Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Centralia rape charge that ended in mistrial is dismissed

Saturday, December 24th, 2016
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•••

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge has found a Lewis County rape case must be dismissed because of intentional governmental misconduct by the sheriff’s deputy assisting the prosecutor during the trial.

The trial in Lewis County Superior Court began and then ended the same day last month in a mistrial.

Jordan T. White, 23, of Centralia, was facing a charge of second-degree rape for an alleged incident in 2014 at a rural Centralia home involving a young woman with whom he had somewhat of an intimate relationship.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt decided last week to dismiss the case. At issue was nonverbal communication in front of the jury by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin Rodgers, who was seated at the prosecutor’s table for the trial. Rodgers investigated the case.

Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke and Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm each filed a proposed written order to document the judge’s decision. The two differed in how to characterize what occurred.

This week, the two lawyers and Judge Hunt spent almost an hour in a hearing discussing what the order should state. The document is called Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

They agreed that Deputy Rodgers, while seated next to Bohm, dropped his pen onto the table at a particular point during the trial which drew the attention of members of the jury. He also had gestured to the alleged victim while she was on the witness stand.

“Deputy Rodgers engaged in intentional governmental misconduct by showing his disgust at the defendant’s version of events and communicating with the alleged victim through hand gestures during her testimony,” Hunt said of the wording he would adopt in the final document.

Judge Hunt went on to say that when the jury was sent out of the room and he questioned the deputy about his actions, the deputy was not immediately forthcoming in his answers.

The state has 30 days in which to decide if it will appeal the dismissal, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

The mistrial occurred on Nov. 29. Follow up hearings were held on Dec. 14 and this past Wednesday.

The incident was reported in the spring of 2015 to the sheriff’s office and charges were filed late this summer. The alleged victim said she was heavily intoxicated and realized the next morning she had been anally penetrated, according to court documents. White told the deputy what they did was her idea, because she wanted to remain a virgin, according to the documents.

O’Rourke said his client has mixed feelings about the outcome of his case.

“I think a lot of people would expect relief, or jubilance,” he said. “It’s not like that.”

Their position on the case was White was wrongly charged and they had been prepared to go all the way to a verdict, O’Rourke said.

An attempt to seek comment from Deputy Rodgers through the sheriff’s office resulted in Chief Deputy Dusty Breen stating that neither they nor the deputy would comment. Breen said the sheriff’s office would review what occurred.
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For background, read “Rape case: Trial cut short in Lewis County Superior Court” from Wednesday November 30, 2016, here

Centralia wife pleads not guilty to murder

Friday, December 23rd, 2016
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Janet L. Anderson is led to the defendant’s table in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia woman who drove to the police station to report she’d fatally shot her husband was brought before a judge again yesterday afternoon for arraignment.

Janet L. Anderson, 39, has been held in the Lewis County Jail since she was arrested on Saturday. She is charged with second-degree murder.

Clad in red jail garb, handcuffed and shackled at her waist, Anderson sat silently beside her court appointed lawyer.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler asked Anderson for her plea.

Her eyes were on the judge when she leaned forward slightly toward a microphone and responded, “Not guilty.”

Anderson is being held on $1 million bail.

She told police she and her spouse, 41-year-old Ty Anderson, had been arguing at their home off of West Oakview Avenue and he grabbed his gun and pointed it at her.

However, Ty Anderson’s body was located in their bedroom wrapped in a tarp, with a bullet hole in the back of his neck and another in his lower back, prosecutors allege.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh has told the court they suspect as much as 12 hours may have passed before Anderson turned herself in.

She is represented by Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke.

O’Rourke and Beigh yesterday scheduled Anderson’s trial for the week of Feb. 13.
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For background, read “Centralia husband took a bullet to the base of the back of his neck, wife charged with murder” from Monday December 19, 2016, here

Portland residents arrested at large Centralia indoor marijuana nursery

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Defense attorney Mike Underwood, aided by an interpreter, advises a group of defendants of their rights before a hearing Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four people were arrested yesterday when drug detectives found a north Centralia home housing an approximately $1.3 million marijuana growing operation.

Law enforcement discovered seven growing rooms, each set up in a sophisticated manner to include lights, ballasts, fans and a hydroponic watering system, according to authorities.

