Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Reducing roadway fatalities

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm
2013.1127.designated.driver.giftcard.jpg

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission offers downloadable, printable designated driver gift cards for the holidays.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Looking for an inexpensive but possibly priceless present to give this year?

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has designated driver gift cards available, to give to someone you’d rather not see among the 49 (average) collision fatalities between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in Washington.

Driving under the influence is still the leading cause of death on the roadways and the cards are part of a campaign to reach zero traffic deaths and serious injuries from wrecks by the year 2030, according to the WSTC.

Just go to the WTSC website to print, then clip, fold and fill out the card offering your services as the sober driver on a given night. It’s the gift of a ride home that tells a loved one you’d rather they celebrate the season in style, not in jail or dead.

The Olympia-based organization coordinates traffic safety efforts in various ways, including assisting the Lewis County DUI Traffic Safety Task Force which organizes and supports putting extra law enforcement officers on patrol beginning today in search of intoxicated motorists.

Through Jan. 1, expect to see participants locally such as police departments in Centralia, Chehalis, Morton, Toledo, Winlock and  the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The WSTC offers the following advice so members of the public can help as well.

• Call 911 if you see a suspected intoxicated driver on the roads.

• If you drink, smoke marijuana or take other drugs, don’t drive.

• If hosting a party, make a plan with sober designated drivers to get your guests home safely or arrange for them to stay put.

Talk with your children and make sure they know to call you instead of ever getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

• For anonymous, confidential assistance by phone, the Washington Recovery Help Line number is 1-866-789-1511.

• For further resources and ideas on keeping family and friends safe during the coming holidays, check the Target Zero website.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

DOMESTIC INCIDENT

• Officers called about 8:30 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia found a male whose had was cut from trying to take a knife from his girlfriend and arrested both for violating anti-harassment orders which were in place against each other, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say Donald K. Gould, 56, was also booked for misdemeanor assault because he got angry and struck her in the head. Toni J. Lovato, 48, was cited and released, according to police.

INJURY ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to Green Hill School regarding an assault that sent  a 16-year-old student-inmate to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The suspect is a 20-year-old resident at the state juvenile incarceration facility on Southwest 11th Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case is still under investigation, according to police.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

• A 20-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for second-degree rape yesterday following an ongoing investigation by the Centralia Police Department. Christopher T. Morrison was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

AUTO PART CUT FROM VEHICLE

• Centralia police were contacted yesterday by an individual who said the catalytic converter was stolen from their vehicle while at church Sunday on the 1100 block of West First Street.

IDENTITY THEFT

• An unknown person reportedly used the name and social security number belonging to a 15-year-old to obtain work in Puyallup, according to a report made to police from the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia yesterday.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for alarms, collisions, shopping cart in Wal-Mart parking lot striking a vehicle, chicken running loose near a parking lot, barking dogs … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Read about Toledo child neglect case leads to suit against DSHS …

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 7:14 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Kirotv.com reports a lawsuit has been filed against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of two Lewis County girls claiming the agency failed to stop years of abuse and neglect by their mother despite repeated warnings.

News reporter Kevin McCarty writes DSHS received two dozen reports over a period of six or seven years but allowed the children to stay with their mother Theresa Hutton at the rural property where she took in dozens of dogs, cats and horses.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2007 after a highly contagious disease prompted authorities to euthanize more than 40 dogs, and the eldest child at age 12 was found so malnourished she weighed only 60 pounds that the girls were removed from the Toledo area home to an aunt and uncle’s care.

The mother was convicted in 2009 of second-degree criminal mistreatment and sentenced to four years in prison.

Read about it here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

MAN SHOOTING UP HOUSE DRAWS POLICE

• Deputies were called about 3:40 p.m. yesterday to a residence on the 400 block of Blanchard Road outside Centralia where a 47-year-old resident had allegedly fired several shots inside the home including at a television and a mirror as well as allegedly struck his fiancee in the face leaving bruises. Darrin Corson was taken into custody and booked into the Lewis County Jail for reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said he didn’t know what Corson was upset about but that he had been drinking.

ALLEGED BREAK-IN PLAN THWARTED BY SWAT TEAM

• A 21-year-old soldier and his wife from Lacey were intercepted by a SWAT team as they exited Interstate 5 suspected to be on their way to an planned burglary of a home in rural Chehalis Friday afternoon. According to authorities, the individual asked to be their getaway driver was a confidential informant working with a detective at the Centralia Police Department, who told the detective of the plan earlier this month. Their target was a house on the 200 block of Hewitt Road east of town, believed to have cash and other valuables and owned by a former employer of the wife, according to charging documents. Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Snaza said it was about 4 p.m. when law enforcement stopped their car at the intersection of Maurin and Rush roads. Jason R. Stephens, 21, Catherine E. Stephens, 21, Lacey, were booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged yesterday with attempted residential burglary. Their car was to be subjected to a search, Snaza said this morning, presumably to look for the gloves they said they brought to avoid leaving finger prints and the 9 mm handgun they may have brought along. They each were allowed to be released from jail on $5,000 unsecured bonds.

OTHER THEFT

• Someone stole an $8,000 40 hp Briggs and Stratton motor from a fertilizer trailer off the end of Coleman Road outside Toledo, according to a report made yesterday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It disappeared from the piece of farm equipment sometime in the previous two weeks, the sheriff’s office was told.

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard about an iPad and a debit card theft. Someone attempted to use the card minutes after stealing it but were unsuccessful, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A deputy took a report yesterday of more than $5,000 worth of items such as light fixtures, carpets and window trim removed from a bank-owned vacant home on the 1200 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Ethel. It occurred sometime since November of last year, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A couple in their early 40s were arrested for misdemeanor theft yesterday evening at the 200 block of North Railroad Avenue in Centralia after they allegedly jumped onto an Amtrak train without paying for tickets. Raul Marques, 42, from Alaska, and Kristi M. Servanty, 42, from Seattle, were booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 7:15 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 21-year-old individual overnight for having hallucinogenic mushrooms. Kessler E. Mooney-Gregonis, from California, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after officers were called about 2 a.m. to a motel on 700 block of Harrison Avenue to remove some individuals, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, responses for suspicious circumstances, fraudulent charges on a bank card, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, someone throwing a rock at a vehicle following an argument … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Residence heavily damaged by fire south of Tumwater

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 11:49 am
2013.1126.tumwatertrailer_093025.rezized.jpg

Firefighters battle a blaze at a single-wide mobile home

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

West Thurston Regional firefighters called about 9 a.m. today to a burning home north of Littlerock found flames rolling out the front door and most of the windows but the three occupants safely outside.

Damage to the single-wide mobile home on the 7700 block of Prine Drive off Littlerock Road was extensive, according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

Twenty members of four departments responded, including the Tumwater Fire Department as it was just south of their jurisdiction, Scott said.

