Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Teen from Green Hill faces second escape charge

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Green Hill School escapee Dominic Adams was brought up from the Lewis County Jail today for a bail hearing.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Green Hill student-inmate who escaped the facility for a week earlier this month was brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Dominic Adams, 19, was finishing off a juvenile sentence and scheduled to be transferred next March to adult prison for nearly nine years for an assault. Police said that on the night of May 3, he ran off from a maintenance detail and apparently slipped through a hole someone cut in the fence. He was picked up by police at a mall in Kelso seven days later.

Adams is charged with first-degree escape.

The teenager has a prior conviction for the same offense, as well as three second-degree assaults and a first-degree robbery, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told the judge this afternoon.

She didn’t differentiate which were juvenile crimes and which were adult crimes, but today’s appearance was in adult court.

Beigh asked that his bail be set at $50,000.

Judge James Lawler said he preferred to leave it at the $250,000 set in his arrest warrant.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke who represented Adams today told Lawler he is not working and qualified for a court appointed lawyer.

The judge appointed Centralia attorney Don Blair. Adams’ arraignment was set for next Thursday.

He was jailed in Cowlitz County after he was captured, and booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday. Adams was sent to Green Hill from Benton County at age 15.

First-degree escape has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Green Hill School in Chehalis is a secure facility for juvenile boys incarcerated for felonies and operated by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, under the state Department of Social and Health Services.

For background, read “Teen escapee from Green Hill found at mall in Cowlitz County” from “Monday May 11, 2015, here

Centralia rejects excessive force claim against officers

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia man has made a claim of excessive force against three Centralia police officers, from an incident in which he says they unnecessarily forced him to the ground, pinned him there and then kneed and hit him several times while contending he was resisting.

Steven Radick, 58 at the time, was hospitalized and suffered injuries to his face and chest as well as a knee sprain and back strain, according to his attorney.

Radick filed a claim for damages with the city of Centralia earlier this month in the amount of $25,000, asking to be compensated for the injuries and medical expenses.

The city’s insurer denied the tort claim within days, stating the officers’ actions were appropriate, given Radick’s behavior as police tried to secure him.

The events took place a year and a half ago, when police were called to an apartment complex on South Silver Street regarding a dispute between neighbors.

Chehalis lawyer Jacob Clark wrote in the claim his description of what happened, based on police reports and phone interviews with two of the officers.

Clark relates that police showed up on Nov. 12, 2013 but didn’t arrest anyone after his client got into an argument with a neighbor, who struck him in the eye. Thirty minutes later, police returned because the neighbor claimed his electricity had been shut off, according to Clark.

The Centralia Police Department at the time said Radick was intoxicated.

Sgt. Carl Buster stated that as he was questioning Radick, Radick hit him with the back of his hand on the chest plate, and he stepped back, and Clark writes that the sergeant yelled, “Hey, you can’t touch me,” and grabbed Radick’s arm.

Officers William Phipps and Phillip Weismiller ran over, and Phipps told Clark he grabbed by Radick the neck, forcing him onto the ground, and then put his right knee on Radick’s back and his left knee on Radick’s neck, with Weismiller securing his legs, according to Clark.

They could not get Radick’s hands out from under his chest, so Phipps said he threw several punches to his left shoulder, Clark wrote.

Phipps was telling him, you’re under arrest, stop resisting, Clark states.

“Strikes were landed on Mr. Radick by multiple officers, which led to Mr. Radick being handcuffed,” he wrote.

Clark states his client did not resist, that he had put his hands down to cushion his fall so they were underneath his body, and he could not remove them because he was pinned.

Radick was arrested for third-degree assault and subsequently pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault.

Outgoing Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg offered statistics on his department’s use of force in his March newsletter to the community.

According to Berg, last year force was used by officers on 96 occasions, with 15 of those resulting in some form of injury, 12 of those being relatively minor. More than half the time it was “physical force” with display of a firearm the next most used, according to Berg’s chart.

The claim was received by the city of Centralia on May 12.

Clark lists hospital diagnoses of open cheek wound, facial contusion, chest wall contusion, lumbar strain and right knee strain.

On May 15, the city’s representative – Washington Cities Insurance Authority – denied the claim, stating Radick resisted attempts to take him into custody and officers used reasonable force.

Senior Adjuster Gordy Van, of WCIA, wrote that Radick was so intoxicated that at the hospital he had to be watched for alcohol withdrawal.

