Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Explosion rocks Packwood flea market

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The massive highway-side flea market that Packwood becomes each Memorial Day weekend started off with a bang this morning, in a bad way.

A motorhome exploded right in the middle of the outdoor market, by the Shell gas station, according to Lewis County Fire District 10.

There were no serious injuries.

“There were actually four people in it, it was totaled,” Fire Chief Lonnie Goble said. “It blew the windows out, blew the door off. The people inside were very lucky.”

Firefighters responding about 7:30 a.m. found the ruined RV and four guys sitting off to the side, Goble said.

There were only a couple of minor burns, none had to go to the hospital, he said.

Goble said the four men are from Yakima, and they were in town as vendors, with their motorhome parked adjacent to their vendor site. He didn’t notice what they were selling, he said.

The chief said the men had been cooking breakfast when a heater leaking propane gas caused the blast. The RV didn’t catch fire, he said.

“They said it was very loud and knocked ‘em all onto the floor, well, one onto the bed,” he said.

Packwood mom off to prison for her behavior after school bus mixup

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Cheryl A. Strong listens as lawyers, judge, decide her sentence.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 7-year-old boy was crying, soaking wet and knocking on stranger’s doors asking for help, according to Jacob Clark.

The child was dropped off by a school bus driver in a neighborhood not his own in Packwood and his 48-year-old mother found him after an hour and a half of searching, Clark said.

Cheryl A. Strong left an angry voice message at White Pass school, so alarming the building was placed in lockdown for three hours the following morning when it was heard. So alarming, she was charged and convicted of two felonies and then sentenced this week to three years plus two months in prison.

“The school screwed up; so did my client,” defense attorney Clark said. “She never intended to hurt anyone. If this wasn’t the school she called, we never would have been in court.”

It took a jury less than three hours to find the former grocery store clerk guilty earlier this month of one count each of felony harassment, threats to kill, the school secretary and Rebecca Miner, the district superintendent.

The words that got her jailed: “Sorry Chris, but I’m going to f****** shoot everybody that goes to your f****** school, works there,” according to court documents.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said he understood the frustration but the phone call led to a lot of fear and trepidation for elementary school children, who don’t understand what’s happening or why.

Brosey said he didn’t understand how the boy was let off at an address other than his new address, but that schools do the best job they can.

“School staff should not have to put up with that kind of abuse,” Brosey said to the mother as she awaited to hear her fate.

He sentenced Strong to 38 months, the middle of the standard sentencing range for her offenses.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain asked for two consecutive terms of 43 months, the top of the range. Because of the jury’s special finding the crime affected more than the two victims named, the judge was free to give her the maximum of two five year sentences, one to be served after the other.

Clark had told the judge the circumstances didn’t justify that much time, and noted if his client didn’t have some convictions from when she was younger, the case may have merited about six to 12 months in jail.

It happened in March when the household was in the process of moving from a home on U.S. Highway 12 to another about seven miles away up in the High Valley neighborhood.

Christy Collette, the school secretary, said Strong had changed their address with the school and told them they were going to be moving.

Collette said never was she worried that day the boy was not on the right bus, and that she spoke to Strong that afternoon telling her he was on the other bus and said if Strong didn’t find him, to call her back.

Strong told her son to tell the bus driver he was to get let off at the old bus stop that day, according to the judge.

According to Clark, the child was let out in the High Valley neighborhood at a third address, and wandered around, asking strangers for help until his mother located him.

Strong left the phone message that got her into trouble.

The following morning, school employees ordered a lockdown as soon as they heard it; sheriff’s deputies responded about 7:45 a.m. to the East Lewis County school.

Just before 11 a.m., after Strong had phoned and asked about picking up her son since it was in lockdown, she was told to come on in and  she was taken into custody by a waiting deputy. She was not armed.

Her lawyer asked the judge at sentencing on Monday afternoon to consider what his client had experienced the afternoon prior.

“The day before, no one was around to let Ms. Strong know where her child was,” he said. “Apparently no one’s around at 3:41 (p.m.), so Ms. Strong panicked.

“Did she say something stupid? Absolutely.”