Crews remain at the scene this morning investigating the cause, he said.

The residents were referred to the Red Cross for assistance, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Scott said he was waiting to hear if two cats there turned up.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, November 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

Updated at 7:03 p.m.

TV TAKEN FROM CENTRALIA BUSINESS

• An officer was called about noon yesterday to a business on the 1400 block of Gold Street in Centralia where someone had pried open the back door and stolen a flat screen television. The investigation is ongoing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BREAK-IN IN ADNA

• A deputy was called to a burglary at the 300 block of Penning Road on Friday evening in which someone stole more than $8,000 worth of jewelry from a home. The 63-year-old resident said it happened sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the missing items are gold and pearl rings, watches and bracelets, according to the sheriff’s office.

THEFT AT CHEHALIS HOME

• Chehalis police were called on Saturday morning about a $1,300 custom-made acoustic guitar stolen from a home on Southwest William Avenue. An officer was given a suspect’s name, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

STOLEN CHECK ARREST

• A 37-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested on Saturday for forgery and second-degree theft in connection with checks taken from the 100 block of Bear Cat Court outside Chehalis and written for more than $6,000 between July and October, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. April L. Busby was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

CREDIT CARD THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a wallet stolen sometime during the day and a missing credit card which was subsequently used in connection with the 1300 block of Lum Road.

FOOTWEAR LIFTED

• Centralia police were called about 5 p.m. on Friday to the 100 block of West High Street where they were told five subjects stole shoes from a business and jumped into a car that fled north on Interstate 5. Police got a license plate for the silver Dodge Charger and are following up, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BAD BILL

• Centralia police were called just after 7 p.m. yesterday about a counterfeit $100 bill being passed at a business on the 100 block of High Street.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone stole a backpack from a vehicle at Ellsbury and Mellen streets in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Saturday morning.

DRUGS
• A 28-year-old Centralia man was arrested for a warrant and possession of cocaine after contact with a police officer about 11 p.m. on Saturday at the 400 block of East Main Street in Centralia. Raul Gonzalez-Gomez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called just before 9 a.m. yesterday to the 600 block of West Pear Street in Centralia where someone had broken out the window of a home. It didn’t appear anyone went inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 15-year-old boy was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief after newly painted gang-type graffiti was discovered on Friday morning on a wall near the bus stop and public restroom at the 500 block of North Market Boulevard in Chehalis. The subject was contacted at the bus stop and found to have paint cans in a backpack, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was cited and released and the case forwarded to prosecutors for further action, according to police.

FIRE WINLOCK

• Nobody was hurt and the damage was minor when a chimney fire ignited south of Winlock on Saturday morning. Firefighters called about 7:30 a.m. to the 100 block of Wepsala Road extinguished the fire in the unattached shop building, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said it appeared to have been caused by a failure in the chimney.

FIRE MORTON

• The cause of a Morton house fire that killed several pets last week remains unknown, according to Fire Investigator Jay Birley. Birley said the resident of the single-story home on the 600 block of Division Street left for work about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday and around noontime, a passerby reported smoke coming from the eaves. The blaze began in the living room and left smoke damage throughout the house, but it was as though it may have smoldered awhile before it took off, Birley said. The woman and her two daughters had just moved in to the remodeled residence about two weeks earlier, he said. Five cats and dogs lost their lives, according to Birley.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A 28-year-old Glenoma man was arrested over the weekend for an incident at a Morton tavern two weeks earlier in which he allegedly lifted another patron into the air upside down and slammed him head first onto the wooden floor. “He literally piles drives him head first into the floor,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge today recounting what he said he watched on the Bucksnort Pub’s security video. William K. Bloomstrom was arrested at his home on Friday for the Nov. 9 occurrence. He is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with second-degree assault of Donovan Griffin. Morton police said at the time the 23-year-old victim, also from Glenoma, sustained a concussion and was treated at Morton General Hospital. When police met up with Bloomstrom to arrest him, he told them he’d already spoken to the victim who didn’t want to press charges and also that he had offered to pay the medical bills. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail but made bail of $25,000 before his appearance before a judge today.

COLLISIONS

• A 22-year-old Winlock man was injured when a car driven by a 20-year-old Napavine woman skidded on a slick road and wrecked yesterday morning on state Route 6 near Curtis Hill Road. Troopers called about 8:15 a.m. found the Chevrolet Cavalier had hit the ditch and came to rest blocking the westbound lane, according to the Washington State Patrol. James L. Nelson was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and Brittany D. Compton was cited for speeds too fast for conditions, according to the state patrol. A 3-year-old child who was restrained was uninjured, according to the investigating trooper. The car was towed.

• A 30-year-old Chehalis woman was reportedly uninjured when she lost control of her vehicle about 9 a.m. yesterday on the 300 block of Bunker Creek Road in Adna. The 2004 Isuzu Rodeo was southbound when it hit some ice, then the ditch and rolled onto its top, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving with suspended license, domestic misdemeanor assault, violation of protection order, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, collisons; complaints of male urinating on the side of a building at bar closing time, noisy neighbors … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Maurin murder trial: Final judgement to be handed down early next month

Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sentencing for the man convicted in the 1985 abduction, robbery and murders of Ethel residents Ed and Minnie Maurin has been scheduled for the week after next.

Ricky A. Riffe, 55, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A jury in Lewis County Superior Court found him guilty as charged early this week.

2013.1118.ricky.rife.closeup

Ricky A. Riffe

The resident of King Salmon, Alaska has been held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail since his arrest in July of last year.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said yesterday he is in the process of looking at the details of the laws from 1985 to calculate the standard sentencing range for Riffe’s case. However, since the jury found there were so-called aggravating factors –  vulnerable victims, deliberate cruelty and egregious lack of remorse – the judge will be free to give Riffe more than the top of the standard range.

Meyer said he already knows what he will recommend.

Ed, 81, and Minnie, 83, Maurin were found dead of shotgun wounds on a logging road near Adna on Christmas Eve morning in 1985, five days after they withdrew $8,500 in cash from their Chehalis bank and vanished.

Riffe and his brother John Gregory Riffe became suspects in the early 1990s. The younger brother died last year before he could be charged.

Riffe was convicted on Monday as the principal or an accomplice with one count of burglary, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree murder.

The former Mossyrock man still faces charges filed earlier this year alleging that in the mid-1980s, he raped and molested his then-9-year-old step-daughter. The allegations were first investigated in 1986 but no charges were filed until this past February.

Meyer has said new information came up during the Maurin investigation.

Riffe’s attorney called it a ploy to smear his client as he faced murder charges. The attorneys disagree as to whether the statute of limitations has passed.

That trial is scheduled for the week of Feb. 18.

