Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Facebook: Onalaska resident arrested after photo alleged to be with underage girlfriend surfaces

Friday, September 30th, 2016
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Cody M. Cothran faces a judge in Lewis County Superior Court during a bail hearing yesterday.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded to a local detective led to a 15-year-old Lewis County girl who had uploaded images of herself to her Facebook account, showing her unclothed private parts.

Of particular interest to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was a photo of the girl with a penis in her mouth, and Facebook text messages between her and a 21-year-old that suggested an intimate relationship.

Sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty this week went to the girl’s address and spoke to a relative who said she hadn’t been home in two weeks, but had a boyfriend who lived in Onalaska.

McGinty found the girl there and interviewed her, learning she and Cody M. Cothran, 21, were boyfriend and girlfriend and that he allegedly took the picture in question, of the two of them, according to court documents.

She told McGinty that Cothran knew she was only 15, according to court documents.

“She said Cody told her to be careful who she told about their relationship and that he could get into trouble if their relationship was discovered,” court documents state.

McGinty placed Cothran under arrest and read him his Miranda warnings, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher wrote.

That was on Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon, Cothran was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, an offense with a maximum penalty of 10 year in prison. He is also charged with third-degree rape of a child. That crime can bring as much as five years behind bars.

Charging documents don’t indicate if Facebook had removed the photos from the girl’s page. They don’t state if the text exchanges between the two were viewable by the public, or if they were private messages that the detective somehow accessed.

There is no indication the girl is in trouble.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge Cothran is unemployed and qualified for a court appointed lawyer.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio said Cothran has no prior criminal convictions of any sort.

Judge Nelson Hunt allowed Cothran to remain free pending his trial, based on a $25,000 unsecured bond co-signed by his grandfather.

Judge Hunt ordered Cothran to turn over any computer he has to his newly appointed lawyer, David Brown by his arraignment.

Prosecutors: Winlock store clerk and suspect faked robbery

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
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Cheryl D. Oleachea waits to leave the courtroom after her bail hearing today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The clerk from Winlock’s Handi store has been arrested in connection with the robbery there earlier this month.

Police arrested a 45-year-old Winlock man for the Sept. 6 incident and charged him with second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary. Tamrick A. Torres told them he and the clerk had conspired to rob the store because she was unhappy with her wages there, according to prosecutors.

And last week, when an officer ran into him, stopping him for speeding, Torres reportedly shared further details, according to court documents.

“Torres stated that his attorney would be mad at him for providing this  information, but that he didn’t care,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

Torres allegedly said he had the mask he used that night and also a BB gun that looked like a pistol which the clerk provided him to make it look more realistic, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote.

When police were called to the nighttime incident on Kerron Avenue, they were told a person wearing a skeleton-type mask, had a handgun, demanded money from the till and the clerk handed it over. She said the subject had reached toward his waistband where she saw what looked like the black handle of a firearm, but Torres subsequently told police he didn’t use the BB gun during the robbery because he thought it was a bad idea.

On Monday, the clerk, Cheryl D. Oleachea was contacted by law enforcement and continued to deny any involvement, according to Masiello. But she underwent a polygraph examination and the results show she was not truthful, according to Masiello.

Oleachea, 53, was arrested yesterday and booked into the Lewis County Jail. She was charged today with second-degree theft in Lewis County Superior Court. The owner reported $1,589 in cash was missing.

Judge Nelson Hunt allowed her release on a $10,000 unsecured bond. Her arraignment is next week.
•••

For background, read “Robber with black and white Scream-type mask hits Winlock store” from Wednesday September 7, 2016, here

Final suspect in drug-related robbery going to prison

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
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•••

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The final of four suspects in a Centralia heroin-related incident this summer that resulted in a fight inside a car with a box cutter and bear spray was sentenced yesterday to one year and a day in prison.

Kiana J. DeLaRosa, 18, of Chehalis, was convicted by plea of second-degree robbery, but didn’t show up earlier this month for her sentencing hearing.

She and prosecutors had a deal in place in which she would have gotten only six months in jail, given she had no criminal history.

Yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, she pleaded guilty to bail jumping and the cases were combined for the longer sentence.

Prosecutors alleged a set up of a drug deal; the two victims told police of a request to get some heroin for DeLaRosa who claimed to be “drug sick.” It happened at the 1600 block of North Scheuber Road in Centralia at about 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, July 30.

A purse and a backpack were taken and two of the subjects admitted to finding a small amount of heroin and using it before they were contacted by officers.

DeLaRosa’s attorney Chris Baum told the judge his client made bad choices and compounded her issues by not coming back to court.

DeLaRosa told the judge she wants someone to help her with her drug addiction.

“I just regret my mistake that I made, and I take full responsibility for them,” she said.

Judge Nelson Hunt imposed the agreed upon recommendation of Baum and the prosecutor’s office.

Robert Plasencia, 29, of Napavine, got 22 months when he was sentenced last month for second-degree robbery.

Andrea Parker, 34, and Jon Parker, 32, of Chehalis, pleaded guilty soon after to conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. She was given 50 months as her conviction was combined with four other cases from this year.
•••

For background, read “Bear spray, box cutter and heroin” from Friday August 12, 2016, here

Former Mossyrock city official sorry for theft, gets prison time

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
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Doneia A. Santiago turns to hug family members goodbye following her sentencing hearing this morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 6:25 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The now-former Mossyrock city clerk-treasurer is heading to prison with a five year sentence for embezzling what the mayor says comes to more than $67,000.

Doneia A. Santiago, 53, came to Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis today, free on a signature bond since her June arrest, and was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.

Defense attorney Don Blair didn’t ask the judge for a particular amount of time for his client, but noted she was cooperative after the mayor approached her and left her job without taking her final paycheck. She even borrowed a large sum of money from a friend in an attempt to begin repaying the loss, but prosecutors wouldn’t accept it as part of a deal for less time, he said.

“She got into a situation where she was short on funds and started using the city’s bank account to pay her mortgage,” Blair told the judge. “Clearly she regrets that.”

The defendant told the court she was very sorry.

Santiago was charged initially with first-degree theft, for what at first looked like less than $8,000 taken over a less than three-year period. By mid-July, documents were filed indicating investigators found evidence more than $37,000 was taken. A deal was struck in which she pleaded guilty to nine counts of first-degree identity theft earlier this month.

Mossyrock Mayor Tom Meade addressed the court, on behalf of the town’s 750 residents, he said, about how Santiago breached the public’s trust.

