Archive for September, 2010

News brief: Maddaus pleads not guilty to intending to sell pounds of drugs

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man charged with having pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin when he was captured in Chehalis late last November pleaded not guilty today to the charges against him.

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Robert John Maddaus Jr.

Robert John Maddaus Jr., 40, was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon for his arraignment on charges of possession of each of the three drugs with intent to deliver, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.

Maddaus, whose residence is listed in court papers as Rochester, won’t be going to trial anytime soon, according to his lawyer Ken Johnson.

His murder trial in Thurston County is now set for early next year, so attorneys today scheduled his Lewis County drug trial for after that, the Chehalis attorney said.

Maddaus is charged in Thurston County in the death of a man found handcuffed and shot to death on an Olympia street last November.

In Lewis County, his charges grew out of what police found inside a red Corvette when they stopped him and Centralia resident Robert S. Russell in the Chehalis Industrial Park after a police pursuit.

Last week, local prosecutors dropped one of four pending criminal cases against Russell saying the main witness, Maddaus, refused to cooperate. Russell, who is being held in Lewis County for alleged drug dealing, assault and other charges, is listed as a witness in Maddaus’s murder trial.
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Read the full story behind the police pursuit last November and why detectives say Robbie Russell was driving a red Corvette with a wanted murder suspect in the passenger seat, here.

“Death penalty is on the table” in Salkum slayings

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors tomorrow intend to upgrade charges against John Allen Booth Jr. to aggravated first-degree murder for two of the victims who were slain in August in an Onalaska-Salkum area home, elected Lewis County Prosecutor Michael Golden said yesterday.

If convicted of the higher charges, the only two possible penalties are life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.

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John Allen Booth Jr.

The 31-year-old Onalaska man is accused of murder and extortion in connection with the deaths of David J. West Sr. 52, his son David J. West Jr., 16, and Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. He is also charged with attempted murder of 51-year-old Denise Salts. All four were found shot in the head early on Aug. 21 inside the West’s home off Gore Road. The sheriff has said he believes the shootings were related to a drug debt collection.

Booth has pleaded not guilty and remains held in the Lewis County Jail.

Golden said yesterday the ongoing investigation found three aggravating factors which warrant the increased charges: multiple homicides during the same crime, killing with a monetary motive and killing of witnesses to conceal  crime.

“A problem, a significant problem in Lewis County and elsewhere is tampering with witnesses and intimidating witnesses,” Golden said. “And murdering witnesses is one of the worst things a person can do.”

The increased charges will be for the 16-year-old boy and Williams who was visiting the home that night.

Golden said he’s not aware of aggravated murder being charged in Lewis County, at least looking back to 1981.

He expects Booth will be arraigned tomorrow on the new charges, triggering a 30-day deadline for Golden to decide if he intends to seek the death penalty.

“Once the decision was made to go for aggravated first-degree murder, clearly the death penalty is on the table,” Golden said.

Booth’s lawyer is already anticipating that possibility.

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Ryan J. McCarthy

Olympia defense attorney James Dixon plans to ask the judge tomorrow to appoint death penalty case qualified counsel to assist him in Booth’s case.

Golden said no decision has been made whether to increase the charges of Ryan J. McCarthy, the 28-year-old Redmond man and former cell mate of Booth’s who is also accused of murder in the August slayings.

•••

Read the details of what prosecutor’s allege happened in the house that night:

• “West Sr. pointed shotgun telling pair of ex-cons to leave his house, triggering triple homicide, unsealed court documents allege” from Saturday Sept. 4, 2010 here

• “Unsealed document: More details on Salkum slayings” from Monday Sept. 6, 2010 here

• “Two men plead not guilty to Salkum-Onalaska area shootings” from Friday Sept. 10, 2010 here

Centralia auto business arrest followed discovery of almost 10 pounds of cocaine

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The owner of a Centralia property whose Harrison Avenue premises was visited two weeks ago by federal agents has been charged by indictment in a drug case after he was found to have nearly 10 pounds of cocaine hidden in his attic.

Donato Valle Vega was arrested on Sept. 17, the day after law enforcement officers descended on Emmanuel Auto Sales.