They counted 901 plants, each capable of producing about a pound of marijuana.

The arrestees included a 27-year-old man and his 21-year-old wife who are students as well as a 46-year-old woman and a 79-year-old woman. They said they live in Portland.

Members of the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team began investigating the house on Susan Street in August with records from the power company that showed a high use of electricity, according to court documents.

When two of the detectives knocked on the door yesterday, Chaohui Tan, 27, answered questions and said he had a medical marijuana authorization but wouldn’t produce it, according to court documents. Because of his evasive demeanor, police decided to remove everyone to preserve any evidence, the documents relate.

Mei Lan Su, 79, was contacted in the basement trimming plants, according to the documents.

All four were booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today with manufacture of marijuana in Lewis County Superior Court.

They spoke to a judge this afternoon in court making use of a Cantonese-Chinese interpreter.

Temporary defense attorney Mike Underwood requested court appointed lawyers for each of them.

He said they all live together in a Portland home owned by one of them, Nianhua Chen, 46, who is the only one with a job. She works in a restaurant earning about $1,600 a month, Underwood told the judge.

Manufacture of marijuana has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh began by  asking the judge to hold them on $500,000 bail. She said she was concerned about them returning to court, given the large scale of the operation and the potential for access to other assets.

The first defendant, 21-year-old Xiaohui Zhang, has no criminal history that either Beigh or Underwood were aware of. Underwood asked she be released on her personal recognizance.

Judge James Lawler set bail at $50,000 for her and then for the other three.

Information in their court documents list three of them as residing at a Portland address and the 79-year-old as living at 216 Susan Street in Centralia.

Lewis County records show the five-bedroom home in Centralia was purchased in July of this year by an individual with a San Francisco address.

Tan told detectives he purchased all the equipment himself and doesn’t have a job, according to court documents. Detectives checked and found no state license to grow marijuana had been issued for the address.

Their arraignments are all scheduled for next Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Perplexing Centralia apartment arson case stalled

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
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•••

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The apartment manager charged with setting a small fire at the Centralia complex where she lived and worked was expected in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon, but didn’t show up.

Kathrin L. Turner, 44, was charged with first-degree arson and summonsed to appear before a judge this afternoon.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh requested and was granted a $10,000 bench warrant for Turner’s arrest.

One of the tenants from the apartments on the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road however did go to court for the expected hearing.

“I just don’t get it, I don’t know why she did this,” Shellie Hernandez said. “She was supposed to be our friend.”

Hernandez, 52, has lived in the building almost three years and has a caregiver to help her out. It was her apartment where the fire was set on the exterior wall the morning of Nov. 3, she said.

She wants Turner locked up.

“I fear for my life, I was there for the fire,” she said. “It was so scary.”

Turner is charged only with one count of arson, but the complex saw police and firefighters respond three times in a matter of days at the beginning of last month.

On the morning of Nov. 2, someone lit a paper towel on fire next to a building. A tenant put it out with a glass of water, according to police reports.

The next morning, the fire department was called when a fire broke out within a corridor of the same building, damaging an approximately 15 square foot area of exterior siding. Turner told responders she put it out with a fire extinguisher.

That weekend, Turner was found in the bathroom of a common area of the complex with severe lacerations to her wrists and throat. A box cutter was found after medics took her away, which a Centralia police officer surmised must have been beneath her on the floor.

Eventually police concluded it was a suicide attempt.

Police reports on the incidents state a cleaning wipes container which smelled of gasoline was found in a dumpster at the complex, and officers learned Turner was seen at a gas station getting fuel in a little red can early in the morning before the first fire, and she was seen taking a gas can from the trunk of her car and giving it to the  landscape crew after the second fire.

As police investigated, they learned from a regional manager of the apartments that oddities and discrepancies in the bookkeeping were found. Turner was behind in depositing rent payments and money was possibly missing, Julie Ryan told police, according to one of the reports. Ryan said Turner was trying to move people into apartments that were occupied and that empty units were listed as filled, according to one report.

“She said this wasn’t like Turner to be off on this many rents,” detective Sgt. Carl Buster wrote.

It was more than a week later when detectives were able to speak with Turner, still hospitalized.

At first, Turner had said she was attacked by a stranger.

