The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington on May 13, 1998 · 10
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The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington · 10

Spokane, Washington
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 13, 1998
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x --n -. j i,. idj. . j. rvriy nj'i n i j i j' m rjriy-y tr"f,rrT r"V y-t '' ririTrT"i t y -j ( jj ny y t.n-g.y y j j ,iTr,y 1 j i ir t -j- - y n. 7' ' Spokane, Wash.Coeur d'Alene, Idaho . Wednesday,' May 13, 1998 Page B5 Idaho Roundtable Guest Column i : Deliberately botched murder probe may yet be solved By Sandy Brewer Special to Roundtable am grieving over the death last week of John Evans, one of my clients. More importantly, he was one of my best friends. John no longer suffers the insurmountable grief that was caused largely by the incompetence and inaction of the Spokane Police Department. He is now at peace. The constant frustration of trying to obtain justice in his sons death is gone for him, but for us left behind, it continues. In June 1989, 13-year-old Russ Evans was found dying in the middle of South Ray near 13th Avenue. His body was broken and bleeding from multiple injuries and he died the next morning at the hospital. Police assumed it was only a hit-and-run. On the morning Russ died, John and Sue Evans both received phone calls from Russ friends, naming individuals who they said had threatened to kill Russ the evening before he was found. The teenagers grieving parents were encouraged that the people responsible for Russs death would be arrested based on information they passed on to police. But it seemed they were stonewalled from one detective to ' another. The same suspects names came up beginning the day after the killing and throughout the investigation. 1 Witnesses called to say these people were bragging about the murder. Police interviewed the suspects but did not follow up on their alibis, which didnt check out with witnesses I interviewed. After the suspects passed an unreliable polygraph exam, the detectives went to the school Russ attended and had the principal announce that they wouldnt take any more information about the suspects. Why doesn V the Police Department want to pursue this case? Would something we uncover show incompetency or a cover-up? Or is it just a coincidence that the original suspects in this case were informants for the Police Department on a large theft investigation at the time of Russ' murder? Because police couldnt decide if this was a murder or a vehicular homicide, there were many errors in the immediate investigation. Sue and John Evans were told by the police chief that if they thought this was anything but a car-pedestrian accident, they were mistaken and should just go home. Sue and John did everything they humanly could, including contacting the television show, Unsolved Mysteries, which produced a segment concerning their sons death. Several people called after the show aired, again naming the original suspects. In 1992, my investigative firm was contacted by Spokane County Coroner Graham McConnell to investigate. Dr. McConnell had been contacted by the Evans family, and felt the case was solvable. When I reviewed the evidence and the testimony, I found witnesses who had not been interviewed and evidence that had not been collected at the scene. When I saw the autopsy pictures of a battered and broken 13-year-old, I knew I would see this case through until justice was done. After several meetings with some members of the police administration, we createda joint effort to work on this case. Cpl. Harry Kennedy was assigned to work with us. While working with Kennedy, new evidence was uncovered that pointed to the same suspects and to other individuals possibly involved in the murder. Evidence regarding the new suspects was followed up on immediately, but some witnesses with firsthand information about the three original suspects have never been contacted by police. After McConnell was replaced as coroner by Dexter Amend, Amend refused to have us work on this case through the coroners office. He told Sue and John Evans to just forget your son is dead. As I continued working on the case, I became very good friends with Sue and John. We requested that the Police Department interview out-of-state witnesses. One witness said he was with the suspects the night of the killing and talked to them before the incident. They admitted to him that they killed Russ. Kennedy wanted to go interview these witnesses, but his request was turned down. His supervisor told me, If you think we will ever send someone out of state to interview witnesses on the Evans case, you are crazy. I cannot solve John Evans sons death without the assistance of the police. I have begged them to ask for information from the public through Secret Witness. The Evans family has already posted a $5,000 reward for . ' information. Why doesnt the Police Department want to pursue this case? Would something we uncover show incompetency or a cover-up? Or is it just a coincidence that the original suspects in this case were informants for the Police Department on a large theft investigation at the time of Russ murder? During the investigation, I was in constant contact with John Evans. My heart broke as I observed his struggles over the last several years. I watched helplessly as he -- spiraled down in deep depression. - We made a deal that he would stay alive to see justice, and I would never quit pushing for arrests and charges in Russs death. He broke our deal and Im mad as hell, but I understand the great pain and