Archive for July, 2012

Maurin homicide: “He definitely did not do it”

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Ricky Allen Riffe sits as his lawyer addresses a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated a 6:10 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  After Ricky Allen Riffe appeared briefly in a Chehalis courtroom his afternoon, his lawyer said his client looks forward to clearing his name in the 1985 kidnapping and slaying of Ed and Minnie Maurin of Ethel.

“He definitely did not do it,” attorney John Crowley said.

Riffe, 53, was arrested earlier this month at his home in Alaska and brought back to Lewis County where he is charged in the decades old case.

Normally someone booked into the jail would have made a first appearance before a judge much sooner, but Crowley was out of town on another case last week.

Today’s appearance was only to set a date for arraignment and address bail conditions. Riffe’s attorney however did not ask for any reduction in his client’s $5 million bail.

Riffe did not speak.

His mother, father, brother and two other family members were in the courtroom, but chose not to talk with the news media.

Also in the courtroom was Elaine Amos of Toledo and her sister.

Her brother-in-law is a primary witness in the case, Amos said.

“I haven’t been able to sleep, worrying about my brother-in-law,” she said. “We’re worried he’s going to get off.”

Riffe and his brother John Gregory Riffe – both former Lewis County residents – moved to Alaska in 1987.

The Lewis County sheriff says they have long been suspects in the case. Sheriff Steve Mansfield has said detectives felt many witnesses did not come forward out of fear of the Riffe brothers.

Authorities believe the elderly couple was kidnapped from their home on U.S. Highway 12, forced to drive to their bank and withdraw money, before being shot in the backs and dumped near a logging road west of Adna. Their bodies were found days later on Christmas Eve in 1985.

Ed Maurin was 81 years old, his wife 83.

The Seattle-based defense attorney was adamant about his client’s position when he spoke outside the courtroom this afternoon.

“I want people to know whenever Ricky Riffe gets his opportunity to testify, he’s going to take that opportunity,” Crowley said.

Riffe wants to clear his name and will strongly deny any involvement or knowledge of the murders on his part or his brother’s, according to Crowley.

John Riffe died last month died just a week before detectives purchased tickets to travel King Salmon, Alaska to arrest the brothers. He was 50.

Sixteen pages of charging documents describe numerous people who were interviewed both after the deaths and over the years since. None of the witnesses are named.

A truck driver who was contacted in 1991 pointed to Ricky Riffe and offered several pieces of information, including how he gave a shotgun to Ricky Riffe which he asked him to cut down so he could carry it on the job, according to charging documents. He said he had trouble getting it back, until two or three months after the murders, the documents alleges. The gun was later tossed in Mayfield Lake, according to one witness.

The unnamed truck driver spoke of Ricky Riffe having no money and then suddenly buying a commercial-type fishing boat, as well as getting an odd call from Rick Riffe’s wife Robin Riffe, who said, “You wouldn’t believe what Rick’s done,” the document states.

Another man who came forward in 2004 told detectives he saw the Riffe brothers in a car with the Maurin couple near their Ethel home, but was afraid for his life because they threatened him if he told, charging documents state.

Crowley said today his client feels bad for the people who were killed, but to his knowledge, nobody has identified Ricky Riffe in photos to detectives.

There’s no physical evidence and no DNA evidence, Crowley said.

Riffe worked as a heavy equipment operator in the small fishing community, but hasn’t been able to work for about a year because of a breathing disorder. He has COPD and uses oxygen, Crowley said.

Lewis County Prosecutor Will Halstead said he wanted to set the arraignment the week after next, but Crowley won’t be a available.

That is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, at 3 p.m.


For more background, read “Maurin homicide: Accused murderer’s lawyer says no new evidence in old case” from Thursday July 26, 2012, here

Former Maple Lane worker goes back to prison

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Gary A. Lohr is sentenced for possession of meth and bail jumping


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former longtime worker at Maple Lane juvenile detention facility for boys will appeal his drug conviction, saying the insignificant amount of methamphetamine and the jacket it was found in weren’t his.

Gary A. Lohr, 66, was fresh out of prison and getting back on his feet when Centralia police arrested him last December, his attorney told a judge yesterday.

Lohr has fought hard against his addiction, attorney Bryan Hershman said.

“He was born with whatever it is that makes people struggle with this curse, this plague of meth as he calls it,” Hershman said.

A Lewis County Superior Court jury last week found Lohr guilty of possession of methamphetamine and bail jumping. It’s his fourth drug conviction, Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke noted.

Lohr briefly addressed the judge when given the opportunity.

“Thank you for the court’s time,” he said. “I’m innocent and that’s all I can say.”

Hershman argued for the low end of the standard sentencing range, while the prosecutor argued for the high end.

Judge James Lawler chose the high end and sentenced Lohr yesterday morning to 29 months in prison.

His attorney filed a notice of appeal before Lohr was taken away.

Maple Lane was a state juvenile institution in Grand Mound that has since shut down.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012


• Firefighters called about flames last night at a vacant business on the 700 block of Main Street in Centralia found someone had lit on fire a no trespassing sign on the door. It basically burned itself out and the door was just scorched, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The two-story building was otherwise unharmed, Fire Capt. Terry Ternan said.


• Centralia police say they have a suspect after a strong-armed robbery yesterday in Fort Borst Park. Officers called about 12:30 p.m. were told a 22-year-old male went to meet a female in a secluded area of the park for “relations”, but a male showed up with her, and grabbed the victim’s wallet before the two fled, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 21-year-old woman was arrested when she arrived to claim what deputies thought was an abandoned vehicle last night. A deputy responding about 7:15 p.m. to the 3300 block of Jackson Highway learned the 2005 Nissan Sentra had been reported stolen on Friday from Seattle, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. While waiting for the tow truck, a taxi pulled up and a woman carrying a gas can informed the deputy it was her car, she was going to fuel it up and leave, the sheriff’s office said. Shelley A. Hartfield, 21, said she had purchased the vehicle from someone named Alex, according to the sheriff’s office. Hartfield was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree possession of stolen property, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.


