Coroner: Murder victim shot multiple times and burned

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 10:02 AM

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash.—The Stevens County Coroner confirmed Tuesday that the body found near Long Lake was David M. Whitman.  He died of multiple gunshot wounds and badly burned according to the Stevens Co. Coroner. Officials believe Whitman's body was set on fire after he was shot.

On Monday, officials said they would need dental records to positively identify the body.

On Friday, Spokane detectives received information that led them to the discovery off Highway 291 near Long Lake.  Detectives believed the body was dumped there a week earlier. Court documents stated that the victim was killed because of stolen money and drugs.

Police have arrested six suspects and are looking for one more.  Several of the suspects faced a judge Monday.

Authorities arrested Benito Baldovinos-Mendoza (40), Domingo Valdovinos (26) , Dillon Casteel (23), Joseph Gillespie (33), and Benito Baldovinos-Mendoza (40).  Teresa J. Geile (52) and Christine D. Morlan (39) are both in the Spokane County Jail accused of kidnapping.  A third kidnapping suspect is missing. Authorities are looking for Jenny K. Rogers (32). Officers described Rogers as 5’ 8” and 130 lbs.

Court documents filed late Friday afternoon revealed the suspects' alleged involvement.

Authorities interviewed the murder victim’s girlfriend who explained what happened. She claimed her boyfriend David M. Whitman, Casteel, and Valdovinos had been trafficking drugs. Court documents stated that the three men were at odds over money. She claimed that Casteel convinced Valdovinos that Whitman had stolen money and drugs.

On February 28, Whitman and his girlfriend went to Gillespie’s home near Maple and Knox. Both Valdovinos and the murder victim were armed according to the girlfriend’s interview with police.  She claimed Valdovinos and Whitman went into a bedroom. She then heard three gunshots and saw Valdovinos, Whitman, and Baldovinos-Mendoza get into a physical fight. She heard a fourth gunshot.  Gillespie then hit her boyfriend with a metal baseball bat according to court records.

The girlfriend told police that Christine D. Morlan and Jenny K. Rogers forced her into a bedroom when she tried to intervene.

Records stated that Valdovinos and Baldovinos-Mendoza restrained her using rope and duct tape. Rogers also would place tape over the woman's mouth according to court records.

She claimed that she hobbled into the living room about 30 minutes later.  Morlan and Rogers were cleaning blood from the floor and walls according to her interview.

The girlfriend claimed that Valdovinos, Casteel, and Baldovinos-Mendoza threatened to kill her and her family if she reported what she saw. She said the suspects made her list her family members’ addresses.  The woman told police she had two choices: “to be killed or go with Casteel.”

She stated that Casteel released her 72 hours later near Bridgeport and Addison. She told police that she had not heard from her boyfriend since Feb. 28.

Records showed that a confidential informant alerted authorities on March 3 to the murder.  The confidential informant said they had been in the victim’s house on Feb. 28.

Police were already looking into the Whitman because of claims that he was dealing large amounts of drugs.

On March 4, the Whitman’s vehicle was found in the Huckleberry’s parking lot near 10th and Monroe.  Security video showed that the vehicle was parked at the store on March 1. Police then had the vehicle impounded according to court records.

On March 6, one person was taken into custody at the home near Maple and Knox. Detectives believed it was the home where the girlfriend and Whitman had been on Feb. 28.

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