Teen arrested in stabbing death

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KOOTENAI — A Washington state man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a cab driver on Monday, according to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.

Jacob Corban Coleman is charged with first-degree murder. Coleman made an initial appearance Tuesday in Bonner County Magistrate Court via videoconferencing with the jail.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall recommended Coleman be held without bail, calling the stabbing a “senseless act.”

“In my opinion, Mr. Coleman is not a good candidate for bond,” said Marshall.

Judge Lori Meulenberg agreed and adopted the recommendation.

Coleman requested the appointment of court-appointed defense attorney because he said he lacked the money to retain private counsel.

Coleman politely and at times flatly responded to the court’s questions about his financial status and rights.

At one point, Coleman touched his fingers to his temples and said he had an “electronic memory” while going over his financial information.

Coleman is accused of the premeditated killing of Gagandeep Singh, a 22-year-old Spokane Valley resident.

Sheriff’s officials said in a news release that Coleman, a 19-year-old from Puyallup, flew from Seattle to Spokane on Monday with the intention of starting a new semester of college. Coleman was denied admission to Gonzaga University for unspecified reasons.

Coleman, sheriff’s officials said, grew angry and began to have homicidal thoughts. As his anger festered, Coleman hailed a cab and asked to be driven to a fictitious friend’s home in eastern Bonner County. Coleman’s homicidal thoughts increased and he asked the driver to stop at a store in Ponderay, where he purchased a knife, the news release said.

Upon reentering the cab, Coleman directed Singh to continue driving east on Highway 200, but it became apparent that Coleman had no legitimate destination or friend in northern Idaho. The cab stopped at the corner of Spokane and East Railroad Avenue and Coleman attacked Singh with the knife he had purchased earlier, the sheriff’s office said.

Singh’s relatives began calling him after he did not check in, which was abnormal. The alleged victim’s family contacted Bonner Dispatch and a sheriff’s patrol supervisor located Singh’s vehicle.

“Coleman surrendered without incident. Sadly, the victim had already succumbed to his injuries,” the sheriff’s office news release said.

Sheriff’s officials said it became apparent during the investigation that there was no immediate danger to the public and no additional suspects were being sought. Those with relevant information about the case are encouraged to contact sheriff’s detectives at 208-263-8417.

A preliminary hearing in the case is planned for Sept. 6. The hearing will determine if there’s sufficient evidence to justify trying Coleman in 1st District Court.

Coleman has no prior criminal record in the state of Idaho, according to the state supreme court data repository. Coleman does not appear to have a substantial criminal record in his home county of Pierce, according to Washington’s online court records.

Gonzaga released a statement on Tuesday indicating that the university had no record of an application for admission from Coleman.

“An individual matching his description was reported to have approached housing officials on campus Monday. As Mr. Coleman was not enrolled as a student, he was never assigned to campus housing and was informed of this fact by the Housing and Residence Life Office. We continue to gather information and work with law enforcement to support their investigation. Our hearts go out to the victim of this tragic crime and his family,” Gonzaga officials said in the statement.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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