• A 21-year-old Centralia resident was arrested overnight after allegedly crashing a vehicle into a light pole on the corner of Alder and Cherry streets and leaving the scene. Police called about 12:05 a.m. subsequently contacted Ancelina Ramirez Lamas, 21, a short distance away, according to the Centralia Police Department. Lamas was booked into the Lewis County Jail for hit and run as well as driving under the influence, according to police.

• Police were called about 9:35 a.m. yesterday when a log truck struck a light signal and kept on going. It happened at Southwest Second Street and Market Boulevard and will cost about $1,500 to repair because it’s one of the older-style lights, according to police.


• Police said it was apparently a mechanical malfunction that led to a pickup truck driving into the side of the Eagles building on the 1900 block of South market Boulevard on Friday evening. Nobody was hurt, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The driver put it in gar an it just took off, according to police. The engine was still “revving” when it did stop, according to police.


• A short foot pursuit of an individual wanted in connection with vehicle theft ended with the arrest about 10:20 p.m. yesterday of Ruben A. Inman, 21, of Centralia. It happened in the area of South Silver and West Walnut street in Centralia, according to police. Inman was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for allegedly resisting arrest and escape, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was released from jail with no charges filed.

• A 72-year-old Ethel man reported yesterday afternoon that someone used his debit card to make an online purchase of $140 from, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 600 block of Rock Street of the theft of medication, a wallet and debit cards.

• Chehalis police were called just after 3 p.m. on Saturday when someone loaded a shopping full of various alcohol and liquor, pushed it out the door and drove off from Safeway on the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard.

• A 31-year-old Chehalis woman who wanted to report the theft of her mother’s ashes to police yesterday afternoon was told it was not a crime because apparently the father had told the daughters they could each keep the urn for a year a time, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Police were called just before noon yesterday about a boy with clippers cutting flowers out of a yard on the 200 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. The 13-year-old was told he couldn’t do that and his parents were talked to, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Police were called over the weekend about a cardboard box containing what looked like animal parts left on the sidewalk in front of St. Joseph Church on Southwest Cascade Avenue. It was like the guts from a cow – tongue, heart, kidney, the parts you may or may not want back when you get an animal butchered, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Police tossed them into the garbage, she said.


• An 11-year-old boy went to Chehalis police on Friday to report his father slugged and choked him the day before. The case is under investigation, according to police. There were no marks on the child, but he placed in protective custody by Child Protective Services, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.


• Chehalis police took a third-party report on Friday of someone sending inappropriate pictures to the phone of a 13-year-old Chehalis girl. Officers have not been able to reach the child’s parent to confirm the report, according to police.


• A 55-year-old woman was issued a citation after police were called Sunday afternoon about two children left alone in a vehicle parked at Yard Birds in Chehalis. The Port Orchard woman came out of the store with two other small children and was cited for leaving a 3-year-old and a 19-month old unattended in a vehicle, according to Chehalis police.


• An 18-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night for possession of methamphetamine, burglary tools and a dangerous weapon, according to police. Zachary K. Konoske was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 10:20 p.m. at the 1100 block of Elm Street,  according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis where someone had stolen an Alpine CD player from an unlocked vehicle parked at a residence.


• A deputy was called last night to the 2300 block of Jackson Highway where someone had spray painted graffiti on the east side of an empty building.

Chehalis man admits starting fire in his apartment, will go to prison

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Chase Ettner, right, and his lawyer Ken Johnson appear in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 27-year-old man charged with arson after setting fire to his own Chehalis apartment two weeks ago pleaded guilty today.

Chase N. Ettner wanted to apologize for his actions, recognizing the potential seriousness of the situation, his attorney told a judge this afternoon.

“He has no prior record, he’s not criminally inclined,” Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson said. “He’s seriously embarrassed by this incident, and he’s remorseful.”

Police and firefighters called the night of July 16 to the 100 block of North Market Boulevard found residents had evacuated the brick building and a resident or residents working on extinguishing the flames.

Ettner had jumped out the window of the ground floor apartment he shared with his wife and was laying on the ground extremely intoxicated, surrounded by an unruly crowd, according to responders.

A gas can was found inside the apartment; the oven and stove were turned on, police said. The carpet and a futon were damaged by fire, according to the fire department.

Chehalis police initially said Ettner may have been trying to harm himself or possibly his wife. He also told police, according to charging document, he made sure everybody was out before he “torched the place.”

Ettner and his wife had argued, but she had left, according to attorneys.

Residents from five apartments in the 21-unit brick building had to find somewhere else to stay temporarily.

Both lawyers and Ettner agreed alcohol played a large role that night, and indicated because of that, it’s really not clear what his intentions were.

Johnson suggested the household had alcohol issues.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead recommended Ettner be sentenced to two years in prison following a plea agreement.

The standard sentencing range for the crime – first-degree arson domestic violence – for Ettner is 21 to 27 months.

Halstead additionally requested he be ordered not to consume alcohol.

Ettner’s voice broke when he addressed Judge James Lawler this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

He said it’s been years without hard drugs, but the alcohol came back and he wants to put it behind him.

“I never thought I would do anything to send myself to prison,” he said.

“I really don’t know what came over me that night,” he added.

Judge Lawler agreed with a two-year sentence.

“I hope you can make that change, because if you don’t, you know what’s waiting for you,” Lawler said.

A no-contact order was entered on behalf of Ettner’s wife, but Johnson said his client who’s spent most of his life in Tennessee may go back there and also thought it best if they went their separate ways.