frustration he could not handle. Most of all, Im angry at the administration of the Police Department, people who decided that a 13-year--old boys death was not worth a few extra dollars and time to bring his killers to justice. ; , I hope and pray that the Police Departments new , administration will care enough to follow up on this case. John Evans wont be there to ask about his sons death -" but I will be here no matter how long it takes. -, -. To those witnesses who refuse to tell what they know , ( about Russ Evans murder, and to the killers, you now t have another death on your conscience. (People with information about Russ Evans death may call Brewer at 891-1266.) -' - i Sandy Brewer, formerly with the Spokane Police Department, , - i has been a private investigator in Spokane since 1987. She is the ; owner of Pinnacle Professional Services. r Letters How to write? See "Keep in touch at the bottom of this page. Idaho viewpoints Favoritism, monopoly practices wrong We all should realize that many of the city of Coeur dAlenes debacles are the consequence of allowing a wealthy few to dominate policy-makers. This favorite-son bias was demonstrated again when the only city-owned commercial lakeside dock renewed highly sought-after operator leases. Six out of nine spaces were leased to one operator the Coeur dAlene Resort. The City Council gave unanimous approval in spite of perpetuating an obvious monopoly while ignoring the fact of the resort having plenty of its own docks! These ' valuable spaces were allocated without open bidding at prices well below market. While spending $115,000 to rebuild the dock, the council decided not to expand their facility to accommodate the already-unsatisfied demand or plan for accommodations for new water attractions. Ironically, this same council spent $145,000 for an adviser to tell them that lake access needs to be expanded to capitalize -on the citys best asset. Our city leaders are ignoring that city-owned docks historically have been open to any boat boarding or delivering passengers on the lake. The consequences of these practices will be the many paying an escalating price to unfairly enrich the few. If we dont do something now, they will pick us off one at a time. If the lake needs cleaning and we have the technology, lets do it now. The question is, will you do what it takes to get the smell out of city hall? Dennis W. Walton 1 . Coeurd'Alene Elect Kerby to top schools post On May 26, the Idaho primary election will be held to determine candidates for the fall general election for the state superintendent of public instruction. I encourage you to consider placing your vote of support behind Ryan Kerby, superintendent of New Plymouth. Kerby is a respected superintendent among his colleagues across the state. He is an educational practitioner who is aware of school district and school administration needs. He possesses the intelligence to build partnerships for statewide solutions. He is practical when applying solutions to the problems. The above attributes make him approachable and worthy of your consideration. Kerby has roots in Idaho. He was raised on a dairy farm in Nez Perce County. He attended Lapwai schools and represents the common educator for Idaho. I am going to vote for him because he represents the practical in a time when political correctness is dysfunction. Would you support him in the primary, so the state of Idaho can have a real choice in November? Reid N. Straabe ' Bonners Ferry Guedel deserves everyone r thanks Re: Navy boss stepping down, (April 16). I am George Guedels supervisor. His efforts for the Navy at Bayview are almost beyond comprehension. He deserves the nations thanks for a job well-done! James H. King Sterling, Va. CdA leadership wrong, wrong, wrong Why are a few people in Coeur dAlene afraid of the EPA cleaning up Coeur dAlene Lake? Are they afraid they might lose a few bucks? Why didnt a couple of our elected people from City Hall tell Joe Chapman to take his lawsuit and get lost? As far as the committee the mayor appointed, its a laugh. It is leaning too far for the business and tourist. City employees still got the shaft, and it is too bad our elected officials had to listen to Concerned Businessman of North Idaho. Is it time for a recall? It seems they are not listening to the majority. It is time the concerned businessmen crawl back under their rock. Thanks, Councilman Ron Edinger, for sticking up for us. OscarS. Peterson CoeurdAlene Just coping is not good enough Re: the Sunday article on Coeur dAlene High School needs. Some voters seem to think that because CHS keeps graduating kids, sports programs keep up reasonably season after season and the administration keeps a stiff upper lip, and essentially says not to worry, we're coping and doing a fine job of educating, that facilities must be adequate. Principal Steve Caseys comment that his staff and students have done a fine job of coping does not support, his staffs numerous requests for needed upgrading! A runner with a missing leg can do a fine job of coping with a prosthetic, but will still not keep up with the rest of the running pack. The CHS staff members have performed admirably with what theyre stuck with. But that does not mean that they are able to provide the same educational opportunities at both schools (per Superintendent David Rawls). This is not even the case in the middle schools. Woodland will be getting all new musical instruments, while the other two schools will be left to cope with their old, much-repaired instruments. I low many other inequities will come to light as word leaks from kids to parents? If the