Clark agreed the following day it had an impact on a large number of people, but said law enforcement knew Strong was not at the school, he said.

He noted how over the past dozen years, three large scale traumatic events have occurred involving schools and guns.

“If this wasn’t a school, we probably wouldn’t be here; but it was was,” he told the judge.

White Pass School District Superintendent Miner declined to explain what occurred with the bus ride home that day, noting that she’d given her testimony during the trial.

“I would just say, the school district has the safety of all our students in mind,” she said in a brief telephone interview. “We are always looking to improve.”

Miner said she wouldn’t comment any more specifically, when asked if anyone was reprimanded.

Strong was taken into custody immediately following Monday’s hearing; the judge allowed for a $250,000 appeal bond.

The little boy is with his father having gotten picked up soon after his mother’s arrest and taken to Tuscan, Arizona. A family court hearing is set for tomorrow, and Strong has indicated she wants her family members to step in, as she doesn’t feel that’s a safe place for him, according to the deputy prosecutor and the judge.

Before she was led to the jail, she told the court she was sorry.

“I’d like to apologize for the results of my actions,” Strong said. “I was afraid for my son, I was scared.

“I didn’t mean or intend to hurt anyone.”

For background, read “Packwood bus mixup: Mad mom will get to simmer off behind bars” from Tuesday May 6, 2014, here

Logging accident claims Winlock teen

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Winlock teenager working in the woods with his father and a small crew was killed this morning when he was crushed by a piece of logging equipment south of Boistfort.

Aid and deputies were called about 11:42 a.m. to the scene, about 14 miles off Pe Ell McDonald Road, on property owned by Green Diamond Resource Co.

The sheriff’s office said the 18-year-old was setting chokers for a logging operation when a carriage was accidentally lowered onto him, killing him instantly.

“When Fire District 13 showed up, there was nothing we could do,” Lewis County Fire District 13 Assistant Chief Rick Eades said.

Eades described the carriage as a metal piece probably six feet long and not very wide that travels along a cable to assist in retrieving logs. He estimated it weighed two tons.

The terrain was very steep where they were working, Eades said.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod identified the young man as Cole Bostwick.

It happened on the 4700 Line, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He was working for ENB Logging and Trucking, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

The state Department of Labor and Industries was notified and presumably will be conducting an investigation.

It’s the fourth logging death in Lewis County this year.

In mid-January, 63-year-old Alex Oberg, of Toledo, was killed while cutting timber alone in the Toledo area. The sheriff’s office said a tree fell onto Oberg as he was employing a “domino” tree falling technique.

A month later, 21-year-old Tyler Bryan, also from Toledo, was working north of Morton when – according to the initial information from the sheriff’s office – a log being pulled up a slope by a cable began spinning and struck him.

Then in March, John B. Leonard, 69, died after he was struck by a long limb while logging in Salkum.

Investigation continues into deadly Salkum dispute

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office says an autopsy conducted yesterday found that 28-year-old Travis Shive died of massive internal bleeding from a gunshot wound, described as entering his abdomen and traveling into his chest without exiting his body.

The Salkum resident was shot twice, by a neighbor on Saturday night, according to the sheriff’s office.

The 56-year-old neighbor man who has not been arrested admitted he armed himself with a .380 semi-automatic handgun and said he went outside to get Shive to leave his property.

The unnamed man told deputies he felt threatened because Shive had been on his front porch ranting, accusing him of shooting his dog and refused to leave.

The sheriff’s office says it learned a fight took place in the yard after Shive, who was unarmed, lunged at the older man and then he was shot.

Shive was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has said the shooter is cooperating with the investigation, and said they were awaiting the results of the autopsy.

This morning, the sheriff’s office indicated detectives now want to answer the question of the proximity of the shooter to Shive when the firearm was discharged.

They are sending Shive’s clothing to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab to be examined, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

Brown said both shots were from front to back, not in the back as two of several witnesses reported.

Coroner Warren McLeod said the other shot struck Shive in his left shoulder.

It happened about 8:10 p.m. on Saturday at the 200 block of Stowell Road, about a half block from the Salkum Super market.

Responding firefighters were told to wait at their station until deputies arrived to make sure the scene was safe.

