Spokane Police Receive Video Tape Showing Torture - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DEVELOPING: Spokane Police Receive Video Tape Showing Torture

KIROTV.COM - A video showing a man being beaten and tortured has led to the arrest of a Pierce County man while police search for another man in connection with the crime.

Michael Crosman, 25, pleaded not guilty to aggravated first-degree murder charges during his arraignment on Thursday.

His bail is set at $5 million. According to charging documents obtained by KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, a disk depicting the torture of a man bound and gagged with duct tape was given to the Spokane Police Department on Feb. 28th.

The witness gave the video to police and "informed them this was a homicide and that it occurred in Pierce County," according to a probable cause affidavit.

The charges state that the disk contains a video that "depicts the young man bound and gagged with duct tape being tormented with the knife for approximately 19 minutes." The victim is referred to as John Doe because his identity is not known, but court documents state that a body wearing the same clothing and rings seen on the video was found dumped in a wooded area near Harts Lake road in south Pierce County on March 10.

Police said the video also shows distinctive features and tattoos of a man identified in court documents by prosecutors as Maalo Samaota torturing the victim. Samaota has not been arrested.

Prosecutors said the disk somehow fell into the hands of Michael Crosman's mother, Debra Van Meter. Van Meter admitted to KIRO 7 that she watched the video, but thought it was a hoax. According to court documents, Van Meter gave the disk to a friend for safe keeping.

That woman later gave the disk to Spokane police who notified authorities in Pierce County. Documents state the witness later led Pierce County detectives to an apartment in the 3500 block of 82nd Avenue South in Lakewood, telling them the torture and murder had taken place in one of the apartments.

Using the video, detectives said they were able to identify the apartment as the scene of the torture. The affidavit states they also found blood traces on a wall "where the trace evidence is consistent with a scene in the video when the victim is struck by his tormentor and his head strikes the wall leaving blood on the wall."

Prosecutors allege Crosman was working on a remodeling job at the unit and had keys to it at the time the torture and slaying took place. Court documents do not accuse Crosman of direct involvement in the video recorded torture.

According to court documents, Crosman initially denied being involved, but then "admitted he had filmed the incident," The documents state he also admitted the victim was "beaten and duct taped and ultimately murdered by Samaota. Crosman told investigators the victim had stolen a vehicle with drugs in it, and that what occurred was "retribution for the theft."

Lakewood police have declined to talk about the case on the record, saying the investigation is still under way.

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