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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 16, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Man accused of killing 3 in Idaho fights extradition from Washington

The Associated Press

COLFAX, Whitman County — A man suspected of fatally shooting three people — including his mother — before leading authorities on a high-speed chase is fighting extradition back to Idaho.

John Lee’s decision Friday to not waive the formal extradition process means Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter will have to request extradition from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Lee faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree attempted murder in Idaho.

Lee, 29, carried out the shootings on Jan. 10, authorities say.

“He’s not going to waive extradition at this time,” defense attorney Steve Martonick said Friday.

The short hearing was held in a packed courtroom that included friends of the victims. Lee, who remains on suicide watch, said little other than to plead not guilty to the eluding charge, the result of the chase that occurred after the slayings. Lee has offered no motive for the killings, Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said.

Lee fatally shot his mother, landlord and an Arby’s restaurant manager at three separate locations in Moscow, Idaho, authorities say.

Police were first dispatched to the office of Northwest Mutual financial services in Moscow after receiving a 911 call from shooting victim Michael Chin, 39, according to court documents.

Officers found David Trail, 76, with multiple gunshot wounds and had him taken to Pullman Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Trail was Lee’s landlord, and Lee lived in an apartment complex above the insurance office.

Chin, who had been meeting with Trail, was shot several times in the arm and leg. He remains hospitalized.

Police then received a report of another shooting at an Arby’s restaurant. Police found Belinda Niebuhr, 47, lying in the parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Two women inside the restaurant told detectives they saw a man matching Lee’s description walk in and ask for the manager. Niebuhr came out of the back to speak with him.

One witness told officers she heard the man say: “Do you remember me?” before pulling the trigger of his gun.

The gun clicked and didn’t fire the first few times, a witness told officers.

Niebuhr ran and dove out the drive-through window, but was followed and shot several times, documents said.

Lee drove eight miles west to Pullman, Wash., where police officers tried to stop his car. Lee led them on a pursuit in Whitman County that hit speeds exceeding 100 mph.

North of Colfax, Wash., Lee lost control of his car on U.S. Highway 195 and rolled several times off the side of the road.

Five firearms and a laptop computer were found inside the vehicle, the documents say.

After Lee was arrested, Moscow police conducted a welfare check on his parents, Terri and Jerry Grzebielski. Officers found Terri Grzebielski, 61, dead of gunshot wounds in her home. Shell casings from a 9-mm handgun were found at the scene.

Jerry Grzebielski was not home when the shooting occurred.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Moscow, shooting

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