SPOKANE, Wash. - Update 9/21/16: Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has officially requested the Spokane County Republican Party denounce Rep. Matt Shea.
Knezovich sent the following e-mail to Spokane GOP Chairman, Dave Moore, on Tuesday night:
I am formally requesting that the Spokane County Republican Party denounce Matt Shea's defamatory accusations concerning Deputy Travis Pendell. I also request that the party formally censure Shea for his continual attacks on the deputies of the Spokane County Sheriff's office.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich"
Matt Shea hasn't responded to KXLY 4 News' requests for an interview.
Original story 9/19/16: A state legislator saying a triple murder suspect has ties to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office has Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich firing back, saying the allegations are lies meant to undermine the department.
Representative Matt Shea from Spokane Valley's 4th Legislative District made the claim about the ties in his podcast.
Now, Sheriff Knezovich says he won't endorse any Republican candidate running for office who supports Shea and says he wants a town hall style meeting to address the allegations.
It started last year as a triple homicide in Colbert, Wash. The suspect, Roy Murry, a former Spokane County Sheriff's Office volunteer.
"There were rumors that Roy Murry was somehow connected to Ozzie Knezovich and the sheriff's department," said State Representative Shea on his August 15th podcast. "Somebody that is in jail right now, charged with a triple homicide, a gun traces back to a sheriff's deputy."
Sheriff Knezovich responded; saying Murry did give Deputy Travis Pendell three guns because he wasn't legally allowed to own them. Pendell legally transferred two of those guns to another person. One of those guns was returned to Murry, but was not the same caliber used in the killings. The murder weapon has still not been found.
Knezovich said Shea is trying to undermine the department's integrity by insinuating a deputy was indirectly involved in the murder .
"It's time for Matt Shea to be held accountable for his lies," said Sheriff Knezovich.
Last week, Shea appeared to change his tune posting this to Facebook:
"The question of were any firearms that were transferred by Roy Murry later involved in the murder is likely answered no, and Deputy Pendell is completely innocent of anything other than being there and doing the right thing."
"When the pressure starts hitting and suddenly he gets caught in a lie, suddenly he starts backtracking," said Sheriff Knezovich.
The sheriff said the attack on deputies' reputations has to stop.
"I am challenging, right here, right now, Matt Shea to meet me at any town hall," said Sheriff Knezovich. "I will address any and all allegations he and his henchman have."
Matt Shea did not return our call or e-mails today and his press secretary told KXLY4 that the chances he would do so was very slim.