To All:

This is a dark day in the history of Spokane.  Our elected and appointed officials have failed we whom have empowered them to govern on our behalf.  This was a simple case to prove.  There is compelling probable cause to file this case.  Tucker failed to do his job.  No complete and thorough criminal investigation was ever done that would have obtained key testimony that would have made this case.  This is basically putting the cart way before the horse.  Tucker has no basis for making a rational filing decision without the benefit of such a criminal investigation.  This case warranted prosecution in front of an impartial jury that could render a verdict whether guitly or not. Tucker’s action (lack of action) precluded the compelling evidence from being presented in open court in front of a jury.  This is a travesty of justice for the citizens of Spokane.

Tucker’s press release

Ast. Attorney General Marlow’s letter to Tucker.

My formal response to AP Reporter Nick Geranios:

April 3, 2009

Nicholas Geranios
AP reporter – Spokane, WA

RE:  Press Release from Co Prosecutor Tucker – No criminal charges in Savage manslaughter case

Dear Mr. Geranios

Thank you for soliciting my comment concerning the failure of Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker to investigate the April 8, 2006 death of Jo Ellen Savage in the River Park Square parking garage as first-degree manslaughter.

By way of introduction and as to why I am qualified as an expert to have a professional opinion in the Savage case.  I am a recently retired law enforcement investigator having served for thirty-five years in a large Southern California City – Riverside, CA.  I have worked or assisted in many diverse investigations including thefts, burglaries, robberies, sex crimes, and homicides.  I have worked complex cases involving ongoing criminal conspiracies; economic, financial, political conflict of interests crimes, fraud, forgery, and ID theft related crimes as well as high tech computer related crimes. I graduated number one academically from a California POST basic academy and posses a CA POST Advanced Certificate.

I have a graduate degree in administration from the University of California, Riverside, including course work in public planning and financing.  I have an undergraduate degree in political science from California State University, Fullerton (With honor).  I have an AA degree in the police science from Riverside Community College (With distinction). I am a two-term president of the Riverside Police Officers’ Association.  I was a multi-term president of a statewide investigators association that dealt with the complex financial regulation and enforcement of state laws of collateral lenders (pawnshops) in the State of California. I also served as a planning commissioner in the City of Grand Terrace, CA (See attached vitae).

I successfully investigated hundreds if not over a thousand criminal cases some of which included complex criminal conspiracies.  I worked closely with our district attorney’s office to file and successfully prosecute these cases.  I’m totally at a loss as to how Mr. Tucker can make a make a rational criminal filing decision without having complete and thorough criminal investigation to review. No such investigation to my knowledge has been done into her horrifying death in the RPS parking garage as thoroughly documented in Larry Shook’s reporting at Girl from Hot Springs.  Reliable sources have told me that key witnesses have never been interviewed. In my professional opinion all of the law enforcement agencies with a duty and responsibility to conduct such an investigation have failed to act as legally and ethically required. They have all turned a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence supporting the criminal  prosecution of Ms. Savage’s death. Based on my professional law enforcement experience, I believe this conduct perpetuates the deeply entrenched public corruption in Spokane that revolves around the Cowles family’s abusive media practices. As has been well established during the River Park Square scandal, the Cowles family punishes critics of its business practices with critical editorial content and effectively rewards its co-conspirators with favorable editorial content or editorial content that skillfully obscures evidence of misconduct. For evidence of this pattern of practice, please see my comments in “Deathtrap” at  in deference to or from fear of retribution/retaliation from the Cowles family.

I recently wrote Mr. Tucker expressing my dismay as to his conduct.  I presented him with additional information regarding the “rebar” placement in the concrete spandrels in the RPS parking garage.  It was one of these spandrels that failed, killing that caused the death of Ms. Savage.  This hazard, as abundantly documented, was well known to the owners of the parking garage for some FIFTEEN YEARS and they did nothing to mitigate this hazard because of economic reasons. This is simple prima facie evidence of reckless disregard for human life on the part of the Cowles family, which is the relevant first-degree manslaughter legal element in Ms. Savage’s death.  Further, the Cowleses clearly dumped this hazard on the City of Spokane without the public’s knowledge.

