failed to agree on an acquittal on an 11-1 split.

Schene, who sat on the witness stand for both trials, said he was following training to subdue the girl after the car theft suspect kicked a shoe at him.

Schene “did it the way he was trained to do it. It was a textbook example,” Schene’s attorney, Peter Offenbecher said. “Ms. Calhoun is a person whose word is not to be trusted.”

But prosecutors had argued that Calhoun had stopped resisting.

Schene was fired last year for using excessive force.

On Tuesday, jurors reviewed the footage of the attack for the first time in court.

Hiker killed in Cascades was doctor

A 38-year-old man who died while hiking near Snoqualmie Pass was a Seattle doctor who was once beaten into a coma in a racially motivated attack.

KING-TV identified the man as Peter Choi.

The King County Sheriff’s Department said the man apparently fell to his death down a steep slope on the trail to Mason Lake. He was reported missing by his sister on Tuesday, after he did not return from a one-day camping trip. His body was recovered by a sheriff’s office helicopter on Wednesday afternoon.

Choi was seriously beaten two years ago as he left a Seattle restaurant with his girlfriend. At the time he was a surgical resident at the University of Washington and worked at Harborview Medical Center.

Program gets 200 dirty diesel trucks off road

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said it has removed 200 old, polluting trucks from the road through a program resembling Cash for Clunkers.

Owners with old, heavy-duty diesel trucks that service the Port of Seattle can turn them in for either $5,000 or the blue book value, whichever is greater.

The agency said Thursday the buyback program improves air quality. Scrapping 200 trucks removes 2.8 tons of toxic particle pollution from the air each year.

The program also uses grant money from the agency, the Port of Seattle and the state Department of Ecology.

Man pleads not guilty in death of Skyway boy

A judge has set bail at $5 million for a man charged with killing a 12-year-old boy in Skyway.

KOMO-TV reported that Curtis J. Walker pleaded not guilty Thursday in King County Superior Court in the death of Alajawan Brown outside a convenience store.

Police initially believed that Brown was struck by a stray bullet from a shooting at an apartment complex nearby. But now they say that Walker was a friend of the victim shot in the apartment, and he targeted Brown because he mistakenly believed Brown was responsible for the apartment shooting.

Prosecutors say Walker has a lengthy criminal history, including several convictions for assault, drugs and firearms violations.

Man accused of cutting off another’s nose

A member of Washington’s Lummi Tribe has been indicted on charges that he cut off another man’s nose.

Documents newly unsealed in U.S. District Court in Seattle charged James Lawrence Jefferson with four counts of maiming and assault in the attack on Ronald C. Phair.

An FBI affidavit filed in the case said the attack occurred on March 19 after Phair, Jefferson and another man had been drinking. The affidavit said Jefferson turned on Phair when Phair tried to break up a fight between Jefferson and the other man.

Lummi Nation police who responded to the scene found Phair sitting in a pool of blood, with his nose hanging from the right side of his face and his sinus cavities exposed. He also had several deep gashes to his scalp.

Phair was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham.

Phair’s father, — Ronald Phair Sr. — said his son is doing a lot better after getting hurt “pretty badly” but declined further comment.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Jefferson on Wednesday.

Bellevue couple plead guilty to mistreating baby

A Bellevue couple accused of starving their baby daughter has pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal mistreatment.

KOMO-TV reported Sam and Brittainy Labberton entered their pleas Wednesday in King County Superior Court.

According to court documents, the couple’s baby was hospitalized at 2 months after failing to gain sufficient weight. Officials say she gained weight in the hospital and in a foster home.

Prosecutors allege the mother has said she didn’t want her daughter to be fat, and the father believed the baby was underweight because she was “fussy” and “spit up all the time.”

A judge has ordered the parents to have no contact with the baby and an older daughter except for supervised visits. The parents are scheduled to be sentenced July 23.

White Swan: Feds fine Yakama sawmill nearly $60K in death

The federal government has fined the Yakama Nation sawmill $59,850 following the Jan. 7 death of a Fort Simcoe Job Corps student.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated safety conditions at Yakama Forest Products after Tyler Challinor, 20, was crushed while working on a tractor.

