Regional News March 26

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) – The wife of a U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians defended her husband in an interview set to air on NBC’s Today show Monday, saying she finds the charges “unbelievable.” Officials say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales wandered off base in southern Afghanistan earlier this month and killed eight Afghan adults and nine children. Karilyn Bales tells Matt Lauer that Bales “loves children. He would not do that.”

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – A pioneering Department of Corrections proposal to reshape probation and parole in Washington state is likely to be passed into law. If passed, most offenders under state supervision would be subject to shorter but more predictable jail terms for minor violations like failing a drug test. More serious violations could result in up to 30 days in jail. The overhaul is expected to save the state as much as $15 million per year. It is in play in the ongoing state budget negotiations.

SHELTON, Wash. (AP) – Divers have recovered the body of a father who drowned, along with his son, in a canoeing accident last week in Mason County. Sheldon Olsen and his 2-year-old son, Jace Olsen, disappeared March 17 after going for a canoe ride on Lake Limerick. The boy’s body was found about three hours later. KOMO-TV reports that the father’s body was recovered Saturday evening as the family was holding a memorial service for the toddler.

BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) – A 71-year-old Bellevue man accused of using a hatchet to kill his wife of 46 years is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail. Bellevue police say James Schumacher killed his 71-year-old wife while she was in bed and waited two days before walking into a police station Friday to report that he killed her. Police say Schumacher told detectives that he was tired of his wife’s verbal abuse.

EPHRATA, Wash. (AP) – The dog owned by a missing Moses Lake man was found Sunday floating in Potholes Reservoir.
The Grant County sheriff’s office says a friend of 64-year-old Dan Toya was walking along Samson’s Beach when he saw the body of the golden retriever in the water. A microchip scan confirmed in was Toya’s dog, Molly.
Toya has been missing since Dec. 23 after taking his dog to a veterinarian. Officials believe he was taking his dog for a walk at Samson’s Beach when he disappeared. No other signs of him have been found in searches over the past three months.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Spokane police used a bean bag gun to subdue a suicidal man who advanced toward officers with a knife.
Police say the man refused commands Sunday night and advanced toward officers with the knife, telling them to shoot him because he wanted to die.
He was hit multiple times with the bean-bag rounds and dropped the knife. When he was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, police say he commended officers for saving his life.
Officers had responded after the 32-year-old man’s parents had left a location for their own safety.
Police say they were able to use their “less-lethal weapons” to end a potentially deadly encounter without anyone being seriously injured.