Riffe’s sentencing for the Maurin case is set for 1 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Lewis County Superior Court.
•••

For background, read “”Attorneys dispute statute of limitations rules on surprise child sex charge for Maurin double murder defendant” Saturday February 23, 2013, here

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Lewis County coroner at dead end locating family of deceased veteran

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities are turning to the public for help to find the relatives of a Centralia man who died last month

Robert Aita, 63, passed away at Providence Centralia Hospital on Oct. 3 of natural causes, according to Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod.

Among his office’s responsibilities is notifying next-of-kin but so far, they have found none, according to McLeod.

“Everyone we have spoken to during our follow-up investigations who knew the decedent stated he never spoke of any family,” McLeod said in a news release.

The coroner indicates he’d rather not have someone read about the death of a loved one in the news media, but after conducting various unsuccessful searches, felt it was prudent.

Aita lived in Centralia with his girlfriend who also recently passed away, and a law enforcement database search turned up only his deceased wife Cynthia Aita, according to McLeod.

Some possibilities arose by looking at Facebook, including a Robert Aita Jr. but so far subjects contacted in Pennsylvania and Florida said he wasn’t their relation, according to the coroner.

Aita is a U.S. Army veteran, and if no family is located to claim his remains, he would be covered for burial under the Operation At Ease program established by the coroner’s office in 2011.

McLeod says they are developing information Aita may have come from Chicago and  was the son of a pediatrician. He’s learned the father and son founded a youth camp in East Troy, Wisconsin and is pursuing that lead.

McLeod asks anyone who may have known him who has any information regarding possible relatives of Aita to contact his office at 360-740-1376.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

THEFT OF FIREARM

• A Ruger semiautomatic 22 pistol was reported stolen yesterday, from a vehicle left for detailing at a business on the 2500 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis. The gun disappeared sometime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. one day late last month but the victim did not report it sooner because it occurred at his workplace, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 36-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of heroin after contact with an officer about noon yesterday at the 1000 block of Yakima Street in Centralia. Sebastian J. Haller was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Someone threw oil on a vehicle and slashed its tires at the 500 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• An officer took a report of graffiti painted on the window of a business yesterday morning at the 500 block of West Main Street in Centralia.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, hit and run, dispute … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Huge transformer catches fire at Chehalis Power Plant, again

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

Updated at 10:33 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fire broke out this morning at the power plant in the Chehalis Industrial Park, drawing numerous 911 calls from passersby on Interstate 5 and four fire departments.

A transformer exploded, sending flames some 150 feet into the sky, according to according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

Burning at the natural gas-fueled facility on the 1800 block of Bishop Road was one of three 25-foot tall transformers, according to Firefighter-Paramedic Steven Busz.

Nobody was injured.

The sprinkler system contained the blaze even before the one employee on scene shut the power off, Busz said.

It is a very large sprinkler system installed after the last fire there, he said.

The plant was built in 2003 and has been owned and operated since 2008 by the Portland-based PacifiCorp.

A company spokesperson said investigators are looking into it, but it sounds similar to a situation in early 2011 in which a transformer malfunction caused a fire as well.

“The system notifications and alerts worked as they were supposed to,” PacifiCorp spokesperson Tom Gauntt said.

Busz said the metal transformers are filled with a type of mineral oil which conducts the electricity. He wasn’t sure how extensive the damage was to the equipment.

About a dozen firefighters answered the 5:30 a.m. call from Chehalis, Centralia and Napavine, he said.

District 6 was on the scene until about 8 a.m. ensuring the sprinkler system had cooled the transformer to make sure it was out.

The new sprinkler system is so large, crews didn’t put any of their own water on the fire, according to Budsz.

After the January 2011 fire, partial generation was restored at the plant within days and normal operations resumed within less than a month, according to PacifiCorp.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Medics holding out boots for donations

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:00 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Local paramedics will hold a fill the boot event this weekend in Winlock and Napavine to raise money to help send kids with muscular dystrophy to camp.

Lewis County Medic One Paramedic Delaney Hornby says folks will find them on Saturday at the IGA store in Winlock from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

During the same hours on Sunday, they can be found at the Love’s truck stop off Interstate 5 exit 72.

The fundraiser is being conducted by Lewis County Professional Paramedics IAFF Local 4863. Hornby is president of the group.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Review of 90-plus-year sentence for juvenile drive-by shooter postponed

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm
2013.1121.guadalupesolisdiaz5940

Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. looks to see who is sitting in the courtroom benches this afternoon.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr., now 23, will have to wait two extra months to find out if his nearly 93-year sentence might get reduced.

The former Centralia High School student was given the lengthy term for a drive-by shooting in downtown Centralia days before his 17th birthday, an incident in which several bar patrons on a sidewalk escaped injury.

Last year, the state Court of Appeals last year tossed out his  virtual life sentence referencing various matters that should have been handled more thoroughly, given that he was a juvenile.

The expected half-day hearing was set for mid-December, but Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt will be out for several weeks.

This afternoon, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sarah Beigh and defense attorney Robert Quillian told the judge they could conduct the proceedings on Feb. 21.

Solis-Diaz made a brief appearance in court, shackled and chained at the ankles. His mother and other family members were among those in the courtroom, clad in matching black T-shirts featuring the young man’s face, his name and the words, “Needs a second chance in life.”

Solis-Diaz was convicted in 2007 of numerous offenses, including multiple counts of first-degree assault while armed with a firearm the terms for which state law mandated must be served consecutively.

Quillian said he’s still waiting to hear back from the judge about his request for funds for an expert to evaluate his client’s emotional and mental maturity, something Quillian said he understood the appeal decision called for.

The decision came from a personal restraint petition filed by Kimberly D. Ambrose of the University of Washington School of Law Race and Justice Clinic in 2011. A number of other attorneys filed briefs as well on Solis-Diaz’s behalf.

The challenge was made in light of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held a sentence of life without parole is forbidden for a juvenile who did not commit homicide, however the appeals judges focused on the deficient performance of the court-appointed attorney.

A U.W. law school student of Ambrose’s among those assisting Quillian traveled to the courthouse as well today and met with the family, but declined comment.
•••

For background, read: “Lewis County judge takes issue with forced do-over of drive-by shooter sentencing” from Wednesday September 11, 2013, here

2013.1121.momsolisdiaz5948

Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr.’s family wear their support of him on T-shirts.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

BASEBALL BAT THREAT

• A 56-year-old Centralia man was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday after he allegedly swung a metal baseball bat at an 18-year-old woman during a dispute. Officers called just after 11 a.m. to the home on the 1000 block of E Street booked Jay B. Woods into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. The woman was not injured, according to police. Woods is to be released without charges pending further investigation.