Prison awaits Vader heroin dealer, girlfriend’s case dropped

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Vader man arrested following an investigation into what police called a large supplier of heroin in Lewis and Cowlitz counties was sentenced yesterday to 20 months in prison.

Francisco “Poncho” Guerrero, 36, was charged in March in Lewis County Superior Court in connection with a search of his home on Alpine Court in which police seized several thousands of dollars in cash, about nine ounces of pure heroin and approximately 20 grams of cocaine.


Francisco Guerrero

Guerrero pleaded guilty yesterday to delivery of heroin, as well as possession with intent to deliver heroin.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said as part of a plea deal, he dropped a charge of possession with intent to deliver of cocaine because it wouldn’t change the amount of time the defendant faced. Masiello said he also dropped a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, because he didn’t have evidence Guerrero actually possessed the weapon.

The investigation was conducted by the Centralia Police Department’s special Anti-Crime Team, Chehalis police detectives and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The search of the residence took place back in December, and for unspecified reasons police did not make any arrest until March 3. Arrested at the same time was Guerrero’s 33-year-old girlfriend Jennifer M. Hayes who also lived in the home.

Her lawyer in mid-March filed a demand for so-called discovery materials, and by the end of March, prosecutors dropped the case against her.

Masiello asked for and was granted a dismissal of the charges, noting a lack of evidence against Hayes. They were dismissed without prejudice, leaving open the possibility they could be filed again in the future, he said.

Masiello said today the girlfriend was present, but in order to be an accomplice, one has to do more than just be present.

For background, read “Accused Vader drug dealers plead not guilty” from Friday March 13, 2015, here

Prisoner accused of beating to death fellow inmate, a local man

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County man sent to prison last fall has died after sustaining serious injuries during an assault there.

Gordon C. Powell Jr., 45, was arrested in early October for breaking the glass front door at a distillery on North Tower Avenue and stealing four bottles of liquor and then hours later tussling with a police officer who tried to remove an extremely intoxicated beggar from an area store, according to court documents.


Gordon “Casey” Powell Jr.

Powell was serving a five year sentence, for second-degree burglary and third-degree assault, at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

“I’m very disappointed,” his lawyer David Arcuri said upon hearing the news. “Gordon was not a violent person.”

Arcuri represented Powell in Lewis County Superior Court at least once, and likely other times over the years.

“He was a young man, and though he may have had issues that caused him to be taken out of society, it’s pretty sad he goes to DOC and ends up getting killed,” Arcuri said.

Court documents show Powell as transient, police reported he lived in Chehalis when he was arrested.

Prison officials say Powell was transported to the hospital on May 9 and passed away Monday morning.

He was being held at the Special Offender Unit at Monroe, according to the state Department of Corrections.

A 35-year-old fellow inmate doing time for first-degree manslaughter was being held in segregation and prison officials are working closely with local law enforcement who are investigating the incident, according to DOC.

The assault occurred in a common area, prison officials said.

The other inmate, Benjamin Price entered the prison system in August 2010 for the conviction out of Skagit County and was serving a sentence of just over 12 years. Price also had a prior conviction for second-degree assault with a firearm, according to the news release.

The (Everett) Herald reports Price has a history of mental illness and is alleged to have waited for Powell while inmates were returning from the dining room, and kicked and stomped him during an attack that lasted nine seconds; Powell never regained consciousness.

Powell’s older sister said the Centralia native who went by the nickname Casey was a victim of the system.

“They knew he was mentally ill,” Stephanie Leisure said. “He should never have been put in prison, he should have been sent to Western State.”

At least twice before he’d been to the psychiatric hospital and found not competent to assist with his defense, according to Leisure.

He lived with her family in Centralia, she said.

“He was basically an outgoing, sweet guy,” she said. “Always smiling, always happy; he loved everybody.”

Her brother started showing signs of mental illness in his 20s, she said. He was being seen at a local clinic regularly before his arrest, she said.

“The police are always arresting him,” she said. “He does things he’s not supposed to do, but he’s still a really good kid; he couldn’t help it.”

Monroe’s Special Offender Unit was opened in 1981 to provide a facility to treat and house the many seriously mentally ill offenders, according to DOC spokesperson Andrew Garber.

No phones, Internet for 1,172 Centralia customers

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Updated at 3:36 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A road construction crew working near the freeway exit ramp by the Outlet Mall cut CenturyLink’s communications cables, causing a loss of service to more than 1,000 customers in Centralia.

