Squatter, suspected sex offender free in Spokane

Mark Merrifield has nine felony charges against him in Spokane and is at the center of a sexual assault investigation in California. So why is he back on the streets of our city?

We first introduced him as the root problem behind a neighborhood effort to clean up an abandoned home. It had growing trash piles, a junk car and had neighbors fearing for their safety. They say it was all because Merrifield was living there as a squatter.

Two months ago Merrifield was arrested on a variety of charges, a relief for neighbors who say they were finally able to feel at peace and begin the clean up process. But on Wednesday, Merrifield posted his $15,000 cash bond and is now out of jail until his trial.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” said a neighbor who didn’t want their identity revealed. “He’s dangerous, obviously, and even if he didn’t do it there’s always the possibility. You don’t need him roaming the neighborhoods.”

Merrifield is scheduled to stand trial for his Spokane felony charges in February.