“She failed completely in her duties,” Meade said. “It’s an example of why people have lost faith in government.”

Meade spoke of stolen credit cards, late night transfers, false invoices submitted to the council and a scheme so complex even three audits by the state missed it.

“She was that clever, she was that good at it,” the mayor said.

Mayor Meade said some of her family members should be ashamed of themselves for what he claimed was participation in the wrongdoing.

More than a dozen apparent supporters sat in the benches behind Santiago, including family. Roughly the same number, including city council members, were on the other side of the courtroom with the mayor.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello recommended to the judge Santiago get five years, plus community custody following her release and pay various fines and fees. Restitution will be determined at a future date, he said. Masiello looked to the mayor for the preliminary number of $67,079.95.

“With the conduct in this case and the length of time it went on, we think 60 months is appropriate,” he said.

Judge Nelson Hunt agreed with the state, saying it’s his experience that almost everyone caught embezzling comes up with excuses and then apologizes.

“The jail time starts right now,” Hunt said.

Outside the courtroom, Masiello said the particular charges to which she was convicted helped the state get the amount of time it sought, and because of the sentencing guidelines, keeping the theft charges would not have resulted in a longer sentence.

Santiago started working for the central Lewis County city in August 2013 and was terminated in June.

The deputy clerk, Daydra Stewart, was confirmed by the council as acting city clerk-treasurer in July. Mayor Meade suggested they are in no hurry to make a final decision about a new clerk-treasurer.

“We’re going to let some time pass,” he said.

•••

For background, read “Former Mossy city clerk pleads guilty to putting city funds in  personal account” from Wednesday September 7, 2016, here

Drugs, guns and an arrest in Chehalis

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
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Drannon B. Smythe sits with his temporary defense attorney this afternoon in from of judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He said he came to the door with a loaded AK-47, but put it down when law enforcement outside verified who they were, court documents state.

Twenty-three-year-old Drannon B. Smythe was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The criminal charges follow his arrest at his Chehalis home yesterday on the 200 block of Newaukum Valley Golf Course Drive, according to the documents.

Drug detectives served a search warrant there, seizing thirteen firearms from around the apartment, several of which were loaded, including a TEC-9 that was on the wall, the documents relate.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello writes law enforcement collected approximately one ounce of heroin, roughly a quarter ounce of meth, digital scales and just over $3,000 cash as well as several prescription pills. They found thousands of clean, unused baggies, according to Masiello.

Smythe allegedly told detectives the guns belonged to him and he’d obtained them through drug transactions.

He reportedly said if law enforcement had served the warrant the previous day, he’d have had pounds of methamphetamine, but he was robbed.

The case was handled by the local Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team. Further details were not readily available this afternoon.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge this afternoon her client was currently unemployed and has only one previous conviction.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio requested bail be set at $25,000. Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Smythe held with $100,000 bail.

Former association treasurer charged with 10 felony counts for alleged dipping into account

Monday, September 26th, 2016
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April K. Kelley prepares to leave the courtroom after being charged with theft and forgery today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors asked for $100,000 bail today for the now-former Lewis County social services manager, suggesting the theft charges against her are so serious she might not return to court.

Thirty-five-year-old April K. Kelley posted $20,000 bail over the weekend, was released from jail and then came to Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

The Centralia woman is accused of spending money that belonged to an association where she served as treasurer, going all the way back to 2011. The alleged amounts are in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“The more we look, the more we find,” Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

Kelley worked at the Lewis County Department of Public Health & Social Services, and in that capacity, served as treasurer for the Association of County Human Services. ACHS is a non-profit group with members who provide or administer public programs related to chemical dependency, mental health and developmental disabilities.

Authorities allege Kelley admitted to withdrawing money from ACHS account in person at the bank for herself, writing checks to herself and transferring money into her account directly. At least one time, she made her mortgage payment directly from the association’s account, according to Meyer.

Kelley was charged today with four counts of first-degree theft, each with an additional factor of being major economic offense and six counts of forgery.

Meyer said each of the first four counts represent a 12-month period, and numerous transactions. The most recent forgery is listed as July 5 of this year, according to court documents.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office this morning said a new treasurer last year reviewed the books and found $60,000 to $70,000 missing.

The records are now being reviewed by a forensic accountant to determine the exact extent of illegal activity, according to Meyer.

When Kelley went before Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke argued for lower bail, indicating Kelley wouldn’t be a flight risk.

“She’s married to a probation officer, they have two children, she’s lived in Lewis County her entire life,” O’Rourke said.

Kelley plans to hire Centralia defense attorney Shane O’Rourke.

Judge Lawler left her bail at the $20,000 already posted, noting that was because in part she showed up for court on her own.

Her arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 6.

•••

For background, read “Thousands of dollars removed from governmental association account, Centralia woman arrested” from Monday September 26, 2016 at 8:51 a.m., here

Thousands of dollars removed from governmental association account, Centralia woman arrested

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Updated at 12:09 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 35-year-old Centralia woman has been arrested following an investigation into as much as $70,000 discovered missing from the account of an association she worked for while employed at the Lewis County Health Department.

April K. Kelley was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree theft on Friday and is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said that Kelley was the treasurer for the Association of County Human Services between 2010 and 2014 while she worked at the county health department.

A new treasurer last year reviewed the books and found $60,000 to $70,000 missing, according to Breen.

The association takes in about $90,000 each year in dues from members, comprised of representatives from each of Washington’s 39 counties, according to Breen.

ACHS is a non-profit group with members who provide or administer programs related to chemical dependency, mental health and developmental disabilities. It is an affiliate of the Washington State Association of Counties, according to information on its web site.

Breen said this morning Kelley admitted to removing money from the account, saying she didn’t keep track but estimated around $90,000. She replaced $50,000 of it in 2011 with money borrowed from a family member, he said.

He said the amount stolen is currently estimated as between $40,000 to $70,000.

Kelley was hired at the Lewis County Department of Public Health & Social Services in July 2007. She is no longer employed there, as of this past Friday, according to Director Danette York.

She was the social services manager, with responsibilities for programs for housing, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, and senior services.

It appears she may have bailed out of jail yesterday, from information on the Lewis County Jail’s online roster.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
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•••

AUTO THEFT

• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle in connection with a case associated with a location at North Tower Avenue and Susan Street on Friday night, according to the Centralia Police Department. David J. Eslick was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Someone broke into a vehicle parked on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and stole a Galaxy Note tablet computer, according to a report made to police just after 3 p.m. on Friday.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue about 10:40 p.m. yesterday where tires had been slashed on a parked vehicle.

