Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Gunshot victim says Serrano Mosso owed him money

Sunday, December 4th, 2016
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David Serrano Mosso, in red, at first said he didn’t need a Spanish interpreter for court, but changed his mind.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – David Serrano Mosso, 20, of Centralia is facing a maximum penalty of life in prison if he is convicted as charged after his second time in four months being accused of seriously assaulting a person with a gun.

He was arrested this summer after a 37-year-old man said Serrano Mosso pistol whipped him inside his car in the parking lot at Providence Centralia Hospital.

Early last week, a 19-year-old Centralia man said it was Serrano Mosso who shot him in the leg outside an apartment complex on Ives Road. It was a grazing wound and the victim drove himself to the hospital.

Serrano Mosso was picked up by police on Wednesday night at a Motel 6 in Tumwater. He is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and drive by shooting. He went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday, who kept his bail at $1 million, the amount of his arrest warrant.

In both cases, the victims said Serrano Mosso owed them money. The 19-year-old opined to police that maybe he was angry because he’d been trying to collect $300 for work he’d done on a vehicle. The 37-year-old said he’d sold Serrano-Mosso some wheels, which Serrano Mosso denied to police.

Both victims, both Centralia residents, said they either hadn’t known Serrano Mosso very long, or didn’t know him very well.

Charging documents in the new case indicate police found one spent 9 mm casing and one live 9 mm round on the ground at the scene of last Tuesday afternoon’s incident.

The documents reveal Serrano Mosso’s girlfriend was driving, with their 11-month-old daughter in the backseat, when Serrano Mosso allegedly shot at the teen. She denied knowing why he shot at the victim, according to court documents.

Claudia Cruz told police once it happened, she began yelling at him for what he had done and after driving a couple hundred yards told him to get out of her vehicle, which he did, according to the documents.

The case was responded to and investigated by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office because it occurred just outside city limits. According to court documents, it was detectives with the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team who tracked down Serrano Mosso in Tumwater.

Detectives followed a car to the motel, learned who had rented the room and subsequently found their suspect, a 24-year-old man, a woman and the woman’s 14-year-old daughter in the room, according to court documents.

Jorge L. Villagomez Barraza, 24, was charged also on Thursday, with first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said he is unemployed but is a life-long Tacoma resident. His bail was set at $50,000.

O’Rourke addressed the question of bail the same afternoon for Serrano Mosso.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead argued for bail to remain at $1 million, because authorities had reason to believe Serrano Mosso was attempting to flee to Mexico.

O’Rourke said he’d lived at the same Centralia address for the past three and a half years with his wife, her family and their child. Information in his case from this summer indicates he lived at an apartment on Russell Road and worked at Tacos El Ray, both in Centralia.

He had no felony criminal convictions previous to this summer’s case and was participating in Centralia Police Department’s 24/7 sobriety program, which relates to driving under the influence or similar offenses.

While the first case initially included a charge of first-degree assault as well as first-degree kidnapping, it didn’t end that way.

The 37-year-old victim was found beaten and bloody the night of July 28. Charging documents in that case describe the victim as meeting Serrano Mosso to get paid for some wheels, and Serrano Mosso plus another male getting into his car, with Serrano Mosso shoving a pistol into his ribs and telling him to drive out to a wooded area; when he pulled into the hospital parking lot instead, he said he was pistol whipped. His nose was broken.

Serrano Mosso was arrested and held on $500,000 bail, but by the end of September, his defense attorney Don Blair and prosecutors struck a deal.  Serrano Mosso made an Alford plea to second-degree assault, was sentenced to even less than the standard sentencing range and then was released from jail.

At the time, Prosecutor Halstead said the deal happened,  because of the “facts in the case.”

Last week, Halstead said it was more specifically, conflicting facts.

Serrano Mosso said there was no other male in the car that night and passed a lie detector test, Halstead said. The 37-year-old victim said there was. Halstead said he can’t very well put someone on a witness stand who’s not telling the truth.

Serrano Mosso’s arraignment for the current case is scheduled for Dec. 8.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Centralia shooting suspect found in Tumwater” from Thursday December 1, 2016, here

Chehalis woman admits stealing thousands from employer

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 24-year-old former employee of a liquor and wine store at the Twin City Town Center pleaded guilty to stealing more than $20,000 from her workplace and was sentenced to jail.

Amberly M. Morehead, from Chehalis, had never been convicted of a crime before.

“She knows she put herself in a poor position,” her lawyer David Brown told the judge. “She knows she stole and it was wrong.”

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm told the judge the standard sentence, because there was no criminal history, was zero to 90 days in jail. Bohm recommended Morehead be locked up for 45 days.

Brown asked if his client could serve her time on electronic home monitoring.

Judge James Lawler said no, during Wednesday’s hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

Morehead was charged in September for the thefts that took place between last December and March. She told police she got behind on her bills, took money from work and intended to pay it back but kept getting further behind.

Morehead pleaded guilty as charged to first-degree theft. Lawler sentenced her to 30 days in jail.

Judge Lawler also ordered her to repay restitution of $24,457 to the Chehalis business’s insurance company, $500 to the business and $1,400 in other legal fees.

She was then taken into custody.
•••

For background, read “Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – FROM THE COURTHOUSE” from Tuesday September 20, 2016, here

Lewis County sheriff secures five-figure pay increase

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Board of Commissioners voted to give Sheriff Rob Snaza a raise of more than $18,000 a year.

The move comes after discussing the issue for as long as he’s been on the board, said BOCC Vice Chair Gary Stamper who was elected two years ago.

Snaza was also elected in November 2014.

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Sheriff Rob Snaza

The salaries of Lewis County’s elected officials are set in a process that involves a citizen panel. The panel establishes the pay for the three county commissioners. It makes recommendations about the wages for the other elected officials which the three-member board of county commissioners may adopt.

The process has been in place since 2001.

The last time the panel convened, in early 2014, they suggested raises of five percent for all the positions. Beginning in January of that year, and still today, the annual salary of $75,108 applies to the assessor, auditor, clerk, coroner and treasurer. Coroner Warren McLeod actually only made half that until he switched from half-time to full-time in 2015.

The panel’s recommendations gave the county commissioners a little more ($82,620), the sheriff even more ($90,644), and the prosecutor even more than that ($141,705).

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Commissioner Edna Fund

A resolution to increase the sheriff’s salary was approved unanimously on Monday by Commissioners Stamper, Edna Fund and Bill Schulte. It was one of eight items on the consent agenda, voted on as a bundle.

