Archive for December, 2010

Lawyers, judge, discuss DNA test for triple homicide case

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Attorneys review an order allowing analysis of trace evidence, a spot so small the entire sample will be consumed. Counterclockwise beginning in front are Brad Meagher, James Dixon, Rick Cordes and Roger Hunko.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The state crime lab found a spot of what might be blood on clothing believed to belong to murder suspect Ryan J. McCarthy, but it’s so small that if they test it, there won’t be anything left for a defense expert to conduct its own analysis.


Ryan J. McCarthy

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher filed a motion last week asking a judge to allow the DNA test, and allow the defense to have its own expert present when it’s done.

McCarthy, 29, and John Allen Booth Jr., 31, are former prison cell mates charged in the August 21 shootings inside a Salkum-Onalaska area home that left three people dead and one woman seriously wounded.

The pair are charged with 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, at the West’s home. Booth is also charged with the attempted murder of 51-year-old Denise Salts who lived there.

McCarthy’s wife, according to charging documents, told detectives that on Aug. 21, her husband showed up at her workplace with a bag containing the clothes he had been wearing when she picked him up in Centralia about 2:30 that morning. She said she threw it into a dumpster. It was recovered by law enforcement, according to charging documents.


John A. Booth Jr.

Meagher and lawyers for the defendants went before Judge Richard Brosey this week to discuss the proposed DNA test.

Six jail officers guarded the two defendants in the small fourth-floor courtroom in Chehalis during the proceedings on Wednesday afternoon.

The test will essentially consume all the trace evidence, Meagher told the judge.

McCarthy’s attorney, Rick Cordes, said he could bring in his own expert while it’s done. Brosey agreed with the arrangement.

Brosey also signed an order Wednesday allowing Booth’s fiancee Shawna Trent to get back her computer and an iPod seized by detectives.

Booth’s attorney, James Dixon, then asked the judge to lift a prohibition against any contact between Booth and Trent. She is listed as a witness in the case.

She is a longtime girlfriend of Booth, he told the judge. They consider themselves married, he said.

The couple underwent a religious marriage ceremony in June and had a date set for this month to do a civil ceremony.

Dixon noted a similar allowance was made for McCarthy and his wife, although she too is a witness.

Meagher opposed the request for visitation at the jail.

Brosey said he would allow telephone contact, as all phone calls from the jail are recorded. And he said he would allow visits, which are conducted through a video system in which inmates and their visitors are not ever in the same room.

The visits will have to be recorded and there can be no conversation about the case, the judge said.

A trial date has not yet been set for Booth, a former Onalaska resident.

Attorneys have a deadline at the end of March to file a “notice for special proceedings”. Defense attorneys are compiling a collection of information looking to show why the death penalty should not be sought for Booth.

McCarthy’s trial is scheduled for the week of April 18.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Read recent stories on the case:
News brief: Springtime trial set for one defendant in triple homicide” from Thursday Nov. 18, 2010

Attorneys ask for more time on decision about seeking death penalty” from Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010


John A. Booth Jr. next to his attorney in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon as participants wait for the judge to enter.


Ryan J. McCarthy, in the jury box, talks with his lawyer before proceedings begin on Wednesday.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Here’s what I’m hearing this morning: It’s been q-u-i-e-t out there.

Except, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Casey McCarthy says the outgoing crew was called about 9:45 last night to a report a vehicle struck the median on southbound Interstate 5 at milepost 84 near the Lewis-Thurston county line and then went about 25 feet down an embankment.

It appears there were no more than minor injuries, McCarthy said.

Four of the six individuals who’ve checked in to the Lewis County Jail since yesterday afternoon appear to be simply serving time for past arrests. Looks like Lewis County sheriff’s deputies arrested one person for drugs this morning.

If anyone’s heard anything different, or got a news tip, you know where to reach me.

I may have to go out and snap a picture of a baby farm animal or something. Check back later.

Oh wait. In the meantime, here’s something I meant to share a while back.

Lewis County Fire District 5 invited news reporters a couple months ago to do a little hands-on learning about the work they do.

You can see below a bit of what I learned that day.


The outfits firefighters wear are very heavy. / Photo by Maleah Heldreth


The Jaws-of-Life are even heavier. (That's me too.) / Photo by Maleah Heldreth

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


• Centralia police were called about 1:50 a.m. today to the 3200 block of Borst Avenue where they learned a woman was assaulted by her husband who reportedly struck her in the face and choked her. The 42-year-old suspect fled the scene before officers arrived, according to the Centralia Police Department.  The case is being referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for a recommended charge of second-degree assault, according to police.

