Centennial Trail attack could be related to McGill homicide




Posted on September 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 15 at 11:18 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- An attack on a woman on the Centennial Trail could be related to a brutal homicide in May.

A teenager reportedly attacked a woman as she walked on the trail Thursday afternoon. A Good Samaritan came to the screaming woman’s aid. He chased after the suspect, 17-year-old Avondre Graham, until police arrested him along the Spokane River. KREM 2 is choosing to name this suspect because of his involvement in Thursday's attack.

Graham is a black man with an odd looking eye, according to Ofc. Jen DeRuwe. Police say this matches the suspect description provided by Sharlotte McGill just before she died. McGill was stabbed to death on South Riverton while walking her dog on the Centennial Trail on May 3. Her last words described the attacker who killed her as a black man with a crazy eye, according to witnesses. She said he jumped out of the bushes and stabbed her several times.

DeRuwe says there are many parallels between these two cases.

“The physical description certainly matches. The violence in the attack yesterday matches. The location of the attack matches. All of those things put together are indicative [that] perhaps this is Sharlotte McGill’s killer. That’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves all night,” DeRuwe said.

She adds the department is investigating all of the leads but will not charge anyone in the McGill case until detectives have rock solid proof. Detectives developed a list of possible suspects after McGill’s homicide but are not saying now if Graham was on that list.

Investigators took DNA samples after McGill's murder. The police department said months ago this case had high priority in the crime lab. KREM 2 asked if police have taken a DNA sample from Graham to compare with evidence from the May murder. All police could say is DNA information will be released at a later time.

Graham and McGill lived in the same apartment complex on South Riverton. Little else is known about Graham right now. He transferred out of Bancroft Center, an alternative school under the Spokane School District, in October of 2011. Court records show he was charged in a harassment case in February, when he was suspected of threatening to harm a woman.

Police believe there are more witnesses to the McGill homicide. Officers encourage these citizens to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers.

“Everybody has been waiting for who did this. Now we finally have a big break, a big lead. We are all ecstatic with the fact that maybe we finally get some resolution to her homicide,” DeRuwe said.