Please consider, the city entered into what the IRS labeled an appraisal “scheme” to launder in excess of $10 million dollars more that the garage was worth into Cowles real estate companies. One would think that for such a generous payment the Cowles family would have turned over a state of the art facility to the city, and certainly one that did not threat to kill its patrons. Instead, the Cowleses turned over a facility that several engineering studies show was in an advanced state of decay. Moreover, the 1993 Jacobson study, commissioned by the Cowleses themselves, showed that the garage’s barriers represented a deadly hazard. Did the Cowleses disclose that study to the city as part of the River Park Square “public/private partnership?” If they did, there will be a public record of that. That record will have clearly created a duty on the part of the City of Spokane to protect the public from the hazard that killed Ms. Savage. If the city had that information and did not act on it, that failure of ordinary care makes the city directly responsible for Ms. Savage’s death. If the Cowles family failed to inform the city of the Jacobson warning, it underscores the culpability of specific Cowles family members in the first-degree manslaughter death of Ms. Savage.

Please note: former City of Spokane real estate manager Dennis Beringer insists that the city was never informed of the Jacobson warning. However, Mr. Beringer says he did perform an assessment of the RPS garage’s condition, under assignment from the city council, and found the garage in such serious disrepair that he refuses to park in it himself because he regards it unsafe. You should be able to obtain the Beringer garage report from the City of Spokane, according to Mr. Beringer. Mr. Beringer may be contacted at 789-4302. The Cowleses, of course, have maintained that the spandrel that failed and killed Ms. Savage met building code. That their own engineer had informed the Cowleses that they should assume all the garage’s barriers would fail, and that the Cowles had been replacing as many as three failed barriers annually for many years prior to Ms. Savage’s death, according to former Cowles garage manager Rex Franklin (Sworn depo in Savage civil case) underscores the Cowles family’s callous disregard for public safety. I brought this matter to Mr. Tucker’s attention and he simply ignored it, a clear dereliction of duty, in my opinion. they attempted to off load this liability to the City of Spokane in the RPS bond fraud et al. The issue of these spandrels meeting building code standards is a red herring as I explained to Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick in a discussion with Robert Rembert, the attorney that represented the Savage family in the civil action, that I included in my email to Mr. Tucker.

In another email I wrote to Mr. Tucker:

I won’t bore you with the details yet again, but it is my professional opinion based on my training, education and experience that there is very strong, compelling probable cause based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Jo Savage in the RPS parking garage to file a criminal complaint for 1st Degree Manslaughter (RCW et seq.), brought to trial and prosecuted in front of an impartial jury. This case needs to be tried and let a jury decide guilt or innocence and no one else.   Specifically to charge those that had direct knowledge of an imminent public hazard, that failed to provide ordinary care and/or due diligence to garage patrons by remedying and/or mitigating this hazard that was the proximate cause of Jo Savage’s horrifying death.

. . . Admittedly there are many both private and public persons alike that had a hand in Savage’s death, the persons who should be charged are those with direct knowledge of the repeated barrier failures, the two known vehicles that hung precariously over the edge in the 1990’s,  Atwood-Hinzman engineering report’s recommendations and other engineering reports over the ensuing years, and for economic self-interest reasons failed to act.  This is a very small group.

The Savage case is not complicated.  It is an easy case to present to a jury which can easily understand the evidence and render a verdict.  The Savage death case is the Achilles’ heal of this criminal enterprise.  Savage’s death in my opinion is only one of many illegal acts committed by or on behalf of this ongoing criminal enterprise/ conspiracy led by the Cowles Co. . .

The real issue of whether the RPS garage is safe for occupancy continues. To me this is a much more important issue than whether Mr. Tucker files any criminal charges. We’ve already had one death in this garage.  Is there any assurance to the public that there will be no further structural failures.

In my opinion there has been sufficient concern raised that the City should compel the immediate impartial inspection of the RPS parking garage as per Steve Rudd’s opinion as reported in the Girl from Hot Springs to determine if the RPS parking garage  is indeed safe or not for continued occupancy.   To do otherwise considerably raises the stakes and potential liability to the City should there be another death/injury occur.  As a stakeholder in the City who will ultimately have to pay for any civil damages, I would expect those whom the citizens of Spokane have chosen to govern to error on the side of caution.

I have previously stated on several occasions that I consider the criminal evidence surrounding the entire RPS project to suggest that Cowles family activities, and local government’s accommodation of them, constitute a pattern of organized crime. Prosecutor Tucker’s failure to bring criminal charges concerning Ms. Savage’s death reinforces my opinion. I consider his actions to be a terrible black eye for law enforcement in Spokane. Even worse, Mr. Tucker’s failure to act leaves the citizens of Spokane vulnerable to one of the most serious criminal menaces I have ever encountered in my thirty-five years in law enforcement.

Neither I or my family will be parking in the Cowles garage until it is proven safe.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)