The stated reason in the resolution indicates the matter would be “depoliticized” if it were taken out of the hands of the salary commission. Instead, beginning Jan. 1, it states, the sheriff shall be paid a salary five percent greater than the undersheriff.

The resolution indicates other reasons for the change: because the sheriff currently earns less than his subordinate and because he earns less than sheriffs of comparable counties in the state.

Undersheriff Wes Rethwill is paid $101,280 a year, with his pay tied to the pay of other commissioned officers at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The deputies wages are set by a collective bargaining agreement – their union contract – with the undersheriff and other command staff’s salaries set at certain percentages higher.

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Commissioner Bill Schulte

On Jan. 1, Undersheriff Rethwill’s annual salary will rise to $103,812. So Sheriff Snaza’s annual salary of $90,644 will grow to $109,000.

Sheriff Snaza says he’s “just thinking of our office and thought it was the right thing to do.”

He put the resolution before the county commissioners in July, and it got tabled because Commissioner Schulte was out on leave, he said.

“This was two years in the making, because I’ve never asked for a raise before,” Snaza said.

Among the reasons for his proposal, he said, are he’s earning less than his undersheriff, less than some other sheriffs who don’t even run jail facilities and he feels the role of sheriff has changed.

“I just felt like the sheriff is just like the CEO of a company and should be paid at a higher rate,” Snaza said.

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Commissioner Gary Stamper

Snaza spoke of how different his job is from other elected Lewis County officials.

He’s in charge of a much larger organization with more than 100 employees, as well as volunteers and then a jail with an average population of 200 inmates.

“You’re responsible 24-7, 365 days a year,” he said. “If we have a flood, it’s not the auditor that gets up at 3 a.m.”

He said he’s not asking the commissioners to put more money into the sheriff’s office budget for his raise. The sheriff’s office will absorb it, he said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office annual budget of about $14.2 million this year is expected to be about $14.5 million next year.

He said he has mixed feelings about it, feeling he deserves the raise, but thinks some people might not understand it.

“I know the concerns, people are going to say, ‘he’s an elected, he knew what he was getting into’,” he said.

And he pondered aloud, he wished it didn’t take place the same time as the county is considering cutting back on its support to the senior centers.

It’s something the former sheriff contended with, earning less than some of the people working below him as well. When Snaza was a sergeant, sometimes with overtime his paycheck would be bigger than Mansfield’s, he said.

“I used to always tease Steve Mansfield about it,” Snaza said.

Part of Snaza’s thinking includes how fiscally responsible he feels his office has been.

“I think it’s incumbent on every official to ask, what are we doing to save money, and to bring revenue into the county,” he said.

Last year, the sheriff’s office used $684,000 less than they were budgeted for, and turned that money back into the county general fund, he said.

They also bring in money, by renting out jail beds to other agencies.

In 2015, that amounted to a little over $1.5 million in revenue from the jail, he said. “This year, we’re looking at about $2.1 million,” he said.

The local salary commission’s role has not changed otherwise, by the recent resolution.

Its role remains to set the pay for the assessor, auditor, clerk, coroner, treasurer, commissioners and prosecutor.

When the group evaluated salaries in 2014, its philosophy was an elected official in Lewis County should be paid a comparable rate to an individual doing the same job in a similar county.

The only Lewis County elected officials whose pay is not dealt with by the salary commission are the judges in Lewis County District and Superior Courts. They’re fixed by a state commission on salaries.

And as of Monday, the sheriff’s pay is exempt from that group’s influence as well.

The long name for the citizen group is the Lewis County Independent Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.

The salary commission only convenes when requested by the Lewis County Board of Commissioners, according to Lewis County Human Resource Director Archie Smith.
••••

2016 LEWIS COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS ANNUAL SALARIES

Assessor: Dianne Dorey: $75,108

Auditor: Larry E. Grove: $75,108

Clerk: Scott Tinney: $75,108

Coroner: Warren McLeod: $75,108

Treasurer: Arny Davis: $75,108

Commissioner: Bill Schulte: $82,620

Commissioner: Edna Fund: $82,620

Commissioner: Gary Stamper: $82,620

Sheriff: Rob Snaza: $90,644

Prosecutor: Jonathan Meyer: $141,705*
•••

* The Lewis County prosecutor’s pay is tied to the salary commission but also has state influence, and the state pays more than half of it, according to Lewis County Human Resource Director Archie Smith.

Former Centralia College basketball team member, cousin accused in burglary

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge set bail with $25,000 signature bonds for the suspects accused of breaking into a Centralia residence while a woman home alone there locked herself in her bedroom.

Reginald D. Ford, 22, and Isaiah M. Kelly, 20, a pair of cousins from Federal Way, are each charged with residential burglary.

Kelly was arrested shortly after the Saturday afternoon incident at the 900 block of West Pear Street.

The three Centralia College basketball team members who reside there, but weren’t home at the time, told police Kelly was on the team with them, until he was released at the start of the school year.

When Ford was brought before a judge yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge Ford was requesting a court appointed lawyer. He is unemployed, she said.

Charging documents relate the victim heard someone knock, then pound on the front door and then kick it open. She said she was scared because her boyfriend and their roommates were away and she locked herself into her bedroom.

She said she heard the sounds of someone going through things in the house, but didn’t hear any talking and was on the phone with dispatch when her bedroom door was kicked in.

She yelled, they left, according to court documents.

When police followed up, they learned numerous items were missing from the home including two Xboxes, several games and a Bluetooth speaker, according to the documents. A pair of Nike Air Jordans belonging to one of the residents were found near where police located Kelly.

Ford was booked into the Lewis County Jail on Monday. Arraignments for both suspects are scheduled for Dec. 8.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Victim startles burglars inside Centralia residence” from Sunday November 27, 2016, here

Rape case: Trial cut short in Lewis County Superior Court

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge declared a mistrial yesterday in a rape case in Lewis County Superior Court and it’s not clear if prosecutors will attempt to try again.

A 23-year-old Centralia man was charged late this summer for an incident reported in the spring of 2015 that allegedly occurred a year earlier at a rural Centralia home with a young woman with whom he had somewhat of an intimate relationship.

Jordan T. White was charged with second-degree rape, pleaded not guilty and proceeded to trial. He has been free on an unsecured bond.

Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke said they were most of the way through their first day yesterday, when the sheriff’s deputy sitting with the deputy prosecutor dropped his pen onto the table, at a particular point during a recording being played for the jury.