For background, read:

• “Police: Intoxicated Chehalis man arrested after starting fire in his apartment” from Monday July 16, 2012 at 9:22 a.m., here

• “Prosecutors: Drunken apartment resident tried to hurt self, get back at wife with arson” from Tuesday July 17, 2012 at 9:51 a.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, July 30th, 2012



• Deputies were called about 1 o’clock this morning to a Toledo area heavy equipment storage lot when after an individual tried to stop a pair of thieves by firing a gun and yelling freeze. The 51-year-old Castle Rock resident at the property on the 900 block of Jackson Highway said because of ongoing thefts of copper wiring from heavy machinery the past few days, he hid out on the property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office. At about 12:30 a.m., he observed a male cut through the fence and begin cutting wiring, the sheriff’s office said.  He watched for about 30 minutes until a second subject arrived and then confronted them, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He yelled freeze and fired two shots into the ground as the men ran off, according to Brown. The loss to the rock crushers and conveyor belt is estimated at $24,000. Brown. Brown said the sheriff’s office would like to remind the public if they call 911 when they observe a crime in progress, deputies may be able to catch the culprits. Bolt cutters, wire cutters, a mountain bike and other evidence were collected, Brown said.


• A 30-year-old man was arrested for possession of cocaine and other alleged offenses after police were called to a reported dispute about 10:15 a.m. on Friday at the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Police say they learned Rueben L. Gallardo, 30, of Burlington had threatened a female with a knife, a female who had a restraining order against him.  When officers arrived, he reportedly fled and jumped several fences but was found behind a mobile home trying to hide himself in a roll of tar paper. Centralia police say they used pepper spray on Gallardo because he would not comply with their demands. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the drugs, resisting and violation of a protection order, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says somebody stole a laptop computer and a smart phone from just inside the front door of a Centralia home while a family slept. A deputy called just before 6 a.m. on Friday to the home on the 1200 block of Long Road noted the loss was estimated at $500.


• Centralia police were called about 8:45 p.m. on Saturday to the 1000 block of West Chestnut Street where they were told a  group of males smashed out a window in the front door and then fled. The victim said he didn’t know the subjects or why they would do that, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 47-year-old Chehalis woman was cited for second-degree negligent driving after her car crossed the centerline and struck the tires of an oncoming log truck at about noon on Sunday on the 2600 block of Jackson Highway south of Chehalis. The car was only moderately damaged when it landed in a ditch and nobody was injured, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman told a deputy she was extremely tired and may have fallen asleep or looked away from the road momentarily, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 27-year-old Toledo woman was arrested for driving under the influence after her vehicle collided with a parked car on J and West SIxth streets in Centralia about 2:20 a.m. on Saturday. Kayla L. McDonald was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone stole copper pipe from property on the 200 block of Walker Road near Toledo sometime between 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor saw what was possibly a gray Toyota Forerunner near the property around 4 a.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Some 35 gallons of gasoline were stolen from a vehicle on the 200 block of Keasling Road south of Chehalis sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone stole an old Sthil chainsaw and two trout fishing poles from an unlocked shop building on the 100 block of Young Road in Mossyrock sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A Stihl weed eater was stolen from a yard on the 200 block of Taylor Road in Chehalis sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy was called Sunday morning to the 1900 block of Rice Road outside Chehalis where a resident said a neighbor had found 14 pieces of mail – some of it his – laying on the side of the road near Stan Hedwall Park. Mail was returned to two other Rice Road residents; it had apparently been stolen sometime between 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police yesterday took two reports of bicycles stolen; one from the 700 block of Euclid Way and another from the 2000 block of Borst Avenue. Earlier in the day an officer took a report of two bikes found in the area of the 1000 block of K Street.

• Centralia police on Friday afternoon took a report of unspecified items stolen from the back of a truck at the 500 block of Woodland Avenue.

The unclaimed dead of Lewis County

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The Lewis County coroner displayed the urns of the unclaimed dead for the news media in hopes a bit of publicity might turn up relatives.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Anyone out there missing a grandmother? A cousin? Maybe a great uncle?

More than a dozen individuals who have died with no family to claim them for burial remain in the custody of the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Over the past 14 years, each unclaimed person has been cremated, their ashes placed in a a temporary plastic urn or even just a cardboard box, and then shelved.

Many of them were older when they died, although David J. Robertson, for example, was just 48 when he passed away at a Centralia nursing home in June of 2010.

Two local men who passed away earlier this year are among them.

Some may have been estranged from their family, or simply had no living relatives, according to Coroner Warren McLeod.

“One gentleman we spoke to his neighbor, he said no, he doesn’t have any family,” McLeod said.

It’s been somewhat distressing to McLeod and employees at the coroner’s office that so many have not gotten a proper burial.

“It’s frustrating,” McLeod said. “I mean, these folks have been stored in the back store room.”

“You gotta figure somebody somewhere loves them,” he said.

When McLeod took over as elected coroner in January 2011, there were many unclaimed sets of cremated remains being stored in the office.

Last year, volunteers worked with the coroner to take the military veterans among them to be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

Since then, McLeod’s deputy coroners have checked and re-checked and found relatives of just a few.

Just last week, they matched up an urn containing a woman’s remains with her son who lives in Olympia, according to McLeod.

“When he was contacted, he said, oh, I thought someone else in the family took care of her,” McLeod said.

Five families have been found in the past several months, he said.

Now that virtually all avenues have been exhausted, the 16 remaining individuals will finally go to their final resting spot.

Claquato Cemetery west of Chehalis has donated a plot. A burial service is in the planning for next month.

The 16 urns will be placed in a shared concrete liner in a part of the cemetery known as the county section.

McLeod said he was told that’s where the county buried people who were unclaimed from the 1930s until the mid-1990s. He said he didn’t know why that practice ended.

Just in case in the future, a relative turns up who wants to retrieve their loved one, each urn will be sealed separately with a copy of the death certificate.

Their names won’t be engraved on any headstone, but the grave will be marked, and the cemetery will keep a listing as well as copies of the death certificates on file, according to McLeod.