The issue came to light yesterday morning and there is no estimated time of repair yet.

The outage is affecting landline phone service and Internet service, but not cell phones, according to company spokesperson Brian Dalessi.

Dalessi said technicians are working on the problem, but it’s a very involved and complex fix.

“Unfortunately, it’s pretty large copper trunks and two fiberoptic cables,” he said this morning.

Lewis County 911 Manager Craig Larsen said their system based in Chehalis is not affected, except that any person in Centralia without phone service can’t call them, unless they use a cell phone.

One large customer, the Centralia School District, is working to create alternate ways for parents and others to contact the schools if they need to.

District spokesperson Ed Petersen indicated he learned of it about 10 a.m. yesterday, and the best estimate he’s heard so far is it could continue at least until Sunday.

People trying to call them get just a busy signal, Petersen said.

Dalessi said he notified the news media yesterday evening to try to get the word out, to reassure the public technicians are working to isolate the problem and restore services as quickly as possible.

He said he understood the damage was related to the Interstate 5 construction project, and the outage is mostly west of the freeway.

Eleven hundred and seventy two residential and business customers are affected, he said.

Dispatchers at the Lewis County 911 center suggest anyone who is unable to contact them to report an emergency ought to use a cell phone to dial 911 or contact their local fire or police department.

They ask also that members of the public take a moment to check on neighbors, friends or relatives who could be affected by the outage to make sure they are safe and secure.

And further, they ask anyone who sees, hears, or becomes aware of any alarm or emergency or other need for police, fire or medical aid, to please call 911 immediately if they can.

Eruption anniversary: Series of free talks by eyewitnesses, scientists

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Mount St. Helens

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mount St. Helens Institute invite the public to join them this weekend as they commemorate the 35th anniversary of the volcano’s eruption.

Today was opening day of the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking the crater of Mount St. Helens.

But tomorrow, a unique and free of charge opportunity awaits with a series of 30-minute talks by people whose lives were forever altered by their experiences at Mount St. Helens.

The eruption eyewitness stories event takes place at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center, at 19,000 Spirit Lake Highway.

Photos and stories will describe the incredible events leading up to the catastrophic May 18, 1980 eruption and the massive landslide, lateral blast, mudflows and ash cloud that followed. Meet eruption eyewitnesses and leave with an autographed poster or book.

Visitors will hear from a group who stopped for a walk at the South Fork of the Toutle River and then as the lateral blast blew from the mountainside leapt into their truck and found themselves in a race for their lives, from a pair who were camping near Bear Meadows and captured amazing photographs of the collapsing north flank of the volcano and will hear readings from Richard Waitt, from his new book, “In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens.” And more.

The series runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

On Monday, at the same location, another free series of talks features presentations by scientists describing their 35 years of discoveries at the volcano, and includes hands-on demonstrations.

The talks run from noon until 4 p.m.

The center opens at 10 a.m. on Monday, and at 10:30, forest service officials will hold a ceremony commemorating the 1980 eruption. They and invited guests will recall the events of 35 years ago and how Mount St. Helens transformed the landscape surrounding the volcano and their understanding of geologic processes and their influence on the world around us.

DIRECTIONS: The Science and Learning Center is located on state Route 504, 43 miles east of Interstate 5. Take exit 49 off Interstate 5 and head east on state Route 504 for 43 miles until you pass the turn-off for Johnston Ridge. Continue straight ahead a short distance past the turn-off and into the parking lot of the Science and Learning Center.

Also, continuing Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings are public memory gathering experiences in Portland, Vancouver and Longview.

Representatives from the Mount St. Helens Institute invite any and all to join them in sharing stories. They encourage folks to bring photos, scrapbooks, and other items to share.

There is a suggested donation of $5 per person. Food and beverages are available separately for purchase. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the speaker will begin at 6:30 p.m.. All ages are welcome except on Thursday in Longview, which is 21 and over only. Space is limited so arrive early.

Monday, May 18, 2015
Lucky Lab Beer Hall
1945 NW Quimby St, Portland
with Christine Colasurdo

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Loowit Brewing
507 Columbia St, Vancouver
with Susan Saul

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Hop -N- Grape Smokehouse Pub
924 15th Ave, Longview
with David Freece

Still no motive in Chehalis shooting

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Chan H. Oscar faces a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on charges of first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Updated at 10:11 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Bail was set yesterday afternoon at $500,000 for the 36-year-old man accused of shooting and injuring his cousin in Chehalis.

