Northwest briefly: Woman won’t be tried again in UW arson

SEATTLE — Federal prosecutors have agreed not to retry convicted University of Washington arsonist Briana Waters on a charge that could have sent her to prison for an automatic 30 years.

Waters was convicted this month on two counts of arson stemming from an ecoterror fire that destroyed the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001. But the jury deadlocked on three other counts, including the big one, using a destructive device during a crime of violence. That carried a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison.

In an agreement signed Thursday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle said it won’t hold a new trial on the deadlocked counts, and moved to dismiss those charges.

In exchange, Waters agreed that if a federal appeals court overturns her conviction, the government can refile the charges — even if the statute of limitations has run out.

Waters, 32, of Oakland, Calif., faces five to 20 years when she’s sentenced May 30. Prosecutors said she acted as a lookout for other Earth Liberation Front activists who set the fire, and obtained a rental car used in the crime.

Associated Press

Chehalis: Governor signs flood-aid bill

Southwestern Washington will get up to $50 million to match anticipated federal grants for protecting flood-prone areas, now that Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed the plan into law.

The money will help pay for construction of a yet-to-be-determined final plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect I-5 and the towns near the highway from floods in Lewis County.

Gregoire also has signed another measure that will help prevent flooding by authorizing the sale of state bonds to pay for flood projects in the Chehalis River basin.

I-5 was closed for days during floods that swept through Lewis and Thurston counties in December.

Associated Press

Seattle: Alaskan Way viaduct still settling

The Alaskan Way viaduct is still settling, but state transportation officials say repairs to strengthen four column foundations are almost done.

According to a Transportation Department statement Thursday, an inspection last weekend showed the double-deck elevated highway has settled another 3/8 of an inch. That brings the total to about 51/2 inches between Columbia Street and Yesler Way.

Deputy Transportation Secretary David Dye said the latest settling has not caused any additional damage. Dye said the repairs should keep the viaduct safe until 2012, when it is scheduled to be demolished.

Associated Press

Lacey: Two arrested in assault on man, 69

Lacey police have arrested two Tillicum residents suspected of robbing and assaulting a 69-year-old Lacey man who’d responded to a Craigslist ad for an escort.

The 24-year-old man and 21-year-old woman were booked into the Thurston County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary, police said Wednesday.

The victim responded to the ad on the Internet site March 20. About 8:30 p.m., a woman arrived at the man’s house and the two went to the back patio to smoke and soak in the hot tub, police said.

A little while later, the woman said she needed to go inside and change her clothes. The victim got suspicious after a few minutes and went inside the house, police reported.

He was confronted in the dining room by a man holding a gun, police said. The victim tried to get the gun away but was hit several times in the head.

The man and the woman fled, and the victim was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital for treatment. He later was released.

On Tuesday, Lacey detectives tracked the two suspects to an apartment in Tillicum. Lacey and Lakewood officers arrested them without incident.

The News Tribune

Fort Lewis: Sergeant convicted of murder

An Army sergeant has been convicted in the stabbing death of another sergeant’s wife at Fort Lewis.

A panel of officers deliberated for about three hours Wednesday before finding 40-year-old Godfrey J. Hurley guilty of premeditated murder in the attack on 28-year-old Lisa R. Nossett. Her husband, Sgt. Christopher Nossett, was stationed in Korea at the time.

Investigators said Hurley and Nossett’s wife had been having an affair and he beat and stabbed the mother of two on March 11, 2006, after she tried to end it.

Defense lawyers say there’s little to connect Hurley to the crime — no weapon, physical evidence at the scene or witnesses who saw him there.

The sentencing phase of the court-martial was set to begin Thursday.

Associated Press

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