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Salkum triple homicide: Attorney seeks to relocate November trial for John Booth Jr.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – John A. Booth Jr.’s lawyer filed a motion today asking that his client’s triple murder trial be moved to a different county because of so much pre-trial publicity by the news media.

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John A. Booth Jr.

Booth, 32, is charged with murder and other offenses related to last summer’s gunshot deaths of two men and a teenage boy inside a Salkum-Onalaska area home.

The trial is scheduled to begin November 7 in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis.

Booth’s former cell mate Ryan J. McCarthy was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison, following a plea agreement, for his role in the events of August 21, 2010.

Defense attorney Roger Hunko said he wants a different jury, that hasn’t heard so much about the case.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher says lawyers always make that kind of request.

The two attorneys are set to go in front of a judge on Monday to hash out that and other disagreements such as jury questions, a request to dismiss the attempted extortion charge and what if any of Booth’s criminal past can be brought up at trial.

“The purpose of that (last issue) is so people can be tried not on what they’ve done before, but what they’re charged with,” Hunko said today.

Prosecutors allege Booth and McCarthy visited the house on Wings Way in connection with collecting money for drug debts or a “perceived” debt owed to Robert “Robbie” S. Russell. One of the victims, David West Sr. 52, was a witness in a pending case against Russell.

Also found dead were David West Jr., 16, and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. Denise Salts, then 51, who was also at the home survived a gunshot wound to her face.

Booth, formerly of Onalaska, was picked up in Spokane on a $10 million warrant four days after the slayings.

He has since then been held in solitary confinement in the Lewis County Jail.

Twice last month, a sheriff’s detective visited Booth inside the jail and recommended new charges to the prosecutor, once after Booth allegedly “became enraged and began smashing windows” outside his cell and then after guards reportedly found a metal file portion of a fingernail clipper in Booth’s pocket.

Just days before lawyers finalized a plea agreement for McCarthy, Booth allegedly used a metal handle from a mop bucket to break four panes of safety glass, according to the sheriff’s office.

It happened about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 1, and was captured on surveillance video, according an incident report.

The detective writes that Booth was on his “one hour out” of his cell that day when he walks around in the Pod (adjacent secure and otherwise vacant day room) and attempts to make a phone call.

He uses the broom and dust pan to clean out his cell and then returns to the mop bucket location, detective Dan Riordan writes.

“(H)e removes the yellow squeegee portion of (the mop bucket), examines it for some time and then begins to smash the windows,” Riordan writes.

Then Booth put the implement back down, went into his cell and closed the door, according to Riordan.

When asked about the windows, Booth stated it was “spontaneous combustion,” Riordan wrote.

Jail Chief Kevin Hanson said he didn’t have any reason to think his inmate was attempting to escape.

“I suspect he may have been angry about something,” Hanson said.

The shatter proof glass is three-quarters-inch thick and very durable, according to Hanson.

“I’ve seen people hit, kick, punch and throw stuff at them, but only on three occasions in my 20 years here have I seen the glass break,” he said.

The detective referred the report to the prosecutor for a charge of first-degree malicious mischief, but no charge had been filed as of yesterday.

Neither has a charge been filed of possession of a weapon by a prisoner, recommended by Riordan after a find on Sept. 10.

Jail guards were patting Booth down as they were returning him to his cell after a cell “shakedown” and discovered what appeared to be the file portion from a pair of finger nail clippers Booth had been allowed for temporary use, according to Riordan’s report. It was approximately two-inches long.

Booth said it was nothing and asked for it back, according to the report.

“This item is easily transformed into an instrument that can be used for stabbing, i.e., a prison shank,” the detective wrote.

Also seized by the detective were two handwritten notes from Booth’s cell, one that reads as a poem about a prison shank, and a similar writing about a rifle.

Booth didn’t want to talk with the detective about the nail file, according to the incident report.

Jail Chief Hanson said the replacement cost of the safety glass is close to $4,000 and the county would be seeking restitution from Booth.

Hanson also said Booth has lost all his privileges, such as being able to make purchases at the jail commissary.

He now is locked down in his cell 24 hours a day, except for one hour out every three days, Hanson said.

Booth is charged with attempted extortion, attempted murder of Salts, second-degree murder of West Sr. and first degree murder of David Jr. and Williams, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.

