Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Columns: January 2, 2020


January 2, 2020

These reports are from the previous issues of the Daily Bulletin in Colfax. They are reprinted here for the benefit of Gazette readers who reside outside of Colfax. Some accounts have been updated.


John Paul Homer, 39, was booked into the county jail late Dec. 24 after a standoff at a mobile home located in a trailer park on S. Grand in Pullman. Homer was booked into jail on probable charges of obstruction and unlawful imprisonment.

According to the report by Deputy Tyler Langerveld, Homer refused to come to the door of his mobile home after deputies went there with a warrant for his arrest from King County.

Langerveld said he first went to the mobile home to arrest a woman who is wanted on a warrant from Asotin County. The report said Homer was present at the trailer at the time and was reluctant to talk with deputies as they arrested the Asotin County suspect.

After the woman was taken into custody, they ran a check on Homer and discovered the outstanding warrant from King County. Langerveld and Sgt. Michael Jordan returned to the mobile home.

The report said when Homer came to the door he was told he was under arrest for the King County warrant. It said Homer responded by yelling “No, I’m not” and slammed the door.

The report said Langerveld made requests for Homer to surrender and later tried to kick in the door to the trailer.

Three Pullman officers responded to the scene.

The report said Langerveld eventually went to a side door on the trailer and managed to boot it open. He found Homer kneeling in a hallway with his hands behind his back.

The unlawful imprisonment allegation involved a second woman who was at the mobile home. She told the officers she attempted to leave during the standoff, but Homer blocked the door. She said she had just met Homer and had no idea how he would react.

Bond for pre-trial release was set at $25,000. Formal charges have not been filed on the Whitman County allegations.


Two women died Sunday in a head-on collision on Highway 395, south of Ritzville. Three passengers were transferred to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane and two others were taken to East Adams Hospital in Ritzville.

According to the WSP district accident report, the head-on collision was caused by a driver who was headed the wrong direction on the divided highway.

Ramona Gonzales, 57, Spokane, and Jessica Cody, 36, Ritzville, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the report, Gonzales was driving a 2015 Toyota Prius southbound in the northbound lane at mile marker 71 near the East Cunningham Road intersection, and it collided with a 2007 Dodge driven by Jeremiah Cody, 34, Ritzville.

Jessica Cody was a passenger in the Dodge. Two children, ages 5 and 7, and a third passenger were transported to Sacred Heart.

Jeremiah Cody and a 12-year-old passenger in the Dodge were taken to the Ritzville Hospital.


Colfax fire volunteers have surpassed last year’s record for the number of responses they made to calls during this year. The volunteers passed the 1,050 mark and approached the 1,052 total which set a record last year.

The 2019 total has now advanced to 1,083 with a crew dispatched to a call Monday morning. Crews rolled to five medical calls Sunday.


Charges were filed Dec. 24 against a Moscow man who is a suspect in a Uniontown drug arrest Nov. 19. In addition to the alleged drug charge the suspect has been charged with criminal impersonation in the first degree, making false statements to an officer and obstructing justice.

The formal charges were filed against Jacob Frank McConnell, 26, Moscow. He has been summoned to appear in court Jan. 17.

The charges allege McConnell told deputies he was Travis Gessler of Moscow that night when he was arrested.

After formal charges were filed against Gessler, Pullman Attorney Michael Pettit, who was contacted to represent Gessler, said Gessler was raised in Moscow but no longer lived there. Pettit said on the date cited for the arrest in the charge, Gessler was approximately 300 miles away from Uniontown in Oregon where he now resides.

After being informed of the misrepresentation by Petit, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wendy Lierman dropped the charges against Gessler.

The Uniontown case started when residents there in the early morning hours of Nov. 19 said a lowrider pickup truck had pulled into the area and its lights were shut off. They told deputies vehicle prowls had taken place in the neighborhood, and they suspected the pickup could be involved.

Deputies responded to the scene and alleged they discovered a black tar substance which had been dropped by the suspect when he stood to get out of the truck that night. It was determined to be heroin.


A second amendment gun rights lobby session has been scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Endicott Gun Club. The session will begin at 8 a.m. with live internet coverage of events from Richmond, Va., where a hearing will be on proposed bills in the Virginia legislature. Two state senate bills and a house bill are now before the legislature in Virginia.

Also on the agenda are proposals by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on gun law revisions.

Qualified speakers are on the agenda and they will answer questions. Discussion will be conducted.


Prosecutor Denis Tracy Friday announced the county will not file charges against Jesus R. F. German, 22, the Pullman resident who was arrested on a probable charge of arson at the Stubblefield’s Bar in Pullman. German was arrested and jailed after initial investigation of the fire, but he was never charged and all conditions of pre-trial release were exonerated when no charges were filed within 72 hours of his arrest.

Tracy said they have decided to drop the case because the state cannot prove German was the lone person in the restroom during the time frame when a fire was started in a trash can in the restroom.

A Pullman fire investigation report said the fire could have been started in the trash can as long as 3.5 minutes before it was discovered and reported.

Tracy said surveillance cameras in the bar are positioned to show people going into an approach area to the restroom and to other areas of the bar including an order window. As many as eight males went into that area during the 3.5 minute span listed by the fire report.

Pullman officers were called to Stubblefield’s at 47 minutes after midnight Oct. 5, and German was booked into the jail at 5:45 a.m.

The arrest report by Pullman Officer Nathan Prada said the burning trash can was discovered by an employee, and German became a suspect when surveillance videos showed him in the area.

The report alleged German was also suspected because he had a confrontation at Stubblefield’s three weeks prior when a friend of his was ordered out of the bar. He was also found to be in possession of two lighters, according to the arrest report.

A Pullman fire investigator determined waste paper towels in the trash can were intentionally ignited. Other potential sources of ignition, such as a cigarette, were not found among the burned towels.

German told the court during a first appearance he was in his junior year of studies at WSU. He was allowed release on his own recognizance.


Colfax Police Officer Perry Tate returned to the department for light duty Dec. 16 after being out of service with a back injury which he sustained while not on duty. Tate has been out of service since Sept. 26.

Colfax Police Chief Rick McNannay said they will make an appraisal Jan. 1, and he hopes Tate can return to full duty.


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