• A Centralia man was arrested yesterday after he went to the police department and recanted a previous report his wife had assaulted him. His wife had been arrested after his initial report in recent days, according to police. Marcus E. Prince, 38, was arrested yesterday for false reporting and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon to a residence on Northwest St. Helens Avenue about the theft of a gold and diamond ring. The ring’s value is estimated at $4,000, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 19-year-old Centralia woman was jailed last night after contact with a police officer about 6:15 p.m. at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia. Courtney C. Phelan was arrested for a violation related to the Department of Corrections and for possession of methamphetamine, according to to the Centralia Police Department.

• Two Centralia men were arrested after a traffic stop late yesterday afternoon at West Walnut and Hemlock streets in Centralia. Sean W. Thomas, 28, was booked for a previous incident involving deliver of methamphetamine and Joshua P. Wildman, 33, was booked for driving with a suspended license, according to police.


• A motorist was cited just after noon-time yesterday after what police described as a vehicle versus pedestrian collision with minor injuries at West Main and North Iron streets in Centralia.


• Centralia police were called just after 2 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Latona Street where an officer took a report of items taken from an unlocked vehicle.


• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday by an Onalaska man who said someone was using his identity. He found out someone had opened a bank account in his name when they ordered something and accidentally had it shipped to his address, according to police. They were minor transactions, as low as $1 and $2, according to detective Sgt. Rick McNamara.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from the 1100 block of South Schueber Road of someone using a person’s credit card to make a purchase in Georgia.

• Police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 500 block of South Rock Street of fraudulent charges on a person’s account.


• A motorist reportedly distracted by two dogs in his vehicle struck a semi-truck and then his pickup truck rolled coming to rest on it top on Interstate 5 near Napavine yesterday evening. Aid and troopers were called about 6:50 p.m. to the scene in the southbound lanes near exit 72. The driver of the Ford F150, Arnel Tadas, 47, of University Place, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with cuts and scrapes, according to the Washington State Patrol. His vehicle was totaled. The 28-year-old driver of the 2006 Kenworth from California was reportedly uninjured. At least one of the dogs didn’t survive the wreck, according to responders.

Sworn in: Incoming county coroner takes oath of office

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Gary Zandell, left, administers the oath of office to incoming Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod / Courtesy photo by Steve Carmick

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Coroner-elect Warren McLeod was sworn in yesterday by Lewis County Auditor Gary Zandell.

The Chehalis resident was out of town last week when recently elected county officials took their oath of office at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center.

McLeod, a community college instructor, will replace Coroner Terry Wilson who has served almost 30 years. McLeod took almost 55 percent of the votes while retired DEA agent Micheal Hurley got just over 45 percent in last month’s election.

McLeod worked at the corners office in Las Vegas, Nevada, for almost 10 years before moving to Chehalis in December 2008 when he took a job as a professor of forensics at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia.

Cowlitz County man gets 10 years for his role in meth ring with ties to Toledo

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A man federal authorities are calling an “enforcer” in a drug ring accused of distributing highly pure methamphetamine in Cowlitz and Lewis counties was sentenced today to 10 years in prison.

Michael J. Waddington, 24, of Silver Lake, was arrested in June. His co-defendants in the case include Toledo residents Erica Deann Lewis and Anthony Wayne Reisbeck, along with Randy Scott Chalupa of Longview.

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating members of the group in 2009. Information revealed the four were selling pound quantities of meth in and around Kelso, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

“Waddington admitted one of his roles in the drug organization was to collect drug debts,” the office stated in a news release today.

In asking for a significant prison term, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Backhus noted for the court Waddington illegally possessed multiple firearms, including rifles, pistols and a sawed-off shotgun, according to the news release. He also has previous convictions for assault and then threatening a witness in the assault case, according to the news release.

Waddington pleaded guilty in October and was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and being armed with a firearm in connection with a drug crime. Judge Robert J. Bryan imposed the sentence.

The other defendants are set to be sentenced early in 2011.

Read the June 9, 2010 news story “News Brief: Alleged meth ring defendants handed over to feds” here

News brief: Heat lamp for kittens possibly to blame for Salkum Saturday fire

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of the blaze in Salkum on Christmas morning that destroyed a home and sent several people to the hospital is still unknown but the fire investigator said it’s possibly related to a heat lamp on the front porch keeping some kittens warm.


