Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Littlerock man given three-plus years for injury hit and run at scouting event

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Twenty-four-year-old Kody Chipman was sentenced today to just under three and a half years in prison for a March hit and run in which two men were seriously injured.

The south Thurston county resident, who most recently lived in Littlerock, was found guilty last week by a jury of two counts of vehicular assault and also hit and run.

Dee L. Cooper, 70, of Olympia, and Daniel I. Kitchings, 37, of Rainier, were attending a scout meeting off of South Bay Road when Chipman put his car in reverse and drove off following a confrontation about Chipman speeding, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Chipman’s grandmother, Sharon Hallman, was at Thurston County Superior Court this morning when a judge gave her grandson a 40 month sentence.

“We think the sentence is fair,” Hallman stated.

Read background here

Read more here

Read about attorney for 13-year-old said fatal shooting of father was accident …

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the grandfather and an attorney say it was an accident when a 13-year-old Littlerock boy fatally shot his sleeping father on Sunday night.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes the boy went before a commissioner in Thurston County Juvenile Court yesterday following the death of his father, Jimmie Asher Jr, 39.

Read more here

And even more from this afternoon, here

Fiery night in south Thurston County

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two women were hospitalized for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out  in their home north of Littlerock early this morning.

Members of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority were joined by two other fire departments at the home on the 2800 block of 76th Avenue Southwest just after 4 a.m., according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

The fire was contained to the furnace area and determined to be electrical, Scott said. The women’s condition’s were not life-threatening, he said.

Less than two hours later, firefighters were called to a home in Rochester in which a couple woke up to smoke detectors; crews found fire coming out of a wall behind a chimney, Scott said.

The wood stove had not been used in a day or two, but apparently a build-up of creosote has been smoldering and ignited two walls, he said.

Crews opened up the wall to extinguish the flames and evacuated the smoke from the single-story residence, according to Scott. It happened on the 9100 block of 173rd Avenue Southwest.

The two house fires followed a barn-shop fire west of Tenino last night on the 16800 block of Tilley Road South.

Thurston County Fire District 12 was joined by Rochester-area firefighters after the 9:23 p.m. call.

Scott said there was significant damage to the building.

“On arrival, it was about 50 percent involved, the knock-down was real fast,” District 12 Battalion Chief Jim Fowler said this morning. “They did overhaul for about two hours.”

No injuries were reported.

News brief: Overnight house fire in Onalaska

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A family of four escaped a house fire in Onalaska overnight and the cause is under investigation.

Lewis County Fire Districts 1 and 8 called about 2:15 a.m. to the home on 1800 block of state Route 508 spotted flames coming out a window and roof vents in the front corner of the upper level, according to District 1 Chief Mark Conner.

A teenage girl awakened to the smell of smoke and saw fire in her closet, Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said.

“She told her sister sleeping in the next bedroom and they ran downstairs and woke up mom and the younger brother,” he said.

The fire was contained to the bedroom and closet, but it left lots of heat and smoke damage upstairs, according to McCarty.

Both the chief and the investigator said there was a wall heater in there, but it didn’t seem to be the problem.

McCarty planned to return in the daylight to try to pinpoint the cause.

The family is staying with relatives and the Red Cross was called to assist, the chief said.

News brief: Trial in Randle beating death postponed

Friday, October 21st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The trial expected next week for the Randle taxidermist accused in the beating death of his father-in-law has been postponed.


Erik R. Massa

Erik R. Massa, 43, was charged in February with second-degree murder in the death of Guy W. LaFontaine, a 58-year-old welder, from Federal Way.

The trial, expected to last five days, is now scheduled for the week of January 17.

LaFontaine ended up at Morton General Hospital on March 13, 2010 with two broken eye sockets and other injuries, but was released, because they couldn’t keep him in his bed, according to charging documents. LaFontaine’s wife took him to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way where he was pronounced dead.

Massa has pleaded not guilty and remains free on $25,000 bail.

