Crime, Law and Justice

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like – a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones.

But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest. More and more county jails are switching to privately operated video conferencing systems. Sort of like Skype, for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

Delayed visits

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

  Federal authorities believe the Spokane man accused of sending a ricin-laced letter to a federal judge may have also sent similar poisoned letters to the president, the CIA and Fairchild Air Force Base. 

The FBI says the new letters were addressed in red ink and postmarked May 13 in Spokane. That matches the earlier letters Matthew Ryan Buquet is accused of mailing to a federal judge in Spokane and the downtown post office.

Benton County District Attorney

The Oregon teenager accused of plotting an attack on his high school has obsessive-compulsive disorder brought on in a rare way: a strep infection. That's according to his mother.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

West Albany High School students are praising one of their classmates as a hero. Truman Templeton sounded the alarm that a fellow student was plotting what officials call "mass murder" at his high school. Seventeen-year-old Grant Acord is being held on $2 million bail after his initial court appearance Tuesday.

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.”

Oregon Teen Faces Charges In School Attack Plot

May 26, 2013

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.