Local News

Wallace accomplice charged for helping hide cop shooter

SPOKANE, Wash. - One of Charlie Wallace's accomplices is now in custody in the Spokane County Jail for allegedly hiding him from drug detectives.

Robert Ruth will be staying in jail for a while after a judge refused to reduce his bail, which is currently set at $100,000.

Detectives say Ruth lied to them about Wallace's whereabouts and subsequently set the stage for what could have been a deadly shootout.

As Wallace led police on a high speed chase through north Spokane, regional drug detectives were wondering why Wallace wasn't still behind bars. They had already arrested him on heroin charges, and thought he would stay in jail until his trial, but on May 31 Wallace was released to a Spokane Valley Drug Rehabilitation Facility.

"This right here is his criminal history, it's fairly thick and I question why this individual was allowed to be on the streets of Spokane instead of being in jail where he should have been," Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

Instead of jail, Wallace slipped out of the rehab center and walked across the street to Valley Hospital, where he called a friend who gave Wallace a ride to north of Deer Park. In the hopes of re-arresting Wallace again, drug detectives looked up Wallace's heroin pusher, Robert Ruth.

Wallace accomplice Robert Ruth

Ruth told investigators he had only seen Wallace once after his escape and didn't know where he was, but cell phone records show the men had talked 17 times. That's why detectives started watching Ruth at a property on North Alcan.

This is where the afternoon before the shooting, they saw Ruth helping someone who resembled Wallace loading motorcycles onto a trailer.

When Wallace drove away they followed his Chevy Tahoe and asked two marked patrol units to pull it over. Deputy Mark Spink and Mike Northway were those patrol deputies that pulled Wallace over.

When they pulled over the shooting started, and even as Wallace led police on that chase, when detectives called Ruth if he knew where Wallace was, Ruth told him he didn't know.

In court Friday Ruth's family asked that he be released pending his trial.

"I would like to tell the court my brother is not a risk if he's let out, he will make his court appearances, he has been keeping his life on track," Robin Smith said.

Judge Annette Plese kept Ruth's bail set at $100,000, an unusually high amount for someone accused of rendering criminal assistance.