AIRPLANE DOESN’T CRASH

• Chehalis firefighters stood by at the airport after being notified a small plane was going to make an emergency landing on Friday. Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Casey Beck said he got a phone call from Seattle air traffic control, asking for their assistance. “They said, ‘hey, we’ve got a plane having difficulty with their alternator, they think it will be fine, but they’re going to land in Chehalis’,” Beck said. He notified dispatch at about 11:30 a.m. the crew was heading to the Chehalis-Centralia Airport, he said. “Probably about 15 minutes later, it came down and landed without problems,” he said.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more among 280 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 48-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

Former Chehalis Chief Hamilton dies in Mexico

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former Chehalis Chief of Police and Fire Services Randy C. Hamilton passed away on Saturday in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at age 65.

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Randy C. Hamilton
1951 – 2016

Hamilton retired from the city of Chehalis in March 2002, and went on to work for the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center traveling the country and teaching, according to his daughter.

“He taught a lot of classes, all over the U.S. really, and even Guam,” Kalessa Markham said.

The Chehalis native moved to the Tacoma area about 10 years ago and worked as a handyman and then, as general manager of a bar in Tacoma called The Mix, Markham said.

He retired for good in August and decided he would move to a place he enjoyed visiting so much, she said.

Markham said her father’s death was unexpected, but he died peacefully with family members around him.

“I’m realizing what an impact he had, not just in our community, but everywhere,” she said. “It’s so nice to know he’s missed by so many people.”

Hamilton began his law enforcement career as a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy, spending his last five years as the undersheriff. He ran for sheriff, and lost. Then in 1987 was hired by the city of Chehalis.

Hamilton leaves behind three children, three grandchildren and other family.

A public viewing at Brown Mortuary in Chehalis is scheduled for tomorrow between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. A family graveside service will be held on Saturday.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Chehalis Middle School Commons. Everyone is welcome, his daughter said.

Former Green Hill counselor gets jail, treatment in inmate sex case

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Erin Snodgrass is escorted out of the courtroom to jail after hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Green Hill School counselor who engaged in a sexual relationship with a student-inmate was sentenced today to 14 days in jail plus 46 treatment sessions.

Erin Snodgrass, also known as Erin Stiebritz, was arrested in January following an investigation that began after a letter was intercepted at the state juvenile detention facility.

The student, who turned 18 during the period of time in question, told detectives they had sex a few times in her office, according to court documents.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court he and her lawyer came to an agreement to recommend she be sentenced to a lower than usual amount of time.

Snodgrass, 37, pleaded guilty to first-degree custodial sexual misconduct in July, an offense with a standard sentencing range of six to 12 months in jail.

Halstead said the reason for less time included the fact that she has taken responsibility for it and also the interview with the student was not recorded and he later denied everything.

Snodgrass began working at Green Hill in June 2013. The events investigated occurred during the latter half of 2014. She has been free and out of custody with an unsecured bond since her arrest.

Defense attorney Blake Kremer told the judge his client takes all of this very seriously.

“She made a terrible mistake,” Kremer said. “That’s what she’ll be paying for forever.”

He noted her family stands by her, although she didn’t want them to come to the hearing. Kremer pointed out three friends in the courtroom who were there to support Snodgrass.

She addressed the court, her voice breaking.

“This has really done a lot of damage to my family and my friends,” Snodgrass said.

Judge James Lawler said he’d read the pre-sentencing report and the sentencing memorandum, and it was obvious to him the defendant felt remorse. He adopted the recommended sentence.

On paper, she was given 60 days in jail, however all but 14 of those days were each converted to one treatment session.

Neither Halstead nor Kremer mentioned, nor would they say outside the courtroom, the nature of the treatment.

Green Hill in Chehalis is run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services. It’s a secure facility in Chehalis that provides older, male offenders education and vocational training.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Health suspended Snodgrass’s counselor credential for at least four years.

The judge also ordered that she serve 12 months of community custody and have no contact with the victim.

Snodgrass was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.
•••

For background, read “Guilty plea accepted in Green Hill counselor-inmate sex case” from Wednesday July 27, 2016, here

Centralia 2012: One defendant in rape of 13-year-old gets a plea deal

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Tyler M. McKee and his lawyer face a judge this morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former Chehalis man admitted today he took advantage of a 13-year-old girl at a Centralia party when he was 19 years old.

Tyler M. McKee has been held since the end of July on $100,000 bail in the Lewis County Jail in connection with the 2012 case.

He and his lawyer made a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child molestation, while a charge of second-degree rape of a child was dropped.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt asked McKee if the words printed on his admission were what happened, that on May 4, 2012, he had sexual contact with a person under 14 and encouraged, aided and abetted another to also have sexual contact with the same victim.

McKee agreed and the judge asked if McKee knew her age.

“No, I didn’t know,” McKee said.

Earlier this summer, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office secured an arrest warrant for one of three males the 13-year-old girl believed engaged in sex with her at the party, when she was so drunk she could not walk. DNA collected from her pants and McKee were a match, according to court documents.

The now 22-year-old was living in Las Vegas and returned to Lewis County at the end of July.

After this morning’s court hearing, the judge imposed a no-bail hold and scheduled a date to return to court for Oct. 20.

His sentencing can’t take place until after the state Department of Corrections completes a pre-sentencing investigation in which the state agency will make its recommendation for how long he should be locked up.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said the standard sentencing range for McKee is 31 to 41 months and the state will recommend 41.

McKee is represented by Centralia lawyer J.P. Enbody.

Another 22-year-old was arrested last week in connection with the same incident. Geffrey A. Duncan of Chehalis is charged with second-degree rape of a child.

He told the judge when he appeared in court on Friday he has no idea who the victim is. His bail was $25,000.
•••

For background, read “Suspect in rape of girl at 2012 Centralia party arrested in Vegas” from Monday August 1, 2016, here

Pe Ell parents convicted of striking, bruising child

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
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Diana M. Rogerson consults with her lawyer Chris Baum today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 37-year-old mother entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced today in a case in which she spanked her 7-year-old daughter so hard it left a bruise.

Diana M. Rogerson was given 60 days in jail and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment as well as treatment pertaining to domestic violence, according to Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt told Rogerson her right to possess firearms is revoked, following her plea of guilty to fourth-degree assault domestic violence.

Rogerson was charged in June with third-degree assault of a child shortly after her husband was charged with the same offense for a different incident involving the girl, his stepdaughter.