Detective Panco wrote that after initially denying involvement, Turner confessed. She said it was because she was “so overwhelmed” and the fires were part of the reason she hurt herself, he wrote.

She gave Panco this reason for the fires: She allegedly said she was trying to evict Hernandez from her unit but she wouldn’t leave. She said she’d promised that apartment to someone else, according to charging documents.

“So Turner thought maybe Shellie would move if there was a fire because that would scare Shellie,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote.

Her husband Kenneth Turner was interviewed at the hospital while his wife was being treated, before she was transferred to  Tacoma General Hospital.

He told the officer she had been acting odd, talking about a strange black man with a black hat that she kept seeing and was making her nervous, for about the previous two weeks, according to one police report.

When asked if she had ever done anything like this before, he told the officer yes, a few years back when she was overstressed and “basically had a nervous breakdown.”

Kenneth Turner said the things stressing her currently were the arsons, the black man following her and that they were very behind on their bills, unable to pay surgery, hospital and utility bills, Officer Phil Weismiller wrote.

Other parts of the police reports note medical staff telling police of a history of an undiagnosed mental issue and newly discovered blood clots which could have decreased oxygen to her brain and explained bizarre behavior.

First-degree arson is a class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

After today’s court hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Beigh said she learned Turner was in the hospital, so she was planning to get the arrest warrant rescinded and send a summons for her to appear at a later date.
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For background, read “News brief: Apartment arsons blamed on employee” from Tuesday November 15, 2016, here

One dead in Packwood house fire

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
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The Packwood Fire Department works this morning at a residential structure fire. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fire investigator is emphasizing the importance of working smoke detectors after a house fire this morning with a fatality in Packwood.

Smoke detectors save lives, Fire Investigator Derrick Paul wrote in all capital letters in a message today.

Paul was called out this morning to the single-family home on the 12900 block of U.S. Highway 12. The Packwood Fire Department responded to the approximately 5:20 a.m. call and found the residence fully engulfed in flames.

When Paul arrived, the blaze was knocked down for the most part, he said. The double-wide modular home is behind the Chevron gas station, he said.

“It’s a complete loss, there’s not a lot left,” he said.

One person was found dead inside, according to Paul.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office was requested, and a sheriff’s detective joined the fire investigator to assist in processing the scene.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says the 57-year-old man who lives there could not be accounted for and while the identity of the deceased has not been established, they believe it is him.

The cause isn’t yet known, but Paul said he had a couple of leads he was following.

No smoke detectors were found at the home, according to Paul.
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For background, read “News brief: Packwood home catches fire” from Tuesday December 20, 2016, here

Centralia husband took a bullet to the base of the back of his neck, wife charged with murder

Monday, December 19th, 2016
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Janet L. Anderson, in red, is led out of the courtroom and back down to the Lewis County Jail after bail hearing.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Evidence so far suggests a 41-year-old Centralia man was shot once in his back and once at the base of his skull as long as 12 hours before his wife turned herself in to police and said they would find his body in the bedroom of their north Centralia home.

Ty W. Anderson was indeed located there, wrapped inside a tarp, according to authorities.

The residence off of West Oakview Avenue in the Hunter’s Walk neighborhood was then examined by detectives on Saturday but the scene investigation is ongoing, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Janet L. Anderson, 39, was arrested after she spoke with police on Saturday morning and charged today with second-degree murder.

She reportedly told police that after two hours of fighting, she shot her husband because he grabbed his gun and was pointing it at her, according to charging documents.

She also said she cleaned him up, covered him up and wrapped him up so he wouldn’t be cold, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in court documents.

Evidence indicates she washed clothing and bedding and bathed herself as well as patched what looked to be a bullet exit hole through an exterior wall, before driving to the Centralia police station and calling 911 about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to Halstead.

Anderson was brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis where prosecutors asked she be held on $1 million bail.

She has no income of her own, doesn’t work and has no criminal history, the judge was told. Judge Richard Brosey gave her a court appointed lawyer.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh said she requested the high bail because Anderson might be a flight risk and also because of the interference with the administration of justice. It appears cleanup was done during the 12 hours between the alleged homicide and the reporting of it, she said.

Neither Centralia police nor the court documents offer any other explanation for the shooting.