Read background on the case:

“Randle taxidermist to face murder charge” from Tuesday Feb. 8, 2011, here

Notes from behind the news: Coroner’s inquest; homicide and Facebook

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Greetings readers.

If you have gone to Lewis County Sirens Facebook group page this afternoon, you’ve gotten bits and pieces from me, from the courthouse via Brittany Voie, about the outcome of the coroner’s inquest.

There is still conversation going on there, so you might want to check that out while I write some news here.

Photos will be coming as well, here.

(Also, if you have not seen them, there is a whole series of photos from inside the courtroom posted here on Lewis County Sirens yesterday. Scroll down)

Your news reporter, Sharyn L. Decker

More to come

News brief: Sketch released in case of Morton skeletal remains

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

This was updated at 11:30 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed today they believe foul play was involved in the case of the woman whose skeletal remains were found near Morton this past spring.


Artists rendering

A motorist who pulled off U.S. Highway 12 to take a break spotted the remains off the side of a logging road about 5:30 p.m. on April 7.

The sheriff’s office has revealed very little about the case, but today released an artist’s sketch they hope will help them identify the woman.

“Obviously we’re at a standstill in the case until we find out who she is,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

An image was made by studying the facial bones of the female they say is believed to have been between 20 and 35 years old when she died.

She is described as small in stature and possibly of mixed ethnicity.

An examination by a specialist at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office could not determine the cause of death, according to Brown.

The discovery was made 100 yards up a logging road just outside Morton, according to the sheriff’ office. They still won’t specify where, even if that was east or west of town.

“We’re not giving the exact location because whoever killed her knows those details,” Brown said.

The sheriff’s office is not commenting on whether they believe the woman died there or elsewhere but have previously said it was doubtful the remains had been there very long, because it was a well-used logging road.

The sheriff’s office isn’t yet saying what they were told by the expert for an estimate of how long ago the woman had died, in part because they have not yet received the report, according to Brown.

Dental records and DNA from the deceased have been entered into databases with no matches found.

Anyone with any information about this female or the case is asked to call the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at 360-748-9286 or Lewis County Crime Stoppers – if the person wishes to remain anonymous -  at 1-800-748-6422.


Read previous story: “New lead in possible identity of Morton skeletal remains” from Thursday Sept. 22, 2011, here

News brief: Napavine shooter gets 15 years

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge yesterday sentenced a Chehalis man to a little more than 15 years in prison for shooting a woman outside a Napavine apartment in early June.


Javier Jimenez Villalavazo

Javier Jimenez Villalavazo, 23, reportedly called the 24-year-old and her family a snitch before firing several rounds at her as she got back inside a car. Eloisa Cruz-Garcia was struck twice in her right leg and survived.

Sheriff’s deputies said he went by the nickname “The Joker”.

Villalavazo initially pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault, but following a plea deal, he admitted in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday that he shot her, according to court documents.

Prosecutors dropped the firearms enhancement part of the charge which would have automatically tacked five years onto his prison time.

Villalavazo faced a standard sentencing range between 138 months and 184 months.

Judge Richard Brosey gave him 15 years and four months.


Read related stories:

• “Motive: Alleged shooter thought Centralia woman “snitched”" from Thursday June 9, 2011, here

• “News brief: Four booked as detectives seek suspected Napavine shooter” from Wednesday June 8, 2011 at 7:28 p.m., here

• “News brief: Law enforcement searching for Napavine shooting suspect” from Monday June 6, 2011 at 3:39 p.m., here

Read about another pleads guilty following gun show investigation …

Monday, October 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Olympia man has pleaded guilty to illegal gun selling following an investigation that began with an undercover federal agent purchasing a revolver from him at a gun show in Centralia, according to

News reporter Levi Pulkkinen writes today that David Devenny – the 69-year-old also accused of selling the gun allegedly used by Christopher Montfort to kill Seattle Police officer Tim Brenton – is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court.

Devenny was accused of selling guns to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction.

