The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, July 03, 2015, Image 8

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Pot: Busy week for mariiuana bills Murder: 26 years
Continued from Page 1A
cleared the Senate Tuesday.
It was a busy week for
marijuana bills in Salem.
Lawmakers also passed a
broad bill to regulate the
state's existing medical mar-
ijuana program and set up
the new recreational pot reg-
ulatory system.
That legislation, House
Bill 3400, also includes a
seed-to-sale tracking system
for recreational pot and will
allow elected officials in
cities and counties where at
least 55 percent of the elec-
torate voted against Measure
91 to pass bans on recre-
ational and medical marijua-
na businesses. Brown signed
the bill into law this week.
The ballot measure was
approved by a majority of
voters in Clatsop County
and in Astoria, Warrenton,
Gearhart, Seaside and Can-
non Beach, so the coun-
ty and city governments
would not be able to take
Grosia Wozniacka/Associated Press
Bear Westerlind, an employee at the medical marijua-
na dispensary Kaya Shack, displays different types of
marijuana flowers sold at the shop in Portland. A bill
awaiting Gov. Kate Brown's signature would allow dis-
pensaries to sell to recreational customers on Oct. 1.
advantage of the provision
in the law.
A third marijuana bill,
which will replace the har-
vest tax on pot in Measure
91 with a 17 percent sales
tax intended to generate
roughly the same amount
of revenue, also passed in
the Senate this week. House
Bill 2041 is also awaiting
Brown's signature.
"These bills represent
a session-long, bipartisan
consensus that respects
the will of the voters and
provides the safeguards
and funding necessary to
from Page
Paee 1A
Continued from
regulate the recreational
marijuana industry in Ore-
gon," Sen. Ginny Burdick,
D-Portland, said in a writ-
ten statement this week.
Burdick was co-chair of a
legislative committee that
drafted the bills.
Senate Minority Leader
Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day,
said the bills were some of
Oregon lawmakers' best
have asked, 'Why not just
implement the will of the
people as outlined in Mea-
sure 91, passed by voters
in 2014?'" Ferrioli said
in a written statement this
week. "But making canna-
bis available for recreation-
al use has been the most
complex public policy issue
of the decade. I believe the
Legislature has done a re-
markable job of balancing
the interests of recreational
users with protections for
medical users and respect
for local control."
Fireworks: Police to be in full force this weekend
Continued from Page 1A
Celebrate responsibly
Astoria Police will also be
out in ftill force this weekend.
"The one thing we deal with
every year is calls of illegal
fireworks or people firing fire-
works off late at night," Deputy
Chief Eric Halverson said. "We
do our best to respond to those
Shooting off illegal fire-
works in Oregon is a class B
misdemeanor with a maximum
fine of $2,500 and six months
in jail.
Halverson said illegal fire-
works are often brought over
the Astoria Bridge from Wash-
ington state, where the same
fireworks are legal. Sometimes
people intentionally smuggle
the fireworks into Oregon and
other times they do not realize
the different state laws, he said.
"With all things, if you are
going to celebrate, celebrate
responsibly," Halverson said.
"Make responsible decisions for
yourself and the community."
One beachgoer climbed on top of his truck to record the deafening spectacle of hun-
dreds of fireworks exploding simultaneously last Fourth of July on the Long Beach,
Wash., Peninsula.
Lease: Bones of building still good
Continued from Page 1A
bills as of June 5. As of last
month, Smithart also owed
the county $16,000.
Knight said he has run
out of patience. But the urge
to start eviction proceedings
against Smithart, he added,
is tempered by the elongat-
ed legal process it would
Knight has previously
said finding a new operator
for the hotel is the preferred
outcome. But Smithart is
not obligated to transfer his
lease to Sonpatki, Knight
said, and he could also bring
in an investor with less than
a 50 percent interest in the
hotel without Port Commis-
sion approval.
A month ago, the Port
Commission agreed to the
lease transfer contingent on
the debts being paid. The
commission also agreed to
a $3O,OOO yearly reduction
in rent, along with a reduc-
tion from 10 to 7 percent in
the gross revenue the Port
shares in from the hotel.
On the hook
Sonpatki said Param Ho-
tel Group is still trying to
work something out with
Smithart and hoping for a
September opening.
He originally approached
the Port in October with an
idea to take over operation
of the Riverwalk Inn, with a
similar model to the sever-
al budget hotels Sonpatki's
group operates in the Port-
land metro area.
But Smithart and the
Riverwalk Inn are also re-
ceiving interest from Ches-
ter Trabucco, a former com-
mercial developer in Astoria
who invested millions into
the Hotel Elliott before sell-
ing the property in 2010.