RECOVERED STOLEN CAR

• Police arrested a 27-year-old Rochester man yesterday afternoon after spotting a vehicle stolen from Thurston County parked on the 800 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. Two people were detained at about 4 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department. Booked into the Lewis County jail for possession of stolen property was Johnathan L.B. Pennypacker, 22, according to police. Kathryn R. Dailey, 28, of Centralia, was booked for outstanding warrants, police reported.

STOLEN CAR

• Centralia police we called yesterday to the 1200 block of G Street to take a report of a stolen vehicle. The victim told police she had loaned her silver and purple 2005 Scion XB to an individual awhile back who wouldn’t return it and subsequently told her he’d sold it for drugs and money, according to the Centralia Police Department.

GUNS STOLEN

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning someone burglarized a residence outside Chehalis sometime between Friday and Monday stealing three firearms. A deputy responded to a report made on Tuesday from the 200 block of Lake Creek Road and learned that missing were a shotgun, a rifle and a revolver, according to the sheriff’s office.

WELDER MISSING

• Chehalis police were called just before 11 a.m. yesterday to a business on the 600 block of West Main Street about a missing welder. The Lincoln brand items is valued at approximately $750, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PURSE MISSING

• A woman called Centralia police yesterday to report she’d accidentally left her purse in a shopping cart after loading groceries into her car at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue and didn’t realize it until she got home. When she returned, it had not been turned in to the lost and found, according to the Centralia Police Department.

PURSE STOLEN

• Police were called about 6:30 p.m. yesterday to the 1300 block of Lum Road in Centralia where they were told a male wearing a yellow and black hooded sweatshirt stole a handbag and fled on foot.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday about someone getting into an unlocked vehicle overnight at the 400 block of Southeast Washington Avenue. Missing is a traffic vest and identification, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstruction; responses for alarm, domestic dispute, misdemeanor theft, receipt of counterfeit money, suspicious circumstances, parking lot and other collisions, concern about a family member off their mental illness meds … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Updated at 1:03 p.m.

POLICE: SUSPECT STEALS CASH OFF EX-GIRLFRIEND

• Centralia police say a known suspect in his 30s forced his ex-girlfriend to drive him from Chehalis to Centralia last night, snatched a small amount of money from her at the 1400 block of Lum Road and made her drive to another location to get more money. When the woman, who is in her early 40s, was at the second place, she got away from him and had a friend call police, according to the Centralia Police Department. It happened around midnight and officers were still looking for the suspect this morning, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. She was unhurt, except for some scratches from when the money was grabbed from out of her clothing, according to Reichert. The two are from the Centralia, Chehalis areas, he said.

TWO FIREARMS STOLEN FROM HOME

• A deputy was called about 9 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Carroll Way outside Chehalis about residential burglary in which a 9 mm Taurus handgun and 22 caliber Rohm revolver were among the items stolen. The 49-year-old victim said it occurred sometime between 3 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also taken was an alternator from a vehicle and an AM/FM cassette stereo, according to the sheriff’s office.

CENTRALIA RESIDENT BLAMED FOR FAKE BILLS

• Centralia police called about 9 a.m. yesterday about an individual attempting to spend counterfeit money at a business on the 1400 block of Johnson Road are trying to track down the 23-year-old man who reportedly previously passed the fake bills to the individual, to purchase a jacket. When officers contacted their suspect a short time later, he was wearing the jacket but dropped it and fled, according to the Centralia Police Department. Jacob D. Holmgren, of Centralia, is being sought for forgery – allegedly knowingly passing counterfeit money – and resisting arrest, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR MORTON THEFT

• A 55-year-old woman was arrested last night in Randle in connection with the theft reported on Friday of more than $800 worth of gold and silver jewelry from the 100 block of Chapman Road near Morton. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said the 53-year-old victim said it occurred sometime since Oct. 11. Deborah L. West, who was contacted around 8 p.m. yesterday at the 100 block of Kelly Lane in Randle, was arrested for second-degree theft and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. West is from East Lewis County but currently homeless, according to Sgt. Rob Snaza. She was released without charges pending further investigation.

HIT AND RUN

• Chehalis police were called to the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue yesterday about an apparent hit and run which had occurred sometime in the previous week. There was damage to the northeast corner of a garage, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• An officer who happened upon what appeared to be sexual activity inside a vehicle at Fort Borst Park in Centralia yesterday afternoon contacted a pair of teenagers, smelled marijuana and ended up arresting 18-year-old Jody L. Hyde of Centralia for unlawful possession of marijuana. He and his female companion were then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Southwest 16th Avenue about a possible marijuana violation. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The 51-year-old Toledo man who led multiple law enforcement agencies on a freeway-speeds pursuit down into Cowlitz County and then back north on Interstate 5 on Sunday night managing to avoid spike strips set out in at least two locations, had gotten into a fight with his wife and made a comment about “suicide by cop” before leaving Toledo, according to court documents. The prolonged incident ended near Centralia after spike strips disabled his van, according to charging papers. Authorities say Jamey D. Brown refused to get out and when officers saw what looked to be a gas can and lighter, they broke a window and used non-lethal force to make him cooperate. Centralia police said they shot him with a bean bag gun. Brown was charged with malicious mischief, for allegedly kicking in a door at the residence; with fourth-degree assault for allegedly pouring dish soap on his wife’s head and telling her she should clean up; and with attempting to elude, according to court documents. When asked why he did not stop, he said he “just lost it.” Bail was set at $25,000 when he was charged on Monday in Lewis County Superior Court. His arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; responses for alarm, collisions with parked vehicles, report of possible child molestation … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Arson suspect: Voices, hallucinations lead to kerosene and a torch at Ethel store

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 58-year-old man who allegedly admitted he tried to burn down his brother’s business in Ethel over the weekend is scheduled for an arraignment tomorrow in Lewis County Superior Court.

Mark S. Breitenbach, of Castle Rock, told law enforcement officers when he was contacted at the Ethel Store he was trying to destroy the place as voices were telling him they were going to kill him and his brother had put a “hit” on him, according to the allegations in court documents.

Breitenbach remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $100,000 bail.

According to court documents, officers arriving about 3:20 a.m. on Saturday to the  1400 block of U.S. Highway 12 found the glass to the front door busted out and puddles of Coleman stove fuel and a newspaper “torch” inside the building. A deputy observed two black burn marks on the floor inside the front door, according to documents.

A trooper had already arrived because of a vehicle found in the ditch on the south side of the highway, and Breitenbach had come out from his hiding place near a port-potty to give himself up, according to the documents.

Breitenbach reportedly told the deputy he initially tried to enter by ramming his car through the doors but when he tried to get a running start, he lost control and put it in the ditch. After lighting the torch and tossing it inside, he ran eastbound, but fell into a water-filled ditch and was waiting on the roadside for a semi truck to pass so he could run in front of it and be killed, he told the deputy.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Schlecht noted that as he spoke with Breitenbach, he seemed worried about passing cars, saying they were the hit man who was going to shoot him in the head, according to court documents.