Joseph W. Rogerson was arrested after the girl told a school counselor her step-father punched her in the arm when she tried to get him to stop hitting her mom, while the family was target shooting in the woods near Pe Ell.

The family lived in Pe Ell.

Because of the arrest, Joseph Rogerson, 37, lost his deferred prosecution in a case of driving under the influence, from an arrest last summer after a head-on crash in Onalaska that killed three teenagers. The investigation by the Washington State Patrol concluded he was traveling in his own lane and not to blame for the wreck.

Joseph Rogerson has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and is awaiting sentencing in Lewis County District Court.

The case was assigned to Child Protective Services. The children went to live with their father in Toledo.

Diana Rogerson will be allowed to serve her time with electronic home monitoring, if she qualifies, according to Halstead. Otherwise she will have to check in to the Lewis County Jail by Oct. 11. The judge also ordered her not to have any contact with her daughter, until she fulfills her obligations, he said.

She admitted taking a folded belt to her daughter, something the girl’s older brother told deputies happened after the child  refused to say prayers at dinnertime.
•••

For background, read “Pe Ell mother faces charge of assault of her child” from Tuesday June 21, 2016, here

Second suspect charged in rape of girl at 2012 Centralia party

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
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Geffrey A. Duncan talks with temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A second young man has been arrested from a 2012 case in which a 13-year-old girl told police she was taken advantage of by three males at a Centralia party when she was so drunk she could not walk.

Geffrey A. Duncan, 22, went before a judge yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, where he is charged with second-degree rape of a child.

The Chehalis resident came to court with his father, having bailed out of jail following his arrest on a $25,000 warrant.

The judge signed a protection order, prohibiting Duncan from contacting the alleged victim.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke indicated to Judge Nelson Hunt her client could have trouble abiding by the order.

“He says he doesn’t know the victim, has no idea who she is,” O’Rourke said. “He’s not sure how to avoid (her).”

Judge Hunt told Duncan he needed to stay at least 1,000 feet from Centralia College, avoiding giving the girl’s address.

Earlier this summer, Centralia police arrested 19-year-old Tyler M. McKee, who was living in Las Vegas. He was charged with the same offense and remains in the Lewis County Jail with bail set at $100,000.

The allegations were investigated in May of 2012, and forensic was evidence collected, but the girl only knew the first names of two of the individuals, according to court documents.

Last year, a detective at the Centralia Police Department interviewed a new witness and was given Duncan’s name, and Duncan subsequently recalled being at the party and said he may have kissed her once, according to court documents. He accused two of his friends of having sex with the girl after being told she was only 13, court documents relate.

Duncan’s DNA was excluded from the sample found on her pants.

Court documents in the case relate the girl said she’d never been intoxicated before, but played beer pong and “shot gunned” approximately 10 beers. She told police she remembered both “Tyler” and “Jeff” being on top of her, one after the other. She recalled a third man who came into the room and put his penis in her mouth, according to the court documents.

The new witness reportedly told a detective he tried to get Duncan out of the room but Duncan refused to leave, according to court documents.

O’Rourke told the judge yesterday that Duncan was asking for a court-appointed lawyer, as he didn’t think he could afford to hire someone.

“He makes about $4,000 a month, but he has about $3,000 a month coming out of his pocket,” O’Rourke said, citing bills such as $600 a month truck payment, a $200 a month phone bill, $600 a month obligation for his show dog and payments on haying equipment loans.

Hunt didn’t appoint him a lawyer, but told him to return in two weeks after talking with attorneys about their costs, and tell him again why he can’t afford to hire someone.

His next court hearing is Sept. 29.
•••

For background, read “Suspect in rape of girl at 2012 Centralia party arrested in Vegas” from Monday August 1, 2016, here

Early morning fire destroys house in Chehalis

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
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Courtesy photo by Kim Lannoye

Updated at 11:43 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Crews are extinguishing a two-alarm house fire in Chehalis.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale said everyone got out alright of the two-story home at South Market Boulevard and 11th Street.

He expects they will be on scene a couple more hours.

The call came just after 5 o’clock this morning. They were joined by crews from Lewis County Fire Districts 6 and 5 as well as Riverside Fire Authority, according to Firefighter Steve Emrich.

Just before 8 a.m., the blaze was mostly put out.

“They’re going in to what’s called overhaul,” Emrich said. “Had the fire knocked down, opening up void spots, putting out spot fires.”

Emrich said the residence is still standing, but he believed at the very least sustained heavy fire damage to the second floor. It seemed to have started at the garage area and spread from there, he said.

A fire investigator is looking into the cause today.

The man and woman, in their mid-20s, along with a toddler were helped out of a second-floor dormer window by a neighbor or friend before the fire department arrived, according to Cardinale.

The chief said the house has no interior stairwell to the second level and the exterior stairs weren’t an option because of the fire.

They had been sleeping and she said she woke up to use the bathroom, heard the sound of rushing wind, saw a glow and then the fire at the back of the house.

The Red Cross was summoned to assist the residents.

Lewis County Clerk Brack stepping down

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
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Kathy Brack speaks briefly at a gathering in her honor today as she prepares to retire, backed up by her Chief Deputy Clerk Lisa Conzatti.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – As many as eight individuals have expressed interest in being appointed Lewis County clerk, as the elected official holding the position is retiring before her four-year term ends.

Kathy Brack’s last day is tomorrow. Her chief deputy clerk Lisa Conzatti will take over as interim county clerk.

Brack spoke at a farewell gathering held in her honor today, at the Historic Lewis County Courthouse.

The 65-year-old Toledo resident has been under treatment for cancer, and made good on a promise to her spouse.

“I told my husband if my last doctor’s appointment came clean, then I would retire,” Brack said.

The Lewis County clerk serves as the official record keeper for the Lewis County Superior Court. The office on the second floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis has 15 employees.

Brack’s retirement brings to an end 44 years of public service. She was the Lewis County District Court administrator beginning in 1972 and then in 1986 took over the same position in Cowlitz County District Court.

In 2002, the Republican ran against the incumbent Lewis County clerk, and won, running unopposed three times since then.

Because her term hasn’t ended, the Lewis County Board of Commissioners will select a replacement, who will have to run for the office in a November 2017 special election if they want to continue. And then run again in November 2018 for a normal four-year term.

The commissioners will have a slate of three candidates to choose from, names given to them by the Lewis County Republican party, since the outgoing clerk is a Republican.

Local party Chairman Mark Anders said today he’s got six people on his list who have expressed interest and he’s happy to share information about the steps to being considered to anyone who is interested.