Maple Crest Drive, Salkum

“I’m not sure what started it yet, I’m still looking at it, but it started outside,” Fire Investigator Derrick Paul said on Tuesday.

Either three or four of the residents went to the hospital with smoke inhalation after the 7:30 a.m. fire on 100 block of Maple Crest Drive, as did a Lewis County Fire District 8 firefighter who injured his leg when he fell through the floor, according to responders.

The double-wide mobile home was a complete loss.

Bruce Davis lives there with his wife Deborah, their 37-year-old son and 17-year-old granddaughter, according to Paul.

A pair of overnight house guests and Deborah Davis fled through the front door, and the other three escaped from a back room through a window, according to Paul.

“Bruce had to break a window out and the three climbed out the window,” Paul said.

Neither District 8 Assistant Chief Don Taylor or Paul knew the fate of the kittens.

“I never did see ’em, they probably ran away,” Paul said.

The fire department contacted the Red Cross to assist the fire victims with a place to stay.

See Saturday’s news story and photographs here

Man found with pounds of drugs in Chehalis pleads to simple possession

Wednesday, December 29th, 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 following a high-speed chase in Chehalis a year ago pleaded guilty today in a compromise deal because the main witness against him is Robbie Russell.


Robert John Maddaus Jr.

Robert John Maddaus Jr., 41, was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon with his attorney Ken Johnson.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge he reduced the charges to possession of each of three drugs.

“The intent element here, I was going to use Robbie Russell for that, and that just isn’t going to happen,” Meagher said.

After the two men were apprehended by Lewis County sheriff’s deputies in November 2009, detectives found in the car a backpack containing two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, nearly a half pound of cocaine and almost one-third pound of heroin, according to charging documents.

Maddaus – who is a Rochester resident, according to court documents – was initially charged with possession of each of the three drugs with intent to deliver, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.


Robert Shawn Russell

The red Corvette belonged to Russell and it was Russell who was driving, according to Johnson. An argument could have been made at trial the drugs belonged to Russell, Johnson said.

Russell had been contacted by law enforcement and made arrangements to turn Maddaus over to them, Johnson said.

The attorney called the circumstances of that night “very peculiar”. Despite Russell’s agreement, he sped away when deputies tried to pull him over, he said.

“Back then, Russell was working with us,” Meagher said after today’s court hearing. But after that, he committed a bunch of crimes, he said.

Earlier this month, Russell was sent to prison with a six-year sentence.

“It’s not like we can count on Robbie Russell coming back and cooperating, things have changed,” Meagher said.

Judge James Lawler sentenced Maddaus today to one year and a day for each of the three counts. They will be served concurrently.

Lawler then signed an order transporting Maddaus back to Thurston County, where he is set for trial next week for first-degree murder in the case of a man found handcuffed and shot to death on an Olympia street in November of last year.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010


• A pair of Centralia men were arrested yesterday in connection with a Thursday interrupted burglary in Toledo in which two semi-automatic pistols, a rifle and a 16-gauge shotgun were among the items stolen. Deputies called on Thursday to the residence on Poetsch Road were told two males fled in a small vehicle, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A photo montage was created and two men were identified, Sheriff Steve Mansfield said this morning. Kodey L. Howard, 20, and Daniel C. Miller, 20, were arrested for first-degree burglary, according to Mansfield. Also missing after the break-in were several pieces of expensive jewelry, Mansfield said. The loss was estimated at more than $5,000.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday morning of a car stolen from the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue. Taken was a blue 1992 Honda Prelude. The two-door vehicle has a license plate of 027 ZJY.


• Centralia police took a report about 11 a.m. yesterday of a stolen vehicle recovered on the 100 block of West Main Street.


• A deputy was called about 2:30 a.m. today to Lakewood Drive near Mossyrock to a report a window and a glass sliding door had been shot out. Sheriff Steve Mansfield said it appeared it was done with marbles and some sort of slingshot.


• Centralia police arrested two people yesterday evening at a residence on the 1200 block of Eckerson Road. Officers were at the home around 5:30 p.m. looking for a wanted person, according to the Centralia Police Department. Christopher H. Quimby, 50, of Centralia, was arrested for obstruction and then released, according to police. Officers found Crystal P. Timbrook there and arrested the 30-year-old Centralia woman on an outstanding warrant. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• Centralia police were called twice yesterday to reports of slashed tires on vehicles. The first was at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue and the other was on the 600 block of H Street.