•••
Read most recent story, “Court hearing reveals more details about Salkum triple slaying” from Saturday October 1, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

DRUGS

• The sheriff’s office arrested a 44-year-old man they describe as a mid-level heroin dealer late yesterday afternoon in Centralia. Jerry D. Clark was picked up at his home about 5 p.m. on the 500 block of South Pearl Street, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. When he and his back pack were searched, about $220 in $20 bills was found, as well as some suspected heroin, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Brown said this morning that Clark came to their attention in early August and twice during that month, members of the sheriff’s office conducted so-called controlled buys of heroin from Clark. The total amount of the drug purchased and seized was just under one ounce, according to Brown. Clark was booked into the Lewis County Jail for two counts of delivery of heroin and one count of possession of heroin, Brown said.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report yesterday that someone had broken into a vacant home on the 200 block of South Silver Street sometime during the previous week. Officer Gary Byrnes said nothing was taken but he believed a trespasser left a mattress inside.

• A car reported stolen last Wednesday was found yesterday abandoned in a parking lot on the 600 block of West Main Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department .

• Centralia police were called to the 900 block of South Schueber Road about 7:30 p.m. yesterday about money stolen from a purse.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report yesterday morning at Centralia High School that a male threw something at a parked bus after hours breaking a window.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is interested in hearing from anyone who knows something about a $43,000 Kubota excavator stolen sometime between Thursday evening and  Friday morning from Country Tractor on the 1600 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis. The tractor had a 24-inch bucket attached. Detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said it appeared someone drove it to the south end of a nearby lot and loaded it onto a trailer.

• Centralia police are investigating a situation at the Lewis County Transfer Station on the 1400 block of South Tower Avenue in which recycled materials were diverted and sold. Further details about the theft are not available.

• A small safe that contained vitamins was reported stolen yesterday from the 500 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to police.

• Centralia police were called yesterday about unauthorized charges made on a credit card in connection with an address on Oxford Avenue.

• Police were called yesterday morning abut the theft of mail from the 300 block of South Street in Centralia.

• Centralia police were called last night about the theft of a purse from a vehicle at the 900 block of South Schueber Road that had occurred several days earlier.

VANDALISM

• Somebody threw an onion at a house on the 400 block of Yew Street in Centralia breaking a window, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department yesterday afternoon.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday about four windows being broken at a vacant business on Northwest Prindle Street sometime since Saturday.

DRUGS

• A 51-year-old woman checking in as a new resident at a drug rehabilitation facility on Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis was arrested yesterday for possession of drugs. Angeline R. Reyes, of Tacoma, was booked into the Lewis County Jail in connection with a small tin-foil packet of suspected heroin and a syringe found, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 33-year-old Centralia man was arrested for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act after he was stopped for driving without headlights about 7 p.m. yesterday on the 1400 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis. Trevor L. Tompkins was found to be driving with a suspended license and a subsequent search of his vehicle turned up suspect meth, digital scales and about three grams of suspected marijuana, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Tompkins was booked for possession of drugs, paraphernalia and also for the suspended license, according to the sheriff’s office. The Lewis County Prosecutors Office declined to charge Tompkins for the violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and moved his case to Lewis County District Court.

WRECKS

• A 20-year-old woman was arrested for driving under the influence after someone reported an erratically driven vehicle about 11 p.m. last night on the 800 block of Boistfort Road which then ran off the road, down an embankment, through a yard and into a tree. Melinda M. Henderson, of Canby, Ore., was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Her passenger was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital.

• Aid and a deputy were called about 10 p.m. yesterday after a Jeep Cherokee was discovered in a ditch outside Centralia with a 67-year-old woman stuck inside. The driver, from Centralia, was disoriented and the wreck may have been related to a medical issue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The accident, on the 400 block of Jones Road, off Little Hanaford Road, was estimated to have occurred about 7 p.m., the sheriff’s office said. Responders were able to access the patient from the rear hatch and passenger door, according to Riverside Fire Authority. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

CAMPERS LOSE MOTOR HOME TO FIRE

• Firefighters were called about 10 p.m. on Sunday night to the Kosmos Boat Launch near Glenoma where a motor home caught fire. A pair of female campers from Washougal were at a campfire and saw flames in the 40-foot Winnebago, but couldn’t get a cell phone signal to call 911, according to Fire Investigator Ted McCarty. By the time Lewis County Fire District 18 arrived, it had burned itself down to the frame, McCarty said. The cause is unknown, he said. “There was not a lot left to look at,” McCarty said.

