NEW DETAILS: Man's Charred Body Found In Trunk - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NEW DEVELOPMENTS: Man Tortured To Death, Charred Body Found In Trunk

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Three people accused in the torture slaying of a man whose body was found in the trunk of a burning car pleaded not guilty Thursday to aggravated murder charges in Spokane County Superior Court.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If convicted, 20-year-old Taylor J. Wolf, 18-year-old Justice Sims and his sister, 19-year-old Breeanna Sims, would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The three are accused of killing 22-year-old Nicholas Thoreson of Cheney whose body was found April 13 in his car.

Investigators say he was beaten and tortured with a machete for hours in the garage of a Spokane Valley apartment before he was shot.

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – Authorities arrested a man accused of murder as he was getting into a cab, just hours after fire fighters found a body in the trunk of a burning car in Spokane Valley.

Taylor Wolf was arrested at his apartment complex in the 13600 block of East Trent Avenue as members of the SWAT team were staging a few blocks away to serve an arrest warrant. 

Members of the United States Marshall's Office and Spokane Police Department spent the day sharing intelligence on the case, and placed Wolf under surveillance for several hours before his arrest.

Just before the SWAT team could serve the warrant, authorities saw Wolf get into a cab, so they immediately arrested him.

The cab was towed to an evidence processing facility as detectives planned to ask for a search warrant permitting them to search for evidence.

A judge in Spokane County District Court presided over Wolf's first appearance on Thursday where Wolf was advised of his constitutional rights.

Wolf was admonished by jail staff members not to communicate with anyone in the courtroom after looking at members of the gallery. Several of his friends and family members were sitting in nearby benches.

"It was the only priority for us yesterday," said Lt. Steve Barbieri.  "It's a homicide.  When you have the death of someone in the community that is the highest priority case that we're gonna have other than a child abduction case."

Lt. Barbieri said about 35 people worked the investigation.  It was Spokane County's first homicide of the year.

Fire fighters found the body of Nickolas Thoreson in his Ford Thunderbird early Wednesday morning.

The car was registered to Thoreson at a Colfax address, but Thoreson currently lived in Cheney according to detectives who said they are still investigating the discrepancy.

Authorities are still investigating why Thoreson was killed.

Fire fighters responding to a car fire told investigators they saw three people walking down Bigelow Gulch road near the area where Thoreson was discovered.

Authorities are asking anyone who saw people in the area of Bigelow Gulch and Forker Roads after midnight on Wednesday to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

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