Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Man gets 12 years for wife's attempted hanging: He told her noose was part of haunted house

Sean A. Jennings, 38, will spend 12 years in prison for the attempted hanging of his wife in October 2007, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.

By Meghann M. Cuniff

The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE — It wasn't actually a haunted house. Her husband just told her that to get her to the garage.

Now, nearly a year later, Sean A. Jennings, 38, will spend 12 years in prison for the attempted hanging of his wife in October 2007, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.

Along with probation and fines, Jennings can have no contact with his ex-wife, who called police from a Wal-Mart two days after her husband lured her into a noose in the garage by telling her he'd set up a haunted house for Halloween.

Jennings pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, according to Spokane Superior Court documents. He originally faced a first-degree attempted murder charge.

"He just felt horrible about the whole thing," said his public defender, Anna Nordtvedt. "He thought that the offer and the amended charge reflected what happened."

Nordtvedt said Jennings apologized to a judge and has shown only remorse during the time she's spent with him. Neither side would have benefited from a jury trial, she said.

"There were a lot of issues happening with both of them," she said. "It's just a really bad situation, but I think that there were some contributing factors."

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindsey did not return a phone message left late Tuesday afternoon.

The woman said she was working on a computer at the couple's home on North Audubon Street on Oct. 7 when Jennings called her to the garage to see a haunted house. Saying he wanted to surprise her, Jennings blindfolded his wife, then handcuffed her and slipped a noose around her neck after she stepped up on a ladder, according to a Spokane police report.

The two struggled, and Jennings released his wife of a year and a half just as she lost consciousness, according to the report. The woman told police Jennings had told her hanging her was "better than getting a divorce," according to the report.

After his wife regained consciousness, Jennings told her to put aloe vera on the rope burn and then hide it with a neck brace, according to police.

The couple's divorce was finalized a month later, according to newspaper records.

"I think even (she) was just astounded," Nordtvedt said. "Both Sean and I hope that she can get on with things."

Jennings' two children who lived with the couple are being cared for by his parents, Nordtvedt said.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cars vandalized at Lynnwood park-and-ride


LYNNWOOD, Wash. - Imagine getting off the bus after a long shift at work over the holiday weekend only to find your car windows smashed out. That's what is happening to nearly a couple dozen people at a Lynnwood park-and-ride.

The normally packed lot at the Ash Way Park-and-Ride was nearly empty over the holiday weekend. But there were enough cars to interest some vandals who seemed more interested in causing damage than ripping people off.

The calls started coming in about 6:00 a.m. Monday from park-and-ride users who returned to very little left of the car windows.

"I'm just trying to get home without getting injured by all this glass," said Christine Booth, park-and-ride commuter.

Booth is a nurse who parked at the Ash Way Park-and-Ride Sunday night. She is a regular commuter who thinks having one window smashed out to get to her valuables but three smashed out for no reason is just hard to understand.

"I mean, why would they not take anything?" she said. "I have stuff here that's worth quite a bit of money. And they didn't take any of it."

"We heard that about 20 vehicles were broken into," said Tom Pearce, Community Transit spokesman.

Community Transit officials who should be celebrating their largest ridership ever in July with over a million passengers are not happy to find their park and ride filled with glass, strewn personal belongings and having to reassure some angry customers.

"Crime in our park and rides has been down significantly over the last several years and that is due a large part due to our work the Snohomish County Sheriffs," said Pearce.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Department has some good evidence to view. Whoever decided to trash the cars must not have looked up or they would have seen one of dozens of surveillance cameras spraying every nook and cranny of the parking lot.

And solving this crime just might clear up another recent one at another park and ride. Just up the road in Mukilteo, someone pulled off the same kind of crime in the Sounder Park-and-Ride, causing lots of damage but not taking much.

There were some items stolen. Deputies aren't saying much, but that will just add to the list of crimes against the people who did this. It's just a matter of time until deputies find them on the surveillance tapes and put their pictures on the air.