Neighbors and police say the couple have two children who lived with them there, a teenage son who was at a sporting event on Saturday morning and a younger daughter who was with her grandparents. Centralia police detective John Panco on Saturday didn’t indicate he thought the kids had been home when it happened.

Next door neighbor Jim Murphy said he and his wife heard a “horrible bang pop” around 9 or 10 o’clock on Friday night; she thought it was a gunshot, he thought it was something different.

Charging documents state that police were advised about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, a woman was on the line with 911, saying she’d killed her husband, that she would be parked in front of the Centralia Police Department in a white mini van.

She spoke with a sergeant and told him, among other things, that her gun was on her night stand and her husband’s gun could be found under a towel because she was afraid her son might come home and see it.

Two officers who were given the keys to the home found nobody else inside, only Ty Anderson wrapped in a tarp in the bedroom, according to the documents.

When detectives conducted their investigation, they found what would be the wife’s firearm, a five-shot revolver with four spent shell casings and one live round inside the cylinder, Halstead wrote.

The other gun was on the floor, on the other side of the bed, partially wrapped in a towel, according to Halstead. The semi automatic, single-action pistol had a loaded magazine inserted and an empty chamber; the hammer was in the forward position not ready to fire, according to Halstead.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

The initial examination of the body however showed at least two bullet entry wounds, according to charging documents, one in the lower back and the other at the base of the back of the neck. X-rays taken by the Lewis County Corner’s Office show what appear to be the two bullets lodged inside his body, according to charging documents.

The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine plus restitution and assessments.

Centralia defense attorney Shane O’Rourke is going to be representing Anderson. Her arraignment is set for Thursday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
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For background, read “Saturday December 17, 2016” from Centralia: Man dead, woman jailed for murder, here

Centralia: Man dead, woman jailed for murder

Saturday, December 17th, 2016
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Police assemble at the scene of a homicide in the Hunter’s Walk neighborhood today.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are investigating a homicide at a home in a north Centralia neighborhood and have detained a suspect.

Officers were notified about 8:30 a.m. today.

“The suspect contacted us at the police station, she called 911 and said she needed to talk with someone,” detective John Panco said.

Officers went to her residence off of West Oakview Avenue and confirmed a man inside was dead, according to Panco.

The woman was interviewed and taken to the Lewis County Jail, Panco said.

Early information from the Centralia Police Department indicated it was a death by gunshot, but detectives are still processing the crime scene this afternoon.

Panco didn’t reveal what the woman told investigators. He didn’t release any names this afternoon.

Across the street neighbor Will Fitzmorris said he woke up this morning to see yellow police tape across the front of the house, and a patrol car parked in front.

A man, a woman and two children moved in there in recent years, he said.

Next door neighbor Jim Murphy knows the family a little.

“She is the nicest person and they have swell kids,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he and his wife heard a noise while they were rearranging furniture around 9 or 10 o’clock last night. His wife asked him if it sounded like a gunshot, he said.

“I said no, it sounded like something, somebody slammed real hard,” he said.

The pale yellow modular home is in a neighborhood called Hunter’s Walk.

This afternoon, the Centralia Police Department’s crime scene van is parked on the narrow street. Detectives were inside collecting evidence and getting photographs, according to Panco.

“I can’t give you much information as far as how it happened, what happened,” Panco said.

He didn’t yet know what the woman would be booked for, but expected he would have more details to release before the end of the day.

The Lewis County Jail’s online roster indicates a Janet L. Anderson was booked around 11:45 a.m. today for second-degree murder.

Update: Panco acknowledged in a news release at about 11 p.m. that Anderson, 39 years old, was their suspect.

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Police tape is stretched across the front of Centralia home where police are investigating homicide.

Riverside Park Death: Coroner still working to find man’s relatives

Friday, December 16th, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities are still trying to track down next-of-kin for the homeless man who died outdoors in freezing temperatures this week, but want in the meantime to share some information to allay fears of those who have family members living on the streets.

He was 57 years old and has been residing in the Centralia area for perhaps a year and half, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said this morning. He has also spent time in Aberdeen, he said.

McLeod wants to find and notify his relatives of the death, before releasing the man’s name to the public.