The investigation concluded that a locking safety bar designed to keep a large bucket from falling when in an upright position wasn’t used. Other violations included a lack of fire extinguishers, unlabeled fuel tanks and a lack of safety rains along conveyors.

The findings were released Wednesday. Yakama Tribal Council Chairman Harry Smiskin said the tribe plans to contest the findings.

Spokane: Bishop from SD to head Spokane Diocese

The Vatican has appointed a bishop from South Dakota to head the Spokane Diocese.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Blase Joseph Cupich will take over for retiring Bishop William Skylstad.

The 61-year-old is a Nebraska native who most recently was the bishop of Rapid City, S.D. A Nebraska native and most recently the Bishop of Rapid City, S.D., Cupich takes over for retiring Bishop William S. Skylstad. He is the chair of the Bishops Committee on the Protection for Children and Young People.

He will be the sixth Bishop of Spokane, overseeing more than 80 parishes across Eastern Washington.

The diocese declared bankruptcy in late 2004 to deal with scores of claims of sex abuse and later agreed to pay $48 million to nearly 200 victims. The deal forced the diocese to liquidate nearly all of its assets.

Officer injured by falling pole

A police officer in Spokane was knocked off his motorcycle when lines from a falling utility pole wrapped around his head.

The officer was rushed to a hospital with neck injuries that didn’t appear to be life-threatening. He was described as conscious and alert.

The power pole was struck Thursday morning by an out-of-control car. The officer was headed toward the car, when a wire from the falling pole snagged around his head.

The car driver was arrested on charges of felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault.

Walla Walla: Gregoire tours Eastern Wash.

Gov. Chris Gregoire will be touring parts of Eastern Washington to talk to locals about water projects, farm labor issues and biofuels.

Gregoire starts the tour in Walla Walla on Thursday to discuss river restoration efforts. Other stops on the tour include the Red Mountain wine region near the Tri-Cities and a meeting with the Yakima River basin water enhancement group.

On Friday, Gregoire will visit a 600-acre farm near Sunnyside, a leading fruit grower in Brewster and an oilseed company in Odessa.

Joining Gregoire on the tour are Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant, Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse and Commerce Director Rogers Weed.

Yakima: Chinook Pass open to holiday travelers

The state Department of Transportation is reminding motorists who plan to cross the Cascades during the holiday weekend that State Route 410 is open over Chinook Pass.

A landslide closed a 4-mile stretch of the road east of the pass last October, but crews have opened a detour route around the landslide. The detour route is a paved two-lane roadway.

The Transportation Department is currently looking at design options to rebuild the highway around the toe of the landslide. The agency hopes to start construction next summer.

Pullman: Woman left injured in road; ex-boyfriend charged

Whitman County prosecutors have filed a felony hit-and-run charge against the former boyfriend of a young woman left severely injured last November in the middle of a road outside Pullman.

Charged Thursday was 24-year-old Richard C. Pasma.

Washington State University graduate Kristen Grindley of Woodinville was found in a pool of blood early on Nov. 11.

Investigators believe she either fell out of a moving vehicle or was pushed from it. She was unconscious for days but her family said she has made a remarkable recovery. Investigators say she still has large gaps in her memory. She returned to her home in January.

Pasma’s lawyer Tim Esser said he’s confident his client will be exonerated. He said Pasma left last week on a fishing boat and is currently in the Bering Sea.

Washington, D.C.: Cantwell now supports Wall St. overhaul

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell said she will back an overhaul of financial regulations, a decision that eases the path for the bill’s final passage.

Cantwell said the new version of the bill contains the tougher measures that she supports.

Cantwell was one of two Democrats who had opposed a Senate version of the sweeping bill last May. A blended version of House and Senate bills passed the House on Wednesday.

The Senate won’t act until after the weeklong July 4 congressional break. But the vote in the Senate is not yet firm.

The death of Sen. Robert Byrd and vacillation by three Republicans who had previously supported the bill leaves the measure shy of the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

From Herald new services

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