Jasper’s family waits in the first row for Brenda Wing, far right, to be sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Though numerous individuals gathered yesterday for the sentencing of Brenda A. Wing regarding the death of the 3-year-old she and her husband were caring for in Vader, that’s not what took place.
Instead, lawyers on the two sides and the judge spoke for about 15 minutes about three issues: a written motion filed by the prosecutor, whether the defendant lived up to her end of the plea agreement and whether all the requirements of the agreement had yet been met.
Jasper Henderling-Warner died on Oct. 5 of last year from what the coroner called chronic battered child syndrome.
Among the many sitting in benches in Lewis County Superior Court were a handful of Jasper’s supporters who wore matching T-shirts, with an ominous statement across their backs:
“Rot in hell Danny & Brenda Wing; Evil has been seen.”
Danny Wing was sent to prison in September for 34 years and eight months.
Conflicting stories and an inability to figure out just what occurred led to deals with the Wings this past spring which required them to truthfully describe what happened, in exchange for guilty pleas on first-degree manslaughter and third-degree assault, and then recommendations they be locked up for about 16 years.
Danny Wing failed the lie detector test meant to evaluate his honesty, and prosecutors were free, under the terms of the agreement, to seek an exceptionally long sentence.
At issue, in part, yesterday was a passage in the plea agreement between the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office and Brenda Wing’s lawyer John Crowley that required the use of Washington state licensed polygraphers.
Washington state doesn’t license that profession.
That came to light when Danny Wing was sentenced and yesterday the judge repeated his surprise about the wording.
“I find it astonishing that is in there,” Hunt said. “I’ve known we don’t license them since I began practicing.”
According to Crowley and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead, the plea agreement provided for both the state and the defense to conduct polygraph examinations.
Prosectors had an unlicensed Washington State Patrol polygrapher do theirs. The results for Brenda Wing were inconclusive.
Last month, prosecutors went ahead and got an Oregon-licensed polygrapher to conduct another test with Brenda Wing.
Halstead says she was found to be being deceptive. Crowley said she “supposedly” failed that test.
They are scored on a spectrum, with a gray area in the middle, Crowley said outside the courtroom.
During yesterday’s hearing, Crowley seemed to insinuate to the judge, he hadn’t yet gotten a polygraph done for his client because the agreement calls for a Washington licensed polygrapher, and there is no such kind of person.
Judge Hunt gave him a choice.
They could proceed with sentencing if Crowley would “endorse” the state’s polygraph done by the Oregon polygrapher, or they could return on a later date after Crowley got a licensed polygrapher from any state he chose to do an examination.
Hunt seemed to suggest by his questions that he considered the state’s first and inconclusive polygraph as a non-polygraph.
Crowley consulted briefly with Brenda Wing and then informed the judge they’d like to exercise the second option.
Judge Hunt apologized to the audience for the postponement.
“I want to be clear, the only reason I’m doing this is the stakes are high,” Hunt said.
Unfinished discussions before the hearing ended made clear prosecutors believe Brenda Wing didn’t fulfill her obligations under the plea agreement, because she omitted some information during her interviews. They will be seeking an exceptionally long sentence for her, according to Halstead.
Crowley indicated to the judge he didn’t believe the information she didn’t disclose was material.
Judge Hunt stated Brenda Wing did breach the agreement.
The two sides agreed to return to the courtroom for her sentencing on Dec. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
For background, read, “Vader man gets 34 years for toddler death” from Friday September 25, 2015, here