Cheney Free Press -

By Grace Pohl
Staff Intern 

Fight turns deadly in Airway Heights

Fifty-three-year-old man, father, killed as he tried to break up a fight for the second time between two young men over a date


August 31, 2017

Grace Pohl

Crime scene tape surroundis the Copper Landing apartments on 10913 West 6th Avenue in Airway Heights where a 53-year-old man was beaten to death last Friday, Aug. 25.

On Aug. 25 in Airway Heights, two young men were arguing outside their apartments in the Copper Landing complex, 10913 W. Sixth Ave. located on Kalispel Tribe Reservation land, early in the morning when 53-year-old Terry Toner came out and asked them to quiet down. The fight turned deadly as the young men beat up Toner with a baseball bat and left him unconscious.

Despite lifesaving efforts, Toner was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of the teenagers, who was later identified as 18-year-old Christian Palmer, was also injured in the process and was taken to the hospital.

The other suspect, 19-year-old Brandon Pierce, fled the scene and the Spokane Police Department K9 Unit arrived to help track him. He was not found until later that afternoon and arrested. When apprehended, Pierce confessed to punching and kicking Toner, but did not intend for him to die.

The two young men have been charged with second-degree murder.

Toner had called the police earlier that morning around 2 a.m. to file a noise complaint about a party going on that the suspects were a part of. An officer from the Airway Heights Police Department showed up and resolved the complaint, but the party continued to go on.

Witnesses stated that Palmer and Pierce were both intoxicated and they were arguing about wanting to date the same girl. The argument dragged outside to the parking lot, which is when Toner came out and approached Pierce and Palmer. From there, the two stomped and hit Toner with the bat. Witnesses recalled that a lot of yelling went on and several people fled the scene.

Pierce has a criminal history, which includes recently being released from custody for prior felony convictions. Palmer also has a history of crime as he had six active misdemeanors warrants at the time of the arrest.

On Monday, Aug. 28, the two made their first appearance to court. District Court Judge Richard Leland set Pierce's bail at $1 million and Palmer's at $750,000.

Other agencies worked together on the crime including Spokane County Sheriff's Office Deputies, Major Crime Detectives, FBI Investigators and Spokane County Forensic Unit. The Kalispel Tribal Police and Airway Heights Police Department were the lead agencies for the investigation.

Grace Pohl can be reached at


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