Breitenbach has a 1987 conviction out of Los Angeles for assault with a firearm, according to charging papers.

He was appointed a lawyer on Monday afternoon when he was charged with second-degree arson and second-degree burglary.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

SHOP WITH A COP COMING

• Employees of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office are looking for donations and for kids for its annual Shop with a Cop event. The program is an opportunity for underprivileged children who would benefit from positive interaction with police officers to go Christmas shopping for gifts for themselves and their family. The deadline of today to submit an application on behalf of a child to take part has been extended to Nov. 27. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown says the program is aimed towards children who live in unincorporated areas of Lewis County, as the police departments in Centralia and Chehalis conduct events for their residents. Brown says also their program is funded by employees and they are appreciative of any and all donations and financial assistance. Checks, cash or money orders can be sent to: Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Attn: Chief Stacy Brown, 345 W. Main St, Chehalis, WA 98532.

DRESS DUMMY UNCLOTHED

• Centralia police were called yesterday to the 1200 block of Lum Road where an unknown suspect had stolen a pair of jeans off a mannequin that had been left outside overnight near the Centralia Outlets.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police were called to the 200 block of South Pearl Street about 10:15 a.m. yesterday regarding the theft of unspecified items from a locked display case. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• An officer took a report yesterday of a window broken out of a vehicle overnight at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for stolen bicycle, other misdemeanor theft, possible suicide threat; complaint of loud music … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Breaking news: Jury finds Ricky Riffe guilty in Maurin homicides

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm
2013.1118.rickyriffeguilty.jpg

Ricky A. Riffe, right, stands before Judge Richard Brosey as he is pronounced guilty in the 1985 deaths of Ed and Minnie Maurin today.

Updated at 6:34 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ricky A. Riffe has been found guilty in the slayings of Ed and Minnie Maurin, the elderly Ethel couple whose bodies were found off a logging road near Adna on Christmas Eve day in 1985, shotgun wounds through their backs.

The jury took about a day and a half of deliberating to reach its decision.

Denise Snell was among the many family members and friends of the couple who gathered in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis this afternoon to hear the verdicts. The trial lasted six weeks, the investigation nearly three decades.

2012.0709.edminniemaurin.small_2

Ed and Minnie Maurin

The Onalaska woman said now that it’s over, her grandparents can be remembered like the wonderful, loving people that they were and not just as homicide victims.

“I want them remembered like that, like it should be,” Snell said.

Two of Minnie’s children, now in their 80s, were in the front bench in the courtroom as they have been throughout the proceedings.

Hazel Oberg said simply, “I’m relieved.”

Denny Hadaller’s emotions kept him from finding exactly the right words, he said.

“I’m elated, and I’m sorry for his family,” Hadaller said. “I knew he was guilty, I knew it in 1992. We just couldn’t prove it.”

Riffe, now 55, was arrested last year in at his home in King Salmon, Alaska and returned to Lewis County. The sheriff’s office has said he and his younger brother were suspects as early as the 1990s, but previous prosecutors wouldn’t file charges.

Hadaller hired private investigators 10 years ago who reviewed the apparent abduction of the couple from their home. New witnesses came forward, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Dec. 19, 1985, Ed Maurin withdrew $8,500 in $100 bills from Sterling Savings Bank in Chehalis and the couple’s blood stained car was found abandoned the following morning at Yard Birds Shopping Center. It wasn’t until five days later they were located.

Investigators found they were shot from behind while sitting in their car on Stearns Hill Road, their bodies dumped.

2013.1118.ricky.rife.closeup

Ricky A. Riffe

A jury of eight women and four men began their deliberations late on Thursday and at lunchtime today indicated they were nearly finished with their duty, sending a message to the judge that they’d made a mistake on two of the forms and needed new ones.

An hour later, about 60 people crowded into the spectator side of the courtroom. Judge Richard Brosey began reading the verdicts at 2:10 p.m.

Riffe was found guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder, although the jury had the option of second-degree given to them in their instructions.

They found him guilty also of two counts each of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree burglary as well.

The jury answered yes on the special verdict forms, that they found the crimes involved particularly vulnerable victims, deliberate cruelty and the defendant showed an egregious lack of remorse.

Ed Maurin was 81, his wife Minnie was 83 years old.

“They answered everything we wanted to be answered,” Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

Meyer gave credit to the hard work of detective Bruce Kimsey and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead.

“And to the family, for never giving up,” Meyer said.

Riffe’s partner of 24 years, Sherry Tibbetts, and her son and another relation left the courtroom once he was taken away. It didn’t appear he even looked their direction before leaving.

Local attorney Sam Groberg stood in for Riffe’s lawyer, John Crowley, who had to be in another court today.

Riffe was charged as as the principal player or as an accomplice, and only the jury knows exactly what it believed occurred.

One witness testified he saw both brothers inside the Maurin’s vehicle the morning of Dec. 19, heading away from their home. Other witnesses who saw the car that day at key places saw one person in the backseat.

Numerous witnesses picked out both brothers from montages, brothers who some witnesses said did everything together. John Gregory Riffe died last year at age 50 before he could be charged.

Crowley this evening said he’s not a sore loser but it wasn’t a fair prosecution, and the things he saw were appalling.

“I’ve never seen a case where as a rule, witnesses changed from what they told police initially to when they testified,” Crowley said. “And the prosecutors did it with a straight face.”

It’s not over, according to Crowley.

“We’re not giving up, we’re going to investigate and Rick’s gonna get justice,” he said.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

•••

For background, read “Maurin murder trial: What will the jury decide?” from Saturday November 16, 2013, here

2013.1118.hadaller.oberghugs

Hazel Oberg and Denny Hadaller embrace, surrounded by family after the verdict comes in guilty in the 1985 deaths of their mother and step father.

2013.1118.tibbetts.jpg

Ricky A. Riffe’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Tibbetts, center, and family wait for the verdict to be read.

2013.1118.hazel.oberg

Hazel Oberg talks with a news reporter while her niece Denise Snell looks on.

2013.1118.denny.ricky

Denny Hadaller sits with his daughter while Ricky Riffe talks with his stand-in lawyer today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Updated at 12:30 p.m.

ATTEMPTED ARSON

• A 58-year-old Castle Rock man was arrested early on Saturday morning after he allegedly tried to burn down the Ethel Market. A trooper called around 3:20 a.m. about a vehicle in a  ditch and a deputy responding to a smashed window at the business on the 1400 block of U.S. Highway 12 contacted the suspect who reportedly admitted involvement. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says Mark S. Breitenbach used kerosene and Coleman fuel from inside the store which he poured onto the floor and lit before running away and falling into a ditch. He was arrested for second-degree arson and second-degree burglary, according to the sheriff’s office. It’s not clear why he might have done it or if there was much damage, but the fire department was not called to respond. Sgt. Rob Snaza said they don’t know his motive.

