Crime, Law and Justice

Benton County District Attorney

A judge in Benton County, Ore. has set bail at $2 million for a 17-year-old accused of plotting to bomb West Albany High School. The student -- Grant Acord -- appeared in court on a video link to face 19 counts. They include attempted aggravated murder and illegal manufacture and possession of bombs and weapons.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

A 17-year-old student from Albany, Oregon appeared in court this afternoon Tuesday on charges of plotting to bomb his high school. On the first day back for students, the sign in front of the campus Tuesday says simply, “West Albany High School is family.” Tanner Whitley is a senior there.

“It was really scary when we came back at first because we didn’t know what to expect," Whitley says. "But as we come back, it’s kind of nice to be back with everyone here because everybody seems a little bit tighter right now.”

An Oregon teenager will be in court Tuesday on charges that he was planning to set off bombs at his high school. The court appearance comes on the same day that students return to West Albany High School for the first time since police uncovered the alleged plot. 

The 38-year-old man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to a federal judge and the Spokane post office had an active social media presence. But his online profiles contain no hints at a grudge toward the federal government.

This was also not his first run-in with the law.

Federal agents in hazmat gear searched Matthew Ryan Buquet’s apartment last Saturday for evidence related to ricin, a dangerous toxin made from castor beans.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Federal agents in hazmat suits and SWAT gear searched a Spokane apartment Saturday morning. They were looking for evidence connected to a pair of ricin-laced letters sent through the mail. The letters were addressed to a federal judge in Spokane and to the post office itself. 

Authorities Search For Person Who Sent Ricin-Laced Letters

May 17, 2013
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The FBI is trying to find the person who sent two threatening letters containing deadly ricin in Spokane. One of the letters was addressed to a federal judge.

It's back to work-as-usual at Spokane’s historic Post Office after the two letters made it into the mailstream here. Police say the discovery prompted an evacuation. Authorities don't believe any workers were exposed to the highly toxic substance, but they are remaining tight-lipped about the case.

Representatives from the FBI and local police declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

There’s a new development in the case of a Richland, Wash. florist who refused to sell flowers for a same sex couple’s wedding. The business owner’s lawyers announced a counter suit Thursday saying the florist “will not wilt.”

The owner of Arlene’s Flowers argues there are plenty of other shops in the Tri-Cities that could cater to a gay or lesbian wedding. But lawyers for Barronelle Stutzman say she’s refusing that business because of her religious beliefs.

Jay Plater / Flickr

Some environmental groups say they're being unfairly targeted by legislation working its way through the Oregon capitol. A pair of measures take aim at protesters who get in the way of tree harvesting operations on state-owned forest land.

One bill would make it easier for timber companies to sue protesters. Another would increase criminal penalties for people who block logging operations.

Or, as Republican representative Wayne Krieger put it on the House floor, "The bill addresses environmental terrorism."

US Department of Transportation

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and lawmakers want to move swiftly to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. This after two recent high profile tragedies in Seattle. But Thursday they got some pushback from judges, prosecutors, civil libertarians and even the restaurant industry.

It’s a classic case of the devil’s in the details. Take ignition interlock devices. There’s a proposal to install them at the impound lot after a drunk driver is arrested. But the installers say that isn’t technically feasible and lawyers question whether it’s legal prior to a conviction.

In a case that’s garnered national attention, a gay couple is suing their once favorite florist in southeast Washington. The case filed Thursday, is in addition to the anti-discrimination lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General last week.

Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, both professionals in the Tri-Cities, have been a couple for almost nine years. The ACLU is bringing their case agains Arlene’s Flowers. The shop refused to sell flowers to the couple for their September wedding.

Doug Honig with the ACLU says that violates the Washington’s anti-discrimination law.

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