John Allen Booth, Suspect in Triple Murder, Is Still on the Run

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UPDATE: Booth was caught in Spokane last night.

No one is sure yet why John Allen Booth was in an Onalaska house early Saturday morning. The 31-year-old Booth is a felon of the highest order -- he's been in trouble with the law since he was a teenager and only got out of jail last December after serving five years for burglary. But initial reports indicate he'd come to settle a drug debt, a beef that would come to have tragic consequences.

That debt was with David West, 52. West was a carpenter who sold vehicles on the side. But he also may have been involved in some extracurriculars.

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Murdered on Saturday, D.J. West was a good student and member of the high school band.
Neighbors told The Seattle Times that random car traffic to and from West's five-acre parcel got to be so bad that they got the cops involved. West was also out on bail after having pleaded guilty to assault and robbery charges last September.

Police believe that Booth murdered West, his 16-year-old son D.J. and another man, 50-year-old Tony Williams. D.J. was a polite kid and a straight-A student. Williams' family says he was only at West's house to help his friend move something. A fourth, as-yet-unidentified person was also shot, but they're still alive and recovering in a local hospital.

The Sheriff's office thinks Booth didn't act alone. But they're not sure who else was with him. And they're not sure where Booth is either.

Last they knew, he'd stopped to get gas in Spokane and called a friend on his cell phone. Police think he's heading further east and may be driving a turquoise 1995 Saturn Coupe with Washington license number 319-UEB. Anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call 911.

UPDATE: As the Times reports, Booth had been staying with a friend of a friend, a man who said he had no idea his houseguest was wanted for triple murder.

Mike Yaeger, a 58-year-old retired bartender, told police he was introduced to Booth by a neighbor, who called the fugitive "Pete." Yaeger was told that Pete had just been kicked out of his house by his wife, so he offered him a bed.

The two apparently spent nights watching Jeopardy and the History Channel. Yaeger told cops the only time he grew suspicious was when Pete asked to change the channel when the news came on.

The Times also says that Booth is pretty canny when it comes to getting reduced sentences.

Despite having a violent criminal history that included threatening one homeowner with a gun and hitting two others in the head with crowbars and claw hammers, Booth knew the system well enough to win numerous appeals because of small errors made by prosecutors. Just a hunch: That will be a much harder trick to pull now that he's suspected of executing three people.

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