Chan H. Oscar appeared in Lewis County Superior Court where temporary defense lawyer Joely O’Rourke said she believed he qualified for court appointed counsel.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm argued for the high bail noting Oscar has five superior court cases in his past and an in-progress driving under the influence case.

O’Rourke said her client’s only felony was an eluding case in 2007.

He’s lived here for the past 15 years, has very strong ties and family in the area, O’Rourke said as she appealed to the judge for lesser bail of $50,000.

Oscar is charged with first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He was arrested shortly after midnight Wednesday when police stopped a vehicle that left a residence he’s been known to stay at, a few blocks from the scene, about three and half hours after the shooting.

Authorities initially said they learned from witnesses that Oscar was walking on the sidewalk on Southwest William Avenue near Fourth Street and fired a round at his cousin’s passing car, and when the car stopped, approached and fired another round which went through his cousin’s hand as he held it by his head to block it.

Charging documents give a slightly different account, making no mention of the suspect walking along the sidewalk beforehand. The court documents state Oscar was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle being driven by a female, and that he got out when the blue Honda pulled into the area, and the rest unfolded.

The un-named female told police Oscar and his cousin, Kevin St. Catherine, had gotten into a verbal argument beforehand.

St. Catherine, 36, from Chehalis, was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was treated and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He is listed in satisfactory condition this morning.

Police said they didn’t have a motive for the shooting, but charging documents state that when he was being searched, Oscar turned to one of the officers and asked if he knew what his cousin had done to him first.

Chehalis police said they recovered a  9 mm semi-automatic handgun; charging documents said the loaded handgun was found on his person.

Oscar, who is a Chehalis resident, has six convictions for fourth-degree assault in the past 15 years, including one stemming from an incident in a downtown Centralia bar where he was arrested after a tussle and he stabbed two men. He and his lawyer contended it was self-defense and he made an Alford plea and spent seven weeks in jail.

His arraignment is scheduled for next Thursday.

Also arrested was 50-year-old Lenard A. Carlile who was a passenger in the vehicle that police found Oscar in. Carlile was charged yesterday with rendering criminal assistance.

Charging documents state that at one point during the manhunt, an officer spoke to Carlile who was on his porch on the 700 block of Pacific Avenue and asked if he’d seen anybody (black or white) about 6 feet tall in the area. He said he hadn’t.

O’Rourke told the judge yesterday afternoon Carlile has worked at Dennys and lived nearby for the past 10 years, in suggesting he was not a big flight risk.

She pointed out his family and friends were in the courtroom to support him.

Judge James Lawler set his bail at $10,000.

Carlile’s grown daughter Crystal Carlile said outside the courtroom her dad didn’t know Oscar was wanted, that Oscar is just a guy her dad allowed to stay at his place in the recent past.

Her brother was driving, and they were just headed to get a bite to eat or something, she said.

His arraignment is scheduled for next Thursday as well.

For background, read “Police: Chehalis resident jailed for shooting cousin on neighborhood street” from Thursday May 14, 2015, here

Police: Chehalis resident jailed for shooting cousin on neighborhood street

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are investigating a shooting last night involving two men who are relatives that occurred on a residential street in Chehalis.

One man is in custody and the other was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Both are 36-year-old Chehalis residents.

It happened on Southwest William Avenue near Fourth Street about 8:30 p.m., about three blocks from the suspect’s home, according to police.

Police say the victim was driving a car and the suspect was walking the same direction on the sidewalk when the suspect fired a round that struck the rear quarter panel.

“The victim then pulled over to the side of the road and started to get out of the car when the suspect approached him and fired another round,” police stated in a news release.

Police department spokesperson Linda Bailey said the victim put his hand up by his head to block, and the bullet went through his hand. He also had an injury to the side of his head, but detectives aren’t certain yet what caused it, she said.

Bailey said the two are cousins.

“We still are investigating the reason for the shooting,” she said this morning. “That has not become clear yet.”

The suspect, Chan H. Oscar, then ran off and law enforcement officers from Chehalis, Centralia, the state patrol and the sheriff’s office scoured the area for the next three and a half hours, according to police.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was conscious and sitting on the bumper of a car when firefighters arrived. He was quickly transported away from the scene to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

A street was blocked off and a search of the area was conducted using a police dog, according to Bailey.