O’Rourke said he wondered if it was intentional or not and began watching the deputy, and saw him bow his head and put it into the palm of his hand, in a way a person could potentially perceive to mean, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”

Finally, when the deputy gestured to the alleged victim while she was on the stand testifying, O’Rourke made an objection and the jurors were sent out of the room.

“I wondered, is he encouraging her to cry, trying to console her,” he said. “Unfortunately, the jurors were watching.”

It’s common for the investigating law enforcement officer to sit at the prosecutor’s table during criminal trials. Officers of the court are not allowed to comment on the evidence during trial, even non-verbally.

O’Rourke asked Judge Nelson Hunt for a dismissal, for government misconduct, saying he believed the deputy’s actions tainted the jury.

Judge Hunt concluded the defendant had been prejudiced, citing intentional and problematic behavior, O’Rourke said. He declared a mistrial.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm declined to comment today if another trial would be held.

Bohm said the attorneys will go before a judge tomorrow, to set a new date for a trial, but she expects the defense will make a motion to dismiss the case entirely.

The case was investigated by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, beginning in April 2015. The alleged victim, 19 years old at the time, said she didn’t report it when it happened out of fear, embarrassment and uncertainty about what would happen, according to charging documents.

She told the deputy she and her friends were drinking Fireball, she was heavily intoxicated and realized the next morning she had been anally penetrated, according to the allegations. White told the deputy the two had a history of fooling around, with oral sex, and on the night in question, what they did was her idea, because she wanted to remain a virgin, the documents state.

A brief hearing is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Centralia shooting suspect remains at large

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
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David Serrano Mosso

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Law enforcement is looking for a 20-year-old Centralia resident, suspected to have shot an acquaintance yesterday at the northwest edge of Centralia.

Authorities say David Serrano Mosso was a passenger in a white sport utility vehicle that pulled up near an apartment complex at the 3100 block of Ives Road, off Harrison Avenue.

Serrano Mosso called out to the 19-year-old male victim, and when he approached, Serrano Mosso fired one round from a handgun, grazing the victim’s leg, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies dispatched at 2:42 p.m. learned the 19-year-old Centralia man drove himself to the hospital, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

“The victim and the suspect are acquaintances and have only known each other for a few months,” Breen stated in a news release.

The vehicle and its driver were located last night, but Serrano Mosso remains at large, according to Breen.

The victim had done some automotive work in the past for Serrano Mosso, according to Breen.

Anyone having information on the whereabouts of Serrano Mosso is asked to contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 748-9286, or Lewis County Communications at (360) 740-1105.

A Centralia resident with the same name and also 20 years old was recently convicted in a case in which a 37-year-old Centralia man was beaten inside his car in the parking lot at Providence Centralia Hospital this summer. David Serrano Mosso was initially charged in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree assault but made an Alford plea to second-degree assault and was sentenced the end of September to time served.

He had no criminal convictions prior to that, according to prosecutors.

•••

For background, read “News brief: Centralia man shot by individual in vehicle, which then flees” from Tuesday November 29, 2016, here

Judge-elect O’Rourke secures her place in Lewis County history

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The final count in the only contested race for Lewis County Superior Court judge indicates overwhelming support for local lawyer Joely O’Rourke.

O’Rourke won 72 percent of the votes while her opponent gathered only 28 percent. The numbers are rounded to whole votes, though officially include two decimal places to the right of a single vote.

The Nov. 8 vote-by-mail general election in Lewis County is certified today. Turnout was almost 78 percent.

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Joely O’Rourke

While the Chehalis woman will be the first female superior court judge in county history, it’s not something she gave a lot of thought to during the campaign, she said.

“I really wanted to be elected solely on my qualifications,” O’Rourke said. “It’s definitely an honor, for sure.”

The graduate of the University of Washington and Gonzaga University Law School began her professional career as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

In 2009, she started working as a deputy prosecutor in the criminal division at the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

For the past two years, O’Rourke has been in private practice, representing defendants at their first appearance on criminal charges in both Lewis County District Court and Lewis County Superior Court.

She will be sworn in and take the bench on Jan. 9. She will replace Judge Richard Brosey who is retiring after more than 18 years in the position.

Twenty-thousand-seven-hundred-seventy-one voters marked their ballots for O’Rourke, compared with 8,258 who supported rural Chehalis attorney Katherine Gulmert.

In a year that saw more than $51 million in candidate contributions across Washington state, O’Rourke’s campaign raised more than $26,000 and Gulmert’s raised none, according to figures available from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

Gulmert, a former deputy prosecutor who now has a private practice in Chehalis, posted an open letter to her supporters and the community on her campaign website shortly after election day. With less than half the votes counted at that point, Gulmert’s showing was just 30 percent.

She congratulated O’Rourke on her victory.

“It was a well-run and dignified campaign and I hope that she continues to serve Lewis County for many years to come,” Gulmert stated. “I expect that when I appear before her I will see what so many local attorneys and judges already know, that she is fair, unbiased and prepared in every area of the law.”

Adna resident Andrew Toynbee will also be sworn in in January, taking the seat of Judge Nelson Hunt who is retiring too. Toynbee is leaving the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office to return to Lewis County, where he spent 13 years in the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

He ran unopposed and earned 22,654 votes.

The third Lewis County Superior Court judge, James Lawler, was also unchallenged for another four-year term. Lawler was first elected in 2007. He got 23,662 votes.

Lewis County voters submitted 35,786 ballots in this presidential election year. Republican president-elect Donald Trump secured 21,992 votes (64 percent) while the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton got 9,654 (28 percent).

There are 46,094 registered voters in the county, with a population of  roughly 75,000.

The Lewis County Board of Commissioners saw two contested races, with incumbent Edna Fund beating challenger Dan Keahey, 53 percent to 47 percent. Both are Republicans.

Commissioner Bill Schulte is stepping down and will be replaced by Republican Bobby Jackson who won with 56 percent over Independent Bob Bozarth who took 44 percent of the votes.

Lewis County Fire District 3 in Mossyrock saw 63 percent support for its proposal to fund construction of a new fire station with as much as $1.4 million in bonds.

The Napavine-based Lewis County Fire District 5 failed to get at least 60 percent support for an emergency medical services levy. A majority of voters said yes (56 percent), but it wasn’t enough to pass.