He is accused of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the indictment which was filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Valle Vega remains in federal custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, according to spokesperson Emily Langlie.

The complaint in the case describes four individually wrapped kilogram-sized blocks of powder cocaine retrieved from the attic of the building on Harrison Avenue. A kilogram is roughly equivalent to 2.2 pounds.

While the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration didn’t put a street value on the find, the price of one kilo in Southwest Washington could range from $22,000 to $26,000, according to DEA Special Agent Jodie Underwood.

County records show the property is owned by Donato and Irma Valle-Vega. A woman at the business the day after the arrest declined to comment.

Centralia police issued a news release the weekend following the arrest noting they assisted. The DEA referred inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court, an FBI agent and a DEA agent met with Valle Vega on Sept. 2 at Fort Borst Park in Centralia.

They allege he admitted hiding drugs at his business and then he accompanied the two to Emmanuel Auto Sales where he showed them the bundles.

The document goes to say: Valle Vega told the FBI agent he got five and half kilos in July, but had already distributed one and a half kilograms to a customer in August.

The document doesn’t explain why he was not arrested until a little more than two weeks later.

Langlie of the U.S. Attorney’s Office says it’s not something they would comment on, other than noting investigations involve many steps.

The motion for a detention order cites a serious risk the defendant will flee, and the safety of any other person and the community. The crime has a maximum sentence of ten years or more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

ATTEMPTED LURING AT CHEHALIS PLAYGROUND

• A 43-year-old man was arrested yesterday after allegedly trying to lure a 5-year-old boy away from Penny Playground in Chehalis. Chehalis police detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said an individual at the park off 13th Street Southwest was uneasy after the man tried to talk to their child and flagged down a passing deputy after the man was then talking with another child. McNamara said William L. Baskett of Centralia asked the boy to go with him to look for something. Baskett was arrested for child luring and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Baskett was released from jail in the afternoon without being charged, pending further investigation.

CHILD HIT BY CAR

• A toddler reportedly escaped any injury after running in front of a passing car and being struck on South Tower Avenue in Centralia yesterday evening. Police and aid were called just after 7:15 p.m. to the area near South Street and found the 2-year-old unhurt, according to authorities. Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Greg Schwartz said the car was traveling very slow and the child apparently didn’t even get knocked over. Centralia police reported the driver was not cited.

MINOR SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT

• Nobody was injured in what was described as a minor accident between a school bus and another vehicle yesterday morning in Centralia. Police and aid were called just after 8 a.m. to Lum Road and West Reynolds Avenue. Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Scott Weinert said responders verified with the children and the driver everyone was okay. Centralia police did not report if any citations were issued.

THEFT AND FRAUD

• Centralia police took a report yesterday evening about a burglary on the 100 block of West First Street in which two gaming consoles were reported stolen.

• Centralia police are investigating a case from yesterday in which a woman received a check in the mail at the 1900 block of Harrison Avenue stating she had won a large sum of money.

• Police were called yesterday to the 100 block of East Carson Street where a woman reported somebody used her credit card she had lost, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ASSAULT IN WINLOCK

• A 42-year-old Winlock man was ordered held on $50,000 bail following his Monday arrest in Winlock for second-degree assault and four lesser charges related to a domestic incident. Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told a judge yesterday afternoon Scott M. Wallin’s situation involved a divorce case. Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said it involved an allegation “he ran his vehicle into her vehicle with her in it.” Wallin is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges tomorrow.

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This was updated on Thursday Sept. 30 at 7:42 a.m.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