Fire Chief Duran McDaniel estimated he stayed parked at the neighborhood store perhaps seven minutes, before he was given the okay to come in, something that was tough to do as a person lay injured.

Shive was able to walk off the property and was in the front yard of another property where bystanders were performing CPR.

The coroner said this morning the delay didn’t play a role in Shive’s death, the internal bleeding was so serious.

“Even if the medics got there (immediately) there is nothing, that I’m aware of, they can do all that much to stem the bleeding out in the field,” McLeod said.

Brown this morning indicated the investigation could take some time; such as getting the test results back because of a backlog at the state crime lab.

She said detectives learned the 56-year-old never opened his front door while Shive was there yelling, as he had it duct taped closed in connection with some kind of repair or renovation.

According to Brown, the man exited through a back or side door into the yard to see what was happening, and then the confrontation occurred.

The sheriff’s office believes Shive went to the man’s house in error, thinking it was he who shot the dog.

Detectives are still looking into who did it, as part of their inquiry, but Brown didn’t have high expectations they would find that out.

“I don’t know that person will ever come forward, at this point,” she said. “I don’t know that we’ll ever know.”


CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to clarify the 56-year-old resident never opened the front door, and only left his house one time to meet up with Shive in his yard, according to the sheriff’s office.


For background, read “Deadly dispute over dog shooting still under investigation in Salkum” from Monday May 12, 2014, here

Thurston deputies looking for red bandana bandit

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Updated at 3:19 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A clerk working alone at the Grand Mound AM/PM store was frightened but otherwise unharmed when she was robbed at gunpoint last night.

Deputies headed to the business about 11:40 p.m. after at least twice someone called 911 from there but hung up without speaking, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A dispatcher finally made contact with the employee who reported what occurred, Sgt. Ray Brady said.

“She said she did that because she wasn’t sure if he was going to come back, and she was so scared,” Brady said.

Brady said the the 36-year-old Rochester resident was in a back room when a man wearing dark clothing and a red bandana over his face came inside pointing a handgun toward her. And he aimed it at her back as she retrieved money he demanded, according to Brady.

He then left and headed south toward the parking lot at Key Bank, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies suspect a vehicle may have been staged there, as that’s where a police dog track ended, according to Brady.

The store and gas station sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Old Highway 99 not far from Interstate 5.

Detectives today are working the case, and in contact with Tumwater police who are investigating a similar incident earlier in the evening farther north along the I-5 corridor, Brady said.

A Chevron store was robbed by a male wearing a red bandana over his face just before 8 p.m. at Trosper Road near Little Rock Road, according to police.  He fled the store and was picked up by a female in a green Jeep Cherokee, police said.

Tumwater’s subject is described as about 6-feet tall with a medium build, wearing a black hoodie, black baggie pants and blue high-top tennis shoes and as having a dark complexion, according to the Tumwater Police Department.

The Grand Mound clerk thought her robber was a white male adult and said he was wearing dark clothing, and a red or maroon baseball-type cap, Brady said, along with the bandana over his face.

The same store was just robbed in December, by a pony-tailed woman who threatened to shoot a clerk. A 20-year-old Montesano woman was arrested days later in that case.

Brady said the clerk last night did the right things.

“That’s what they teach employees, to cooperate and just be a good witness,” he said.


CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the correct time police were called to the robbery in Tumwater.

Birdwell theft case deal includes incarceration plus deadline to pay back funds

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former used car dealer Keith Birdwell yesterday admitted he wrote thousands of dollars worth of bad checks to Security State Bank and didn’t pay back loans to the Centralia-based financial institution, the first step in a plea deal to avoid a potential lengthy prison term.

Birdwell, 48, and his wife were charged early last year in Lewis County Superior Court with theft, for allegedly using various deceptions to dodge repaying what they owed for the vehicles at Birdwell Auto Sales in Centralia and their lot in Lacey. Both businesses are now closed.

The criminal case came out of a lengthy investigation by the Centralia Police Department, with losses claimed by the bank of more than $1 million.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said if Birdwell pays off a certain amount of what he owes before a sentencing hearing scheduled in July, Eisenberg will recommend to the judge a 12-month sentence.