See all the final results for Lewis County here
•••

For background, read:

• “A second Chehalis attorney hoping for outgoing Lewis County judge’s seat” from Tuesday July 26, 2016, here

• “Judge Brosey eyes retirement, Chehalis lawyer to seek election to the court” from Wednesday March 30, 2016, here

Onalaska horse owner loses court case

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A jury took less than a half hour today to find an Onalaska woman guilty of nine counts of  animal cruelty in connection with horses seized from her this past spring.

Jennifer Jenkins will be sentenced at a date yet to be scheduled, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Tuesday April 5, 2016

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said Jenkins testified on her own behalf during the two-day trial in Lewis County District Court, but the six-person jury didn’t “buy it.”

Back in April responders were called to Jenkins’ home on the 2500 block of state Route 508 because a small horse had fallen onto its side into a mud hole in her pen. Two and a half hours later it was finally lifted out, but the next day, Jenkins was arrested.

A Lewis County Sheriff’s Office report said the state veterinarian noted deplorable living conditions and said the animals were in serious need of medical attention.

Meagher said the issue was about inadequate shelter, food or water.

A veterinarian testified the horses had very low body condition scores, Meagher said. The hay they were being fed was not of good quality and while there was a barn on the property, it was filled with wood, he said.

Jenkins was represented by Centralia attorney David Brown.

Jenkins this afternoon said the proceedings were confusing and not what she expected.

“I thought we’d be able to put on my side of the evidence, but we didn’t,” she said.

The 45-year-old woman said she began showing horses when she was small and grew up with them.

She said she’d arranged for a friend to feed and take care of the animals while she and her son were away for four days, but when she got back, the field was muddy and animal feed had been stolen. She disputes the body condition scores.

“I was using portable shelters, but they’re always being torn down,” she said.

Jenkins said she is disabled from the effects of a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.

“It is what is is,” she said. “I don’t know what it’s all about; it’s just confusing.”

The offenses are violations of Lewis County code and are gross misdemeanors with maximum penalties of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Meagher said Judge R.W. Buzzard ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to be conducted and will set a date for sentencing.
•••

For background, read “Onalaska horse owner pleads not guilty, vet notes ‘deplorable’ conditions” from Friday April 8, 2016, here

Pacific Crest Trail: Hiker from Ohio last seen near White Pass

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
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Anyone who has seen Kris Fowler is asked to phone Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2535.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Searchers are on the ground looking for a Pacific Crest Trail hiker who hasn’t checked in or been heard from in almost three weeks, when he left a convenience store near White Pass.

Kris Fowler began his trek five and a half months ago in Mexico and is heading north to Snoqualmie Pass, according to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. His trail name is “Sherpa”.

Search and Rescue Coordinator Sgt. Randy Briscoe said he’s got teams out on the trail today.

Yesterday he had help from citizens in Packwood who made the 26-mile hike from White Pass to Chinook Pass,” he said.

“Folks in Packwood are organizing another search from Snoqualmie to Chinook Pass, I’m told,” Briscoe said this morning.

Fowler, who is 34 years old according to his step mother, lives near her in the Dayton, Ohio area. He started his travels with a college friend but they agreed they may or may not stick together the entire way, Sally Guyton Fowler said.

“He and I had a deal we’d keep in touch,” Guyton Fowler said. “I talked to him the end of September and he texted a friend on Oct. 12.”

By the end of last week she and his father began to get worried, she said.

The family reached out to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on Friday and a deputy checked the area and then learned Fowler had been at the Cracker Barrel store on U.S. Highway 12 near White Pass on Oct. 12, according to the sheriff’s office.

The minimart is on the east side of the county line, so they notified the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office of the information they had, as well as Pierce County.

Sgt. Briscoe said he was notified on Sunday of the possibly missing hiker.

Briscoe said he learned Fowler had been to the store on Oct. 10, asked for a ride into Packwood to get supplies and then returned to the store two days later. He was last seen walking out of the Cracker Barrel at 3 p.m. on Oct. 12, he said.

“He told the clerk he was going to proceed to Snoqualmie Pass,” Briscoe said.

Briscoe said he has aircraft ready to go, but yesterday and this morning, they were grounded because of the weather.

There’s been no activity on Fowler’s cell phone, he said.

Briscoe said the trail from White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass is 102 miles, he’s told. His step mother said he’d previously been moving 20 to 25 miles each day.

There was a terrible storm on Oct. 14, so Fowler could have decided to hunker down, Briscoe said.

“Maybe he’s not overdue, maybe he’s just trudging through and we’ll see him come out,” Briscoe said.

Meanwhile, sheriff’s office’s in Pierce and Kittitas counties have been notified and Briscoe is trying to get as many people and agencies along the route involved as he can.

Fowler is 6-foot 2-inches tall and 150 pounds, with blond hair and a modest beard.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Bruce Kimsey said this morning that one of his sergeants learned from the Cracker Barrel clerk that Fowler also made a comment about maybe going to Naches to get work at a winery.

“She felt he headed north though,” Kimsey said.

Guyton Fowler was getting on a plane today and plans to stay at the Packwood Inn.

“They want me there in support, in case he needs medical attention,” she said.

A Facebook page has been set up to share information about Fowler. It is called “Bring Kris Fowler/Sherpa Home

Winlock medical clinic will be rebuilt following fire

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The executive director of Valley View Health Center said this morning it appears a malfunction in the HVAC system ignited the fire that destroyed its Winlock clinic over the weekend.

Steven Clark said the fire investigator is reasonably certain of the cause.

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Courtesy image / Zachary Wichert

“The heating and air conditioning system basically burned it down,” Clark said.

The system had recently been worked on, he said.

Four fire departments responded to the nighttime blaze on the the 600 block of Cemetery Road in Winlock. A passerby called 911 about 2 a.m. on Saturday to report the fire.

Lewis County Fire District 15 described the single-story building as a total loss, with its roof already collapsing as they arrived.

Clark said he’s positive they will rebuild.

Valley View Health Center, based in Chehalis, has numerous clinics in Lewis County and the surrounding area.

They will soon begin looking for temporary quarters for the Winlock location, Clark said.

In the meantime, the one provider and four support staff will move down to the Toledo clinic and see their patients there, he said.

Patients who have already scheduled appointments in Winlock should just keep their same appointment, but do it at the Toledo clinic, Clark said.

It’s located at 117 Ramsey Way in Toledo. Patients can call 360-864-4400 with questions, Clark said.

