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Police: West Central homicides not random

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 07:16:21 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 10 2012 08:33:16 PM CST
W. Broadway homicide suspect Tony Callihan
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Police say a pair of murders in West Central Spokane were not random killings and that people living there don't need to be worried about their safety.

Major Crimes detectives say a man found shot to death at Cannon and Bridge last Friday morning had a criminal history and most likely died because of his illegal lifestyle. Meanwhile investigators feel a woman, discovered inside her home at Broadway and Nettleton, was killed by her boyfriend.

That woman was identified by the medical examiner's office Monday afternoon as Michelle Koenen. Koenen, 48, was strangled, according to the medical examiner.

Police have identified the suspect in Koenen's death as Tony Callihan, 48, an ex-con who officers consider armed and dangerous.

If Callihan did kill Koenen it could be his third violent strike.

"He's been around Spokane for years; a lot of officers have had dealings with him," Spokane Police Lieutenant Joe Walker said.

Records show he pistol whipped someone Christmas Day 2001; Callihan was released from the Airway Heights Corrections Center after doing time on an assault charge just last year.

"Mr. Callihan has been involved in a lot of different crimes. I know in my career I've chased him before. He's not one who will typically pull over and give up," Walker said.

Detectives think Callihan stole Koenen's car, a sea foam green or gray 2000 Dodge Stratus. He recently got a number of tickets in Pend Oreille County and may be hiding out there.

"We have sent the information to other law enforcement agencies in the northwest just so they know to watch out for this guy, because we've dealt with him for years and know how dangerous he can be," Walker said.

Police are also looking for the person who shot David Deponte in the head several times while he walked down a West Central alley Friday morning. Deponte also has a criminal history that dates back to 2002.

"It shouldn't be anything for people living in West Central to be concerned about their own safety, so if you're not a crook and you're not dating a crook you're good to go," Walker said.

Evidence and witnesses in these cases can be very fleeting and so investigators are borrowing detectives from the drug unit, officers from their PACT team, and even the US Marshals and Seattle Police Department have joined the search for Callihan.

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