• Centralia police took reports of “gang-style” graffiti to two buildings yesterday. One was at the 200 block of South Tower Avenue and the other on the 500 block of North Gold Street.


• Fire investigator Ted McCarty said yesterday a kitchen fire east of Onalaska on Christmas night started after a burner was left on and nearby items ignited. Fire damage was minimal but there was smoke damage to the mobile home on the 100 block of Stub Road, according to McCarty. Residents had left around noon and after they returned she heard a commotion in the kitchen and spotted flames on the stovetop, McCarty said. The burner had been left on all day, he said. “Fortunately they were home when it took off, otherwise they wouldn’t have a home,” he said.

Read about aftermath of downtown Toledo fire …

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News is reporting archivists from Olympia are expected to travel to Toledo to help with the restoration of items damaged in Saturday’s fire in two buildings that housed the Toledo Historical Society.

Responders came from eight fire departments on Christmas morning to battle the blaze that destroyed the former Masonic building that holds Cowlitz River Antiques and the attic to the adjacent Used Book Store.

Read news reporter Barbara LaBoe’s story here


Read “Downtown Toledo fire destroyed historical collections” from Sunday Dec. 26, 2010 here

Read about shotgun killed Tenino police chief’s wife …

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian is reporting Tenino Police Chief Sean Gallagher’s wife died of a shotgun blast to the head.

Lacey police responding about 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon to a possible discharge of a firearm at the 4500 block of Beckonridge Lane SE said they found a resident deceased.

Lacey Police Department Lt. Phil Comstock said Monday preliminary information suggested the possibility it was a self-inflicted gunshot.

Read news reporter Jeremy Pawloski’s story here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010


• Centralia police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday to the 1500 block of Lum Road where a woman said her boyfriend rammed her car with his when she tried to drive away. Police reported this morning they are still looking for him.

• A 35-year-old Winlock man was arrested after a Sunday night incident in which his wife told police he attacked her and started choking her with a “head lock-type” hold. She reportedly fled their apartment and called 911 about 8:30 p.m.  Erik J. Vanasch was later taken into custody and yesterday he was charged with second-degree assault.

• A 44-year-old Toledo man was charged yesterday after a Christmas Eve incident in which a woman told deputies they were at his residence when he began yelling profanities, grabbed her and threw her on the bed. She was eventually able to get him off her and leave, according to charging documents, but as she tried to get in her vehicle, he allegedly tried to pull her out of her car by her leg. Steven R. Stanton was charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault, domestic violence. He was released after court on a $5,000 signature bond.


• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to a report somebody stole two flags from the flag pole at the Lewis County Mall. Missing from the Northeast Hampe Way location are an American flag and a POW flag, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said a key is needed to lower the flags so it’s not clear how someone got them down.


• An officer was called about 8:25 a.m. yesterday to a burglary at a business on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia. Police report its not known if anything was taken.

• Tools were reported stolen in a burglary to a shed on the 300 block of North Rock Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 10 o’clock yesterday morning.

• A vehicle found abandoned on the 900 block of Harrison Avenue yesterday was stolen from Yamhill County in Oregon and returned to its owner, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took reports yesterday morning from two different locations in Centralia of stolen debit card numbers being used for purchases in Louisiana.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday morning of graffiti being spray painted onto a wall on the 900 block of West Main Street.


• A motorist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital overnight after a wreck in which responders found a vehicle upside down in water between Interstate 5 at milepost 71 and Estep Road, according to a news release from Lewis County Fire District 5. Fire Lt. Laura Hanson reported the driver had self-extricated from the car and was hospitalized for evaluation after the 3 a.m. call. The 30-year-old female driver from Raymond was cited for driving under the influence, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Tenino police chief’s wife dead of apparent self-inflicted gunshot

Monday, December 27th, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

This was updated at 12:55 p.m.

Police investigating the death of Tenino Police Chief Sean Gallagher’s wife in their Lacey home yesterday say preliminary information indicates it was a possible self-inflicted gunshot.

Lacey Police Department Lt. Phil Comstock said an autopsy tomorrow will provide more information.

“We’re saying yes it is the chief and yes it is his wife,” Comstock said during the noon hour today.

A multi-jurisdictional team of investigators concluded its work at the home last night, according to Comstock.

The Olympian reports officers responding about 4 p.m. yesterday to a report of a gunshot found a resident of the home deceased. reports the chief was home at the time and was questioned.