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Saturday, February 28, 2009

WA- No one would say how inmate was killed

2-28-2009 Washington:

MONROE -- Their code of silence was as strong as the walls that kept them from freedom.

Inmates at the Washington State Reformatory saw what happened to Brian Anderson in the prison yard. They refused to talk about the 1999 brutal attack, at least not enough to help Monroe police and prison officials catch the killer.

Anderson, 31, is on the eight of diamonds in the state's first deck of cold-case playing cards. Snohomish County sheriff's detectives have handed out the cards to jail and prison inmates in hopes of turning up new leads in unsolved homicides and missing person cases.

Anderson is one of two prison inmates in the deck.

Violence landed Anderson behind bars in Monroe. He was serving a 41-year sentence for a vicious attack in 1996 in the Spokane Valley. He kidnapped a woman, raped her and tied her to a tree with wire.

Three years later someone pummeled Anderson in the prison's big yard. The blow was fatal. Anderson collapsed in front of a guard and died a short time later.

His family deserves answers, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

"Somebody did something to him that shouldn't have been done," she said. "I don't know where that person is living. They could be living in our community. We can't tolerate that type of violence."

At the time, investigators believed Anderson was killed over drugs. He was dealing dope to other inmates. Authorities found marijuana hidden in the soles of his tennis shoes. Police believe another prisoner demanded drugs from Anderson. When Anderson refused, he was attacked.

At least two witnesses spoke to authorities. They were afraid to snitch. Both refused to sign a statement or testify in court. The investigation grew cold.

Now, police hope someone will have a change of heart, break their silence, and help bring a killer to justice. ..News Source.. by Diana Hefley


Monroe inmate killing still unsolved

April 3, 2000 Washington:

MONROE - A man who killed in broad daylight may go unpunished, even though authorities think they know who he is, thanks to the unspoken code of prisoners.

Brian Anderson, who was serving a 41-year sentence for rape, collapsed at the Washington State Reformatory last August and died within hours - the apparent victim of a drug robbery gone bad.

"I'm confident that I know who did it," said Vicqui Heuett, the state Department of Corrections' lead investigator on the case. She declined to elaborate.

Police and prison officials believe they have run up against an unwritten code of prison life: Don't openly snitch on another inmate.

That code has kept two inmates who claim to have witnessed the crime from signing a statement or testifying in court.

"They have to live here," Heuett said.

Eight months later, no arrests have been made.

Investigators say they have little hard evidence of who assaulted Anderson, 31, who was known to deal drugs in prison, but Heuett said the two inmate witnesses gave the following account:

About 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11, a prisoner demanded drugs from Anderson while they stood in the yard in the center of the reformatory. When Anderson refused, the inmate punched him, then ordered him to get the drugs.

Anderson instead went into the gymnasium and collapsed. He died in the hospital an hour later.

Investigators at first suspected Anderson had died of a drug overdose or that someone had slipped him a lethal dose of illegal drugs. There was no sign of trauma, he had marijuana on his person, and he'd made a comment about laced drugs shortly before he died, Monroe police Sgt. Brian Johnston said.

But informers soon suggested his death was the result of an assault. Subsequently, the Snohomish County medical examiner found Anderson died of a blow that lacerated his liver.

Heuett said investigators learned of the homicide too late to collect evidence in the yard, and video cameras didn't capture it. She thinks at least four men besides the assailant witnessed the attack - a circumstance that would have it an open-and-shut case had it occurred outside the prison.

But the investigation has ground to a halt. Monroe police, who are leading the investigation, consider the case "open but inactive." Prison officials say their investigation also remains open, but they may have to wait years before a witness decides to speak.

"It's not unheard of for somebody to finish their time and come back to say, `I want to tell you what happened out there,' " Johnston said. ..Source.. by AP

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