A former Bremerton police officer pleaded guilty last week to unlawful dealing in firearms, in a case that also began with the undercover operations at guns shows in Washington.

Read “Illegal gun dealer who sold rifle used to kill Seattle cop plead guilty” from on Monday October 17,  2011 at 5:03 p.m., here

Read further background on Devenny here

Littlerock man convicted after injury hit and run at scouting event

Monday, October 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 24-year-old South Thurston County man was found guilty by a jury this afternoon of two counts of vehicular assault and also hit and run.

Kody M. Chipman, whose residence has been described as both in Rochester and Tenino, was on trial in Thurston County Superior Court.

Two men were seriously injured when Chipman knocked them down with the open door of his car when he fled a confrontation about his speeding on a private driveway in Olympia in late March.

Chipman most recently lived with his grandmother in Littlerock whom he has been helping take care of.

Sharon Hallman, 64, said psychiatrists from both sides agreed about her grandson’s ‘fearful response” to the men’s confrontation, but jurors weren’t allowed to hear from them.

Chipman’s attorney spoke to the jury after they reached their verdict and they told him regardless of what the two men did, the car outweighed them, Hallman said.

Dee L. Cooper, 70, of Olympia, and Daniel I. Kitchings, 37, of Rainier, were attending a scout meeting off of South Bay Road and were standing on the driver’s side of the car, when Chipman put the car in reverse and drove off, according to the Washington State Patrol after the March 31 incident.

Hallman said she was told her grandson faces as much as 10 years when he is sentenced on October 26.


Read more, here

Breaking news: Gifford Pinchot remains positively identified as Tahoe woman

Monday, October 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Skeletal remains found the weekend before last in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest have been positively identified as Marie Hanson of South Lake Tahoe, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office announced today.

Hanson, 54, had been reported missing from the Skookum Meadows area, southeast of Mount St. Helens during the Rainbow Gathering in early July.

Th identification was made through dental records, according to Undersheriff Dave Cox.

“We are thankful that we can help Marie’s family and friends work towards some closure on her disappearance,” Cox stated in a news release this afternoon.

The investigation is continuing as to the cause and manner of Hanson’s death, Cox said.

Read about deadly shooting outside Olympia …

Monday, October 17th, 2011

This news item was updated at 12:36 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A man wanted for a fatal overnight shooting in Thurston County was taken into custody by Centralia police this morning.

James Rimmer, 58, called about 8:30 a.m. and wanted to turn himself in, according to Officer John Panco. Officers went to  the residence where he was and then turned him over to arriving Thurston County deputies, Panco said.

The Olympian reports deputies had been looking for Rimmer since the approximately 2 a.m. incident at a mobile home east of Olympia, on Mullen Road near Meridian Road Southwest after which a 47-year-old man died.

Read more here

Read about Morton man found incompetent for trial in molestation case …

Monday, October 17th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a judge has found Steven Moulton incompetent to stand trial and he will be sent to Western State Hospital while authorities determine if he should be civilly committed.

News reporter Tony Lystra writes the judge found 22-year-old Moulton is developmentally disabled but a danger if he is freed.

Steven Moulton has been being held in the Cowlitz County Jail, charged with attacking an  8-year-old boy in a ballpark restroom in Castle Rock in July.

He also has a pending case in Lewis County from last summer when he was found inside a park bathroom stall in Morton with an 8-year-old boy.

Read news item from The (Longview) Daily News from Sunday Oct. 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m., here

Read background here

Former police officer pleads guilty to illegal gun show sales

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A former Bremerton police officer faces as much as five yeas in prison after pleading guilty today to unlawful dealing in firearms, in a case that included undercover agents purchasing guns from him and others at gun shows in Centralia and Puyallup.

Roy Alloway, 56, was one of four men charged in May  following a lengthy undercover investigation into illegal sales at gun shows, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Washington.

The Kitsap Sun reports Alloway retired in May 2010 after 32 years as a police officer.