“This is a political process, it’s a partisan position,” Anders said. “One thing the precinct committee officers will be looking at, is we want to elect someone, get someone appointed, that could win that seat and hold that seat as a Republican.

“It’s not just this is the best, most qualified person for the job, though we want that too.”

Anders said there are 45 to 50 precinct committee officers who will come together on a Saturday not yet selected in October to make nominations, hear from the nominees and choose three potential appointees.

Lewis County: Looking to replace another sheriff’s office chief

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to name a new jail chief in the not too distant future, following the resignation of Chief Kevin Hanson.

Hanson left after more than 25 years with the agency at the end of August, to take a job as head of the jail in Mason County.

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Kevin Hanson

“We’re still searching, we’ve met with some people,” Sheriff Rob Snaza said this morning. “We should have something out in a couple of weeks.”

Lt. Chris Tawes has been promoted to acting captain and is currently overseeing the facility.

Undersheriff Wes Rethwill said Hanson went to Mason County to help them with the kinds of issues he’s already dealt with at the Lewis County Jail. He was chief here for six years.

They for example are looking to build a new jail, something Hanson has experience with, he said.

“The unfortunate thing is, we lost a lot of institutional knowledge,” Rethwill said.

The sheriff said they will be meeting tomorrow with the Civil Service Commission to talk about filling the captain position, which has been vacant since Capt. Jim Pea retired last year.

The Lewis County Jail, which has an average daily population of around 200 inmates, continues to struggle with vacant corrections officer positions. The facility brings in over $1 million a year in revenue from law enforcement agencies both inside and outside the county who use its accommodations for their arrestees.

The sheriff’s office administration has been talking with county commissioners for months about the desire to contract with a new entity for medical services at the jail, and the intricacies surrounding one of its most cost intensive responsibilities.

During his time at the Lewis County Jail, Hanson was part of the team which helped design and oversee the construction of the new jail, completed in 2003. He has served on the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs jail accreditation team.

Chief Hanson partnered with others to create the Mental Health Alternative, a post-sentence treatment program designed to address mentally ill persons with a high rate of recidivism in the criminal justice system. He currently serves as a board member of Cascade Mental Health Services.

Hanson’s departure came just two weeks before the resignation of another chief at the sheriff’s office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown who headed the special services bureau, took a job as chief of police services at Evergreen State College in Olympia.

Sheriff Snaza promoted Cmdr. Dusty Breen to chief of the bureau, an appointed position, last week.

Today Rethwill said the detective division has been moved from the operations bureau to the special services bureau. The head of the evidence division, previously part of the special services bureau, will now report directly to the undersheriff.
•••

For background, read “Top ranking deputy to lead Evergreen college’s police force” from Tuesday August 30, 2016, here

Winlock resident charged in skull-faced mask robbery

Monday, September 12th, 2016
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Surveillance images from the Handi Store showed boots that looked familiar to business’s owner. / Courtesy image

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 45-year-old local man has been arrested and charged in last week’s holdup of the Handi store in Winlock.

When Tamrick A. Torres was brought before a judge this afternoon for a bail hearing, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge her client has lived for eight years at the same address in Winlock.

Torres has his own business, a cat rescue, O’Rourke said. But it doesn’t bring in any income, she said indicating he would qualify for a court appointed lawyer.

“Robbery second is a violent offense,” Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Brad Meagher said. “We’re asking the court to impose a $25,000 bond.”

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler agreed.

Police responded to the report of robbery at about 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday, and learned from the clerk who was working alone the individual was wearing a black and white mask, like of a skull, and displayed a handgun. The clerk said he demanded she give him all her money and reached toward his waistband where she saw what looked like the black handle of a firearm, Meager wrote in charging documents.

The owner reported $1,589 in cash was missing, according to Maeagher.

The court documents show it was his footwear and yellow sport utility vehicle that led the Toledo Police Department to Torres.

After viewing surveillance footage, the store’s owner told an officer he thought the suspect was a person he’s seen driving a yellow sport utility vehicle and wears boots like those on the video, according to the court documents. Amarjit Rai said the way the suspect walked looked familiar too.

Toledo Police Officer Andrew Scrivner observed video that showed the yellow vehicle pass the convenience store on Kerron Avenue shortly before and after the robbery, and knew of just one person in town who drove such a vehicle, Meagher wrote.

On Friday when police conducted a search of Torres’s residence, they found boots that looked similar and also a dark jacket with the same type of white stitching worn by the person in the video, according to Meagher.

Torres reportedly told police he and the clerk had conspired to rob the store because she was unhappy with her wages there, according to Meagher.

When interviewed by police, the clerk said she had nothing to with planning the robbery, but the investigation is ongoing, according to court documents.

Torres was charged today with both second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary, which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke was appointed to represent him. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

•••

For background, read “Robber with black and white Scream-type mask hits Winlock store” from Wednesday September 7, 2016, here

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Tamrick A. Torres is brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

Prisoner accused of forging Lewis County Prosecutor Meyer’s name

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former Lewis County man doing 12 years in prison for dealing Oxycodone is now in trouble with the law here again, even though he’s been locked up since mid-2014.

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Forrest E. Amos

Forrest E. Amos tried to file documents related to his 2013 case which authorities say he forged with the names of elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead, and police officers Chad Withrow and Adam Haggerty.

The new case is being handled by Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain.

McClain indicates the Lewis County Clerk’s Office received a letter from Amos in which he stated the clerk was required to take action, along with  four documents entitled “Forced commercial contract” which were purporting to be notice of subrogation bond and claim for $1 million.

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Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer

The documents appeared to be signed by Meyer, Halstead, Withrow and Haggerty, according to McClain.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigated and confirmed Amos signed the documents but Amos contended he merely put the names of others there to reflect who he was bringing the suit against, according to McClain.

Amos, now 33, is incarcerated at Clallam Bay Corrections Center on the Olympic Peninsula.

He was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court last week and pleaded not guilty to four charges of forgery and four charges of first-degree criminal impersonation. A trial has been scheduled for the week of Nov. 28.

Asked what “forced commercial contract” and “notice of subrogation bond” meant, McClain said:

“I have absolutely no idea what he thinks that means,” he said. “Every elected official has a bond they are required to post; I suppose he thinks he can go after them.”
•••

For background, read, “News brief: Local oxycodone dealer goes back to prison” Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, here

Centralia: Police arrest suspected drug dealer, after search warrant

Friday, September 9th, 2016
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Cody M. Warner yawns as he awaits his turn to go before the judge while Dakota W. Davidson sits with defense attorney during bail hearing.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – After twice arranging with informants to buy heroin from a 34-year-old man, drug detectives yesterday served a search warrant at his north Centralia home and arrested two people.

