Seattle police are investigating the death last weekend of a King County Jail inmate.

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Seattle police are investigating the death last weekend of a King County Jail inmate.

The inmate, whose name was not released, had been booked into the jail Dec. 28 for investigation of auto theft. He was transferred to the University of Washington Medical Center on Jan. 2. He was pronounced dead at the hospital Saturday morning, according to jail spokesman William Hayes.

Hayes did not say why the man had been hospitalized, and the King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday was still investigating the cause and manner of his death.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report on the jail in downtown Seattle, saying inmates were not receiving adequate medical care. The report cited numerous instances of inadequate treatment so serious that the Justice Department issued a letter alerting jail officials to “life-threatening” deficiencies in medical care for some inmates.


Man, 20, wounded in drive-by shooting

A 20-year-old SeaTac man was in satisfactory condition Monday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after he was wounded in a drive-by shooting early Sunday.

The man was in the driveway of a house in the 16700 block of Ambaum Boulevard South shortly before 3 a.m. when he was shot by someone in a passing car, said King County sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart. There had been a party at the home earlier in the night.

Someone inside the vehicle fired up to 10 shots, Urquhart said. No arrests had been made.

Couple took drugs before they died

A man and a woman found dead inside a Pioneer Square apartment Nov. 9 died after taking prescription drugs, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Ralph Honrud, 36, and Naeemah Smith, 28, were found in the Frye Apartments on Yesler Way and Third Avenue by an apartment manager, according to authorities. They died after taking methadone and clonidine, a blood-pressure medication. Honrud also had taken an anti-seizure medication, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The office determined the deaths were not suicide or homicide and ruled them “undetermined.”


Extortion suspect pleads not guilty

A Spokane man has pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to extort money from a former state legislator after a night of sex.

Cody Castagna, 27, entered the plea Monday to three counts of theft, two counts of extortion and one court of conspiracy to commit extortion.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque set a trial date of April 7.

Prosecutors contend in court documents that Castagna and three other men attempted to blackmail former Rep. Richard Curtis in October.

Curtis, a Republican from La Center, Clark County, said in police reports that he and Castagna had sex in a hotel room and that Castagna later took his wallet and threatened to expose him publicly if he did not pay $1,000.

Castagna has contended Curtis reneged on a promise to pay $1,000 for sex.

Curtis, 48, a married father who voted against gay-rights bills in the Legislature, resigned his office a few days after the incident became public. He will not be charged, prosecutors have said.


Man arrested in August slaying

Seattle police arrested a 19-year-old man Friday in connection with the shooting death of a 19-year-old man in August.

Antwan Horton, along with a 16-year-old boy and a 28-year-old man, were shot while at an apartment complex in the 3600 block of 33rd Avenue South on Aug. 28, according to police. Only Horton died.

Police said that the shooting was gang-related and that the suspect belonged to the Deuce Eight gang and the victim to the LP gang. The suspect, who is not being named because he hasn’t been charged, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.


UW volunteers top Peace Corps list

The University of Washington has again topped the list of the Peace Corps’ top two dozen large colleges producing Peace Corps volunteers.

Today 113 alumni serve as volunteers; and since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, 2,504 UW graduates have volunteered.

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, which for years was the top college until unseated by the UW last year, ranks second.

Among smaller colleges, Western Washington University edged out Cornell University and is now the third-largest producer of Peace Corps volunteers with 53 alumni. And the University of Puget Sound ranks in the top five, while Gonzaga University ranks second among small undergraduate schools.


Neighbor sentenced to 33 months in scam

A judge sentenced the former owner of a waterfront mansion on Lake Washington to nearly three years in prison Monday for scamming his retired next-door neighbor out of $800,000.

Sung “Lawrence” Hong was sentenced to 33 months and ordered to pay restitution to his neighbor as well as another family he defrauded. An Associated Press report on Hong’s activities prompted an FBI investigation, leading to his arrest a year ago.

Hong helped pay for his lifestyle — including luxury cars, a 32-foot boat and a multimillion-dollar home on Kirkland’s waterfront — by posing as a successful investor and persuading his retired neighbor, Wayne Seminoff, to give him money to invest.

The activity was a pattern: As Hong was taking Seminoff’s money, members of a Bellevue church were fighting in court to get back $340,000 they had given to Hong, believing they were investing it. When Seminoff began to ask for some return on his investment, Hong threatened him, saying he had given the money to a powerful international mafia that would kill them — and Seminoff’s daughter — if they tried to get it back. Hong demanded another $500,000 to avoid “a slaughterhouse.” Seminoff took out a loan to come up with the money.

Hong was initially charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of extortion, but the latter was dropped in a plea agreement reached last spring. Under the agreement, Hong is to pay $870,834 — the balance of what he owes Seminoff and the family he met at the Bellevue church, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Parrent.


Head of glass school to leave in May

Patricia Watkinson, executive director of Pilchuck Glass School, will step down in May.

Watkinson has held the job since 2002 and will continue to assist part-time through the rest of the year, as the school conducts a national search for her replacement. Before coming to Pilchuck, Watkinson spent 12 years as director of the Museum of Art at Washington State University.

Board President Patricia Wallace said in a news release Monday that “Patricia leaves a strong legacy, and while she will be missed, we are at a strong point in the school’s evolution. … ”

Pilchuck Glass School, an international center for glass-art education, was founded in 1971 by Dale Chihuly, Anne Gould Hauberg and John Hauberg on a former tree farm in Stanwood. The school is renowned for its summer classes and a residency program for established and emerging artists.

The release stated that Watkinson is retiring to spend more time with her family and to travel.

Seattle Times staff and news services