FBI switches tactics on assassination

SEATTLE – The FBI has put its Portland, Ore., field office in charge of investigating the 2001 assassination of Tom Wales, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle, saying it hopes the shakeup will bring a “fresh point of view” to the unsolved case.

Seattle Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin had recently faced criticism for trimming the number of agents assigned to the case from four to two. That decision was reviewed by FBI headquarters at the request of a special prosecutor assigned to the Wales case.

Under the change, Portland Special Agent in Charge Robert Jordan was named “inspector” for the case and will oversee day-to-day operations. In a Tuesday night interview from Washington, D.C., he told The Associated Press he anticipates increasing the number of people working the case, and that he will meet with the special prosecutor and the investigative team next Monday in Seattle.

Wales, 49, who mostly handled white-collar crimes, was shot the night of Oct. 11, 2001, while sitting at his computer in his Queen Anne neighborhood home. He was hit by several shots fired through a window.

Party gunman probably wrote letter found

The gunman who killed six people and himself at a rave party was likely the author of a letter that complains about the rave scene and says in part, “This hippy stuff has to end,” police said Tuesday.

A heavily armed Kyle Huff, 28, had been invited to the party by people he met at a late-night rave.

“They’re packed in there, groping each other, having sex,” the letter said. “I’ve got to do something about it. … These people are screwing up the world.”

The one-page letter was addressed “to Kane” the name of Huff’s twin brother, and signed, “From Kyle.”

The Washington State Patrol said Tuesday it was “highly probable” that Kyle Huff wrote the letter, which was found April 24 by a resident going though his trash in the same apartment complex where Huff lived. Experts at the State Crime Lab compared the letter to writing on items belonging to Huff.

Executive to delay plan to change voting system

Citing what he called the “toxic environment” surrounding the King County elections operation, embattled director Dean Logan is resigning to take the No. 2 elections job in Los Angeles.

His resignation is effective July 14.

Logan’s decision, which was revealed Monday, caused County Executive Ron Sims to delay by at least a year moving the county to a virtually all-mail voting system, a plan that has ignited a political battle between Democrats and Republicans in Seattle.

Logan, 38, has run King County elections since September 2003. He wrote a letter announcing his resignation to Sims on Monday.

Logan was the center of controversy after the hotly contested 2004 governor’s election won by Democrat Chris Gregoire by 133 votes. Things intensified again recently over Sims’ vote-by-mail plan.

Spokane: Heavy hail and rain pound area

Heavy rain and hail lashed parts of Eastern Washington on Tuesday.

Hailstones that measured 3/4-inch were reported in Metaline Falls, and hail also fell across other areas on the state’s eastern border, including Spokane and Pullman.

The rain caused a hillside to partially collapse onto Fort Wright Drive in Spokane, police spokesman Tom Lee said. No injuries were reported.

Standing water also slowed travel on Interstate 90 and other roads in Spokane, and knocked out some traffic signals, Lee said.

Olympia: Washington fines Apple Computer

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has fined Apple Computer Inc. $100,000 for selling service contracts without registering, after the company alerted the commissioner’s office to the problem.

Apple failed to register as a service contract provider from 2000 to 2004. In that time the company sold 43,080 service contracts, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The office said it has received no complaints about Apple’s contracts.

Associated Press

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