SUSPECTED STOLEN VEHICLE DRIVER FOUND HIDING NEAR ROCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL

• The subject of police pursuit yesterday that prompted the lockdown of Rochester High School and the grade schools south of there was a Chehalis man wanted on a Chehalis DUI warrant who was apprehended about 1:15 p.m., according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Richard N. Mayer, 44, was booked into the Thurston County Jail after he was found hiding near a home on the 20,000 block of Carper Road Southwest, adjacent to the high school, sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy said this morning. The situation began around 6 a.m. when law enforcement officers from Grays Harbor County and then Thurston County pursued a stolen vehicle along U.S. Highway 12 and into Rochester, Mealy said. The driver ditched the Chevrolet Silverado near the 7400 block of James Road and a police dog tried to track him but he apparently went into the Chehalis River, Mealy said. At about noon, 911 began getting calls, including one of a man seen walking into a wooded area near the primary school’s soccer field. Deputies advised the Rochester Primary School, Grand Mound Elementary School and the high school to lock their doors as a precaution, Mealy said. Mayer was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER “PEEPING TOM” REPORTS IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police arrested a 42-year-old man after getting two different reports of a man peering into windows on South Market Boulevard. It happened around 9 p.m. on the 1600 block and the 1800 block, according to detective Sgt. Rick McNamara. Jose N. Gonzalez-Lemus, whose home is listed in Anaheim, Calif, was arrested for criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, McNamara said.

THEFT FROM PATIENT REPORTED AT CHEHALIS RETIREMENT HOME

• Chehalis police were called yesterday home to a retirement center on Northwest Quincy Place to investigate the theft of $40 from a patients room.

PURSE STOLEN FROM PARKED CAR

• The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office reported today they took a report of a vehicle prowl on the 20,100 block of Dakota Court Southwest in Centralia. Somebody took a $220 navigation system from a Honda and also stole a purse containing a checkbook and $132 dollars of tip money, according to sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy. It happened late on Sept. 19 or early the following morning. The victim said her car may have been left unlocked, he said.

SCAM REPORTED IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police are warning the public about a scam they say has reached the local area. Basically, according to police, if a person ever receives a check in the mail they are asked to deposit and then return some amount of money back to the sender: it is a scam. The recent case involves a letter congratulating the potential fraud victim for being chosen to pose as a customer service evaluator at selected stores, according to a news release. The target is asked to deposit the enclosed check, conduct certain purchases and then return the leftover money via Western Union, according to police. Anyone who receives such a letter is asked to call their police department and advised not to cash the check.

TARGET OF CHILD SEX STING GETS MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON

• A 24-year-old Tumwater man caught in a sting operation in which he thought he was meeting a mother and her 13-year-old daughter for a sexual encounter but was instead met by waiting Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives, was sentenced this morning to a minimum of seven and a half years in prison. Michael J. Eplett will be subject to supervision by the state Department of Corrections for the rest of his life following his sentencing in  Lewis County Superior Court for second-degree attempted rape of a child, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office. Eplett was charged in May and in August, a jury returned a guilty verdict in just nine minutes. As part of his sentence, Eplett must get a sexual deviancy evaluation, submit to the recommended treatment and may not access the Internet, according to a news release.

Read about the recent resignation of a one-time Chehalis police chief candidate …

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Now-former Montesano Police Chief Ray Sowers was one of the four finalists for the chief position with the Chehalis Police Department in November of 2006.

The (Aberdeen) Daily World published a story today saying he has resigned following an investigation into his spending by the Washington State Patrol.

You may have to register with their web site to view the story, but I think it is still free. You can read the news story here.

Read about Tenino teen killed in two-vehicle wreck …

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a 17-year-old Tenino girl was killed in a collision yesterday morning on her way to school.

Read about it here.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 27th, 2010

BARN FIRE MAY HAVE STARTED FROM STORED CHICKEN POOP

• A fire that destroyed an Onalaska barn with five tractors parked inside was probably ignited by decomposing hay or chicken manure stored inside, a fire investigator said this morning. The fire went unnoticed until a worker arriving Friday morning to the structure off the 200 block of Griel Road found the barn had burned and the roof collapsed, according to Fire Investigator Ted McCarty. The hay was still burning, he said. The 100-foot by 50-foot structure sits behind a grove of trees at the end of a dead end road kind of out of sight, McCarty said. There were no chickens in the building at the Matthiesen family farm, just the manure, according to McCarty.

BURNING T-SHIRT FOUND INSIDE HOME

• Firefighters called about 1:30 p.m. Saturday to the 200 block of Tennessee Road near Winlock found a smoke-filled home and a smoldering T-shirt sitting on top of a speaker in a bedroom. They used a fire extinguisher to put it out, according to Firefighter Kevin Anderson of Lewis County Fire District 15. Sheriff’s deputies were reportedly looking into the incident.

