‘I’m glad I did what I did’: Car salesman helps stop suspected killer on carjacking spree

SPOKANE, Wash. — Two men are accused of nearly decapitating a woman inside the Rodeway Inn and court documents filed in Spokane County District Court show there’s a chance police could still be looking for one of the suspects if it weren’t for a group of people who work near the hotel along North Division Street.

Anthony Fuerte, 27, and Lionel White, 32, have been charged with second degree murder and pleaded not guilty in front of a judge Monday.

The victim’s body was found Friday. Her name has not yet been released, but according to court documents, she was in her mid-20’s. A hotel maid saw blood on the door handle of room 37 Friday then called police when she found the woman laying lifeless on a bed, nearly decapitated and naked from the waist down. She told police the day before she found the body, White put bloody towels outside their room and told her he needed new ones.

RELATED: Court docs: Woman found dead in Spokane motel nearly decapitated

White told detectives he was staying in the room with Fuerte and Fuerte’s “girl,” but left when the two started fighting. White denied hurting the woman and said he didn’t know she was dead.

Lionel White

Lionel White

When police got to the scene Friday, they had no idea sheriff’s deputies arrested one of the suspects the day before.

Fuerte was booked into jail Thursday after a string of carjacking attempts. It started at the Arrota’s Automax & RV lot when a Jimmy John’s employee told sales representative Conair Fleck there was a man hiding in the trunk of a Corvette on the lot.

“Guy hops out covered in blood, told him to get out of here,” Fleck said. “He starts running down the street and then our gut feeling was just to run with the guy, so we ran down the street with him.”

Fleck told 4 News Now exclusively he and a handful of others stopped Fuerte from breaking into other cars on the way to Wake Up Call Coffee, two blocks north of the lot.

Anthony Fuerte mugshot

Anthony Fuerte

“He tried to get into Wake Up Call’s window,” Fleck said. “I pulled him from that, pulled him from the customer that was actually in the drive through at the time.”

That customer was actually the mother of a barista inside, who called the police. Out of fear for her safety, the barista told 4 News Now she wanted to remain anonymous.

“It meant more than words can really say to see so many people that, you know, come to the stand everyday — that guys around us would step up and you know, protect us like that,” she said in a phone interview. “He honestly would’ve gotten away until the police maybe could’ve found him.”

She watched as a group of nearby employees held Fuerte down until deputies could get to them. Little did either of them know, Fleck was helping to stop a suspected killer.

“I was in shock. I definitely was in shock for a good hour. I didn’t know what to say, how to process it,” Fleck said as he described getting word of the murder investigation the next day. “It took quite a bit of time for him to get actually arrested at the time, so I’m glad I did what I did.”

A judge raised the bond for both Fuerte and White from $750,000 to $1 million Monday.