ONE ARRESTED FOR VARIOUS BREAK-INS

• A 35-year-old Pe Ell man was arrested yesterday in connection with burglaries in recent days in Vader and Pe Ell, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies following up on cases contacted Daniel G. Thompson Jr. and subsequently booked him into the Lewis County Jail for two counts of burglary and two counts of possession of stolen vehicles involving a 1997 Ford F350 and a 1998 Dodge Stratus, according to the sheriff’s office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said the investigation is ongoing and further charges are possible. Thompson is the same man arrested earlier this month when deputies found a stolen Massey Ferguson tractor from Curtis on his property in Pe Ell, according to Snaza.

BURGLARY IN MINERAL

• A 90-year-old Mineral woman called law enforcement yesterday to report someone had come inside her home sometime since the day before and stolen $400 cash from her wallet. It appeared they got in through an unsecured window, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The burglary on the 600 block of Pleasant Valley Road is under investigation, Sgt. Rob Snaza said this morning.

STOLEN JEWELRY MORTON

• A deputy was called to the 100 block of Chapman Road near Morton regarding the theft of more than $800 worth of gold and silver jewelry sometime between Oct. 11 and Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FUEL HEIST

• Police were called to the 200 block of Northwest Quincy Place in Chehalis on Friday morning regarding approximately 50 gallons of diesel stolen from a Freightliner truck overnight. The approximate value is $200, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• A 25-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for multiple counts of attempted and actual vehicle prowl as well as misdemeanor theft last night at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street in Chehalis. Police were called about 11 p.m. after an individual reported someone inside their vehicle who fled and then was chased by two males, according to the Chehalis Police Department. As a dog track was underway, officers heard yelling from behind the apartment building, “We’ve got him,” according to police. Officers found several subjects gathered around the 25-year-old suspect and took him into custody, Officer Linda Bailey said. Brandon D. Woody was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Bailey. Among the items recovered were a beanie hat, a cell phone charger and a makeup bag, Bailey said.

• Chehalis police took a report of a car prowl on the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue on Friday in which someone took keys and a black case containing scissors from an unlocked vehicle during the previous few days.

ASSAULT ASHFORD

• A deputy was called regarding a second-degree assault at the 300 block of North Skate Creek Road in Ashford at about 6 p.m. on Friday. The deputy was told the 69-year-old woman that her boyfriend tried to choke her during an argument when they returned home from a tavern, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Michael D. Manning, 57, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

COLLISIONS

• A 50-year-old Tenino woman was uninjured but arrested for first-degree negligent driving after a single-car collision about 5 p.m. on Friday on Centralia-Alpha Road near milepost 8 outside Chehalis. Treva Bittler told a deputy she had leaned down to light a cigarette and her car crossed into the oncoming lane and struck an embankment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Her 2002 Volkswagen Golf sustained major damage but she was unhurt, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Bittler had allegedly been consuming alcohol and was subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Snaza.

• An 18-year-old Chehalis driver avoided injury but did major damage to his car when he wrecked on Saturday evening at the 300 block of Brown Road West,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responding about 6:30 p.m. issued a citation for speeds too fast for conditions, according to Sgt. Rob Snaza.

• A 23-year-old Toledo resident was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with minor injuries after a truck in which they were a passenger flipped and wrecked on a logging road near Toledo Friday morning. A deputy called about 9:45 a.m. to the area about a mile up from the end of Toledo-Salmon Creek Road learned the driver was coming down a hill and lost control of his 1977 Ford pickup truck striking an embankment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver is 23-year-old Joshua P. Razsa, 23, and the passenger Jordan L. Razsa, both of Toledo, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting; responses for alarm, parking lot hit and runs, fight outside bar … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Tenino family wakes to house fire

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Nobody was injured but a family of five is displaced after a house fire in Tenino on Saturday morning that damaged a home built in 1897.

Six fire departments responded to the blaze at about 6 a.m. on the 100 block of Wichman Street South, according to Thurston County Fire District 12.

Smoke alarms woke up the residents who were able to get out, Battalion Chief James Fowler said.

Arriving units found flames at the back of the house and with help were finally able to extinguish it, he said.

It began in the area of a wood stove and destroyed the back entry way, a pantry and a laundry room, he said. A daughter’s bedroom at the rear of the home sustained smoke and water damage as well, according to Fowler.

Fire District 12 is waiting for the insurance investigators to look into the cause.

The two-story structure is one of the original homes in Tenino, Fowler said, known as the McArthur House.

“It’s a beautiful old farmhouse is what it is,” Fowler said. “We had to cut a lot of holes in it.”

The Red Cross was called to assist the two adults and three children, he said.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

News brief: Freeway chase ends in Centralia

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police shot a subject with a bean bag last night ending a prolonged incident that began in Toledo and ended on Interstate 5 in Centralia.

Centralia police responded just before 10 p.m. to assist other agencies with a fleeing suspect near the northbound exit at Mellen Street.

Firefighters were asked to standby because the person apparently had a gas can and a lighter and threatened to light himself on fire, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

The subject was taken into custody.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Maurin murder trial: What will the jury decide?

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm
2013.1115.Maurins.Ed.Minnie.portrait.jpg

Ed and Minnie Maurin

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 28-year-old double murder case is in the hands of the jury now, who will return to the courthouse on Monday morning to continue deliberations.

While Ed and Minnie Maurin have long rested in the cemetery next to the St. Francis Mission Catholic Church in Toledo, one of the two longtime suspects waits in the Lewis County Jail since his arrest last year.

Ricky A. Riffe, 55, is charged as the principle or an accomplice in the Dec. 19, 1985 shotgun deaths of the elderly Ethel couple. The former Mossyrock man relocated to Alaska in the late 1980s.

His trial in Lewis County Superior Court began in early October and concluded Thursday afternoon. His younger brother John Gregory Riffe died last year before he could be charged.

Defense attorney John Crowley says there’s nothing more than rumors and gossip that connect his client to the case. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and his senior deputy Will Halstead have told the panel that circumstantial evidence is just as valuable as direct evidence.

The jury of eight women and four men was sent to begin deliberating shortly before 5 p.m., on Thursday but went home at 5:30 p.m. and reconvened yesterday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, for anyone who wished they’d followed the court proceedings more closely, now is a chance to catch up and perhaps draw some conclusions before the jury finishes its work.

