Among other items: A Thurston County man sought in connection with a double homicide in Washington and the slaying of a Chemult tow-truck driver fatally shot himself early yesterday; and a woman who allegedly caused a toddler's death while she was baby-sitting was charged yesterday with second-degree murder.

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The 21-year-old father of a baby who suffered life-threatening injuries was charged yesterday with first-degree assault of a child.

Michael Joseph Copeland of Seattle was charged with the crime after he and his girlfriend brought their seriously injured 3-month-old son to a hospital Dec. 20, and medical staff told police that Copeland’s account of what happened to the infant did not match the injuries, say charging documents filed in King County Superior Court.

The child, who is being treated at Children’s Hospital, suffered six rib fractures and a broken leg, among other injuries. Copeland is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail and is set to be arraigned Jan. 4.

Man kills himself in Oregon after three slayings

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A Thurston County man sought in connection with a double homicide in Washington and the slaying of a Chemult tow-truck driver fatally shot himself early yesterday, the Klamath County district attorney’s office said.

The tow-truck driver was identified as Marvin Erickson, 67, who had been shot several times.

State police said an Oregon Department of Transportation worker found a car stuck in a snowstorm, noted the license number and called a tow truck. They said the driver of the car, Brian Pennington, 44, of Lacey then reportedly shot the tow-truck driver.

Pennington then drove to the parking lot of a restaurant, where state police and Klamath County sheriff’s deputies were assembling after learning that Pennington was wanted for homicides in Olympia.

Pennington drove behind the restaurant and shot himself in the chest, authorities said.

Baby-sitter charged in toddler ‘s death

A woman who allegedly caused a toddler’s death while she was baby-sitting was charged yesterday with second-degree murder.

King County prosecutors said the woman, Arliss Demarie, 29, shook the child before putting her down for a nap while baby-sitting the 23-month-old girl and an older sister Dec. 21. The toddler suffered a skull fracture and died at Harborview Medical Center the next day. The two families knew each other through their church, and the two girls had been going to Demarie’s house for about six months.

Demarie, who is being held at the Regional Justice Center in lieu of $500,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6.

Reindeer land in Alaska sanctuary

After a journey of more than 1,000 miles, Southeast Alaska’s first reindeer have arrived in Ketchikan, where they will be a tourist attraction at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary.

The six reindeer, born in May, landed in Ketchikan on Sunday after a 429-mile road trip from Woodland farms in Nenana to Seward, where they boarded the ferry Tustemena.

They then crossed the Gulf of Alaska to Juneau, where they boarded the Matanuska to continue on to Ketchikan.

The sanctuary surveyed visitors during the summer to ask what attractions people would suggest to improve the experience. Reindeer were near the top of the list, said Len Laurance, one of the partners in the business.

The company has built a yard and a barn for the reindeer. The yard is enclosed by an electric fence, designed to keep wolves, bears and dogs out, Laurance said.

The reindeer will dine on a special diet formulated by a University of Alaska Fairbanks’ reindeer research program.

The animals will be on display in a corral near the sanctuary’s interpretive center.

A 4-foot fence will separate the reindeer from the public, but people will be able to pet and feed them, Laurance said.

Times staff and news services