SPOKANE< Wash. - Multiple arrests were made over the weekend in the kidnapping and murder of David Whitman, an alleged drug dealer who, according to court documents, was killed when other drug dealers suspected him of stealing from them.
Police think a northwest Spokane duplex is the location where Whitman was shot several times and beaten with a baseball bat. Detectives say before it was over more than a half dozen people had participated in a chilling murder designed to create fear among anyone who did business with this group of drug dealers.
On February 27 a confidential informant told Spokane Police that Whitman was dealing large amounts of drugs in the area. The next day Whitman's suppliers, who perceived Whitman was stealing from them, lured him and his girlfriend to a home at the intersection of Knox and Maple.
"The informant then told police that Whitman's car had been abandoned at the Huckleberry's on the South Hill and that surveillance cameras showed someone ditching the vehicle and then driving away in a second car," Spokane Police Captain Brad Arleth said.
Witnesses say Whitman went into a bedroom where he was allegedly shot by Domingo Valdovinos and then hit with a baseball bat by resident Joe Gillespie, a tenant who allegedly asked nearby neighbors to overlook any suspicious activity inside the duplex.
"He's like if you ever hear any troubles going on don't worry about calling the cops, he said, 'We'll handle it ourselves, so by him saying that, it seemed a little odd," neighbor Travis Corneil said.
Once Whitman was unconscious, Christine Morlan helped to scrub blood spatter off the crime scene walls. Meanwhile Whitman's remains were taken to state forestry land near Tum tum where his body was dumped.
"We have located a deceased individual at this location and at this time we believe its connected to our ongoing investigation involving a kidnapping that occurred some time in the past week in the city," Arleth said.
An autopsy confirmed Whitman suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. As for his girlfriend, she was released after being held captive for 72 hours, but only after she was forced to look up her own family on Google and was told they would all be killed if she ever told police about what happened to her.
Spokane Police have arrested the following individuals in the kidnapping of Whitman and his girlfriend and Whitman's murder:
- 23-year-old Dillon L. Casteel was arrested and booked into the Kootenai County Jail on one count of 1st Degree Kidnapping.
- 26-year-old Domingo Valdovinos Navarro was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on two counts of 1st Degree Kidnapping and one count of 1st Degree Aggravated Murder
- 33-year-old Joseph W. Gillespie was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on two counts of 1st Degree Kidnapping.
- 40-year-old Benito Baldovinos-Mendoza and booked him into the Spokane County Jail on two charges of 1st Degree Kidnapping.
- 52-year-old Teresa J. Geile was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on two counts of 1st Degree Kidnapping.
- 39-year-old Christine D. Morlan was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on two counts of 1st Degree Kidnapping.
Spokane Police are actively searching for a sixth suspect, Jenny Rogers, on kidnapping charges. Rogers, 32, is a white female and is 5'8", 130 lbs. and has brown eyes and brown hair. If you see her you are asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.