Local Garver target relieved by fugitive's capture
A local family is breathing a sigh of relief with a Spokane fugitive now behind bars.
This week, 25-year-old Anthony Garver was arrested in Western Washington for allegedly stabbing a young woman to death inside her Lake Stevens home.
Authorities have been searching for Garver since February, when he was released from federal prison and failed to check in with his probation officer.
When that happened, a local woman and her family, who we are not identifying out of safety concerns, were forced to go into hiding and move.
"Basically overall, it altered our entire life," the woman said.
"By having to readjust everything, simply just to keep our family protected. So we've moved twice since that time hoping to avoid any contact that he might be able to find us because he's computer savvy," she added.
The woman said she knew Garver well and spent time investing in him for several years. Eventually, she testified against Garver at a federal sentencing hearing.
Because of that testimony, she said Garver threatened to kill her, the prosecutor and federal judge on the case.
"He felt like we betrayed him," she added.
Garver has been in and out of prison for the past decade or so. In 2006, he threatened to blow up a federal building in Spokane. In 2010, he led Montana State Police on a high speed chase. And over the years, he's been the center of not one, but two manhunts. In all, Garver has failed to follow through with the terms of his release three times.
The woman interviewed by KXLY said Garver is mentally ill and did not get the help he needed.
"He had criminal activity, but more so he had mental illness. They gave him the option whether or not to take his medicine or not, which he opted not to take it," she said.
"There was no rehabilitation. So going into the system he had murder on his mind, coming out of the system he had murder on his mind," she added.
The woman believes the media coverage about the manhunt for Garver kept him out of the Spokane area. She believes had it not been for all the coverage, her family may have been Garver's next victim.
She said her heart is heavy knowing a young woman is now dead. Police believe Garver stabbed 20-year-old Phillipa Evans-Lopez more than two dozen times.
"Really grieving for her, for her son," she said.
The woman now hopes Garver's story will encourage the criminal justice system to change the way it operates.
"His problem was so much deeper. Jail was just a time waiting out his punishment. It didn't rehabilitate him. It didn't change him and I thought that was what our system was supposed to do, was to rehabilitate," she added.
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