•••

CORRECTION: The above item was updated to reflect the correct spelling of “Kosmos”.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

YAWN

• Two men apparently suffered only scratches and bruises when a pickup truck traveling on U.S. Highway 12 east of Glenoma left the roadway, vaulted over a driveway and flipped end over end, separating the cab from the chassis. Trooper Jason Hicks said he was called about 7 a.m. on Saturday to the scene. The driver said they had wrecked around 9 p.m. on Friday, caught a ride home, went to sleep and reported it in the morning, according to Hicks. Hicks said he was surprised at the lack of injuries, given the condition of the 1998 Toyota Tacoma. “You don’t see wrecks like that where people get up and walk away,” Hicks said. The driver, a Glenoma resident in his mid-20′s told Hicks he had fallen asleep before the crash. The driver was cited for second-degree negligent driving.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday about a burglary to a home on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue. The back door was kicked in and reported missing was a computer and various medications, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police reported on Saturday they are investigating the theft of jewelry from the 500 block of East Magnolia Street.

• A pressure washer was among the items reported stolen from a garage on the 500 block of West First Street in Centralia on Saturday morning.

• Centralia police were called to a vehicle prowl at noon on Saturday at the 1200 block of Alder Street.

VANDALISM

• Two intoxicated subjects were arrested about 2:45 a.m. on Sunday after they allegedly used bricks to break windows out a of a vehicle on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis. Brian M. Raymor, 31, of Chehalis, and Lisa J. Hojem, 27, of Napavine, were arrested for second-degree malicious mischief and booked into the Lewis County Jail, Chehalis Police Department.

FIRE IN RECYCLE BIN

• Firefighters were called about 3:15 a.m. today when flames were seen inside a large newspaper recycling bin at Fuller’s grocery on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. The fire was extinguished.

DUI WRECK

• Police arrested a 22-year-old Centralia resident for driving under under the influence after his vehicle struck a power pole on the 700 block of North Gold Street on Friday night, according to the Centralia Police Department. Gregorio Cordero was reportedly uninjured.

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Read about law investigating convict’s personals ad seeking ‘your daughter’ …

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KOMO News reports police are investigating after an Oakville man convicted of indecent exposure placed a personals ad in The (Centralia) Chronicle saying he would “like to be a big brother” to someone’s 7- or 8-year-old daughter.

The 61-year-old told KOMO his advertisement resulted in one serious response as well as a number of obscene phone calls.

Read more here2011.1003.personalsad

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Read about woman missing on Mount St. Helens, now found …

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

Updated 9:48 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Oregonian reports searchers were looking for a 55-year-old Oregon woman overdue from a climb on Mount St. Helens.

News reporter Kimberly A.C. Wilson writes Lori William is an experienced climber who was last seen Sunday afternoon.

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that Williams was located shortly after 8:30 a.m. today and is being walked out by U.S. Forest Service climbing rangers.

Undersheriff Dave Cox reports Williams was uninjured, and in good spirits.

Read more about it here

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Read about doctors, narcotics, marijuana and the law …

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

In an effort to curb an “alarming” increase in overdose deaths from narcotic pain meds, new legislation will cap the strength of the dose a physician can prescribe, the Yakima Herald-Republic writes in a story in today’s newspaper.

Some 700 people in the state die each year from such overdoses, according to news reporter Phil Ferolito.

In Lewis County last year, all 14 people who died from drug overdoses were found to have done so accidentally.

Only two or three of those deaths came from street drugs, the rest were prescription medications, most commonly something like Oxycodone and often in combination with other prescribed meds, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris, who has been compiling annual reports for the past five years, has said 2010′s numbers did not seem to be significantly different from previous years.

At the same time, the number of medical practitioners prescribing medical marijuana – which one doctor quoted calls the most “innocuous drug” out there – has grown dramatically since last year, according to a story in The (Tacoma) News Tribune today.
•••

Read “Law limiting narcotics a painful remedy for some patients” from The Yakima Herald-Republic on Saturday October 1, 2011 at 10:17 p.m., here

Read “Despite changing rules, medical marijuana field has exploded statewide” from The (Tacoma) News Tribune on  Saturday October 1, 2011 at 7:37 p.m., here

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Read about Mount Rainier park ex-official scrutinized on land deal …

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times writes today about the details of a questionable land deal in Ashford between the former Mount Rainier National Park superintendent and the owner of a Mount Rainier climbing business.

Read more about the sale of a three-bedroom house on two acres in Ashford to Peter Whittaker, owner of Rainier Mountaineering Inc. in 2002, here

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News brief: DUI accident sends Morton resident to hospital

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Morton woman was taken to the hospital with a head injury after a single-vehicle crash in the Cinebar area overnight.

A trooper was called just after 1 a.m. to milepost 14.7 of state Route 508 where Teresa A. Scott, 37, had wrecked her 1996 Ford Ranger, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Scott had been heading eastbound when her vehicle crossed the centerline and traveled about 60 more yards through a ditch, hitting a telephone pole and rolling over once, according to the state patrol. The Ford Ranger was described as totaled.