Update: On the morning of Wednesday Nov. 2, Toledo Police Department Chief John Brockmueller said their part of the investigation is finished and confirmed the fire appeared to have begun in the heat pump outside the building. The insurance company will take over, he indicated.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Overnight fire claims Winlock doctors’ office” from Saturday October 29, 2016, here

Centralia: Nighttime intruder gets 10 years in prison

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
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Michael A. Hedges, right, is represented by defense attorney David Arcuri in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis man who was arrested after a 66-year-old Centralia woman woke up to find him standing over her bed, unzipping his pants this past spring was sentenced today to at least 10 years in prison.

Michael A. Hedges, 43, was charged with multiple felonies in Lewis County Superior Court on April 4, the day after his arrest.

The woman told police Hedges grabbed her hand and placed it on his private parts and she told him he had to leave then escorted him out of her house on Nick Road, according to charging documents.

Police subsequently found him hiding in a nearby trailer park.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and defense attorney David Arcuri struck a plea agreement to get Hedges an exceptionally long sentence even though both seemed to agree it was a case in which he thought he was in a different residence.

“It was clear he didn’t know where he was,” Halstead said. “As soon as he realized he was in a house he didn’t know, he immediately left.”

Arcuri told the judge his client was in the wrong place because of drugs.

“This is another example of the incredibly insidious nature of controlled substances,” Arcuri said. “They warp your mind.”

Hedges previous to this morning pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with sexual motivation, residential burglary and third-degree assault. Police said he tried to spit on a doctor when they took him in to have an injury on his head – from his arrest – checked out.

The victim didn’t come to the hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

Hedges told Judge James Lawler he knows what he did was out of line, and admitted his drug habit.

“I get it, that kind of, that kind of stuff is inappropriate,” he said.

Halstead and Arcuri recommended Hedges be sentenced a minimum of 120 months and up to life.

Halstead said that means after his release, if he has any violations, he could be potentially be pulled back into prison for the rest of his life. He will have to register as a sex offender.

The judge went along with the suggested sentence.

“I’m sorry the victim wasn’t here, so you could hear directly what this did to her,” Lawler said.

Hedges had supporters in the benches behind him. One of them said he knew if Hedges could change what happened, he would.

“Everything Michael did is 100 percent out of context for him,” his Pastor Keith Heldreth said.
•••

“Centralia resident finds stranger in her bedroom, unzipping pants” from Monday April 4, 2016, here

Vigil: Driver from Centralia fatal crash being honored tonight

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
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Austin Courtright with his daughter. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Family and friends of Austin Courtright are gathering this evening at Logan Park to share memories of the 19-year-old and then carry candles in a walk along the route of the final ride that took his life.

Courtright was born and raised in Centralia.

He died early yesterday morning after his he lost control of his car at the 300 block of West Sixth Street at the north end of town.

A Centralia police officer on patrol noticed the car in an alley near the intersection of Oxford Avenue and Marion Street, which then pulled away, turning without signaling , according to police.

Courtright sped away and less than a dozen blocks to the west, he lost control of his Acura, which slid along the side of a house, according to police.

He was ejected and died at the scene. His two passengers, both 25-year-old women from Chehalis, were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries, according to authorities.

Centralia Police Department Officer John Panco said he doesn’t know why the 19-year-old sped away. He did have an outstanding warrant, Panco said.

“We don’t have a chance to ask him, so we don’t know for sure,” Panco said.

Courtright has nine brothers and sisters. His father Scott Courtright lives in Centralia. His mother Deanna Johnson lives in Montana.

He’d recently begun working construction in Seattle, and the car was new, his mother said.

“He’d just bought that, with his own money,” she said.

Last year, Courtright accidentally shot his girlfriend in the thigh, with a pistol in his pocket while she was sitting on his lap, and he pleaded guilty as charged and was given a prison term of a year and a day. His lawyer at the time said he wasn’t suggesting Courtright plead to the charge, but he did anyhow.

Taking responsibility for that was something he felt he had to do, Johnson said.

“Austin was a terror, believe me, he was a handful,” she said. “But when it came down to it, he always told the truth and wanted to do the right thing.”

Johnson said he was getting the paperwork in order so he could move to Montana, while still under supervision with the state Department of Corrections.

“We were on our way here anyhow, to pick him up,” she said this afternoon.

Panco said he didn’t have an update on the how the passengers were doing.

The Washington State Patrol is conducting the investigation into the wreck.

The vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the park in the Logan District.
•••

For background, read “One dead, two injured after Centralia police pursuit ends with wreck” from Monday October 24, 2016, here

One dead, two injured after Centralia police pursuit ends with wreck

Monday, October 24th, 2016
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Acura landed in front yard on West Sixth Street, Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Updated at 8:25 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 19-year-old driver was killed after speeding away from an attempted traffic stop, losing control of his car and striking a house in Centralia overnight.

Two women in their 20s were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries, according to authorities.

Firefighters called about 2:15 a.m. to the 300 block of West Sixth Street along with the officer initiated CPR on the Centralia man but he died at the scene from his injuries, according to the Centralia Police Department. He had been ejected, as had one of the passengers, according to police.

The Washington State Patrol will be conducting the investigation.

Centralia police say the officer had attempted to stop the car for a minor traffic violation near the intersection of Oxford Avenue and Marion Street.

The car sped westbound over the Sixth Street viaduct, continuing through intersections at North Tower Avenue and North Pearl Streets, ignoring stop signs, according to Officer John Panco.

Just west of North Pearl, the the driver lost control, the vehicle left the roadway, hitting the residence and came to rest in its front yard, Panco stated in a news release this morning.

Panco says the small import car was traveling so fast, the pursuing officer couldn’t keep up and observed some of it from the top of the Sixth Street viaduct.

The driver ejected from the vehicle landed in the roadway, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Police this morning did not know the identities of the two female passengers, according to Panco.

Centralia detective Sgt. Carl Buster indicates “some” structural damage to the house.

The fire department was assisted by members of Lewis County Fire District 6. Centralia police were joined at the scene by the personnel from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the state patrol.

Family seeking payment for injuries from SWW Fair spooked horse incident

Thursday, October 20th, 2016
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Helen Morgan at her father Jake Morgan’s bedside. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Claims for as much as $5 million in damages have been filed against Lewis County on behalf of two of the several people hurt when a runaway horse and carriage plowed through a crowd at the Southwest Washington Fair.

A lawyer representing John H. Morgan, 38, from Toledo, states that his client suffered a severe brain injury, multiple broken bones and contusions and has already undergone several surgeries.

“John is out of work for an unknown period of time and may not be able to return to work in the same capacity, if at all,” Tacoma attorney Lincoln Beauregard writes.

