Suspected land mine is Army training device

OLYMPIA — Thurston County authorities released an Olympia man from custody after a suspected land mine found in his car turned out to be a military training device that didn’t endanger the public, the prosecutor’s office said Friday.

During a New Year’s Eve traffic stop, Olympia police discovered what they and a Washington State Patrol bomb squad believed to be a land mine under Bradley Hull’s car seat. Hull, 33, was booked into the county jail for investigation of possessing an explosive device and possessing a dangerous weapon.

Phil Harju, senior deputy prosecutor, said it was not immediately known where Hull obtained the training device.

Puyallap

Woman found dead: The body of a woman was found Friday near railroad tracks after police responded to a tip from Union Pacific Railroad crews. The body was believed to be that of a 46-year-old local woman, said police spokeswoman Lori Ericson. The woman may have died Thursday and been hit by more than one train, Ericson said. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office had not officially identified the victim by late Friday afternoon because of the severity of the injuries. Police were waiting for that office’s report, though Ericson said there was no evidence the death was anything but an accident.

Kent

State doctors say defendant competent: The man accused of killing four people in Des Moines last year is competent to stand trial, state doctors say. But a judge won’t make a decision for five weeks on the competency of Leemah Carneh, who apparently was heavily medicated for what was supposed to be his competency hearing Thursday in King County Superior Court at the Regional Justice Center here. Senior deputy prosecutor Roger Davidheiser said state mental evaluations and reports are complete, but defense attorney Louis Frantz said defense doctors need more time to finish their reports. Carneh, 19, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the slayings of Richard and Leola Larson, 63 and 64, respectively; their grandson, Taelor Marks, 17; and Marks’ girlfriend, Josie Peterson, 17, of Federal Way, last March 9 at the Larson home in Des Moines.

Grandview

One of state’s longest-sitting judge’s dies: Judge Philip M. Noon, who spent 48 years on the bench, died one day after he retired from the Grandview Municipal Court. He was 81. Noon, who had been having health problems since the summer, died Tuesday at Sunnyside Community Hospital. He officially retired Monday — New Year’s Eve — and is believed to have been the longest-sitting judge in the state. "He wanted to finish up the year, which he did," said Mayor Mike Bren. Noon’s successor, lawyer Rick Kimbrough, will be sworn in next Monday.

Rochester

Deputy shoots, kills man at residence: A Lewis County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man during a fight Thursday night near Rochester. The sheriff’s office said the deputy had responded to a report of a threatening man firing a gun outside a residence in the community near Centralia. The deputy was confronted in a driveway by a 31-year-old man who resisted attempts to control him. At one point the man was partially in handcuffs but broke away and ran to a recreational vehicle, the sheriff’s office said. The man rushed back at the deputy and knocked him down and was beating him in the head when the deputy fired, striking the man in the chest. He died at the scene, the sheriff’s office said. The deputy was treated at a hospital for his injuries.

Spokane

Name of shooting victim released: The man killed in a shootout with police on New Year’s Eve has been identified as Ira Shawn Buroker. The 33-year-old Buroker was shot eight times by two police officers after the handgun he was carrying discharged during a scuffle with the officers. The shooting remained under investigation by police and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Police chief Roger Bragdon said earlier this week that Buroker fired one shot from a single-action Ruger .22-caliber revolver and was getting ready to shoot again when the officers shot him. Police officers Alan Edwards and Gene Baldwin were attempting to arrest Buroker after he behaved suspiciously during a traffic stop at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, Bragdon said.

Idaho

Arrest made in death of girl: A 17-year-old youth from Castle Rock, Wash., has been arrested in the slaying of a 14-year-old runaway whose remains were found in a campground, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said Friday. Cody Andrew Merritt surrendered to deputies on Friday, and the case will be handled in adult court, the sheriff’s department said. Merritt was arrested on a charge of being an accessory to the murder of Carissa Lynn Benway, the sheriff’s department said. Deputies used dental records to identify the remains, found by hunters in October 2000 in a wooded campground in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Additional arrests were expected.

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