The burial and a non-denominational memorial service is tentatively set for the week of Aug. 20.

If any of them do have a family member who wants to claim them, there is still time. The coroner thought publishing a list could possibly turn up more relatives.

Some of them still have friends in the area, just not family who could legally claim their bodies, according to the coroner’s office.

“Once we have the date, if people from the public want to come, they’re welcome,” McLeod said.

The following individuals are scheduled to be buried at Claquato:

• Lawrence T. Erickson, Centralia: 7-10-1915 to 5-4-1998

• Richard Farrell, Randle: 3-31-1943 to 10-26-1999

• Delores Fletcher, Centralia: 10-11-1928 to 3-24-2000

• Mary Katherine Gibson, Chehalis: 5-17-1936 to 3-31-2000

• Gladys Vivian Pitts, Centralia: 10-5-1915 to 10-6-2003

• Hiram Mahlon Coleman, Pe Ell: 7-22-1935 to 1-18-2004

• Edward M. Dombrowe, Chehalis: 4-22-1924 to 7-15-2004

• Harry Edwin Fields Jr., Chehalis: 8-25-1946 to 10-17-2004

• Stella Richardson, Centralia: 3-7-1928 to 8-12-2006

• Michael S. Edin, Centralia: 2-20-1944 to 10-5-2009

• David J. Robertson, Centralia: 6-7-1962 to 7-27-2010

• Eugene Briese, transient Chehalis area: 7-1-1943 to 12-6-2010

• Gary M. Ward, Centralia: 8-23-1961 to 6-15-2010

• William Dane, Centralia: 8-17-1942 to 3-1-2011

• Richard Fisher, Centralia: 12-16-1938 to 1-14-2012

• Curt Lynn Allison, aka Curtis Hughes, Curtis: 11-17-1950 to 4-7-2012

Breaking news: Passenger vehicle and train collide near Tenino

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Aid was called this afternoon to a train versus vehicle collision near Tenino.

A family of four were in a pickup truck which was hit by an Amtrak passenger train just north of Tenino, according to responders.


Courtesy photo by WSP

Trooper Guy Gill says they are very lucky to be alive.

Three were injured. Two individuals were transported by medics with advanced life support capabilities and one person was transported with basic life support personnel, according to Thurston County Fire District 12.

It happened in the area of McDuff Road near 143rd Avenue Southeast, according to Fire Chief Robin Duncan. Gill described the location as McDuff Road and Fenton Avenue.

It was a 2004 Ford F-150.

The train struck the front area of the pickup, Gill said on Twitter. “Three feet the other way and we would be dealing with multiple fatalities right now.”

The trooper said the two adults and two children are going to be fine. The driver is Thomas G. Hertter, 52, of Olympia, according to Gill.

The train was traveling approximately 79 mph.

Duncan said he thought the call came around 2:45 p.m., but couldn’t be sure as the fire department had three calls at about the same time.

The town’s Oregon Trail Days celebration is going on this weekend.

Bungled bank robbery spree leads to prison for Centralia resident

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Robert T. Hendrickson listens as his lawyer addresses a judge about the March holdups.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It’s off to prison for a 23-year-old Centralia man whose short-lived bank robbery career included trying to hold up a credit union that keeps no cash in its drawers.

Robert T. Hendrickson admitted to making off with money from Chase Bank on South Market Boulevard the morning of March 17, and moments earlier attempting to do the same at the nearby Twin Star Credit Union.

When he asked for all the cash in the drawer there, an employee said there wasn’t any, but he could get some out of their ATM.

Hendrickson and the driver of the getaway car were captured less than 30 minutes later after a high speed chase and a wreck on Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Hendrickson was taken to the ground by a police dog when he tried to run.

“This is extraordinarily uncharacteristic of his general demeanor,” his attorney told a judge. “My client has admitted a drug problem.”

Hendrickson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five and a half years on Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

The charges included a bank robbery the night before in Olympia at a U.S. Bank branch inside a Safeway store.

Chehalis defense attorney Chris Baum said he worked with other lawyers to get the two cases combined for the plea agreement.

Baum suggested to Judge James Lawler in court on Thursday afternoon that his client was influenced by his partner.

“(Robert) Hughes sat in the car,” Baum said.

The attorney noted Hendrickson was never armed and never threatened anyone with a weapon.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead recommended five and a half years, the middle of the standard sentencing range for the crimes.

Hendrickson, who has no previous felonies on his record, told Judge Lawler he’s going to use the time to change his life.

Hughes, 32, of Tenino, pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to five years for the incidents in Lewis County. He faces more potential time for the Thurston County bank robbery, Halstead said.

For background, read: “Foiled Chehalis bank heists lead to serious charges for local pair” from Monday March 19, 2012, here


Twin Star Credit Union was closed temporarily after an attempted robbery the morning of March 17.

Freeway cardiac arrest victim heads home with healthy heart

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Jeff Calcagno, his wife and grown sons stop briefly in Chehalis today after spending more than a week in an Olympia hospital.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jeff Calcagno is tired, but he’s alive.

The 55-year-old Battleground resident finally left the hospital today, nine days after his heart stopped as he was passing by Winlock on Interstate 5.

Calcagno had been driving home from Kent, where one of his business’s four warehouses is located.

He doesn’t remember much at all about the entire day, but several local troopers, firefighters and medics likely won’t forget.

It was about 3:30 p.m. on July 18, when his Subaru Legacy twice drifted into a semi truck in the next lane, struck the inside concrete barrier and then veered off onto the right shoulder into a ditch.

Two passing motorists, both emergency room nurses from the Portland area, stopped, found him with no pulse and pulled him from his car to begin CPR.

Soon, they were joined by a sheriff’s deputy, trooper, paramedics from Lewis County Medic One and firefighters from Winlock and Napavine.