Shortly after midnight, officers saw a sport utility vehicle leave a residence where Oscar is known to stay, according to police. Officers conducted a “high risk traffic stop” a few blocks south of the shooting, at Southwest Pacific Avenue and 10th Street.

Oscar, the passenger, was taken into custody without further incident. A 9 mm semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the same time, Bailey said.

Another occupant of the vehicle, Lenard A. Carlile, 50, also from Chehalis, was arrested for rendering criminal assistance, according to police.

Oscar was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, police said.

Teen escapee from Green Hill found at mall in Cowlitz County

Monday, May 11th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A week after his escape, Green Hill student-inmate Dominic Adams was found yesterday evening at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso.

Officers were investigating an assault in the south end of town from earlier in the day and contacted two individuals with similar descriptions of the two suspects at the mall around 6 p.m., according to the Kelso Police Department.


Dominic Adams

One was arrested for a warrant, and the other for obstruction, Kelso Capt. Darr Kirk said.

“Then we discovered he was wanted for escaping Green Hill,” Kirk said this morning.

Kelso police say Adams gave a false name and tried to flee the officers but was taken into custody following a short struggle. He reportedly had a wooden billy club with him.

Adams was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail for obstruction, warrants and faces possible other charges related to the interaction with Kelso police, according to Kirk.

Kirk said he didn’t know when Adams would be sent back to Green Hill School in Chehalis.

The Kelso police captain didn’t have information on the second individual, but thought it might be a juvenile. The Kelso assault remains under investigation, he said.

It was about 9 p.m. a week earlier when Chehalis police were called to the state run juvenile detention facility at the south end of Chehalis.

They were told Adams ran off during a maintenance detail and staff members subsequently found a hole cut in the fence. Authorities believed someone in a car seen near the compound, who was flashing their lights and honking their horn, picked Adams up.

Adams was serving the remainder of his juvenile sentence and was to be transferred to adult prison next March to serve 105 months for an assault that occurred in 2013.


“Green Hill escapee: On the run from adult prison term” from Thursday May 7, 2015, here

Lawsuit regarding Ronda Reynolds’ inquest moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Friday, May 8th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Former Toledo elementary school principal Ron Reynolds lost his federal lawsuit against the Lewis County coroner and has filed an appeal.

Reynolds contended Coroner Warren McLeod had no legal basis for conducting an inquest into the 1998 death of his then-wife, Ronda Reynolds.


Ron Reynolds

His lawyer called the 2011 proceedings scandalous, leading to severe harm to his client’s reputation and employability.

The initial claim listed $5 million in damages and the case was filed in Lewis County Superior Court, and then moved to U.S. District Court in late 2013.

U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle granted a summary judgement early last month in favor of McLeod, and Lewis County, which is also named.

At issue was the October 2011 coroner’s inquest convened by McLeod, who made a campaign promise the year before to deal with the long controversial death of former state trooper Ronda Reynolds.

Ronda Reynolds, 33, was found with a bullet in her head and covered by a turned-on electric blanket on the floor of a closet in the Toledo home she shared with her husband of less than a year and his three sons.


Warren McLeod

Reynolds’ and his son Jonathan Reynolds were named by the inquest jury as responsible for the death, which the panel concluded was homicide.

The inquest and the days that followed it were heavily covered by the local and regional news media, as well as providing the framework for a one-hour documentary produced by CBS television’s 48 Hours Mystery.

Jonathan Reynolds was also party to suit with his father, but had dismissed his claim, according to attorney John Justice, who represents McLeod and the county.

Justice said he felt like the summary judgement represented the court’s belief the inquest was fair and impartial, the conclusions of the inquest jury were based on the instructions given and that state law mandated the issuance of arrest warrants after that.

pc.ronda Copying_2

Ronda Reynolds

The two men were arrested and immediately released by a Lewis County Superior Court judge because the prosecutor was not filing criminal charges following the inquest.

“I think it boiled down to the court found Coroner McLeod had the authority to conduct the inquest,” Justice said today.

Ron Reynolds, though his attorney, filed the appeal within the 30 days to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, he said.

McLeod declined to comment on the case, and Ron Reynolds’ attorney has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Ron Reynolds and his lawyer have until August 10 to file their brief, Justice said, and then he has 30 days to file his response on behalf of the county and the coroner.