“I’ve gotten calls from three families who have people on the streets,” McLeod said. “It causes a lot of stress for people who have family in that situation.”

Authorities initially revealed very little after he was found dead on Wednesday morning in Centralia’s Rotary Riverside Park off Harrison Avenue. An autopsy confirmed he died of hypothermia from the cold.

Centralia Police Department detective Corey Butcher said he was discovered at one of the covered picnic areas, with all of his belongings, sleeping bag, backpack, food and such.

It’s a sad thing, McLeod said.

“In 2016, in the U.S., one of the most developed countries in the world, that you can curl up and go to sleep and die,” McLeod said.

Temperatures were at 32 degrees in the Twin Cities for most of that night.

McLeod said the dead man’s information lists him as 6-feet tall and 215 pounds. A recent jail booking photo shows him with long black hair, somewhat balding in front and with graying facial hair, he said.

No missing person reports have been found for him, but a check with a nationwide law enforcement database shows he’s had contacts with police in several states, McLeod said.

Those places include, Illinois, Las Vegas, Arizona, Florida and southern California, according to McLeod.
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For background, read “News brief: Man without a home basically froze to death” from Thursday December 15, 2016, here

Centralia man booked after physical dispute over gambling proceeds

Friday, December 16th, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 39-year-old Centralia man arrested for allegedly beating up his girlfriend to get some of her casino winnings was ordered held on $100,000 bail yesterday.

James W. Lowther was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court, charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

The incident came to the attention of police about 7 a.m. on Wednesday when they were called to the 1200 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia where they found the woman, with a cut on her hand, a scrape on her chin and what looked to be blood on her nostrils.

She told the officer she got paid the day before, that evening they went to the Nisqually Red Wind Casino together and she gave Lowther some money to gamble with, according to court documents.

The court documents go on with the following allegations:

They left for home around 2 a.m. and once they got home, Lowther began to argue with her about wanting half of her winnings so he could fix his truck and buy some items.

Lowther had won about $1,300 and she had won about $8,600 playing slots.

They argued until about 6 a.m. when she needed to go to work. He took her car keys and would not give them back, unless she gave him money.

She said at one point she agreed to give him $2,000 if he would let her go to work and as she was about to dial 911, he tackled her to the floor and tried grabbing the money from her brassiere. She said he put her in a headlock until she could not breathe.

She told police she began screaming and then Lowther offered to drive her to work. Once in the car, they argued and he drove instead to an isolated area out Little Hanaford Road where he continued to demand money.

They returned to an area near the residence, he made her pull out her money, count it in front of him and hand it over.

He left. She called 911.

Police later on Wednesday found Lowther hiding in a house in Lewis County. He had $2,384 in his pocket.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler scheduled Lowther’s arraignment for next Thursday.

Onalaska resident loses horses, gets jail time

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An Onalaska woman convicted of animal cruelty in connection with horses seized from her this past spring was sentenced today to nine days in jail, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Tuesday April 5, 2016

Jennifer Jenkins appeared in Lewis County District Court in Chehalis this morning. She was convicted by a jury last month of one gross misdemeanor for each of the nine horses.

Judge R.W. Buzzard ordered her taken into custody immediately, Lewis County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said.

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. It took more than two hours to get it out and up.

The state veterinarian noted deplorable living conditions and prosecutors filed charges –  violations of Lewis County code – related to inadequate shelter and food.

Jenkins is prohibited from owning any animals for two years and she forfeits all rights to the horses, Meagher said. They’ll now have to be adopted out, he said.

Jenkins who has said she is disabled from the effects of a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury disputes the findings and has filed motions already in her case. Meagher expects she will appeal. She was represented by attorney David Brown.

Restitution for the animals’ care has not yet been determined, Meagher said.

In an unrelated animal cruelty case, prosecutors decided to drop charges against a Morton area man previously filed in Lewis County Superior Court and refile them in Lewis County District Court.

Richard D. Carlile, 29, was arrested when he went to pick up his dogs from the animal shelter on Sept. 30, thinking they’d they’d broken their chains and wandered away from the camp where he lived in the woods. The pitbulls had been found alone without food or water and in poor condition, according to prosecutors.