When law enforcement officers approached the residence on Rose Street, they saw someone peek out of a trailer window, and responding to shouts of “search warrant”, a male and female exited, according to court documents.

Dakota W. Davidson, 21, of Centralia, had an outstanding warrant and a search incident to his arrest turned up a small container with suspected meth, charging documents relate. He was arrested, booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of methamphetamine.

A short time after a detective finished searching the trailer, the detective got a phone call from 34-year-old Cody M. Warner, who said he heard police were at his trailer, and was told he needed to come back so the detective could talk with him, the documents state.

Warner arrived with his father, was shown the search warrant and was placed under a arrest. He too was booked into jail.

Charging documents in Warner’s case indicate that twice between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31, a confidential informant purchased heroin from Warner. The second time the transaction took place at his home, according to court documents.

The case came out of an investigation by the local multi-agency Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team. Court documents don’t indicate what if anything the search of the home and trailer turned up.

Warner was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Judge Nelson Hunt set his bail at $20,000, calling it a community safety issue. Davidson’s conditions of release included a $5,000 signature bond.

Both individuals are unemployed and both were given court-appointed lawyers. Their arraignments are set for next Thursday.

Former defendant jailed for threatening Lewis County prosecutor

Thursday, September 8th, 2016
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Arrestee Dale A. Paine and temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke talk in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 61-year-old man who has reportedly not stopped trying to talk with Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer since 2013 when he was prosecuted for a DUI was arrested and charged after crossing a line.

Dale A. Paine is the source of hundreds of threatening voice mails, faxes and telephone calls, a special appointed deputy prosecuting attorney told a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

He even phoned the elected prosecutor at home, and once confronted him in an elevator, Thurston County Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler said.

This summer, Paine allegedly said something that alarmed Meyer:

“Paine told Meyer to ‘listen very carefully’ that he was going to ‘send Mr. Meyer to be with his family’,” Wheeler wrote in court documents.

About a month later, in one of approximately 50 messages received in just one week, Paine said he was coming to visit Meyer at the courthouse, according to Wheeler.

Paine, who is described by authorities as transient and recently living in Gainsville, Florida, showed up about 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center, and was taken in to custody, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Meyer told the investigating deputy he thinks the man has mental health issues.

When Paine was brought before a judge yesterday afternoon, he kept talking out of turn causing the judge to leave the bench while temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke spoke with him.

Wheeler asked the judge to hold Paine on $25,000 bail and ordered him to refrain from contacting Meyer.

Judge Nelson Hunt didn’t think that was enough, and made the amount $100,000.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is outrageous behavior,” Hunt said. “What I’ve witnessed today doesn’t help any.”

O’Rourke told the judge her client has absolutely no criminal history. He has a residence in Everett, she said.

According to charging documents, when Meyer reported to a deputy on June 30 what had been going on,  he said sometimes the calls or contacts would come two to three times in a day, even at night. And they came from various locations where Paine was at the time, even possibly from as far away as New Mexico and Florida.

Meyer indicated he repeatedly told Paine to stop calling, Wheeler wrote.

The sheriff’s office yesterday morning described the case with victims being several elected and county officials.

Although Meyer told the deputy he was the victim of systematic and repeated felony harassment since 2013, Deputy Prosecutor Wheeler filed only two charges.

They are both harassment of a criminal justice participant performing official duties, on or around June 30 of this year and near the end of July.

Paine’s arraignment was scheduled for this afternoon, but was postponed.

Commissioner Fund: Campaign donation discussion inside county building investigated, found non-criminal

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Updated at 6:25 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – All in less than 12 hours, one of the three-member Lewis County Board of Commissioners informed the news media another was under investigation by law enforcement, and the other provided a letter indicating a legal conclusion that the facts don’t rise to criminal liability.

The topic is an overheard conversation between Commissioner Edna Fund and a real estate developer about a campaign donation, at the end of a meeting in a county building when the two thought they were alone.

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Edna Fund

Commissioner Bill Schulte whose term ends this year and chose not to run for re-election, last night sent a memo to local news media, stating Fund is the subject of an investigation conducted by the Washington State Patrol.

“There will be no cover up,” Schulte wrote. “We will keep you informed as we get updated information.”

Schulte this morning said he only learned of it because a detective interviewed him about it.

“I can’t imagine it’s too bad, it just looks bad,” Schulte said. “You have to be careful during campaigns about when and where you have conversations about donations or favors.”

He said his two counterparts were not in agreement with informing the public, which is why the memo had only his name on it.

Commissioner Fund is currently running for a second four-year term. Her opponent is Daniel Keahey. Both are Republicans.

Fund this morning in a brief phone interview said the case was turned over to the Pacific County prosecutor for evaluation who released his findings, which she received a copy of yesterday, or maybe the day before.

Centralia-based real estate developer Frank Dipola initiated the conversation, according to Fund. And she told him that was not the proper place to talk about campaign matters, she said.

Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain’s findings affirm the nature of that seemingly brief conversation.

Fund said she’s pleased things got cleared up.

“It reinstates my cornerstone value of no campaigning in public buildings,” she said.

The meeting was held on May 3. Dipola and his wife Winnis Dipola each contributed $100 to Fund’s political campaign on May 13.

Fund said his project is not even in her district, and the topic of the meeting was a county employee the commissioners supervise, the same manner in which McClain’s findings characterized the meeting.

McClain wrote he reviewed the reports and “these facts do not give rise to criminal liability.”

He noted that developers like any other constituents may contribute to an elected official’s campaign, it didn’t appear Fund gave any special favors, the amount of the donation was “rather ordinary” and it was disclosed as expected to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

The minutes from the 50-minute long meeting don’t portray the topic as an employee related issue, but reveal Dipola discussing issues regarding property he wants to develop and a desire for the process to be expedited. He wants to build 14 apartment or condominium units, but had been told the rules allow for only seven units.

The meeting was attended by Commissioners Fund and Schulte as well as Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and recorder Karri Muir. Lewis County Community Development Director Lee Napier joined them via telephone conference call.

The Southeast Spring Street property is in Chehalis’s urban growth area.

According to Schulte this morning, after everyone left the meeting room except for Fund and Dipola, Napier was still connected and overheard their conversation, and reported it to Meyer, who requested the state patrol look into it.

