Saturday, September 20, 2008

Forest Service officer, suspect dead after shootings


SEQUIM -- A U.S. Forest Service officer was shot and killed on the Olympic Peninsula Saturday afternoon while on duty after reporting a suspicious van, and the suspected gunman was killed hours later.

Troopers say Kristine Fairbanks, a 15-year veteran of the Forest Service, was working on Forest Road 2880, off Palo Alto Road, near Sequim when she radioed the State Patrol at about 2:40 p.m. to report a suspicious van and to ask for information.

When the State Patrol radioed back, they received no response. Troopers were immediately dispatched to the scene, located about five miles inside the Olympic National Forest.

When troopers arrived, they found Fairbanks dead from a gunshot wound. The van was nowhere in sight. Sheriff's deputies say Fairbanks had a police dog with her at the time of the shooting, and the dog was found unharmed in Fairbanks' vehicle.

Investigators found the van empty later in the evening, and the suspected gunman was shot to death about 9:30 p.m., State Patrol spokeswoman Krista D. Hedstrom said.

The suspect was identified as 36-year-old Shawn Matthew Roe.

Medical pot patient convicted of growing marijuana

Despite having a doctor's authorization for medical marijuana under state law, a Kitsap County man has been convicted of growing pot.


Despite having a doctor's authorization for medical marijuana under state law, a Kitsap County man has been convicted of growing pot.

Superior Court Judge Anna M. Laurie ruled Friday that Robert Dalton's use of marijuana for chronic lower back pain didn't meet the conditions of the state law legalizing the medical use of the drug because he failed to show his pain was "unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications," such as opiate-based painkillers.

Dalton's lawyers were angered by the ruling and said the judge had no business second-guessing the doctor who recommended Dalton try marijuana.

"If Judge Laurie wants to be a doctor, she should go to medical school," Hiatt told the Kitsap Sun. "No patient in this state is safe if she's right."

Detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team served a search warrant on Dalton's property in August 2007. In court documents, they said they found 88 plants, which they said was well beyond the 60-day supply allowed by law - even though the state Health Department has not defined what constitutes a 60-day supply.

Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Cami Lewis called the decision "the correct result." During closing arguments, deputy prosecutor Coreen Schnepf had argued that opiate medications were relieving Dalton's pain, and that he needed to have pain unrelieved by other medicines to use cannabis.

Hiatt argued that the opiates made Dalton sick and were not effective at quelling his pain.

Dalton faces zero to six months in jail for the felony conviction. His lawyers will ask the judge at an Oct. 17 hearing to suspend any sentence pending their appeal.

With the conviction, Robert Dalton's medical marijuana card is nullified, he said following the verdict. He said he doesn't want to use opiates for pain control because they're addictive.

"I don't want to be a drug addict," he said. "That's why I chose medical marijuana."


Information from: Kitsap Sun,