Meagher said prosecutors decided the better charges given the evidence are the same charges Jenkins was convicted of, gross misdemeanors.
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For background, read “Onalaska horse owner loses court case” from Tuesday November 1, 2016, here

Facebook post bolsters felony charge for illegal cougar hunting

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 30-year-old man accused of killing a cougar in the Tatoosh Wilderness area of Lewis County without a hunting license is scheduled to go before a judge next week.

Cody M. Young is charged with one count of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game.

The McClearly resident allegedly took down the cougar with a bow and arrow on Sept. 9, a Friday and then bought the required license at a Wal-Mart about 2 a.m. the next day.

Charging documents in the case state that he met with a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officer in Montesano the Monday after to fill out the proper forms and show the animal to WDFW, but he claimed he shot it while out deer hunting on Sept. 10, a Saturday.

He was very proud of his catch, according to the officer.

Young has prior convictions for illegal hunting, and another officer’s recollection of that prompted some investigating, according to the court documents.

Officer Warren Becker checked Young’s Facebook page and saw a photo posted there at 8:05 p.m. Saturday of the big cat, in complete darkness with the aid of a flash, according to the documents. But there was a problem with that photo, he noticed.

Becker knew if the cougar had been killed prior to the post the same day, there ought to have been some ambient light, given the time of sunset, the documents relate.

WDFW officers confirmed the time of the license purchase and even viewed Wal-Mart’s surveillance footage for further confirmation, according to the documents.

A search warrant was served for Young’s phone and phone records, which showed the picture of the dead cougar was taken at 9:14 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, according to charging documents. Also found was a text message sent before Saturday, stating: “smoked a cougar.”

Lewis County prosecutors filed charges on Nov. 16 and summonsed Young to appear in Lewis County Superior Court last Wednesday.

Young told the judge he needed some time to find and hire a lawyer. He was allowed release on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

He was told to return for his arraignment the afternoon of Dec. 22. Young declined to comment on his case outside the courtroom.

The maximum criminal penalty he faces is five years in prison and / or a $10,000 fine. If convicted, WDFW would suspended his hunting privileges for two years and impose a $2,000 penalty.

The monetary penalty can be doubled if the violation is within five years of a prior gross misdemeanor or felony conviction under the same law.

Lewis County campaign sign shenanigans aggravate candidate, citizen

Monday, December 12th, 2016
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A deputy took pictures of the destruction for the case file. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jo Coleman is a great grandmother whose Donald Trump yard signs were stolen so often from her Centralia property, she resorted to sticking fly paper on them.

She said she counted 27 times they disappeared from in front of her home on North Pearl Street.

“They came down almost as fast as I put them up,” Coleman said.

She finally smeared axel grease in strategic spots on the backside. The thefts stopped, she said.

Bob Bozarth was a first time candidate, running as an independent hoping to get elected as one of the three-member Board of Lewis County Commissioners.

The Napavine area small business owner campaigned on personal property rights, fiscal responsibility and preserving the way of life residents sought when settling the rural area.

More than 70 of the yard signs he distributed around the county were uprooted in the months before the November election, he said.

He sprung for large four-foot by eight-foot campaign signs, made with special corrugated paper, and planted into the ground with two steel posts. Each cost him $375.

He placed one of them on undeveloped land along state Route 6 at Scheuber Road in Chehalis, with the blessing of the property owner.

Twenty-six times someone trashed or tore down the big sign there, he said.

He made repairs with duct tape and wire ties as many times as he could, he said. Twice, he had to just entirely replace it.

Bozarth didn’t apply Coleman’s defense. He hired friends who are former Marines to catch the culprit.

“First of all, they’re expensive,” Bozarth said. “But it was almost a matter of principle.”

The rural Lewis County resident said he invested well over $2,500 in his signs, not even taking into account the time he spent repeatedly replacing or fixing them.

“Replacing yard signs took a big bite out of my time,” he said. “When I could have been out door belling, or doing positive things.”

Bozarth’s friends staked out the area on three nights, beginning in early October. According to the police report that would come later, they made note of two different vehicles that drove through the area very slowly.

On their final shift, after five hours of waiting, the two men from Lacey spotted a car pull over near Bozarth’s green and white sign, saw an individual get out of the driver’s side and then walk up and slash the sign. They tried to block the car in, but it got away.