For background, read “Lawsuit filed against Lewis County coroner over inquest” from Tuesday December 17, 2013, here

Vader toddler: Few answers about death, after second guilty plea

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Brenda Wing and her lawyer prepare to enter a guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Twenty-seven-year-old Brenda A. Wing pleaded guilty today to her role in last fall’s death of a 3-year-old toddler who was living with her, her husband and their three children in Vader.

Despite a hearing that lasted more than 45 minutes, no light was shed upon what happened to the little boy during his last days on earth.

Jasper Henderling-Warner was pronounced dead at Providence Centralia Hospital after medics and deputies responded to an evening call for an unconscious child on Oct. 5.

Brenda Wing had said she’d put the limp child into the bathtub to revive him after he’d been sleeping much of the day on their couch. But she also told detectives they’d just picked Jasper up from his mother in Woodland the night before.

She and her husband Danny A. Wing were both arrested and charged.

Detectives concluded the Wings had taken Jasper in much earlier, after his 21-year-old mother gave them temporary custody while she was homeless and looked for work out of state.

The sheriff called it severe abuse and neglect, the coroner labeled the cause of death as chronic battered child syndrome.

Brenda Wing this afternoon pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, to third-degree child assault and other offenses.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler read aloud her written statement of what she admitted to, and asked her if that was indeed her statement.

She admitted to, as an accomplice, recklessly causing the death of another person, and negligently causing bodily harm that caused substantial pain that extended for a period of time sufficient to cause considerable suffering to a child.

Danny A. Wing, 27, last month pleaded guilty also to first-degree manslaughter and third-degree child assault. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and remains jailed awaiting sentencing.

Both Wings avoided a much more serious charge of homicide by abuse by taking plea deals.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and defense attorney John Crowley told the judge they’d like wait three weeks before they return to court to pick a date to sentence Brenda Wing.

Neither lawyer gave a reason for the delay.

“There’s other things going on with the case,” Halstead said after the hearing ended. “It doesn’t end just because they pled.”

The autopsy found numerous bruises, healing fractures and injuries such as trauma to Jasper’s face, and two lower front teeth missing. Prosecutors had multiple doctors lined up who were expected to testify at trial as to what caused the death.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod found also that the little boy was suffering from skin infections that were secondary to his cause of death.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has said prosecutors will recommend Danny Wing be sent to prison for 16 years and four months. Halstead today declined to share what he will recommend for Brenda Wing.

He said she faces a standard sentencing range of 12 to 16 years.

Brenda Wing also pleaded guilty today to two counts of witness tampering and two counts of possession of heroin, with all the offenses taking place between July 31 and Oct. 5 of last year.

Separately, the court today scheduled Danny Wing’s sentencing for Aug. 14, so far into the future in part because of his attorney’s availability, according to Halstead.

The sentencings will take place in front of Judge Nelson Hunt.

For background, read “Second plea deal in the works in Vader toddler’s death” from Thursday April 30, 2015, here

Green Hill escapee: On the run from adult prison term

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are still looking for the Green Hill School inmate who apparently slipped away through a hole in the fence on Sunday night.

Dominic Adams began his time at the state run juvenile detention facility at age 15 for burglary, theft and assault convictions in Benton County, according to authorities.


Dominic Adams

Chehalis police said they suspect somebody in an older red car cut a hole in the fence and picked him up.

Chehalis Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said among the first steps were to learn where Adams had friends and family, and police subsequently found Adams’ previous home was in Kennewick, but he also had some addresses in California.

Now 19, Adams was finishing serving his juvenile sentence at Green Hill and next March was to be shipped off to adult prison for events that occurred in 2013.

He has an adult sentence of almost nine years waiting for him, according to Chris Wright, a spokesperson for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Green Hill School in Chehalis is a secure facility for older juvenile boys incarcerated for felonies and operated by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, under DSHS. It currently houses 173 inmate-students, according to Wright.

Almost two years ago during Adams’ stay at a minimum security community reentry program in Ellensburg, he and another kid beat up a staff member pretty bad, Wright said.

Adams was charged and convicted as an adult for the incident, according to Wright. The (Ellensburg) Daily Record reported in September 2013 that the two 17-year-olds were accused of jumping a staff member, tying him up, taking his keys and escaping.

Chehalis police today said detectives are continuing to check addresses and follow up in their attempt to find Adams.

He is described as 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighing 160 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

A razor-wire topped fence surrounds the compound at the Southeast Intersection of Interstate 5 and 13th Street.

