ID thief chooses prison cell over probation period

Herald staff

SEATTLE — A former hospital security supervisor and deputy constable who hid behind the stolen identity of a Seattle man for more than a decade was offered probation in Nevada Friday but opted for prison instead.

William McDonald Walton gave no reason why he preferred a jail cell when questioned by the judge. The judge obliged, sentencing Walton to six years. He will be eligible for parole after serving 12 months.

Walton had lived in Reno since the mid- to late-1980s under the name of Roy M. Vasquez. The real Roy M. Vasquez, an accountant for the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, tracked down his impostor after repeated problems with creditors and the IRS.

Walton pleaded guilty in August to using another person’s identity for an unlawful purpose, obtaining credit, goods or services or something else of value.

  • McCaws contribute to brain research program: A $35.5 million center to study early brain and behavioral development has been created at the University of Washington. Talaris Research Institute, established by telecommunications billionaire Bruce McCaw and his wife Jolene, provided the money for the Center for Mind, Brain and Learning. Talaris and the center will work together to research the ability of babies to learn. A million dollars was provided to launch the center, and the rest will contributed over the next five years. The McCaws contributed $91 million to Talaris. Bruce McCaw was one of the founding directors of the Kirkland-based McCaw Cellular Communications, which was sold to AT&ampT for $11.5 billion in 1994.

  • Liquor ban challenge is tossed out: A federal judge on Friday dismissed Washington state’s challenge of a liquor ban on the Yakama Nation reservation, agreeing with the tribe that the complaint was premature. Enforcement was not to begin until Jan. 4. Ruling in Spokane, U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley granted a motion for dismissal filed last week on behalf of Yakama Nation Chief Tribal Judge Rory Flintknife, one of three defendants named in the state case. Spokesman Gary Larson in the office of state Attorney General Christine Gregoire said Whaley’s action was based on the tribe’s assurances that it did not plan to enforce the ban on nontribal members. "I’d say that’s a heck of a spin to put on it," said Flintknife’s lawyer, Jack Fiander, in a telephone interview from the reservation. But he conceded the tribe does not anticipate such enforcement. The Yakama Tribal Council approved the ban last spring in a bid to fight alcoholism within the tribe.

  • Sewer gas detected at school: Low levels of sewer gas have been found at McKnight Middle School, which has been the subject of many complaints of foul smells, Renton School District Superintendent Dolores Gibbons said. But none of the tests showed a concentration of hydrogen sulfide that exceeded the danger level set by the state, Gibbons said. Students and staff at the school have been complaining about a rotten-egg smell that has been causing headaches and making them nauseous. The smell mostly came from the north pod of the school, which was built four years ago. Workers jackhammered through the floor last weekend and found two bent pipes, which they repaired. But students still complained of the smell this week. The district is now checking a clogged grease trap in the school’s kitchen.

  • Man ordered to pay for animal care: A man has been ordered to pay $43,000 to an animal shelter that is taking care of dozens of dogs and cats seized from his home in May. A judge also banned 63-year-old Dennis Rodney Marsh from having pets for five years while he’s on probation. Marsh pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal neglect. Authorities found the animals living in filthy conditions at Marsh’s house. Many were soaked in urine and matted with feces, said John Fletcher, the Florence Humane Society’s executive director. The situation has caused a financial crisis for the Humane Society, which estimates the actual cost of taking care of the animals to be nearly $80,000. The number of animals seized from Marsh grew to 87 after several delivered litters while in the shelter. Fletcher said 43 animals remain up for adoption.
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