His 4-year-old daughter Helen Morgan – who was not moving after being struck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office – suffered five facial fractures under her eyes and has permanent scarring, according to Beauregard. Her left arm was injured as well, he wrote.

The incident happened on the afternoon of August 19, a Friday during the six-day annual fair.

Authorities initially said only that a spooked horse took off running down the midway and four individuals were taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital. A fifth person went to the hospital in a private vehicle, according to the fire chief, and a recently released report indicates the owner of the horse was also hurt.

Lewis County owns and operates the fairgrounds and the fair.

A Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy compiled a report, for informational purposes and as assistance to fire and aid personnel.

Deputy Jeffrey Humphrey wrote he was standing near the sheriff’s office’s booth when he heard a horse pulling a buggy and it began trotting fast. He wrote that he saw people get hit, he gave chase and saw another person on the ground.

Then-Chief Deputy Stacy Brown, who had been with Humphrey, reported she also ran after the animal, noting the carriage was careening out of control behind it. She observed several injured people, she wrote.

Jennifer D. Adkinson later told the deputy she didn’t see it coming until the last minute, and pushed one of her small sons out of the way. Adkinson’s ankle was possibly broken, struck by what the Rochester woman suspected was the carriage, when she was interviewed at the hospital.

Brown and others were able to contain the horse near the north end of the midway, according to Brown’s narrative.

Chief Brown walked with the owner of the agitated horse to its stall and ensured it was confined there.

The owner, Carrie Swearingen, said her leg hurt from trying to stop the horse and carriage, but she was okay and declined aid, according to the incident report. Swearingen is from Dalles, Oregon, and was at the fair to give buggy rides to people, according to authorities.

The claims were filed with the Lewis County Risk Management office on Sept. 28, according to Risk Manager Paulette Young. Young said earlier this week, they’ve turned the claims over to the horse carriage company, for its insurance.

The Morgans were treated at Providence and also Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to their lawyer. He estimates damages for each in an amount between $2.5 million and $5 million.

Beauregard wrote that Lewis County’s liability is under investigation, as it may have contributed to the accident by “not installing proper safety measures.”

Chief Brown’s narrative gives some insight as to what may have occurred to startle the horse.

Brown wrote the horse, carriage and operator were standing in their normal location just north of the sheriff’s office’s booth.

“I observed the horse get spooked and jump, causing the carriage to rock back and forth behind it, which seemed to spook it even more,” Brown wrote. “The horse hit a large raised flower bed, causing it to fall over, which might have scared it even more.”

The horse owner told Brown she was standing next to her horse, Duramax, when a forklift drove by, spooking it, according to Brown. She said she wasn’t able to get the reins over the horse and couldn’t stop the horse as it bolted, according to Brown.

Brown further related that she saw a county forklift throughout the day carrying gates and other items, but she didn’t specifically recall seeing it next to the horse when the horse got spooked.

It’s unclear how many people were hurt during the incident.

Deputy Humphrey and Chief Brown’s reports list four known victims, plus the owner and no other witnesses. One of the four is a county employee.

The only other victim in their report is Thomas T. Mars, from Chehalis, who is also identified in the same report as Andrew T. Mars. He had a laceration near his elbow as well as scratches and/or road rash on his arms, back and both knees, according to Humphrey.

The Morgan family’s lawyer also submitted a claim for the same amount for wife and mother Emily Morgan.

“She continues to suffer from loss of consortium due to the severe injuries of her loved ones,” Beauregard wrote. She’s missing time from work to care for them and it’s unknown when she will be able to return, he wrote.
•••

For background, read “Two of spooked horse victims on the mend, after fair accident” from Saturday August 27, 2016, here

Centralia home invasion: Third suspect gets deal for cooperating

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
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Brian A. Carreon, right, and his lawyer Shane O’Rourke face Judge James Lawler today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 17-year-old Centralia boy who admitted to being one of three males captured in surveillance video at a roughly 45 second home invasion that ended with a pet dog shot dead got a break.

Brian A. Carreon appeared before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to six months in jail.

The judge said he would allow the term to be served on electronic home monitoring.

The other two men involved were sentenced last week to 10 and 12 years in prison.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher and Carreon’s defense attorney spent a great deal of time this afternoon addressing the different levels of culpability and the reason they agreed he could resolve his case with a conviction for first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

When the teen was charged in adult court last year, he faced one count of first-degree robbery.

Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke praised the year and a half long process of getting to the bottom of what happened.

His client didn’t go to the home with the intent to commit armed robbery, he said.

Meagher focused on the issue that without Carreon’s cooperation, authorities would not have known who committed the crime.

“The guy that came clean from the get go is sitting right over there,” Meagher said, pointing to Carreon.

It happened the night of Feb. 19, 2015 at a small house on the 1200 block of Marion Street in Centralia.

The victim and his girlfriend were home with their two dogs when about three males barged through the door demanding money and weed, and fired numerous shots killing their pit bull Misty. Officers found nine shell casings and two bullet jacket fragments at the scene.

Meagher said there was one gun involved.

He told the judge today that Deandre J. Perry of Portland, then 26, kicked the front door in.

Meagher said Hennessy R. Turner-White, then 22 and also from Portland, shot the dog.

Meagher said Carreon provided his cell phone to law enforcement while the Portland suspects as recently as this summer still claimed an alibi.

“So all in all, we think this is a fair resolution,” Meagher said. “It’s probably light handed, but we make no apology for that.”

Turner-White was given 12 years last week for first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of first-degree animal cruelty. Perry was given 10 years for the same convictions, minus the animal cruelty.

Meagher reminded the judge Carreon had been to house before, and had taken a video of himself trimming the victim’s medical marijuana plants. O’Rourke told the judge his client shouldn’t have talked about the marijuana grow, and shouldn’t have been hanging out with the two men.

“This is someone who’s 17, dealing with adults,” O’Rourke said.

Carreon has been free on bail, working and attending Centralia College.

His lawyer asked that he be allowed to go to work and go to classes while he’s on house arrest.

On of the two victims, Dustin Palermo, was present in the courtroom for today’s hearing.

Carreon apologized when it was his turn to address the court, but he did so facing the judge.

“I would like to apologize to Mr. Palermo as well,” Carreon said. “I’m sorry. A dog is definitely part of your family.

“I sincerely apologize.”

Judge James Lawler agreed with the two lawyers deal they’d worked out, noting to the defendant that he wasn’t required to.

“Make something of yourself and don’t come back here,” Lawler said.

Carreon has until 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 to get signed up for electronic home monitoring, or he must report to the Lewis County Jail.