Trabucco said he is inter-
ested in the highest and best
use of the Riverwalk Inn,
adding he has not made any
"Clearly, you're not
starting fresh with a clean
palette," Trabucco said.
"You have to work with
what is there."
But with the right atten-
tion to detail, he said, the
bones of the building are
still good.
and do more research before de-
ciding which option to pursue.
The crime
On Sept. 11,2OO9, Roseburg
businessman and former police
officer Brian Brush shot his
ex-fiancee, Lisa Bonney, four
times with a shotgun. The shoot-
ing occurred on the Long Beach
boardwalk, in full view of three
visiting police officers and other
witnesses. Brush was arrested
immediately and convicted of
first-degree murder and several
"aggravating factors" during the
subsequent trial.
During sentencing, prosecu-
tors argued that Brush should
get extra time because the crime
was a case of aggravated do-
mestic violence. Judge Michael
Sullivan sentenced Brush to
83 years in prison, with an ad-
ditional 5 years tacked on for a
"firearm enhancement."
In order to convict Brush of
aggravated domestic violence,
the jury had to find that the
killing was part of an ongoing
pattern of abuse that involved
"multiple incidents over a pro-
longed period of time."
Before the jurors went into
deliberation, Sullivan provid-
ed them with excerpts from a
widely used document called
the "Washington Pattern Jury
Instructions" that helps jurors
understand how trials work
and how to perform their du-
ties. The instructions explained
that '"prolonged period of time'
means more than a few weeks."
Even though the instructions
are written and approved by a
panel of respected defense at-
torneys, prosecutors and judges
— including a state Supreme
Court justice — the trial court's
attempt to provide clarity for the
jurors ended up invalidating the
Brush appealed to the state
Court of Appeals on several
grounds. In 2014, the appeals
court rejected most of his argu-
ments, but agreed that Sullivan
could have influenced the ju-
rors' decisions by providing the
In response, the state asked
the Supreme Court to review the
appeals court decision. The Su-
preme Court accepted the case
and heard arguments in January.
According to the opinion
Thursday, "TV.^
"The itictm^tirm
defining 'prolonged period of
time' essentially resolved a fac-
tual question for the jury and
thereby constituted an improper
comment on evidence."
Sentencing scenarios
In Washington state, the
standard sentencing range for a
person convicted of first-degree
murder is 240 to 320 months in
prison. But Sullivan believed
he was permitted to impose an
exceptionally severe sentence
because the jury determined
there were three "aggravating
factors." They are: deliberate
cruelty toward the victim during
the crime, aggravated domestic
violence, and inflicting injuries
that exceeded the level of bodily
harm typically associated with
the offense.
During the hearing, Bon-
ney's family members repeat-
edly emphasized that the long
sentence was one of few small
consolations in a terrible ordeal.
Speaking to Judge Sullivan,
Bonney's father, Gene Klingler,
said, "I want him behind bars
without parole so that every
day of his life he will remember
what he did."
Brush, 47 at the time of
the murder, spent about three
months in Pacific County Jail
before being transferred to await
his trial in a Washington State
Prison near Shelton in Janu-
ary 2010. So far, he has served
about 70 months behind bars.
Before the Court of Appeals
ruling, he was theoretically due
for release no later than 2097, at
the unattainable age of 135. This
amounted to a life sentence.
Unless one or more of the
aggravating factors is re-estab-
lished by the Washington Su-
preme Court, Brush's sentence
would likely be reduced to no
more than 320 months — 26
years and 8 months — with
credit for time already served.
In addition, in Washington
state inmates typically receive
one-third off their sentences
for "good time" — time served
without major disciplinary
problems. Taking all this into
consideration, he could end
up being released at the age
of about 65, if he is sentenced
to the top end of the standard
range and has avoided prob-
lems in prison.
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Our friendly and dedicated Physicians
and Physician Assistants are available
for all of your routine healthcare
needs, not just for emergency
Hotelier Brad Smithart,
who operates Astoria Riv-
erwalk Inn through Hospi-
tality Masters, owes a lot
of money to the Port of
Astoria, city and Clatsop
If you're suffering from a headache,
toothache, earache, backache, any
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of your prescription medications, or
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We are open 7 days a week
from 9:OOam to 7:OOpm. We are
located in the Park Medical Building
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most insurances, offer a cash discount
and also accept the Oregon Health
Plan and Medicare.
We observe the following holidays & are closed on July
4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's Day.
i i • r i
r ;
JOSHUA BESSEX —The Daily Astorian
The Astoria Riverwalk Inn as seen from the West End Mooring Basin Thursday.
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pricing to E"R costs!