One them pursued the car all the way up Interstate 5 until it exited in Olympia, and got a picture of its license plate.

When the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office gathered information after daylight, Nov. 7, they learned the 2016 Volkswagen Passat was registered to an Adna couple.

A deputy went to their home and spoke to 42-year-old Richard J. Bliss. According to the incident report, Bliss told the deputy he knew what he did was dumb, and asked if he could pay for sign and be done with it.

He said he only did it one time, as a favor for a person at his gym who had been telling him how much he disliked Bozarth and had been taking down the candidate’s signs, but was going to be gone hunting, according to the deputy’s narrative.

The deputy issued Bliss a citation for third-degree malicious mischief, a gross misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 364 days in jail.

Bozarth learned who was arrested and said he didn’t know Bliss and couldn’t think of why anyone would be so mad at him to cause him so much grief. He learned from the sheriff’s office Bliss is a firefighter at Lewis County District 6. A friend said he believed he was also a truck driver, he said.

Bozarth still feels like there are other people involved, he said. He wants to get answers. He went on to lose the Nov. 8 election.

“I’m going to tear this apart, one stick at a time, until hopefully I get to the bottom of the pile,” he said.

On Friday, Bliss showed up at Lewis County DIstrict Court with his lawyer. A plea of not guilty was entered and he was allowed to remain free on his own personal recognizance.

Bozarth was there to watch, accompanied by his friend Coleman who came along to support him.

He wanted to see the man who the deputy arrested.

“This guy, this is the very first time I’ve set eyes on him” Bozarth said afterward.

“Even if they didn’t like someone, they have no business taking their signs,” Coleman said. “I can’t stand Hillary, but I never took her signs.”

Bliss after the court hearing declined to comment, on the advice of his lawyer.

Centralia: Theft of wallet leads to robbery charge

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
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Miguel V. Martinez, in red, confers with temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 20-year-old Centralia resident was ordered held on $250,000 bail for a nighttime incident a week ago in which he allegedly took off with an acquaintance’s wallet containing $300.

The victim told police that just about the time he apprehended the 20-year-old in the parking lot of a bank, a white male who got out of a green Dodge Durango pepper sprayed him in the face and hit him at least once with a handgun.

Miguel V. Martinez, 20, was charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree robbery and then also possession of meth and heroin based on what police turned up when he was arrested on Saturday at the Motel 6 in Centralia.

According to the victim, it all began when Martinez called him wanting a ride to Rochester and the two met up at the parking lot of Safeway on Harrison Avenue in Centralia about 11 p.m. on Nov. 28.

The victim told police they sat in the parking lot  talking for some period of time. Charging documents go on to give the victim’s account of events:

At some point, he went inside Safeway to get a drink and when he returned to his car, he set his wallet on the center console. At some point, Martinez allegedly grabbed the wallet, got out of the car and ran off.

The victim, Ryan Olson, grabbed some pepper spray, chased Martinez and tried unsuccessfully to spray him. Olson said he caught Martinez in the Columbia Bank parking lot and they were about to start walking back to the car when a Dodge Durango pulled up.

A white male gets out, approaches them and lifts the front of his shirt exposing what looks to be the handle of a handgun, and says, “Let him go, I have a gun.”

Olson refuses because Martinez still has his wallet and a struggle ensues between the three men.

The victim, Olson, said the unidentified white male hits him with the gun, takes his pepper spray and sprays him.

Martinez and the white male leave in the Durango, which is being driven by a female.

Centralia police responding to the approximately 2:15 a.m. call to Safeway’s gas station on Belmont Avenue find the victim in extreme discomfort and end up interviewing him at the hospital where he was transported for treatment.

Charging documents filed yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court indicate detectives are in the process of identifying the male and female who were involved.

When Martinez was brought before a jude yesterday afternoon, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke attempted to get a lower amount for his bail.

“I’m very familiar with Mr. Martinez and his family who are in court today,” O’Rourke told the judge. “His family assures me they will keep him home and make sure he gets to court.”

Judge James Lawler went with Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joel DeFazio’s recommendation of $250,000 bail instead.

Martinez’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.
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For background, read “Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – ARREST MADE IN PEPPER SPRAY ATTACK” from Monday December 5, 2016, here

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