Palermo outside the courtroom was surprised by the short amount of time Carreon got. The last he was aware, prosecutors were seeking a year, he said.

“I’m very upset with it, because he’s the one that brought them to our home,” he said. “Without him, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Carreon’s sister, Taina Duncan, from Portland, is expected for a hearing tomorrow. She allegedly drove the three to Palermo’s home.

Meagher said she’s planning to plead guilty to first-degree rendering criminal assistance, and he’s prepared to recommend she be sentenced to six months.

•••

For background, read:

• “News brief: Second Portland man gets prison for Centralia home invasion” Thursday October 13, 2016, here

• And, Two arrested, two sought in February Centralia home invasion” from Thursday July 9, 2015, here

Bail set at half million dollars for suspected Chehalis shooter

Monday, October 17th, 2016
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Andrew C. Skyberg looks toward his mother who was sitting in the benches in Lewis County Superior Court today.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Andrew C. Skyberg was brought before a judge this afternoon, charged with first-degree assault for allegedly firing twice towards a woman standing on a Chehalis porch following an early morning argument.

Skyberg, 36, was arrested on Friday, a day after the criminal charges were filed in Lewis County Superior Court and a judge issued a $500,000 arrest warrant for him.

Prosecutors allege back on Oct. 7, there was arguing heard outside a house on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue and Skyberg pointed his handgun in the air and fired off two to three rounds then shot twice toward Jerry Lynn Peterson. Nobody was injured.

Authorities have not offered a motive, but stated in charging documents the Chehalis man had been to the home in previous days and there was an ongoing dispute between he and residents there.

A stolen Ruger .380 pistol believed to be the weapon he used was recovered at a nearby home, and a resident there arrested for rendering criminal assistance.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio this afternoon asked that bail remain at a half million dollars. Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked that argument on the amount be reserved for a future date.

Judge James Lawler agreed.

First-degree assault has a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Centralia attorney David Arcuri was appointed to represent Skyberg.

His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday morning in Lewis County Superior Court.
•••

For background, read “Southwest William Avenue shooting incident suspect apprehended” from Friday October 14, 2016, here

Wind and Rain: When is that storm coming?

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The strongest winds today in the southwest interior are expected late this afternoon and early this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

A high wind warning will be in effect until 11 p.m. for most of Western Washington.

In the western half of Lewis County, we could see winds coming from the south at 20 to 35 mph with gusts near 60 mph, according to the NWS.

Weather watchers advise people to secure outdoor objects such as lightweight furniture before the storm.

High winds can topple trees onto roads, vehicles and even roof tops. The NWS reminds the public that falling trees or large branches have been known to cause fatalities. Widespread power outages are possible.

The most severe part of the storm is expected to occur here between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

No wind warning is in place for the eastern portion of Lewis County.

The only flood warning continues on the Skokomish River in Mason County, with minor flooding.

The very strong Pacific storm system with the potential also for heavy rainfall is the remnants of Pacific Typhoon Songda.

A coastal flood watch is in place for the central coast of Washington, with seas expected greater than 20 feet.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office has recommended citizens stay off the beaches and out of the woods because weather conditions could be treacherous.

They suggested others avoid traveling to the county for clam digging or deer hunting this weekend altogether.

• Report power outages to Lewis County PUD at 360-748-9261 or 360-496-6100

• Report power outages to Centralia City Light at 360-736-7040
•••

To get the latest weather information straight from the primary source, go to the  National Weather Service Forecast Office in Seattle page, here

Southwest William Avenue shooting incident suspect apprehended

Friday, October 14th, 2016
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Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies assemble outside a home across from Chehalis Middle School’s football field to make an arrest. / Courtesy photo by Janis Koplin

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 36-year-old man Chehalis police have been trying to catch for a week was booked into the Lewis County Jail this afternoon for first-degree assault.

Andrew C. Skyberg is the suspect in an early morning incident in which shots were fired outside and into the front porch railing of a house on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue.

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Andrew C. Skyberg

Authorities have said the events of Oct. 7 followed a days-long dispute between Skyberg and residents there.

Today at about 12:45 p.m., police got a tip Skyberg was at a home on the 800 block of Southwest 20th Street, and his presence there was confirmed, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

He was taken into custody with assistance from the Lewis County Regional SWAT Team, the Centralia Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey.

Bailey indicated in a news release that “gas” was deployed into the residence.

Nearby Chehalis Middle School and Olympic Elementary School were placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure, according to Bailey.

Two other occupants of the house exited at the request of police, and one of them was booked for a warrant on an unrelated matter, Bailey stated.

On Monday morning, three Chehalis schools were placed on lockdown for a period of time when police acted on a report Skyberg was spotted in the area of the 100 block of Southwest Sixth Street.

Two people were arrested last Friday, one for for allegedly helping hide Skyberg’s handgun and the other for allegedly giving him a ride out of the area.

Charging documents in their cases include information about the approximately 3 a.m. shooting incident.

Police were told by witnesses Skyberg was on the sidewalk outside the house when he pointed his handgun in the air and fired off two to three shots then shot twice toward Jerry Peterson, who was standing on the front porch, according to court documents.

Nobody was injured.

Neither police nor prosecutors have offered any insight as to the nature of the dispute.
•••

For background, read “Details emerge about Southwest William Avenue shooting incident” from Tuesday October 11, 2016, here

Packwood: Local drug detectives and feds interrupt drug trafficking

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Shelton woman and a Packwood woman were arrested outside a pizza restaurant in Packwood yesterday as one was allegedly about to exchange cash for two half-pound packages of methamphetamine from the other.

Torina M. Lorenzano, 46, from Yakima, and Dawn M. Cooper, 43, from Shelton, were arrested by members of the local drug detective team and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

They were booked into the Lewis County Jail and brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told the judge Lorenzano admitted to supplying three to four pounds of meth and more than a half pound of heroin each week to people in Lewis and Thurston counties.

Cooper acknowledged buying two of those pounds of meth each week from Lorenzano, Meyer said.

Both were charged today with numerous felonies. Judge James Lawler set bail at $100,000 for Lorenzano, and $150,000 for Cooper.

Law enforcement found more than $4,800 cash in Cooper’s truck, most of which she said was to purchase the meth, and the rest for a past debt, according to charging documents.

According to charging documents, detectives with the local Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team began to follow Cooper as she drove throughout county yesterday, based in part on monitored phone calls from the Lewis County Jail in which she and an inmate discussed drugs and money in veiled language.