Resuscitation efforts continued on the shoulder of the freeway. Medics shocked him and administered drugs until his heart was beating again.

Calcagno was rushed in an ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, and then transferred to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia with its specialized cardiac care.

Paramedic Clayton Skinner spoke of how unlikely that sort of outcome is, crediting the immediate CPR started by the nurses.

Lewis County Fire District 15 Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson noted how the nurses were in the right place at the right time for the patient.

Calcagno and his wife Pam Calcagno today said even the doctors teared up when they heard the story.

“The cardiologist said 95 percent of people don’t have that outcome,” Pam Calcagno said.

For the first few days, he was in an induced semi-coma state and then recovering, the couple said.

Their 25-year-old son Christopher flew home from where he was working in Afghanistan. Their 21-year-old son Nicholas came and the family stayed in Olympia.

The Calcagnos were told it was just a chance occurrence. His heart just went into an irregular rhythm and then stopped, they said. It was possibly a rare consequence of a heart attack he had a couple of years ago, according to Calcagno.

Yesterday, doctors installed a mini defibrillator in his chest. About the size of a pager, with wires, the device will “kick start” his heart if something happens again, the Calcagnos said.

“It’s like a little team of paramedics in his chest,” his wife said.

His heart is strong and healthy, she said. He did have six fractured ribs, but medical personnel at the hospital just called that “very effective CPR.”

Calcagno said he’s just beginning to realize what happened.

The family said there’s no words to express their gratitude for strangers who saved his life.

“We can’t say how much we appreciate these people and want to meet them,” Pam Calcagno said.

Her husband feels the same way.

“There’s amazing people out there,” Calcagno said. “You don’t know it till you’re on the other side of that coin.”

Nicholas said he plans on taking a CPR class now.

Assistant Fire Chief Anderson notes the incident should serve as a reminder to the critical role people can play in their communities if they are trained in CPR.

District 15 wants folks to know they can get more information about obtaining training in CPR and first aid, by contacting them at 360-785-4221.

For background, read: “Passing nurses help revive driver whose heart stopped on Interstate 5” from Wednesday July 18, 2012, here

Read about Olympia man who disappeared faces child porn charges …

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that when police searched the home of a missing 52-year-old man looking for clues about where he might be, they found pornographic images involving children on his computer.


Troy A. Fisher

Troy A. Fisher, the interim artistic director at the Capital Playhouse, was booked into the Thurston County Jail late today, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Fisher vanished Sunday night and was located unharmed early Wednesday morning when he called 911 from a pay phone and said he couldn’t remember where he had been, according to the Olympia Police Department.

Read more here

Prosecutors: Winlock man ID’d through DNA charged in 2007 campground rape of child

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge this afternoon ordered a 24-year-old Winlock man held on $500,000 bail following his arrest for a sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in a Mossyrock-area campground almost five years ago.

Reginald L. Juntunen was identified only late last month as a suspect through DNA, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday on an unrelated matter when he was taken into custody.

Temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge Juntunen is a graduate of Winlock High School and a life-long resident of the South Lewis County town.

Charging documents in the case allege the child was anally raped by a dark-skinned male wearing a hoodie and a stocking cap who forced her into the public restroom.

The girl, who is now 12, said she rode her bicycle to the nearby bathroom when she saw the man.

She said he told her he had a knife and to stop screaming, and he left in a yellowish car, according to the documents.

Deputies at the time collected a tissue the girl had wiped herself off with when she returned to the family’s motor home, the documents state.

On July 2, the sheriff’s office received a report from the   Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory declaring a match with Juntunen.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke said his DNA would have been entered into the system from a previous felony.

Juntunen told detectives yesterday he’d been to the park camping with his family when he was nine years old and two years ago fishing with a friend, but not in 2007 when he was 19 years old.

“When asked by Detective Callas if he could explain how his DNA was recovered from semen found on a female child, Juntunen’s eyes got very large, he appeared to be in shock, and he simply said ‘no’,” charging documents state.

O’Rourke said she has not yet spoken with the victim, and doesn’t know where she is from.

Juntunen is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree rape of a child and  first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation. Each offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The Winlock man is currently in Lewis County Drug Court, having entered in connection with a case in which he allegedly sold jewelry to a Centralia boutique that had been stolen in a February burglary in Winlock.

Yesterday he was in court to plead not guilty to burglary and theft related to a case in which he and another individual allegedly were involved in a May break-in at another Winlock residence and a stolen banjo and guitar were sold to a pawn shop.

He has a 2008 drug conviction.

Juntunen is represented by Chehalis attorney Chris Baum.

He will return to court next Thursday morning to make his plea in this new case.

Read about mayor of Pacific fires half of police force …

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports the mayor of the city of Pacific has terminated four of its police officers, following last week’s incident in which officers arrested the mayor for trying to enter a locked office at city hall.

News reporter Alex Krell writes that among the reasons cited are unlawful anarchy and mutiny.

Read more here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, July 27th, 2012


• Centralia police were called about 2:20 p.m. yesterday about laundry being stolen out of a dryer at a public laundry on the 1200 block of South Gold Street in Centralia.


• Chehalis police took a report just afternoon yesterday of two digital cameras being stolen from an office on the 2000 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue.


• A 28-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday morning for possession of methamphetamine. Christopher A. Randle was booked into the Lewis County jail following the traffic stop on the 2300 block of Harrison Avenue,  according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police took a report just before 6 p.m. yesterday from the 1200 block of South Tower Avenue about a vehicle prowl. Electronic equipment was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Riverside Fire Authority was called about 1:30 a.m. today to a report of a burning tow truck on Reynolds Avenue. Firefighters extinguished the fire.


• A deputy was called about 9 a.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Cannon Road in Packwood after a 67-year-old motorist turned in front of a truck and the momentum of the collision caused both vehicles to crash into a parked Ford Ranger. All three vehicles sustained major damage, but nobody was injured,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The first driver received a citation.