Both of the last two escapes have been through, not over, the fence.

Chehalis police were called at 9:01 p.m. on Sunday and told Adams ran off from a maintenance detail; and that staff subsequently located the breach in the fence. A staff member had seen an older red car in the area, honking its horn and flashing its lights, according to police.

Green Hill Superintendent Marybeth Queral had a department spokesperson return her calls to respond to inquiries about the incident. Spokesperson Wright also issued a news release that indicated the escape occurred at about 8:30 p.m.

Wright stated that Green Hill staff immediately notified the Chehalis Police Department.

Kaut said he was trying to find out if indeed, and then why, there may have been a delay in contacting police.

“Green Hill inmate at large after fleeing through hole in fence” from Monday May 4, 2015, here

Short prison term handed down for Onalaska rifle rampage

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 44-year-old man accused of firing a rifle towards his girlfriend as she ran away from him outside her trailer home in Onalaska was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison.

Todd H. Bergfalk made a so-called Alford plea, regarding two counts of second-degree assault.


Todd H. Bergfalk

His lawyer said because of inebriation, his client couldn’t recall enough to admit to specific events.

Bergfalk was arrested March 21, after deputies were called to the 700 block of state Route 508, and told he fired approximately 10 rounds from a 22 rifle, and also pointed the weapon at his girlfriend’s grown son. Deputies reported he was intoxicated and emotional, rambling about abused animals and told them they should just take him to jail.

Defense attorney David Arcuri said the original charges each included an “enhancement” that the offenses were committed with a firearm, but prosecutors dropped those as part of a plea dea. Each one of those would have meant an additional three years of incarceration, which are required to be served consecutive to the sentence, Arcuri said.

The standard sentencing range for second-degree assault is 12 to 14 months, and the two sides agreed to the low end, as did the judge today in Lewis County Superior Court. Bergfalk had no previous felonies, Arcuri said.

Neither charging documents nor the sheriff’s office indicated why he may have been upset, and Arcuri said outside the courtroom he wasn’t going to talk about that.

The sheriff’s office said Bergfalk lives in Tacoma. He gave his home address as Onalaska in court documents.

He will be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for three years after his release, Arcuri said.

For background, read, “May trial set for boyfriend’s rampage with 22 rifle in Onalaska” from Friday March 27, 2015, here

Green Hill inmate at large after fleeing through hole in fence

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Updated at 10:27 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  An inmate at Green Hill School in Chehalis escaped last night apparently through a hole cut in the fence.

Officers called about 9 p.m. to the state-run juvenile incarceration facility at the south end of town were told the teen was on a maintenance detail, then ran off, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

A hole was found cut in the fence and another staff member reported seeing an older red car in the area, honking its horn and flashing its lights, Chehalis Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said this morning.

“We think whoever was there to pick him up probably made the hole,” Kaut said.

Kaut said 19-year-old Dominic A. Adams was doing time at Green Hill for escape. He said he didn’t know the underlying offense, or what part of the state he is from.

Officers last night requested a K-9 to conduct a track, but there were no police dogs available Kaut said.

He expected detectives this morning would be conducting inquires into where Adams might have friends or family.

Green Hill School is a secure facility for older juvenile boys incarcerated for felonies and operated by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, under the state Department of Social and Health Services. It sits between Interstate 5 and Southwest Pacific Avenue north of Southwest Parkland Street.

It was November of 2010 when a 16-year-old inmate-student climbed out his window during the night, took wire cutters from an unlocked building on the campus to cut a hole in the fence, and was discovered missing the following morning. He was picked up in Yelm three weeks later.

Chehalis police are asking anyone with information on last night’s incident to contact Lewis County dispatch at 360-740-1105.

Second plea deal in the works in Vader toddler’s death

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  With less than three weeks to go before trial, a Vader mother of three has the weekend to contemplate a plea offer in last autumn’s death of a 3-year-old boy who was part of her household.

Brenda A. Wing and her husband, both now 27, were arrested after the child died, of what has been described vaguely as ongoing abuse.


Brenda A. Wing

Danny A. Wing pleaded guilty in March to first-degree manslaughter and also to assault in a deal that is expected to send him to prison for just over 16 years, if a judge agrees.

Lawyers and Brenda Wing went before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court, for a scheduled omnibus hearing. That’s a standard proceeding between arraignment and trial in which both sides put down on paper the agreed particulars for trial.

