Two suspects involved in significant criminal cases in Stevens County were recently found competent to stand trial by Eastern State Hospital, giving the Stevens County Prosecutor the ability to move the cases forward.
Eric L Booth, 26, is being charged with the first degree murder of Colville area man Gordon Feist. Feist, 63, was shot during a botched robbery attempt on July 17, 2011. Booth will have a status hearing on Feb. 7 in Stevens County Superior Court.
Co-defendents in the Feist murder, Jesse J. Fellman-Shimmin, 27, and Collette Marie Pierce, 25, have also been charged with first degree murder and have a potential trial date for April 2.
However, court records indicate the trio all made implicating statements to law enforcement regarding killing Feist, potentially bringing trial alternatives to the table.
Eastern State Hospital also found that David Ordway, a Colville man who admitted to detectives he violently shook a 6-week old baby last August, competent to stand trial. The baby suffered severe brain damage from the incident. Ordway will appear in Stevens County Superior Court on Feb. 7 to set a trial date for the case.
Other notable criminal cases that are pending further development include State v.Cosby and State v. Friedlund.
In State v. Cosby, the Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office is charging Craig Raymond Cosby, 68, in the shooting death of his wife, Susan May Cosby.
Cosby was originally booked into the Stevens County jail on a first degree murder charge on Oct. 5, 2009. The delay in bringing the case to trial is partially due to a dispute between Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen and now-retired Superior Court Judge Rebecca Baker who battled each other over whether Baker should preside over the trial.
The delay has caused frustration for the victim’s family, including 28-year-old Kristen Cosby who called the dispute between Rasmussen and Baker “selfish” according to a December article in the Spokesman Review Newspaper.
“I can understand reasonable delays, but I can’t understand unreasonable delays,” Cosby told the Spokesman. “And what is unreasonable is Tim (Rasmussen) and Judge Baker and their petty dispute.”
The disagreement, which went into litigation in the appeals court, has finally been resolved and Judge Alan Nielsen is now appointed to hear the case. Nielsen’s appointment was not due to Judge Baker being removed from the case, but as a default when Judge Baker retired last fall. Cosby will have a hearing on Feb. 7 with a trial date to be set at that time.
The court case of State v. Friedlund is also awaiting further developments this spring, with a tentative trial date reserved for April.
John H.Friedlund, 78, was charged with felony criminal mistreatment after a 105-year-old woman was found in his home, begging for food. Police officers had originally gone to the Friedlund home in Kettle Falls in response to an animal cruelty complaint and found Frances Swan in the home, living in squalid conditions.
Swan was moved to Buena Vista Nursing Home where she celebrated for 106-year Birthday shortly after being rescued from the Friedlund home.