staff is coping so well and the facilities are so adequate, why did the district not get more than only a couple of applications for the retiring John Terris band position? Could it be that, in spite of the outstanding reputation of the CHS band and music program, the school and district have earned a reputation for requiring staff and students to cope with inadequate facilities and equipment? Fred A. Fischer CoeurdAlene The environment Don V let railroad site tanks on aquifer Re: Burlington Northern Railroads proposal to put a refueling station and tank farm containing over 2 million gallons of diesel fuel and other contaminants on top of the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer. Our aquifer is the source of drinking water for more than 400,000 people and businesses residing in Kootenai - County and Spokane. Our county comprehensive plan ' specifically mentions moving industrial development off the aquifer and recharge area, to preserve the unique resource we have and to keep it from further degradation. Petroleum products are listed in the comprehensive plan as the main source of current contaminants from industrial sites. Even if BN had a spotless track record, a project of this magnitude should never be placed over such a sensitive area. Environmental agencies in Spokane and Coeur ' dAlene have stated that if the aquifer were to be contaminated from the tank site, the results would be more disastrous and far-reaching than they could predict. The length of time for recovery would be very long and they cant even begin to predict the huge adverse economic impact it would have. BN has one of the worst contamination track records for industrial pollution. We have no business letting it anywhere near our drinking water, Even with good technology, BNs sloppy and irresponsible practices on ' site will guarantee that we join the ranks of many sites across the nation that are currently cleaning up messes made by railroads. Lucy M. Foeller Post Fulls Spokane people, help us fight tfavat, We have a growing number of concerned citizens in the Post Falls-Rathdrum area organizing to try to prevent Burlington Northern Railroad from building a refueling and fuel storage complex on the aquifer that provides our communities with drinking water. Our countys comprehensive plan is against this type of industrial use.- . I have been surprised by the individuals wide range ofi political backgrounds that have come together for a . ' I common goal. But the one thing that is missing is support i from the largest group that could be affected by this , , , facility. Spokane, where are you? There will be an information meeting at the Goverleaf Grange Hall on Mcguire Road, Post Falls, on May 19 at 7 p.m. Come and help us protect your drinking water. For more information, call 773-2403, 773-5025 or , -, -687-5059. R. Wayne Bailey Post Falls i McClure doesn V deserve bashing : O t r The bitter, vindictive letter by Karen Vogel (April 28) ; regarding former U.S. Sen. J im McClure would be laughable if it werent so ignorant. Vogel probably left her house made of wood (that comes from lumbering) and drove to the newspaper office in a car (made possible by mining) on paved roads- (made possible by mining) to the brick building (that - comes from mining) to have printed (on paper that comes , from lumbering) a letter to the editor, printed by machines or computers (that come from mining), etc. , The saying is absolutely true: If it isn't grown, it has to : f be mined. Food and trees (wood) and cotton are grown. Everything else is mined. I worked for McGure for 24 years. He never voted ope way or another, or changed his vote, because of a campaign contribution. People supported him because of the way he voted, not to change his vote. He supported ; ! our natural resource industries because they make our. J. standard of living possible and create jobs. We live in Idaho because we love the environment. ? McClure loves fishing and camping, and would do nothing to harm either. If all politicians were as honest ' and honorable, as hard-working and level-headed as I McClure, we would never have to mention impeachment,-; Ruthie JohnaQTvi Hayden Lake. Keep in touch We welcome letters of up to 250 words on topics of general interest. All letters are subject to editing. Please sign with your full name (first name, initial, last name) and include a daytime telephone number where you can be reached for verification. Send letters to: Letters to the Editor The Spokesman-Review 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200 Coeurd'Alene, 10 83814 Or fax: (509)459-3802. Or e-mail: U To dictate a letter by telephone, you must call from a touch-tone telephone. Dial 765-8811, codo 4853. In Spokane, call 458-8800 and enter code 4853 . To contact the managing editorOpinion, call 459-5405. If youve had a personal experience you think would make a good Your Turn column, send a two- or three-sentence description to Your Turn, co The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201. ei . 1 1 M I , S Doonesbury 7 W LOOK, BUS IS ABOUT LABI' Wi &RBAK1N&, PLAIN By Garry Trudeau Mallard Fillmore By Bruce Tinsley , m cuntonttes oourumr THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO Ft NO OUT HOW THEY RAISEP MONEY FOR THE '9d CAM- RAIGN-ANQNOUONPER. THEIR CAMPAIGN FINANCE SCHEMES AJERE SCANPALr OUS! UNCONSCIONABLE RIS6USTIN6! IMMORAL sr fi At; IfpPfcP ANP I MgAlrftlte it "-we -to ( -AN eom comcoooz Li peww uia-, . fpjlANthPop fpfvpz rl feerite t u GAMfMsN CimuVMMiaWntfcaa.taMXgrVa, Fuyp that HWAfy ANP L P&t KiNDA A V FAmu TO, y ! i -V

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