Lewis County Prosecutor Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and defense attorney John Crowley told the judge they’d like to postpone the omnibus until Monday afternoon.

Both attorneys said outside the courtroom that’s to give the defendant time to consider the state’s proposal for a “resolution” to the case.


Jasper Henderling-Warner

Jasper Henderling-Warner was pronounced dead at Providence Centralia Hospital last Oct. 5 after medics were called to the home because he was unconscious.

The autopsy found abrasions, bruises and healing fractures and labeled the cause of death as chronic battered child syndrome. Jasper was suffering from skin infections that were found to be secondary to his cause of death. His 21-year-old mother had asked the couple that summer to take him for a year, while she was homeless and looking for work out of state, according to authorities.

The Wings were initially charged with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter, two crimes with widely different penalties. Each of the two were charged as either the principal or accomplice.

Their three children were taken into protective custody by the state.


Danny A. Wing

While in talks this week about a possible plea deal, the attorneys today continued with steps as though the trial beginning May 18 will still take place.

Halstead told the judge he amended the information to change the date of the offense from Oct. 5, to the time period between July 31 and Oct. 5.

Crowley objected, saying the drastic alteration in the charges would prejudice his client so close to trial. Judge James Lawler allowed the substitute charges.

Brenda Wing pleaded not guilty to the amended information, in her only words spoken aloud on the record.

In March, after her husband pleaded guilty, prosecutors said they expected him to cooperate, leading to more information about what happened to Jasper.

The court hearing was less than 10 minutes long.

When it was over, Crowley left the courthouse to go visit with Brenda Wing in the jail.

For background, read “Prosecutor expects plea deal will help reveal answers about Vader toddler’s demise” from Wednesday March 25, 2015, here

Police: Impostor arrested after driving test includes stop at Lucky Eagle

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Daniel L. Norby waits at the defense table as court documents are signed setting his bail for criminal impersonation and theft charges.


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – What would you do if you’re taking the driver’s test to get your license and the examiner in the passenger seat directed you to a casino?

If he suggested you come inside to with him meet a girl that he knew? And then asked to borrow $20?

Like one recent applicant, you might start to get suspicious.

Centralia police say that’s exactly what happened to an individual who went to the Washington Department of Licensing on Kresky Avenue.

After checking in with a woman at the counter, and being told to wait outside where the examiner would be right out, a man who said his name was Dave got into the vehicle, and what followed weren’t the usual requests for showing one knows the rules of the road.

Authorities say “Dave” was really a 47-year-old Chehalis man posing as an employee from the state agency. He happened to be in line behind the applicant last Thursday.

Daniel L. Norby was arrested yesterday for first-degree criminal impersonation and charged with the same in Lewis County Superior Court.

Police and prosecutors offer no explanation for why he, allegedly, pretended he was giving a driving test.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke this afternoon told a judge her temporary client has been a law abiding citizen for the past five years, resides with his girlfriend on Brown Road outside Chehalis and also has three children, as she made her case for how low his bail should be.

Judge R.W. Buzzard wasn’t persuaded, noting that during two of those last five years Norby was incarcerated. Buzzard set bail at $25,000.

According to charging documents, the odd set of circumstances began when Edward Jerns went in to take his driving test.

Jerns described to a police officer what happened and how after a period of time at the Lucky Eagle Casino, he became skeptical and called the Department of Licensing to tell them, they were still at the casino.

He was told to notify security, and he did, the documents relate.

Jerns told Officer Doug Lowrey that also “Dave” had traded coats with him while at the Rochester establishment, and when he got his coat back, some $1,000 to $1,200 was missing from the inside pocket. He had just cashed his social security check, he said.

An employee at the Kresky Avenue licensing office told Lowrey she spoke to the man who walked in right behind Jerns, and that he was asking about how to get his license, according to court documents. She said she watched him walk out and get into Jerns’ vehicle.

Yesterday, the DOL employee and Jerns picked Norby out of a police photo montage, according to the court documents.

Lowrey said when Norby was contacted at a Centralia motel, he declined to be interviewed by arresting officers, but said the alleged deed last week that got him a lift to the casino seemed to be just an impromptu event.

Norby was also charged with second-degree theft.

He qualified for a court-appointed lawyer and is scheduled for arraignment a week from tomorrow.

Presumably the driver’s license applicant gets a do-over on the test.