Maurin homicide: Accused murderer’s lawyer says no new evidence in old case

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Ricky Allen Riffe’s mother and father came to court this afternoon, but their son who is accused in the 1985 kidnap and slaying of an elderly couple won’t been seen by a judge until next week.

Riffe, 53, was brought back yesterday to Lewis County from his home in Alaska where he has lived since 1987.


Rick Riffe

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer this morning said Riffe would go before a judge today, but Riffe’s attorney requested a postponement until Tuesday, because he is out of town.

The former Lewis County resident was arrested earlier this month at his home for the deaths of Edward and Wilhelmina Maurin of Ethel more than a quarter of a century ago.

Riffe is just a hard working family man who was shocked by his arrest, his attorney John Crowley said.

“He knew the people had been murdered and the police investigation followed a number of leads,” Crowley said. “And on many occasions they had talked to Rick and his brother John.”

Riffe lives in King Salmon, Alaska, a small fishing community where he helped raise his two step-children, and worked as a heavy equipment operator, according to the attorney. One of the grown sons is in his third-year of law school, he said.

“From everyone that we’ve talked to, his character was that of a gentle nature, he has no criminal history,” Crowley said of his client.

The Seattle-based attorney said he’s concerned about some of the reports he’s read in the news, especially a commentator who wrote the only way Riffe wouldn’t be found guilty would be by a confused jury.

“Mr. Riffe is concerned the people might think the same thing,” he said. “All he wants is a fair trial, with evidence, he knows he will be found not guilty.”

The Lewis County sheriff and prosecutor held a well-attended press conference the day after local detectives made the arrest, saying Riffe and his younger brother John Gregory Riffe had long been primary suspects in the old case.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield described how the sheriff’s office felt it had a strong case back in the early 1990s, but for whatever reason wasn’t able to persuade a prosecutor to file charges.

Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer – new to the office 18 months ago – likened it to a puzzle in which he realized they had all the pieces they needed.

The case has been the sole assignment of one of the sheriff’s detectives for the past four months, according to Meyer.

Sixteen pages of charging documents describe numerous people who were interviewed, after the bodies were found and then witnesses who turned up in the early 1990s.

One of “Minnie” Hadaller’s sons, Dennis Hadaller, hired two private investigators who spoke with new sources in 2004. Many of the witnesses listed were reinterviewed by sheriff’s detective Bruce Kimsey in recent years.

John Riffe died of ill health a week before detectives purchased tickets to travel to Alaska to arrest the brothers. He was 50.

Ricky and John Riffe formerly lived in the Salkum area toward Mayfield Lake and Adna, according to the sheriff’s office.


Ed and Minnie Maurin

The charging documents allege some of the following details for the charges of kidnap, robbery and murder:

Ed Maurin, 81, and his wife, 83, were reported missing Dec. 19, 1985 after guests arrived for a Christmas party at their house along U.S. Highway 12 in Ethel and found nobody home.

“(I)t appears that the defendants gained entry into the Maurin residence, closed the curtains, searched the home, uncovered bank records and forced the victims to call the bank,” Prosecutor Meyer writes.

An employee at Sterling Savings Bank in Chehalis said Ed Maurin phoned about 9:35 a.m. that day and advised he needed $8,500 cash, that “the kids” were going to help them buy a car.

Family members told investigators there was no such plan.

A truck driver who was contacted in 1991 pointed to Ricky Riffe and offered several pieces of information, including a possible reason the Maurins was targeted.

The unnamed witness recalled seeing the couple outside their Ethel home when he and the brothers drove past it about two weeks before the deaths.

He recalled mentioning they must have money, because they owned all the Christmas trees surrounding their property and their son had a successful logging business.

Another man came forward in 2004, who said he withheld information for fear the Riffe brothers would kill him or his family.

That man told of driving with his mother from his home in Mossyrock “into town” that December, when he saw the Riffe brothers in a car with the Maurin couple.

“He remembered waving and getting a good look at Greg, who was in the backseat.”

The brothers confronted him and threatened him shortly after if he spoke about what he saw.

Numerous other people are cited as having told detectives of seeing a man or men who matched the brothers’ descriptions at various key places that day, often noting one wearing a dark stocking cap, wearing an Army jacket or carrying a gun.

Ed Maurin withdrew cash from the bank, even though the bank suggested a cashier’s check.

A witness re-interviewed in June, claims to have seen the couple in their car with an unshaven “scuzzy” male passenger in the backseat on state Route 6, and then again about a mile from where the two bodies were subsequently found.

The witness had a machine shop and had been working on a “skidder” and then was going to meet it and the operator at a logging site on Bunker Creek Road.

He indicated he was following behind a westbound green Chrysler or Dodge that was traveling only about 35 mph and backing up traffic. He passed the car.

“He said an elderly man was driving and looked up at him with a scared / frantic look in his eyes.”

The younger male was sitting in the backseat, resting his upper body and arms on the back portion of the front seat.

When the witness me up with the skidder operator on Bunker Creek Road, just past Ceres Hill Road, he saw the same vehicle creeping toward him about 25 mph. He said he remarked he was amazed the old man was still driving, and the car continued up Bunker Creek Road.

The witness said afterward he went to pick up a generator at Kresky Auto around the lunch hour and saw the same man from the backseat of the vehicle walking on a berm between Yard Birds and the Lewis County Mall.

Early on the morning of Dec. 20, the couple’s car was found abandoned in the parking lot at Yard Birds. Inside were the keys, a large amount of blood stains and a man’s hat like Ed Maurin wore.

On Christmas Eve, the Maurin’s bodies were found off a logging road off the end of Stearns Hill Road, seven miles west of Chehalis.

They had been shot in the backs with a shotgun while in their car.

Crowley said as far as he can tell, it’s an old case, with no new evidence and no new witnesses. When Riffe was arrested, he thought at least there might be some DNA evidence, but he hasn’t heard of any, he said.