The amount agreed upon by the deadline is known only to the parties involved, according to Eisenberg.

The Toledo couple was charged originally with first-degree theft, as well as multiple counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check, all with special allegations the actions were major economic offenses with a high degree of sophistication, meaning if convicted, a possible penalty of 10 years in prison and / or a $20,000 fine.

Eisenberg said the reasons prosecutors made a deal instead of taking the case to trial will be easier to explain this summer, when they are back in court.

“(This) gets some of the punishment I wanted and it gets something for the bank,” he said.

Security State Bank was involved in the process and satisfied with the arrangement he said.

Tacoma-based defense attorney Keith McFie had little to say; only that his client pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 2.

Birdwell and his wife Lorrine D. Birdwell, 45, have been free on signature bonds since the beginning, although they did have to visit the jail to get their photos and fingerprints taken.

The circumstances involved a form of a line of credit with the bank, in which the unsold vehicles at the car lots were used as collateral for loans, and a day in July 2012 when a bank employee discovered 21 vehicles were unaccounted for, according to charging documents.

After an inquiry by phone from the bank’s president, Keith Birdwell allegedly over a period of three days wrote checks from their Twin Star Credit Union account to their Security State account. The first one was for $29,750, all but one of the others were larger.

The checks didn’t clear. Keith Birdwell indicated to police he expected them to be covered by a loan from an associate.

All but the one charge for first-degree theft have been dismissed in Lorrine D. Birdwell’s case. Lawyers are reportedly working on a plea deal with her which is tied to her husband’s.

Birdwell yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree theft and three counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

Eisenberg yesterday told the judge he expects to dismiss two remaining counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check at the sentencing hearing, if Birdwell has kept his end of the bargain.

If not, and Birdwell were convicted on all the counts, along with the so-called aggravators, the standard sentencing range is 14 to 18 months in prison, however the judge would be free to hand down as much as the maximum of a decade, according to Eisenberg.

Eisenberg said he’s not certain what may happen if the agreed upon amount is not repaid by then, except he noted he and McFie did have an alternate agreement they’d discussed.

He said he understands Birdwell is working, doing some kind of freelance auto sales.

Still to be determined is the total amount of restitution owed, an amount which is in dispute, he said.

Which portion which came from criminal behavior and how much came about simply because the business was doing poorly will have to be decided by a judge later on, according to Eisenberg.


For background, read “Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges” from Wednesday January 23, 2013, here

Deadly dispute over dog shooting still under investigation in Salkum

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Updated at 12:05 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

No arrest has been made but detectives continue to investigate after a 56-year-old Salkum man fatally shot his neighbor over the weekend, apparently over a neighborhood dog getting shot.

Travis Shive, 28, was shot twice in the man’s front yard and was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on Saturday night.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office this morning said they still don’t know who shot the dog, but it is still alive.

“It is believed the 28 year old had gone to 56 year old man’s house in error, thinking he was at the house of someone who had allegedly shot the neighborhood dog,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

The 56-year-old, who was not named, is not in custody and is cooperating with law enforcement, according to Brown.

The man told deputies he armed himself with a .380 semi-automatic handgun after Shive came to his front porch ranting, accusing him of shooting the dog and refused to leave, Brown said.

The sheriff’s office says a fight took place in the yard after Shive lunged at the older man and then he was shot.

Brown said there is no indication Shive had a gun.

Detectives continue to talk to the numerous witnesses of the incident and the investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives are also awaiting the results of the autopsy, Brown indicated.

It happened about 8:10 p.m. at the 200 block of Stowell Road.

The sheriff’s office says Shive was able to walk off the property before collapsing. CPR was performed by others in the area until medics arrived, according to Brown.

Stowell Road was closed while detectives examined the scene and interviewed the shooter.

Brown describes the shooter’s version of what occurred:

He told deputies he told Shive repeatedly to leave but Shive continued to yell at him.

He said he felt threatened so he got a gun and went outside to tell Shive again to leave.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.


CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to clarify the 56-year-old resident only left his house one time to meet up with Shive in his yard.