Scott was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the investigating trooper.

The trooper reported she had been wearing a seatbelt, and she was cited for driving under the influence.

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Court hearing reveals more details about Salkum triple slaying

Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – For the first and maybe the only time, a courtroom of spectators this week got to hear Ryan J. McCarthy’s description of what happened inside a single-story house on Wings Way very early on the morning of August 21, 2010.

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Ryan J. McCarthy

After he and John Booth Jr left, three people including a teenage boy were dead, and a woman lay on the kitchen floor bleeding, all from gun shots to their heads.

McCarthy, now 30, was sentenced this week for his role in last summer’s events in the Salkum-Onalaska area home.

Late last summer, prosecutors charged both men with all three murders, saying it didn’t matter which one pulled the trigger.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge in court earlier this month that Booth fired the shots and “Mr. McCarthy was there.”

On Wednesday, as McCarthy appeared in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis for sentencing following a plea agreement, his lawyer said that was pretty much the extent of his client’s role, he was present.

Olympia defense attorney Rick Cordes told the court McCarthy didn’t commit the crimes he was charged with, the crimes he pleaded guilty to, or the crimes he was being sentenced for.

“If he was guilty of anything, it’s because he didn’t choose his friends right, who to be loyal to,” Cordes said.

McCarthy and former Onalaska resident Booth were both picked up and jailed after the shooting deaths of  David West Sr. 52, his son David West Jr., 16, and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. Denise Salts, then 51, who also lived at the house, survived a gunshot wound to her face.

McCarthy had just been released from prison less than a month earlier. The Redmond resident and Booth were former cell mates.

From the beginning, authorities have been saying the men’s visit to the house was related to some kind of debt collection and gun fire broke out when West Sr. brought out a shotgun and told them to get out of his house.

Cordes told the judge Wednesday afternoon that when West. Sr. said that – “You two m***** f****** get up and get out of here,” that’s what McCarthy did.

“He pushed his chair back, got up from the table and ran outside,” Cordes said. “He was outside when he heard shots fired.”

Cordes said McCarthy ran back in, but turned and left and was outside when a final shot was fired.

“He didn’t touch anybody, he didn’t shoot anybody,” Cordes said.

And he passed a lie detector test that confirmed his story, according to Cordes.

Cordes said his client entered into the plea agreement because nobody knows what  jury will do, and he faced the possibility of life in prison if he were convicted.

“The fact that he’s getting 14 years is a black eye on the criminal justice system,” he said.

Prosecutor Meagher didn’t offer the court on Wednesday his reasoning for plea bargaining, but Judge Richard Brosey spoke of what he supposed was a concern prosecutors had about going to trial.

“One problem, it’s not a crime just to be there,” Brosey said. “The state would have to show a person did something to facilitate the crime.”

McCarthy pleaded guilty three weeks ago, per the plea agreement, to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and attempted extortion

He did so under doctrines under which he pleaded guilty to crimes he did not commit to escape consequences of more serious charges, and agreed  if a jury heard and believed the state’s evidence, he would likely be found guilty.

When family members and one victim addressed the court before the sentence was actually handed down, it was clear they didn’t care authorities were no longer accusing McCarthy of murder.

Dan Williams, brother of Tony Williams, raised his voice and demanded McCarthy look at him as he spoke to the court.

“I lost my brother, my best friend,” he said. “You knew what was going on.”

A woman who identified herself only as “Dee” read a statement which spoke of savage animals of society and called for “an eye for an eye”.

“Dee” spoke of having to explain to Tony Williams’ 13-year-old son there are bad people in the world.

“Even life without parole is too good,” she said.

Jodi Porter traveled from her home in Eastern Washington to tell how the death of her teenage son, David West Jr., has affected her family.

“My granddaughter has nightmares about bad people coming in and killing her whole family,” Porter said. “I want justice to be served.”

When Judge Brosey spoke to McCarthy, sentencing him to 14 years plus three months in prison, he called the events of Aug. 21 a total waste, with three people who are dead, and not coming back.

“Most glaring and most disgusting is, none of this needed to happen,” Brosey said. “There’s no reason to be playing this game of going out and collecting money.”

Extorting money involves risk, and this nonsense needs to stop, Brosey said.

“If you choose to associate with people such as Mr. (Robert) Russell and Mr. Booth, you pay the consequences,” Brosey said.

The judge noted the defendant insisted he was no more than a “co-attendee”, but added since there will be no trial, “we’ll never know the truth.”

The one member of the household who survived, Salts, was not satisfied with the plea agreement, saying it’s as though the system has forgotten three people died.

