I’ve just sent this demand letter to Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick re the death of Ms. Jo Savage in the RPS parking garage in April of 2006.  You can read the entire letter and see all the attachments here and here.

Ron the Cop


January 27, 2009

Dear Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick:

. . . Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick it is now January 2009.  There has never been a complete, thorough, and transparent investigation of Ms. Savage’s death as requested by Sheriff Bamonte.  Mr. Tucker has had the Savage case since September 5, 2008.  Mr. Tucker has not contacted key witnesses in this investigation.  The statue of limitations will toll on the Savage death on April 8, 2009.

Mr. Tucker was quoted in S-R Brunt’s article:

If they need further investigation, Tucker will meet with Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and representatives of the State Patrol to discuss who would take the lead on that investigation. His inclination at this point would be to ask the State Patrol to take the lead, he added.

He will make an announcement on which of the three he will choose “fairly quickly,” Tucker said. “As soon as I can get through the boxes.” [My emphasis]

I believe that Mr. Tucker is attempting to “run out the clock” and thereby precluding any other law enforcement agency from thoroughly investigating and prosecuting this case.  One person should not make the decision whether to file a criminal complaint in the Savage case because of all the important related factors and issues that I discuss e.g., public corruption by an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Mr. Tucker has not responded to my letter of September 23, 2008 in which I demanded:

As Sheriff Bamonte recently wrote, you have substantial conflicts of interests regarding conducting this review.  The principal one being the political endorsements of your candidacy by the S-R whose owners are potential criminal defendants in this case. In my opinion the death of Jo Savage is a very compelling case that can be won in front of an impartial jury once brought to trial by an impartial and competent prosecutor.  I lack that confidence in your office to actively lead this investigation and prosecute this case.  I’m calling on you to immediately recuse your office and refer this case to State Attorney General Rob McKenna to lead/coordinate the investigation and to present its findings to a state grand jury for review whether criminal indictments are warranted.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be calling on you to recuse yourself.  I have never witnessed before in my entire law enforcement career the systemic co-option and corruption of the political and government structures in this community.  In my opinion The Cowles Co, its surrogates, have systemically co-opted and or corrupted governmental officials both elected and appointed. The normal political and governmental controls have failed because of being so thoroughly co-opted and/or corrupted by this incestuous, insidious, and malignant ongoing criminal enterprise/conspiracy. [My emphasis]

The investigation of the Savage case demands public transparency.  The US Attorney’s Office can act with some degree of secrecy in their deliberations.  Jacob Fries succinctly captured the essence of the DOJ’s press conference in his coverage in The Inlander.  The last paragraph is quite telling regarding the transparency of the US Attorney’s Office:

Out with a Whimper

Shook inquired about whom they talked to and Westinghouse said he would not reveal the names of those interviewed. Would any documents from the investigation be released?

“We do not make work product available … because it would be unfair to all those involved,” he said, adding, “You can assume that we took all reasonable steps to explore and to satisfy ourselves that there was no criminal wrongdoing.”

Unsatisfied, reporters chased Westinghouse into the hall after the press conference. An aide shouted at the reporters pursuing the prosecutor: “He won’t be taking any more questions.” [My emphasis]

Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick, you have a duty and responsibility to the citizens of Spokane by your oaths of office independent of those of Mr. Tucker’s to ensure public safety and that justice is served.  Sheriff Bamonte has recently written Mayor Verner, the Spokane City Council, Chief Kirkpatrick and you, saying he has great concern for structural integrity of the RPS parking garage. Sheriff Bamonte alleges the RPS parking garage was not publicly inspected during its expansion or after the “retrofit” following the death of Ms. Savage.  City inspectors were ordered not to inspect the parking garage by city administrators at alleged direction of Betsy Cowles (A garage owner and RPS developer).  Sheriff Bamonte says this lack of inspection coupled with the resultant Savage death poses an imminent public hazard. I would strongly encourage each of you to immediately investigate Sheriff Bamonte’s complaint and take all appropriate action to mitigate any imminent danger to the public.

I strongly concur with former Sheriff Bamonte that there is strong compelling probable cause that the facts and circumstances surrounding Jo Savage’s death arise to the level of criminal negligence, to wit, recklessly causing the death of another – a First-Degree Manslaughter under Washington state law (RCW 9A.32.060).  I formally demand you act to ensure a complete, thorough and transparent investigation of Jo Savage’s death in the RPS Parking Garage is completed.  I would strongly encourage you to conduct such a criminal investigation independently of Mr. Tucker to discharge your own sworn duty and responsibility to the citizens of Spokane.  I have very serious doubts that Mr. Tucker is actually doing anything other than attempting to run the clock out.  Further no one person should make this decision whether to file a criminal complaint because of the magnitude of this case and alleged public corruption.

For the reasons I discuss this investigation must be carried out with the aid of a grand jury, which only then after reviewing all the evidence, decides whether any criminal indictments are warranted in the death of Ms. Savage.  To discharge your duty to the people of the State of Washington, I strongly recommend that you publicly call on Mr. Tucker to immediately recuse himself.  Further that he ask Attorney General Rob McKenna to lead the Savage investigation and impanel a state grand jury to review the evidence.  If Mr. Tucker refuses, then I strongly recommend you formally request that Governor Christine Gregoire, who has the statutory power, order Mr. McKenna to do so.  I caution your failure to act independently of Mr. Tucker may cause your involvement in a civil class action RICO suit that is likely if the Savage case is not brought to trial because of any obstruction of justice [18 U.S.C. § 1964(c)]


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)



See cover letters with my demand letter to Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick to:

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker

State Attorney General Rob McKenna

Governor Chris Gregoire


Whoa here’s a surprise:

State may look into RPS garage death

Prosecutor wants input, still considering charges

Jonathan Brunt / Staff writer


Tags: Jo Savage River Park Square steve tucker

View previous stories and documents.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said this week that he may ask the state attorney general’s office to help decide if manslaughter charges should be brought in the case of a woman who died when her car fell from the River Park Square mall’s parking garage.

Tucker said he has reviewed the four boxes of evidence that were turned over to him in September by federal prosecutors, who investigated the 2006 incident as well as accusations of fraud connected to the redevelopment of the mall in the late 1990s.

River Park Square and the mall’s garage are affiliates of the Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

For several months, some critics of the Cowles Co., including former Pend Oreille County Sheriff Tony Bamonte, have urged Tucker to turn the decision over to the state.

Tucker said given the controversy over the garage, consideration by another source might be in order. He said he will decide the direction of the case as early as next week.