Breaking news: Man shot in Salkum, neighbor questioned

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Updated at 10:20 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Detectives are on the scene investigating a shooting in Salkum that sent a 28-year-old Salkum man to Providence Centralia Hospital tonight.

Stowell Road is currently closed between Gore Road and Salkum Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened about 8:10 p.m. at the 200 block of Stowell Road, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

The suspected shooter is being questioned. He is a Salkum resident as well, according to Brown. The victim’s condition is unknown, Brown stated at about 9:30 p.m.

Initial information is it was a dispute between neighbors, Brown stated.

Lewis County Fire DIstrict 8 was called to the scene but told to wait at their station until deputies arrived and could make sure the area was secure.

Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said he was on his way home from another call and had already turned the corner so he parked at the Salkum Super market, about a half block from the victim.

“That’s the hard part, having to stage, because we could have an active shooter,” Fire Chief Duran McDaniel said.

Firefighters and medics found the victim in a front yard and took care of the patient, performing CPR all the way to the hospital, McDaniel said.

Brown indicated further information will be released as it becomes available.

Drug officer: Another raid, but battling heroin deaths will take more than police

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Updated at 12:53 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police made three more arrests yesterday after moving aggressively up the food chain to combat heroin overdoses and deaths in the community.

Officers raided a home about 9 a.m. on the 1000 block of Yakima Street and took two men and their mother into custody, but only found small amounts of a variety of suspected narcotics, according to the Centralia Police Department.

“Our primary suspect was in the bathroom flushing the toilet,” Centralia Anti-Crime Team Sgt. Jim Shannon said.

Among the drugs seized – found mostly in the shower area – were suspected heroin, Oxycodone, methamphetamine, hash oil and a prescription drug called Tramadol, Shannon said. About $460 cash was confiscated.

Sebastian Haller, 36, and his brother Arthur Haller, 32, were arrested on charges involving the distribution of meth and heroin to Centralia residents, according to police.

Fifty-nine-year-old Kathy Challender was arrested for maintaining a building for drug purposes, an offense she has been convicted of in the past, according to Shannon.

Police have served several warrants for felony narcotics at the same address over the past decade; the city is reviewing the case to determine if the property might be subject to seizure and forfeiture as a drug nuisance, according to police.

The search warrant served yesterday resulted from undercover buys, Shannon said.

The action is part of an undertaking that began in March targeting street-level and mid-level heroin suppliers because of the increase in the number of heroin and opiate related deaths over the past year in Lewis and southern Thurston counties, according to police.

Centralia police detectives are currently investigating at least two deaths that have been caused by heroin, Shannon said.

“There’s different types of heroin out there,” he said. “There’s tar and there’s powder, which seems to be more potent and is causing deaths.

“Aberdeen has a huge problem with it.”

What police care about is saving lives, Shannon said.

The most important thing Shannon wants members of the public to know today, is if a person is with someone who overdoses, they should get help immediately.

“I don’t want anyone to be afraid to call 911 because they think they’re gonna get busted,” he said. “That’s someone’s son, someone’s daughter. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know that person was addicted to opiates.”

Shannon referenced a recent case in which a boyfriend and a girlfriend were partying and he overdosed and she called 911.

“We got Riverside Fire Authority and they were able to administer a substance that counteracts it and he woke up,” Shannon said.

Officers didn’t arrest anyone, they just documented the incident and made sure there were no more drugs present, he said.

He himself has had to help save a life.

“It’s no fun doing CPR on somebody and waiting for aid to come and give them Narcan,” he said. “I mean, these people are dead. And AMR and Riverside brings them back.”

A lot of times, such an event is is a huge wakeup call prompting the person to get the help they need, he said.

It’s much worse for a witness of an overdose event if the subject dies and they didn’t call 911, Shannon said. Centralia police have successfully prosecuted controlled substance homicide in the past, he said.

Since mid-March, Shannon’s team has made 11 arrests for delivery. A small number more are expected out of the current investigation, he said.

Shannon said he wants to get the word out about the use and the arrests for drug dealing because it’s time now for others besides police to work on the problem.

“The police department is trying as hard as we can to do something about it,” he said. “The community also needs to think about what to do as well.”

Arrests of street level suppliers began in April.