According to the investigative report, state patrol detective David Ortner was asked by Meyer to look into an inappropriate comment made by a constituent to a commissioner and the question he addressed was whether Dipola gave money to Fund’s campaign to obtain a benefit for his development.

The detective first spoke to Napier, who said she felt Dipola was unhappy with her telling him he could build only seven units and wanted to go over her head to the county commissioners to get approval for 14. Napier told the detective Commissioner Schulte during the meeting asked her to be accommodating to the developer and make it a priority to get it figured out.

Dipola has stated he’s already spent $100,000 developing the lots and surrounding properties, according to Ortner.

Napier said she heard people leave the room at the end of the meeting and was still on the other end of the speaker phone when she overheard Dipola tell Fund that he sure would like to contribute money to her campaign.

“Fund told Dipola that this was not the place to talk about that, and they would talk later, detective Ortner wrote of his interview with Napier.

Napier felt Commissioner Fund was put in a bad position by the developer and knows that Fund does not campaign in the courthouse, Ortner wrote.

When the detective attempted his final interview, on July 21, he called Dipola and told him he’d like to talk about the Spring Street project.

Dipola made the comment the county was giving him the run around, and he didn’t understand why the state patrol was involved. He stated he did not want to provide a statement and hung up, detective Ortner wrote.

McClain’s closing comment in his conclusions about the investigation, suggest that even though Fund publicly disclosed Dipola’s campaign contribution as required to the state PDC, she may be wise to make further disclosures should Dipola bring a project before the commissioners in the future.

Former Mossy city clerk pleads guilty to putting city funds in personal account

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
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Doneia A. Santiago, far left, appears in Lewis County Superior Court this morning with her lawyer.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Somehow what was initially described as theft and misappropriation by a Mossyrock public official involving thousands of dollars has turned into an identity theft case, which she admits.

The town’s former clerk-treasurer Doneia A. Santiago pleaded guilty to nine counts of first-degree identity theft today. Prosecutors dropped nine counts of second-degree theft.

Santiago, who has been free on a signature bond since shortly after her arrest in June, went before a judge this morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

Her sentencing will take place at the end of this month.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm and defense attorney Don Blair don’t agree upon the amount of time they will recommend she be locked up.

Judge Nelson Hunt accepted her pleas, reading aloud her words regarding what she did.

On nine separate dates during 2014 and into 2015, Santiago used financial information for the city of Mossyrock to transfer funds into her mortgage account, according to the paperwork.

The alleged misconduct came to light when Santiago approached Mayor Tom Meade to tell him her husband inadvertently used the city credit card to make an approximately $3,600 payment to Central Mortgage, according to court documents.

The initial and supplemental affidavits made mention of ATM withdrawals the mayor said were not authorized, use of Mossyrock’s bank card to purchase fuel, an extra payroll check and large monthly withdrawals from the municipality’s accounts.

The attorneys didn’t discuss and were not asked in open court the reason the theft charges were dismissed.

Presumably more details will be discussed at her Sept. 28 court hearing.
•••

For background, read “Prosecutors: Thousands of dollars more missing from Mossyrock accounts” from Tuesday July 19, 2016, here

Chehalis shooting: Firearm still missing, one round recovered from Dairy Bar

Friday, September 2nd, 2016
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Matthew W. Harader appears before a judge with his lawyer in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 5:28 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police yesterday arrested the wife of the man charged with shooting at a passing truck saying they believed that right after the early Sunday morning incident occurred, he gave her the firearm.

Hillary M. Harader, 23, was contacted at the courthouse, there yesterday afternoon for her husband’s hearing. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail for rendering criminal assistance and tampering with evidence, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said this morning they believe she did something with the gun, but they haven’t yet recovered it.

Her husband Matthew W. Harader, age 27, of Centralia, is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree assault. At his arraignment yesterday afternoon, his bail was increased to $200,000.

Chehalis police recovered two .45 caliber casings at the scene and recovered one round which had lodged into the side of a building, according to authorities.

It happened at the Jackpot convenience store on the 600 block of West Main Street in Chehalis.

Nobody was injured and charging documents offer no explanation for what occurred.

Officers called about 3:20 a.m. on Sunday spoke to the clerk who said two men and a woman had been inside, although they arrived in separate vehicles, according to court documents. The clerk said she heard a “pop” and saw a male dressed in dark clothing running toward the street with his hand raised in front of him as though he held a gun, according to charging documents.

She said she heard a second “pop” and it appeared he was firing toward a large gray lifted pickup truck which was heading westbound on Main Street, the documents relate.

Charging documents continue on, offering the following account:

The two men from the lifted truck told police they stopped at the store to get Gatorade and as they drove west, one of the men made eye contact with them, began to yell, chased them and shot at them. They pulled behind the Dairy Bar across the street, which is where one bullet hit the building.

Arriving officers located the suspect truck, stopping it at the 400 block of North Market Boulevard, and arrested the passenger.

Matthew W. Harader refused to speak with officers but the driver when asked if he knew why they were being stopped, said “He’s crazy, who just starts shooting at people for no reason.”

The driver was not arrested.

The victims, Cole T. Rife and Tanner R. Bradford, told police they thought the man chasing them was the one wearing shorts, but a review of video images from Jackpot showed the one in shorts didn’t leave the side of the truck while he was pumping gas.

A 9mm pistol was found in the suspect truck as well as .45 caliber ammunition, according to Kaut.

Matthew W. Harader appeared in court Monday afternoon, with his employer and others present in his support. He is represented by Chehalis attorney Katherine Gulmert. He pleaded not guilty yesterday.

His juvenile record includes convictions for second-degree burglary and third-degree assault.

Hillary M. Harader bailed out of jail with a $2,000 bond but returned this afternoon to Lewis County Superior Court where she is charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance, a felony and with tampering with physical evidence, a gross misdemeanor.

Judge Nelson Hunt left her bail unchanged.
•••

For background read “Centralia resident booked for allegedly shooting at moving truck on Main Street” from Monday August 29, 2016, here

Packwood man given nine plus years for 2013 kidnapping

Thursday, September 1st, 2016
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Zachery H. Bynum talks with his lawyer Jacob Clark after signing sentencing documents in Lewis County Superior Court today.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – After spending more than three years in custody, between jail and the state psychiatric hospital, a Packwood man was sentenced today for events he says he mostly doesn’t recall but a prosecutor called a day of hell for the victim.

Zachery H. Bynum pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree assault, harassment and resisting arrest.