Below, find below the complete coverage of the trial with headlines and links to the stories:

• “Maurin murder trial: Final words to the jury” from Friday November 15, 2013 at 3:28 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Defense points to fear, distorted memories” from Friday November 15, 2013 at 9:18 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Prosecutor points to defendant as accomplice” from Thursday November 14, 2013 at 9:27 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Defense decides to call no witnesses” from Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 1:20 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Reporter’s notebook” from Monday November 11, 2013 at 11:35 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Testimony of Riffe admission to inmate leads to dual complaints” from Saturday November 9, 2013 at 7:59 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Internet chat with the suspect” from Friday November 8, 2013 at 9:28 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Suspect is ‘witty’” from Thursday November 7, 2013 at 9:03 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: The arrest” from Wednesday November 6, 2013 at 9:02 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: What suspects told detectives, and more” from Saturday November 2, 2013 at 3:59 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Money for drugs” from Friday November 1, 2013 at 8:42 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Former drug dealer claims defendant admitted involvement” from Thursday October 31, 2013 at 8:57 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Lab tests turn up little to nothing” from Wednesday October 30, 2013 at 1:20 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Jason Shriver talks” from Tuesday October 29, 2013 at 8:52 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Riffe’s buddy tells what he knows” from Sunday October 27, 013 at 8:37 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Witnesses pick out Riffe brothers as men they saw at Yard Birds” from Saturday October 26, 2013 at 4:35 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Robin Riffe’s family talks” from Friday October 25, 2013 at 9:17 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Ed and Minnie go to the bank” from Thursday October 24, 2013 at 9:03 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: More testimony, and the arrest” from Wednesday October 23, 2013 at 9:12 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: New information in old case takes both sides by surprise” from Tuesday October 22, 2013 at 7:31 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: What jurors didn’t hear about” from Tuesday October 22, 2013 at 1:21 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Witnesses testify about a green sedan” from Monday October 21, 2013 at 8:55 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Testimony takes day off for death of defendant’s dad” from Friday Oct. 18, 2013 at 9:27 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Surprise witness implicates dead Riffe brother” from Thursday Oct. 17, 2013 at 8:52 a.m., here

• “Defense: Maurin murder trial jeopardized by hearsay evidence” from Wednesday October 16, 2013 at 9:10 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Jurors hear of autopsy and finger prints” from Tuesday October 15, 2013 at 9:38 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: What the crime scenes showed” from Saturday October 12, 2013 at 7:06 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Testimony continues about slain Ethel couple” from Thursday October 10, 2013 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Defense attorney tells of two other suspects” from Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 11:51 p.m., here

• “Jury may be picked tomorrow in Maurin murder trial” from Monday October 7, 2013 at 9:15 p.m., here

• “Maurin murder trial: Twenty-seven-year-old case to commence in Chehalis ” from  Friday October 4, 2013 at 9:45 p.m., here

2012.0731.riffe.firstappearancetwo.3828

Ricky A. Riffe, 53, of King Salmon, Alaska, makes his first appearance in Lewis County Superior Court in July 2012.

2013.1014.lawyersriffe5526

Ricky Riffe, 55, far right, and lawyers during trial in mid-October.

2013.1112.guard_riffe5809.jpg

Ricky Riffe talks with a jail guard during a recess in court early this past week.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 11:47 am
2013.1115.AMPMgaspumpcrash

Car comes to rest a few feet away from gas pump after impact. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

CLOSE CALL AT SPIFFY’S CORNER GAS STATION

• A motorist was arrested but lucky to be alive after a collision at a Lewis County gas station that knocked over a gas pump and sparked a fire. Firefighters called just before 5 o’clock yesterday morning to the AM/PM at U.S. Highway 12 near Interstate 5 found flames rising from the pump and the fuel around it, according to Lewis County Fire District 5. Lt. Laura Hanson said they extinguished it with foam. An employee had used the emergency shut off switch, she said. The driver exited the car before crews arrived, Hanson said. He was taken to the hospital for reasons which were unknown to her, but were not for any burn injuries, she said. Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn said possible charges included driving under the influence in a car stolen car from Tenino as well as hit and run. John R. Loutzenhiser, 26, from Roy, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Finn. The investigating trooper could not determine the reason Loutzenhiser collided with the gas pump, other than he was intoxicated, Finn said.

OUT OF CONTROL

• Centralia police arrested a 27-year-old driver overnight after he led officers on a high-speed chase around the city running stop signs and traffic lights and allegedly tried to hit police cars with his vehicle multiple times. It began about 12:35 a.m. when, police say, Michael P. Miller-Gobal failed to stop for officers when he was signaled to do and ended when his car blew out a front tire and he fled on foot. One patrol car was disabled when it struck a curb but nobody was injured,  according to the Centralia Police Department. Miller, described as a transient who lives in Centralia, was apprehended and booked into the Lewis County Jail for eluding, possession of methamphetamine, misdemeanor warrants and second-degree assault, according to police.

• Police responded about 3:15 p.m. yesterday to a dispute at the 1200 block of Alder Street and arrested two Centralia residents for violating protection orders they have against each other. Patsy A. Bartlett, 46, was also arrested for misdemeanor assault and several warrants, according to the Centralia Police Department. She and Mark A. Johnson, 60, were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

BURGLARY

• Centralia police responded to a burglary at the 1200 block of West Main Street on Wednesday afternoon in which home electronics and jewelry were stolen.

• More than $2,000 worth of valuables were stolen in a residential burglary on the 2000 block of Lincoln Creek Road northwest of Centralia on Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the scene learned the break-in occurred sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. Among the missing items are two flat screen televisions and numerous pieces of jewelry, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police were contacted on Thursday about a vehicle prowl on Northeast Adams Avenue and another on North National Avenue.

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart regarding a vehicle prowl on Wednesday morning and later in the day to other prowls on South Market Boulevard, Northeast Terrace Road and Southeast Park Hill Road.

DRUGS

• A 51-year-old Cinebar man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and a warrant when he was contacted by police about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday at the 1500 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia. Howard D. Eslick was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 22-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and a warrant when contacted by police around 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the 900 block of Alder Street in Centralia. Darcie N. Negrete was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 60-year-old man was arrested when deputies assisted the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force serve a search warrant at the 400 block of Leudinghaus Road in Dryad on Tuesday evening. A large amount of methamphetamine and marijuana was recovered as well as a stolen firearm, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Edward K. Baker was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. He was released pending further investigation.

COLLISIONS

• A utility truck caught fire and its driver suffered minor scrapes when the vehicle lost power and rolled backwards over an embankment on Tuesday morning at the 400 block of Wildwood Road near Vader, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a hit and run accident about 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in which a motorcycle collided with a light-colored mid-sized sedan at the 3900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The 44-year-old Centralia resident said she was headed northbound when the car pulled onto the roadway attempting to head south and her 2007 Suzuki hit the car’s left side and she ended up sliding down the road, according to the sheriff’s office. Her injuries were minor, according to the sheriff’s office.