“For whatever reason, they decided to arrest him,” Crowley said. “Other than, they think he did it.”

Riffe is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary.

Numerous aggravating circumstances are alleged including particularly vulnerable victims and deliberate cruelty.

He is being held on the $5 million arrest warrant.

The attorneys and Riffe will go before Judge Richard Brosey in Lewis County Superior Court at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and likely talk about the bail amount.


For back ground, read:

• “Breaking news: Sheriff: Cold case solved in 1985 shooting death of elderly Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Sheriff: It’s safe for further witnesses to come forward following arrest in deaths of Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 5:14 p.m., here

Breaking news: Suspect from 2007 sexual assault of girl arrested

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Updated at 5:03 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives today arrested a 24-year-old Winlock man for a 2007 sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in a Mossyrock-area campground.

Reginald L. Juntunen was identified through DNA, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He was in Lewis County Superior Court today on an unrelated matter when he was taken into custody.

The sheriff’s office says the girl was riding her bicycle in the campground when she was approached by a man who said he wanted her to come look at something.

When she came close, he told he had a knife and forced her into a public restroom and assaulted her, according to a news release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He left on foot, the sheriff’s office says.

The report was taken when deputies were called on Sept. 22, 2007 to the campground on the 200 block of Ajlune Road.

Evidence from the scene was sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab and earlier this month the sheriff’s office received notification they identified a suspect through CODIS – the Combined DNA Index System, according to the news release.

Juntunen was booked into the Lewis County Jail for multiple counts related to the incident, including first-degree rape, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, first-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

“This is an excellent example of the technology that exists today and how we are utilizing it to solve crimes, make arrests and send people to prison,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield stated in the news release. “Without the CODIS System this arrest would not have been possible.”

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Updated at 5:57 p.m.


• A 16-year-old boy allegedly ran out of Wal-Mart last night with a gallon of gin, a gallon of rum and a fifth of tequila. Police called about 10:50 p.m. to the store on the 1600 block of Louisiana Avenue found their suspect hiding in a dumpster across the street and arrested him for third-degree theft. He was not booked.


• Chehalis police called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday about a possible dispute in the area behind Kit Carson restaurant on Southwest State Avenue subsequently found five kids and three illegal knives. At least one of them was as long as six inches with a blade on both sides of it, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Sgt. Gwen Carrell said she thought they may have been horsing around, but the knives were still seized. The cases involving three of the youngsters – ages 11, 13, and 15 – were referred to the prosecutor for possible charges of possession of a dangerous weapon. One was on probation so was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Carrell.


• Somebody stole three model trains and several boxes of train parts from a storage unit at the 600 block of Jorgensen Road near Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called there yesterday morning learned the theft occurred sometime in the previous few months. There was no sign of forced entry, Cmdr. Steve Aust said.


• A 29-year-old woman was arrested yesterday for possession of heroin after a search of her vehicle, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Misty R. Braun is the registered owner and was a passenger in the vehicle that police said nearly ran down Sgt. Gwen Carrell on Monday, according to police. The car was impounded and searched, according to Carrell. Braun was booked into the Lewis County Jail but is to be released without charges pending further investigation.

• Pamela A. Clark was arrested yesterday for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana after her impounded car was searched, according to the Chehalis Police Department. She is to be released without charges pending further investigation.

• Kari L. Johnston was arrested last night for two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Centralia police took another report of graffiti on a fence yesterday on Rainier Avenue.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning about graffiti on the side of a building on South Market Boulevard.


• Morton police took a report on Tuesday from a resident about a phone scam involving someone claiming they were sending a supplementary Medicaid card, the police chief said this morning. An individual with an accent asked the woman a few questions, such as where did she do her banking and then claimed they needed to verify her account number, Chief Dan Mortensen said. She refused to give her number and called police instead, he said.


• A Chehalis truck driver was reportedly uninjured when his Freightliner was hit by a Honda Civic last night on Interstate 5 in Woodland. The 33-year-old Vancouver woman driving the Honda subsequently died, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers were called about 7:45 p.m. to the southbound lanes noted the driver of the car lost control for unknown reasons and struck the rear corner of another car and then the big rig. Both cars were totaled and the Freightliner driven by James M. Foulke, 36, sustained an estimated $2,000 damage, according to the state patrol. Melissa M. Kelso, 33, of Vancouver, was taken to  at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center where she died, according to the state patrol.


• The 16-year-old Toledo boy charged in adult court for allegedly striking his father in the head with a baseball bat pleaded not guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court. The teenager is represented by court-appointed attorney Chris Baum, who asked the judge today to reduce bail to an unsecured bond, noting the boy has two grown brothers who could take him in, one who works at the Cowlitz County Jail and another who works at Green Hill School for boys. Judge Richard Brosey said no. Bail remains at $75,000. The Toledo High School student is charged with first-degree assault, a class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison but a standard sentencing range of somewhere around 93 to 113 months, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke.  A trial date will be selected next week.

Read about Rochester educator dies hiking near Mount Rainier …

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports an educational assistant from Grand Mound Elementary School died on Tuesday while hiking near Mount Rainier.

News reporter Lisa Pemerton writes that Jenny Craig may have had a heart-related incident.

Read more here

Suspect in 1985 slayings booked into Lewis County Jail

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ricky Allen Riffe is back in Lewis County.

Riffe, 53, was arrested at his home in Alaska on July 8 for the 1985 slayings of Edward and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Maurin of Ethel.


Rick Riffe

He has been brought back to face charges of two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary.

Riffe was booked into the Lewis County Jail abut 9:45 p.m. tonight, according to the jail roster.

He will go before a judge at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Prosecutors believe Riffe and his now-deceased brother John Gregory Riffe got into the couple’s home, uncovered bank records and forced the couple to go with them to the bank and withdraw $8,500 before shooting them in the backs with a shotgun inside their car, according to charging documents.