It was July 16, 2013, when Bynum was arrested at gunpoint on U.S. Highway 12 near Kiona Creek Road after an approximately four-mile police pursuit. He had dragged his young woman friend out of the Glenoma grocery store and forced her to drive toward Randle.

“She was the one who went through this,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said of the then-22-year-old Morton woman. “She’s the one who had a knife held to her throat.”

Bynum, then 41 years old and living mostly in the woods, was suspected to suffer from severe mental issues from the start.

The allegations included Bynum first forcing the young woman up a logging road where he threatened her with a machete.

Defense attorney Jacob Clark today told the judge of a 10-minute evaluation by personnel from Western State Hospital that initially found Bynum competent and then jail visits in which he would watch his client pull out wads of hair and rip off his own fingernails.

“I’d talk through a little door, he wouldn’t come out from underneath his bed,” he said.

Clark said he asked them to evaluate him as an inpatient, which they did and when he’d come back, spend time in solitary, he would deteriorate again.

“We went through the process I think five times, maybe more,” Clark said.

Clark spoke of a previously undiagnosed brain disease that included cyclical swelling. His client’s current state of mind was the best it’s ever been, he said.

Halstead described the plea agreement in which both attorneys recommended 110 months in prison, as an amount of time sought because of the impact to the victim and also witnesses, including children.

The victim was present in the courtroom and asked Halstead to convey her wish Bynum get the maximum penalty.

Bynum took the judge up on an offer to address the court.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t remember what happened mostly, I believe it, but I’m sorry for what happened.”

Judge James Lawler agreed with a sentence of nine years and two months.

“I don’t think adding more time is going to change the impact on Mr. Bynum, given the mental health issues,” Lawler said.

The judge gave him credit for 1,142 days already served and ordered 36 months of supervision upon his release.
•••

For background, read “Lawyers: Mentally disturbed Packwood man kidnapped woman friend” from Thursday July 18, 2013, here

Lacey teen gets adult court in theft of police chief’s car case

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
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Dashaud D. Cummings, 17, consults with temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 17-year-old boy arrested for allegedly stealing a police car as he tried to get away from troopers chasing him for speeding in Chehalis has been charged as an adult in Lewis County Superior Court.

Dashaud D. Cummings was arrested on August 10, captured by a police dog in the woods off Interstate 5 a couple of miles from where Chehalis Police Department Chief Glenn Schaffer’s car was taken at Riverside Golf Course.

Cummings was brought before a judge this afternoon, who asked if this was the case where the individual was up on a roof while law enforcement officers were searching for him, and then took the police car.

A decline hearing was held in juvenile court, allowing the case to be moved in adult court, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio.

The Lacey resident is charged with second-degree assault, attempting to elude and theft of a motor vehicle as well as hit and run.

Charging documents indicate he told a police officer he was running because he didn’t want to get arrested for a warrant. He told the officer he got into one of the patrol cars, was tased,  and fled, later running on foot, according to the documents.

A Chehalis Police Department spokesperson previously related that as officers approached the police car, the suspect put it in reverse, striking a trooper with the open door, knocking the trooper down.

When Officer Matt McKnight informed him he had injured a trooper, Cummings responded, “I told him to move,” the documents state.

The 15-year-old girl who with him told police she told him to stop and that he didn’t have a license.

Defazio asked that the defendant be held on $100,000 bail.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge Cummings has a stable address with his aunt, his legal guardian who is a nurse and asked for lower bail.

Judge Richard Brosey set bail at $35,000.

Centralia attorney David Brown represented Cummings in juvenile court and was appointed to continue representing him.  The arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 8.
•••

For background, read “Theft of police chief’s car could mean adult court for teen” from Thursday August 11, 2016, here

Judge hands down slightly lighter term in Winlock child porn case

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
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Donald L. Schnacker takes a seat beside his defense attorney Jacob Clark in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Winlock man with an an intellectual ability his lawyer described as less than that of a 7-year-old was given a shorter than standard sentence for sharing child pornography on the Internet today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Donald L. Schnacker, 30, was arrested by the FBI in December and has been held since then in the Lewis County Jail.

Investigators found evidence Schnacker used his phone and the Kik messenger app to access wireless internet from the library.

“Unfortunately he got into a situation where someone at the library had introduced him to child pornography and he began sharing it,” attorney Jacob Clark told the judge.

Clark told the judge his client at a young age suffered brain damage and also has mental health problems.

“I think initially, he didn’t realize it was a crime,” Clark told the judge. “His family explained to him it was not appropriate.”

Clark apologized in advance as he didn’t want to insult Schnacker, but said he believed his client’s intelligence is below his 7-year-old’s. He can learn, but his retention is problematic, Clark said.

Prosecutors and his lawyer had worked out a plea deal and asked the judge to give Schnacker 12 months in jail, instead of 15 to 20 months in prison. He had pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm asked for the 12 months but didn’t offer any details for her request.

Judge Richard Brosey agreed, for the reasons given by Clark, and imposed 36 months of community custody after release. He also ordered Schnacker not to use a computer which is connected to the Internet.

Prison for two more participants in Centralia drug-related robbery

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The third of four suspects was sentenced today for a July incident which authorities alleged involved a ruse to obtain heroin that resulted in a struggle inside a car with bear spray and a box cutter in Centralia.

Jon Parker, 32, pleaded guilty this morning in Lewis County Superior Court to conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery. Judge Richard Brosey followed the agreed recommendation that came out of a plea agreement and gave him one year and one day in prison.

Parker chose not to make a statement on his own behalf.

He, Andrea Parker, 34, of Chehalis; Robert Plasencia, 29, of Napavine; and Kiana J. DeLaRosa, 18, of Chehalis, were all arrested after the early morning July 30 events at the 1600 block of North Scheuber Road.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said essentially the plan was already in place when the Parkers arrived. DeLaRosa had asked her friend to get her some heroin, saying she was drug sick, he said.

Court documents describe that when the two victims arrived, DeLaRosa began saying they’d stolen $100 from her, and then a purse and a backpack were taken from them.

DeLaRosa pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree robbery but her sentencing has not yet taken place.

Andrea Parker on Monday pleaded guilty to the same offense as Jon Parker – conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery – but also to four other cases from this year, involving drug possession as well as forgery and second-degree identity theft. She was given 50 months in prison.

Plasencia got 22 months when he was sentenced early last week for second-degree robbery.

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For background, read “Bear spray, box cutter and heroin” from Friday August 12, 2016, here