On April 14, aid and police responded to to a residence on the 300 block of North Diamond Street and saved the life of a 26-year-old woman. The Anti-Crime Team investigated and arrested  Christopher C. Lee, 25, of Rochester, for delivery of heroin as well as possession of methamphetamine.

While investigating further, the team arrested four more Centralia residents. They are Tyler Geist, 28; Sarah McCutcheon, 34; Jarrin Smalley, 21; and Brittany Cary, 25, according to the Centralia Police Department.

With information gained, the team began going after mid-level sources of heroin. Throughout, several search warrants have been served in Centralia and in south Thurston County.

On April 17, the team was led to the 17100 block of Sargent Road in Grand Mound, where they seized more than one quarter pound of heroin and about an ounce of methamphetamine, according to police.

Three individuals were arrested; they are Andrew T Field, 29; Alaina Normand, 24; and Terry Nelson-Rone, 44, according to police.

Field was under the supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections and was sent directly back to prison in Shelton to serve time revoked for the new offenses, according to Shannon.

Then yesterday, the team, detectives and other Centralia officers went knocking on the door at Yakima Street, where they arrested the three.

Sebastian Haller was found guilty earlier this year for unrelated heroin charges and was out of custody awaiting sentencing, Shannon said.

If charged, the trio will appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales theft case may end with plea deals

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It appears there will not be a trial in the case of Keith Birdwell, charged last year along with his wife with major theft in connection with their used car business.

The 48-year-old from Toledo was in Lewis County Superior Court today when attorneys told the judge they are working out the details of a plea deal. His trial was set to begin on Monday.


Keith and Lorrine Birdwell

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg asked the judge to set aside time at 9 a.m. Monday for a hearing in which Birdwell would enter a plea.

“I’m confident we’ll be proceeding,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said when the judge pondered advising potential jurors to show up on Tuesday instead of Monday, just in case.

Eisenberg said he also still needs to get input from the victim in the case, Security State Bank.

Birdwell and his wife Lorrine D. Birdwell are alleged to have used various deceptions to avoid paying back the bank on loans for the vehicles at Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales. Prosecutors have contended the unrecovered losses to the bank are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Neither Eisenberg nor Tacoma lawyer Keith McFie would reveal what the agreement consisted of, but McFie said he will be asking for sentencing to take place about a month later.

He also said, and Eisenberg confirmed, the plea deal is tied together with an arrangement to be worked out with Lorrine D. Birdwell and her attorney.

Her trial is on the calendar for later this year.


For background, read “Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges” from Wednesday January 23, 2013, here

High bail ordered for Chehalis dad in shaken baby case

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Tyler C. Abair, seated at table, looks on as defense attorney Bob Schroeter represents him during a bail hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Bail was set at $250,000 today for the Chehalis area father accused of shaking his 4-month-old daughter, causing a bruised brain.

Tyler C. Abair, 23, was arrested yesterday following an investigation that began after last month’s incident at the Koontz Road home he shares with his ex-wife with whom he is reconciling and their twins, a boy and the girl.

The infant is recovering at home with her mother and Abair remains in the Lewis County Jail, where he is serving time for identity theft and second-degree theft, according to authorities.

A doctor found signs of retinal hemorrhaging and a subdural hematoma in her brain at Marybridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, where the baby was transported after the April 13 call to 911, according to charging documents.

The doctor said the baby “exhibited classic signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome and while not severe, the child would have been shaken somewhat violently to cause these injuries,” charging documents state.

Abair acknowledged that he shook her.

According to charging documents, Abair told a detective he was trying to bring her back because she had a “dead look” about her after choking on formula; that he was terrified and may have had a little anger in him when his daughter threw up on him.

He told Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Jamey McGinty he didn’t know CPR.

Abair was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with  first-degree assault of a child.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain told a judge this afternoon the offense carries significant potential sentence of 10 to 15 years when he appealed for the high bail.

Judge James Lawler signed an order prohibiting him from contact with any witnesses, his ex-wife, his daughter and any children.

Abair doesn’t work, but stayed home and took care of the twins while his ex-wife worked; he qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

His arraignment was scheduled for May 15.