The Maurin’s bodies were found days later on Christmas Eve 1985 off a logging road west of Adna.

Ed Maurin was 81 years old, his wife 83.

See video from of Riffe’s arrival at the jail, here

For back ground, read:

• “Breaking news: Sheriff: Cold case solved in 1985 shooting death of elderly Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Sheriff: It’s safe for further witnesses to come forward following arrest in deaths of Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 5:14 p.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Updated 1:37 p.m.


• A pair of inmates at Green Hill School for boys are in trouble after they reportedly crawled out a window of an education building there yesterday. The instructor told them to stop, but they continued and were stopped by security outside the building, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The 16-year-old boys had homemade ropes fashioned from laundry bags and pillow cases tied around their waists and were dressed in multiple layers of clothing, police Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. The extra clothes could have been for wherever they thought they were going, or maybe as an attempt at protection for climbing over the razor wire fence, according to Carrell. “It doesn’t sound like they got very far,” Carrell said. The case will be referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of attempted escape, according to police.


• Centralia police responded to a bicycle versus vehicle accident about 4:25 p.m. yesterday at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. In this case, a bicyclist ran into a vehicle which was stopped for traffic and then the individual got back on their bike and fled, according to the Centralia Police Department. A 51-year-old woman said she was traveling eastbound and had to stop for traffic when a male on a westbound bicycle tried to cut between her Volvo and the vehicle in front of her, according to police. “He crashes and falls onto the hood of her car, she rolls down her window and asks if he’s alright,” Sgt. Carl Buster said. The male who could have been in his early 20s, wearing a white tank top and a dark hat, got up and drove off without giving his name, Buster said.


• Police and aid were called about 4:10 p.m. yesterday to an accident involving a vehicle and an 18-year-old man on a bicycle at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The injury to the bicyclist was minor and he was able to ride on his way, according to Riverside Fire Authority.


• A deputy was called early yesterday morning to a burglary at a business on the 100 block of Barnes Drive near Toledo. Sometime between 5 p.m. on Monday and 5:30 a.m. yesterday, somebody forced their way inside and left with a radiator, two alternator cores and miscellaneous wire,  according to the Lewis County Sherif’s Office.


• Someone stole a hedge trimmer, a leaf blower and a two-gallon gas can from a garage on the 500 block of Northeast Adams Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 3 p.m. yesterday.


• Centralia police were called about 10:10 a.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Gold Street about stolen medications. Missing were Oxycodone, Opana and Xanax, according to police.


• Sometime between 4 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. yesterday, someone broke into a vehicle parked at the 100 block of Highway 603 west of Chehalis and stole a wallet, clothing and makeup. This is near the trail head for the Rails to Trails trail, a place the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office cautions is a magnet area for car prowlers.


• Centralia police took two reports of graffiti to fences yesterday, one at the 1300 block of Delaware Avenue and another at Rainier Avenue and J Street.


• Morton police reported on Monday someone brought them a found wallet on July 10. It can be identified and claimed at the police department.

Toledo teen charged in adult court for allegedly taking bat to father’s head

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter converses with his 16-year-old client in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Toledo High School student arrested for allegedly assaulting his father early Thursday morning had come into the room where his parents were arguing about the father’s extramarital affairs when he hit his father in the head with a baseball bat, according to lawyers and charging documents in the case.

The 55-year-old father was described in critical condition when he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He has been upgraded to satisfactory condition.

Th 16-year-old was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree assault, domestic violence; a crime with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

He appeared before Judge Richard Brosey.

Lawyers said although he’s a juvenile, because he’s charged with a serious violent offense and is at least 16, he is automatically subject to adult jurisdiction.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge the teenager observed his parents arguing, came up behind his father and struck him with the bat.

Temporary defense attorney Bob Schroeter argued for low bail, noting the boy is a good student and the father is recovering quickly.

“I think you’ll see the argument caused (him) to act out,” Schroeter told the judge. “Though I’m not going to get into the facts of the case.”

Schroeter said the father is about to be released from Harborview and transferred to a Longview hospital and has conversed with family members.

“He’s doing phenomenal,” Schroeter said.

The lawyer proposed the teen has two adult brothers – one in Chehalis and one in Kelso – willing to take him in, since there will be a no-contact order in place between the boy and his dad.

Judge Brosey disregarded Schroeter’s request and set bail at $75,000.

“The mere fact that he was struck in the back of his head, that’s the kind of injury that easily could have been fatal,” Brosey said.

Charging documents describe the police call to the home on Oak Street where Leslie Bagley was laying in the middle of the living room floor with a large pool of blood.

Police stated the mother Tena Bagley had been drinking and appeared intoxicated.

“Tena Bagley, Leslie’s wife, reported she and Leslie were talking about Leslie’s extramarital affairs when (their son) came into the room and hit his father in the head with a metal baseball bat,” charging documents state.

Afterwards, he apparently took a beer and left the residence, charging documents state.

The teenager was arrested later in the morning, when police returned to the home and found him hiding under a bed, according to charging documents.

He was taken to the  Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center but has been transferred to the Lewis County Jail.

Chehalis attorney Chris Baum is appointed to represent him.

The arraignment is set for Thursday morning.

News brief: Log truck tips over at I-5, state Route 508 interchange

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Workers check out log truck at exit 71. / Courtey photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A log truck driver was apparently uninjured when the loaded truck tipped over at a ramp to Interstate 5 south of Chehalis this afternoon.

Lewis County Fire District 5 called about 3:50 p.m. to the exit 71 interchange found the logs spilled but not blocking the roadway, according to Fire Lt. Laura Hanson.

The driver did not need to be transported to the hospital, Hanson said.

The Washington State Patrol was investigating why it occurred, she said.

The truck was up-righted and appeared to possibly be fixable, according to Hanson.