JNET announced this afternoon their three-county investigation began in July, in coordination with the DEA, U.S. Marshals and the fugitive apprehension team with the state Department of Corrections.

The trafficking organization they began looking into deals in both heroin and meth, according to JNET.

According to JNET, they identified Cooper as the person they believed was continuing business for her significant other, a 41-year-old Centralia man who was arrested Sept. 29 for allegedly possessing and delivering meth.

Five ounces of meth were seized in connection with the arrest of William “Aaron” Barge, according to authorities. Charging documents state over $12,000 cash was confiscated as well.

“While investigating Cooper, numerous ‘workers’ and customers were identified as well as her main supplier,” JNET wrote in its news release. “This investigation is ongoing and several more suspects are being sought by JNET.”

On Monday, JNET learned Cooper was staying in a motel in Tumwater, and although she fled, law enforcement subsequently allegedly found under the mattress in her room approximately 68 grams of meth and 28 grams of heroin, according to court papers.

Yesterday in Packwood, law enforcement watched as Lorenzano carried a bag from her truck and got into Cooper’s vehicle, which contained the pound of meth in two burrito-sized packages as well as a white smaller package that contained five ounces of heroin, according to court papers.

When  Lorenzano’s truck was searched, another half pound of meth plus three gram of cocaine were found, the documents state.

Inside Cooper’s vehicle, officers located six to 10 grams of meth, a digital scale and numerous “clean” baggies, the documents relate.

The street value of the seized drugs is estimated at $150,000.

Their arraignments are set for Oct. 20.

The overall investigation is being reviewed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Assistant United States Attorney’s Office for charging considerations, according to JNET.

Details emerge about Southwest William Avenue shooting incident

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
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Felicia D. Lane, left, and Bryan K. Butts, right, appear in Lewis County Superior Court on charges of rendering criminal assistance.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A days-long dispute between residents at a south Chehalis home and 36-year-old Andrew C. Skyberg preceded the early morning incident in which he allegedly fired two shots towards one of them while she was standing on the front porch, according to court papers.

The events just before 3 o’clock in the morning on Friday led to the arrests of two people who reportedly assisted Skyberg afterward and a manhunt that was still ongoing as of this afternoon.

Documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court state that police were told by witnesses Skyberg was on the sidewalk outside the house on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue when he pointed his handgun in the air and fired off two to three shots then shot twice toward the female victim.

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Andrew C. Skyberg, wanted

Callers to 911 reported hearing arguing outside and the sound of gun fire.

The woman was not hurt, but officers recovered one bullet lodged in the wooden front railing and two .380 caliber shell casings on the sidewalk, according to authorities.

Skyberg had reportedly been to the house over the previous few days.

Chehalis police have not disclosed any details related to motive.

Arrested on Friday and charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree rendering criminal assistance were Bryan K. Butts, 32, and Felicia D. Lane, 28.

Charging documents in their cases suggest that police came to learn Skyberg had been at Lane’s nearby home, became upset, left and then a short time later she heard gun shots.

Lane resides on the 100 block of Southwest Sixth Street. Court documents give the same address for her boyfriend, Butts, although Chehalis police initially described him as  Cinebar resident.

Police were told Skyberg then came running back into her home, said he needed a ride out of there and handed Lane a cloth-wrapped object containing a firearm that she hid in her room, according to court documents. Officers recovered a Ruger .380 pistol.

The gun had recently been stolen in a vehicle prowl, according to police.

A detective was told Butts gave Skyberg a ride to McFadden Park.

Yesterday morning, police were told Skyberg was seen around 100 block of Southwest Sixth Street and three schools in the area were locked down while officers from multiple agencies scoured the area.

When Butts and Lane were brought before a judge yesterday afternoon, he set bail for each of them at $100,000. Their arraignments are scheduled for Thursday.
•••

For background, read “Manhunt underway near Chehalis schools” from Monday October 10, 2016, here

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Chehalis police use a saw to collect evidence from in front of the targeted house on Southwest William Avenue on Friday morning.

Centralia home invasion case in which pit bull was shot coming to a close

Monday, October 10th, 2016
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Hennessy R. Turner-White faces a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – One of three suspects in a Centralia home invasion in which a pet dog was shot and killed early last year apologized to one of the victims today, just before he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Hennessy R. Turner-White of Portland was 22 when he was arrested last summer as police began to piece together what led to incident at the 1200 block of Marion Street, at the north end of town.

Officers had arrested a 17-year-old Centralia boy, Brian A. Carreon, and subsequently arrested another Portland man, 26-year-old Deandre J. Perry.

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Marion Street, Feb. 19, 2015

Carreon’s sister from Portland, Taina Duncan, was arrested and charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly driving the others to the house.

On the night of Feb. 19, 2015, Dustin Palermo and his girlfriend had just settled into bed to watch a movie, when about three males barged through the door demanding money and weed, and fired numerous shots killing their pit bull Misty.

The former Navy corpsman had a small, and legal, amount of medical marijuana plants growing inside, for himself and another patient. It turned out, prosecutors alleged in court papers, the teenager had been there before and took a video of himself trimming the plants.

Turner-White in a plea deal pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of first-degree animal cruelty.

His lawyer asked the judge to go along with the agreed recommendation of 144 months in prison.

“He made a horrible decision, that will affect his life forever,” Robert Quillian said. “Fortunately, he will be a relatively young man when he is released.”

Turner-White’s mother was the only person present in the courtroom to support him.

Palermo addressed the judge, saying the hardest part has been that his children’s friends can’t come around, because he was labeled a drug user.

Before he was sentenced, Turner-White turned to face Palermo and said he was sorry. He told him he didn’t shoot his dog to be mean, but only out of fear.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler agreed to the deal the lawyers had worked out.

The defendant had no criminal history.

Lawler told him his incredibly stupid and bad decision is why he was getting so much time.

“You’re a young man, if you want to have a life, you’ll have to do things differently,” Lawler said. “But first you’ll have to pay the penalty.”

Perry has already pleaded guilty and is going to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Carreon is scheduled to be in court on Oct. 19, expected to plead guilty and be sentenced.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said he’s still trying to get Duncan back up here from Portland. Her trial is still on the court’s calendar for the week of Nov. 14.
•••

For background, read “Law enforcement finds Centralia robbery suspect in Vancouver jail” from Thursday October 1, 2015, here

•••
Correction: This had been updated to reflect the correct date of Brian A. Carreon’s upcoming court hearing.