ASSAULTS

• Chehalis police were called about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday to North National Avenue where a man with a fat lip said he had been beat up. He said he woke up by the mint factory, and had been at one of the bars, but couldn’t remember where it happened, according to Chehalis police.

• Centralia police were called just before 10 p.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of Harrison Avenue where a male was assaulted and an attempt was made to take a cell phone, according to the Centralia Police Department.

POLICE PURSUIT

• A police pursuit on Saturday afternoon in Randle ended with the arrest of a 37-year-old man who was driving with a suspended license, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy observed a vehicle traveling more than 60 mph and in the oncoming lane at a blind curve on the 100 block of Cispus Road, according to the sheriff’s office. The driver sped up but then parked his vehicle on a bridge and fled into the woods, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning. Jake N. Dunaway of Randle, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempted eluding, reckless driving and resisting arrest, according to Brown.

PIECE OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT SNATCHED FROM TRAIN TRACKS

• BNSF reported somebody stole a 100-pound steel safety device from railroad tracks near Bucoda, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The yellow-painted item went missing from the area between 184th Avenue Southwest and Bucoda sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office. The object, called a “Hayes derailer” was mounted on a side track and meant to prevent any parked railroad car which might drift from getting onto the main tracks, sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy said.

BREAK-INS AND THEFTS

• Somebody snuck into a vacant residence and cut the copper plumbing pipe to a washing machine and hot water heater on the 5900 block of 189th Lane Southwest. The pipe was left behind but it will cost an estimated $5,000 to repair, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. A real estate agent holding an open house heard water running and the damage beneath the house was subsequently discovered, the sheriff’s office reported. It apparently happened sometime between Thursday and Friday.

• Chehalis police were called about 8:45 p.m. yesterday to a break-in to an apartment on Southwest 20th Street. A resident returned home to find a closet door open, according to police.

• Centralia police were called just before 6 a.m. on Sunday to an apartment building on the 1300 block of Harrison Avenue after the discovery of a burglary to an office there. Doors were forced open and computer components stolen, according to police.

• The back door to a business was kicked in on the 300 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police  about 8:40 p.m. on Saturday.

• A storeroom on the 2500 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia was burglarized, according to a report made to police about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

• Police were called about 4:15 a.m. today when an individual “interrupted a suspect’ attempting to siphon gas from a rental vehicle on the 1400 block of South Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. However, the suspect fled, police reported.

• A deputy was called Sunday to the 6900 block of Creekside Lane Southwest in Rochester where somebody had cut a gate lock and stole utility trailers, a $5,000 generator, tools, including two edge trimmers, and two duffel bags filled with U.S. Marine Corps gear belonging to the victim’s grandson, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

• Somebody cut and stole eight extension cords valued at $2,400 from Adventure RV on the 18300 block of Albany Street Southwest in Rochester, according to a report made Sunday to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

• A green Craftsman riding lawn mower valued at $1,400 was stolen from a garden shed on the 10,300 block of Case Road, according to a report made Sunday to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

• Somebody stole a Honda EM3500 generator from a travel trailer on Mima Road, according to a report made Friday to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

• Police were called about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday to the 3500 block of Galvin Road where somebody shot at windows numerous times with a BB gun, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Starla D. Parker, 29, of Centralia, was arrested for possession of suspected methamphetamine about 3:30 a.m. today near M and West First streets in Centralia, according to police.

COURT

• The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office announced this morning a jury found a Morton couple guilty on Friday of making a false insurance claim. Jennifer Mau, 30, and David Eden, 47, were in Lewis County Superior Court in connection with a claim filed involving a U-Haul trailer. The couple are the founders of the Mount St. Helens Chapter of a Texas-based group called Guardians of the Children, a group which was instrumental this summer in the search for 16-year-old Austin King, whose body was found a month after he vanished from his Morton-area home. The conviction of a class C felony means the possibility of up to 12 months in jail, according to a news release. Mau plans to appeal, saying she does not feel she is guilty of the charge.
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This was updated Tuesday Sept. 28, 2010 at 7:44 a.m.