Bellevue man held as witness in 2001 murder

SEATTLE – A Bellevue gun collector was arrested and held for 23 days recently as a material witness in the unsolved slaying of federal prosecutor Thomas Crane Wales, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

Citing court records, jail logs and people familiar with the investigation, the newspaper said the man is not considered a suspect in the slaying but was jailed as part of the FBI’s search for a gun barrel used in the crime.

The FBI has been searching for an Eastern European Makarov semiautomatic handgun fitted with a replacement barrel. The man is believed to have ordered two of the barrels from Federal Arms Corp. of Minnesota. One of the barrels was located, tested and determined not to be connected to the shooting, but the whereabouts of the other barrel remains unknown, a source told The Times on the condition of anonymity.

Wales, 49, was shot to death as he sat in the basement of his Queen Anne home the night of Oct. 11, 2001. The gun collector also lives within a few miles of the only publicly identified suspect in the case, a former airline pilot whom Wales prosecuted in a fraud case several years ago.

Associated Press

Auburn: Motorist killed in drive-by shooting

A gunman pulled alongside a sport utility vehicle and opened fire early Saturday, killing the vehicle’s driver and wounding two passengers as they drove on Highway 167. State Patrol officers had few clues to the killing, which happened at about 1 a.m. The SUV was driving north on the highway when the other car pulled up and opened fire. The SUV swerved across the median and two oncoming lanes before running off the road. The two wounded passengers were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Associated Press

Mount Baker: Ski area hangs on to season

The lack of mountain snow is taking its toll, but the ski season isn’t over yet, said the general manager of the Mount Baker Ski Area. Duncan Howat and his crew will decide today if the area will close for a few days, but he’s looking forward to a forecast that calls for precipitation and a falling snow level by Wednesday. “We’re definitely not closed for the season,” he said. Mount Baker was open Friday with 22 inches of snow at the lodge and 32 inches on top. Howat said the operating minimum is 15 to 18 inches at the bottom. National Weather Service records since 1926 show an average snow depth of 151 inches for March 1.

Bellingham Herald

Neah Bay: Tribe lobbies for whaling

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has been asked to consider federal legislation to let the Makah tribe waive Marine Mammal Protection Act considerations for whaling. But the freshman senator hasn’t determined how to proceed on any potential bill, her spokesman said Thursday. Even though the Makah tribe is the only tribe in the Lower 48 whose original treaty, the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay, specified its right to whale, a 2001 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals required that the tribe get a waiver from the 1972 Marine Mammal Act before resuming any whaling practices. Such an exemption has never been granted to anyone, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said.

Peninsula Daily News

Richland: Principal comes home from war

The Chief Joseph Middle School auditorium in Richland was splashed in red, white and blue banners welcoming home Maj. Jon Lobdell, known around the school as Principal Lobdell. After a year of service in Iraq, Lobdell was greeted by 750 students, teachers and staff. “It’s really kind of overwhelming to be here,” he said. “In some ways, it feels like I never left.” Lobdell, a 17-year veteran of the Army National Guard, was called to active duty in December 2003.

Tri-City Herald

Vancouver: Volcano’s power demonstrated

The shattered remnants of an aluminum box sat outside the Cascades Volcano Observatory in east Vancouver on Thursday morning, punched open like a sardine can. The battered box, containing batteries and a radio transmitter, demonstrated the destructive power of Mount St. Helens’ Tuesday blast. “It’s just the cost of doing business,” said Andy Lockhart of the U.S. Geological Survey. “If you had been standing there, you would have been in trouble.” Nobody was in the crater on Tuesday. Scientists used a helicopter Wednesday to retrieve the box a half-mile away from the spot where an explosion blasted out of a vent near the north end of a new lava dome. The billowing cloud of steam and ash, which came with little warning, unfurled to a height of 36,000 feet.

The Columbian

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