UPDATE: DECEASED TRANSIENT REUNITED WITH FAMILY

• The Lewis County Coroner’s Office reports a staff member was to fly to San Francisco to hand deliver the cremated remains of Manabu Ishikawa to his family prior to his memorial service scheduled for today. Ishikawa, 49, died in a Centralia motel this summer and was about to be buried in a Chehalis cemetery with other unclaimed persons when an employee of the motel tracked down his friends and family via Facebook. Coroner Warren McLeod said his mother would be flying from Japan to San Francisco for the service.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, misdemeanor thefts, collisions, hit and run, shoplifting, suspicious circumstances; complaint of neighbor revving an engine for about 45 minutes … and more.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Maurin murder trial: Final words to the jury

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm
2013.1114.crowley.riffe5872

Rick Riffe, right, and his lawyer listen to prosecutors offer a rebuttal in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The prosecutor summarized his case, the defense offered its closing statements and the state got one last chance to address the jury yesterday before deliberations began on the 1985 slaying of Ed and Minnie Maurin, the Ethel couple who instead of hosting their annual Christmas party that year, were taken out to a logging road and shot in the backs.

Ricky A. Riffe, 55, is represented by a Seattle attorney who says the sheriff’s office got the wrong man. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and his senior deputy prosecutor contend the former Mossyrock man at the very least was an accomplice to their other longtime suspect who is dead, the defendant’s younger brother John Gregory Riffe.

Riffe’s attorney had said at the beginning of last month his client would take the stand, but he didn’t.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead took and hour and a half at the end of yesterday to rebut Crowley’s closing.

Crowley did what defense attorneys do when they don’t like what’s happened in the courtroom, Halstead said.

“What’s the defense, did you hear one?” Halstead asked. “Did you hear Greg was not involved?”

“No,” he answered himself.

Crowley’s insinuation prosecutors backpedaled from pinning it all of his client in their opening to suggesting two or more people were responsible when they gave closing arguments was an unfair characterization, according to Halstead.

“I thought I made it clear,” Halstead told the jury. “One person involved is dead, one is alive, and, there possibly could be more.”

The fear Crowley kept alluding to is the real fear witnesses felt about testifying, he said.

Nearly 100 individuals took the stand during five weeks of testimony to tell what they noticed at the Maurin’s house from where prosecutors say the couple was abducted, to the bank where prosecutors say they were forced to withdraw $8,500, to Stearns Hill Road where their bodies were found and on roadways in between where prosecutors say the Maurin’s 1969 Chrysler traveled on Dec. 19, 1985.

Item by item, Halstead picked apart Crowley’s contentions.

The event witness Les George described about Riffe tearing the page out of the book after his shotgun purchase at Sunbirds: “It’s not really relevant to this case.”

As far as the money the Riffes seemed to have to spend after the crimes, Halstead said he never claimed Greg Riffe purchased a log truck and detectives didn’t seek out the registration for the boat Rick Riffe bought because he admitted he bought it.

“The Christmas gifts, where’s the money for that?” Halstead asked. “Mr. Crowley glazed over that. He never explained to you where the money came from.”

Crowley said no one saw a sawed-off shotgun, he said, but several people testified they saw a person with a shotgun.

“Mr. Crowley wants you to believe there really were three people in the car,” he said. “Does it really make a difference? No.”

The burglary: “This is where you’re allowed to consider circumstantial evidence,” Halstead said.

The Maurins were in their 80s, all someone needed to do was knock on the door, or enter through an unlocked backdoor, he said.

It’s plausible, in that Minnie Maurin clearly had warning something was wrong, and hid her purse behind the couch beneath a newspaper, according to Halstead.

And the bank documents found on the bathroom floor, he said. Somebody got them and took them into one of the only places in the house where they could not seen from the outside, he said.

“Let’s talk about why Ricky left Washington,” Halstead said. “Oh, the rumors are the reason he left? Who came in here and testified about that? Not one person.”

Halstead told the jurors it was entirely up to them to decide which witnesses they felt were credible and which they did not. The defense attorneys opinion on that doesn’t mean anything, he said.

“Mr. Crowley suggested Deputy Forth didn’t see what he saw,” Halstead said. “It’s ridiculous. He saw the red blanket, he picked the person out the montage.”

Halstead said if jurors wanted to ignore Erwin Bartlett’s testimony, it wouldn’t matter to the case. The former fellow inmate wanted his case dismissed in exchange for telling about what Riffe told him, he said.

Marty Smeltzer. “Again, you can do what you want,” he told the jurors.

The state doesn’t need that testimony, he said.

Halstead said he understood why the defense tried to get jurors to disregard Jason Shriver’s testimony that he saw Ricky and his brother with the Maurins inside their car on the foggy morning of Dec. 19, 1985.

“Because Mr. Shriver is an extremely important witness in this case,” he said. “Is that really what they’re going to hang their hat on? Because Jason said it was clear that day?”

Halstead told the jury if they believed Shriver, the state has proved its case.

“Erwin Bartlett and Gordon Campbell, if you don’t believe them, don’t consider them,” he said.

Halstead’s parting words before the jury was sent to deliberate: “Common sense. Use it. Rely on it.”

The jury of eight women and four men was sent to begin deliberating shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday, but chose to go home at 5:30 p.m. and returned this morning to continue.

Riffe is charged as the principal player or as an accomplice with one count of burglary, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree murder, or, in the alternative, two counts of second-degree murder.

2013.1113.tibbetts.kern.5851.jpg

Ricky Riffe’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Tibbetts and her son Jeremy Kern watch proceedings from the defense side of the courtroom.

Printer friendly version of the post below Printer friendly version of the post below

Bucoda man fights armed intruder

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

Updated at 12:06 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia man was arrested after he allegedly broke into a Bucoda home wearing a mask and armed with a handgun last night.

Police were called about 10:35 p.m. to the 100 block of Perkins Street North where a 34-year-old man said he was awakened by the intruder who ordered him to come with him, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

The resident put on his shoes as though he was going to comply but then turned on the man and began punching him, according to the sheriff’s office. The two fought, the victim was pistol whipped and the intruder fired a single shot into the floor in between the victim’s feet before grabbing his cell phone and fleeing, according to Sgt. Ken Clark.

Clark says the victim recognized the man as the soon-to-be ex-husband of a female friend, as he had pulled the man’s mask off.

The sergeant called it a scary nightmare kind of scenario which the victim decided not to take meekly.

“The victim decided, you know, it’s not going to happen today,” he said.

Clark said it wasn’t clear where the intruder planned to take the man, he just kept demanding he leave with him.

Thomas Denegar, 26, was arrested a short time later in the Grand Mound area after he called to report he was the victim of an assault, according to Clark.

Denegar was booked into the Thurston County Jail for first-degree burglary, assault and robbery, according to the sheriff’s office.