Salts addressed McCarthy directly, presumably her first opportunity since he and Booth were inside her home 13 months ago.

“What you have done is taken away something that is a part of my life,” Salts said. “Dave, his son, my best friend.”

“I’ve got so much anger for you right now, I can’ even begin to tell you,” she said.

“You’re just a waste of time, of space,” Salts said. “Do you have any remorse? Are you not sorry?”

McCarthy hesitated, but finally responded to her repeated direct questioning.

“The truth is, I didn’t do nothing,” McCarthy said.

“The truth is, you were there,” Salts said.

“Every day I miss my best friend, Dave,” Salts said. “They might as well have taken mine (life) too,” she said.

McCarthy was transferred out of the Lewis County Jail yesterday, to prison.

His attorney has said McCarthy will not testify against Booth, or anybody.

Booth’s trial is scheduled for the beginning of November.
•••

For more details about the plea agreement, read “Breaking news: Plea agreement for “accomplice” in Salkum triple slaying means about 14 years” from  Wednesday Sept. 7,  2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

VEHICLE THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 7:10 a.m. today about a light blue 1991 Honda Accord stolen overnight from the 1400 block of Johnson Road. The car has only three hub caps and its license plate is 451 UXQ, according to police.

• A 29-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening by Centralia police for vehicle theft. Jeffrey D. Downey, of Vancouver, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for violation of a no contact order, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A black 2002 Hyundai was reported stolen from the 2300 block of Sirkka Avenue in Centralia on Wednesday, according to police.

• A 1987 Honda 200 motorcycle was reported stolen from a garage on the 300 block of West Summa Street in Centralia on Wednesday, according to Centralia police. It has an orange tank, police reported.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to the 600 block of Ash Street about fraudulent activity on a person’s account. Further details were not readily available. Police are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report about the theft of prescription medications from a home on the 1400 block of Johnson Road in Centralia on Wednesday.

DRUGS

• Police were called to W.F. West High School in Chehalis for two separate cases of students possessing marijuana on Wednesday. Both the 16-year-old boy and the 17-year-old boy were interviewed and then released pending possible charging, according to Chehalis police.

• Centralia police arrested a 46-year-old Tenino woman for possession of methamphetamine at East Hanson Street and North Tower Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. Robin L. Richardet was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRESPASS

• A 39-year-old Chehalis man observed wearing “camo” and sitting on property near the 100 block of Nix Road was arrested yesterday for trespass after a deputy subsequently found him on the 400 block of Highway 603, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Eric Bilton-Smith was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to the sheriff’s office.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon of graffiti painted at Penny Playground off Southwest 13th Street.

CRASH

• Two people were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday after a collision at U.S. Highway 12 and Gershick Road, according to the Washington State Patrol. Both vehicles were described as totaled. Troopers called about 10:15 a.m. reported that Paul S. Lee, 62, of Silver Creek, was driving a Honda Passport and entered the intersection where his car was hit by a 1999 Mercury Mystique. Two women in the Mercury were hospitalized because of pain and/or possible injuries, according to the state patrol. They are Crystal J. Like, 32, of Glenoma, and Caroline A. Livers, 68, of Randle, according to the state patrol.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday a 23-year-old Toledo man was cited for “wheels off the roadway” when his log truck rolled over and spilled its load on Big Hanaford Road on Wednesday morning. He was uninjured but the wreck caused an estimated $4,000 damage to his truck and trailer, according to the sheriff’s office.

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One defendant in Salkum triple homicide case gets 14 years

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Judge Richard Brosey sentenced Ryan J. McCarthy today to 14 years in prison for his role in last summer’s events in Salkum in which three people were fatally shot and one survived a gunshot to her face.

McCarthy, 30, pleaded guilty three weeks ago to robbery, burglary and attempted extortion in order to take advantage of a plea agreement.

He maintains he did not commit any of the crimes he was originally charged with, including three murders.

His former cell mate John Booth Jr., formerly of Onalaska, is scheduled to be tried for murder in November in Lewis County Superior Court.

More later: Gunshot victim Denise Salts told McCarthy in court today what she thinks of him.
•••

Meanwhile, for details about the plea agreement, read “Breaking news: Plea agreement for “accomplice” in Salkum triple slaying means about 14 years” from  Wednesday Sept. 7,  2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

EXPLOSIVE DEVICE PLANTED IN ROCHESTER CAR

• Detectives will be closely examining a Volkswagen Jetta and interviewing its owner further after yesterday’s find in Rochester that someone had planted an explosive device in the gas tank. Deputies and a bomb squad were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to the 7700 block of Oakberg Lane Southwest after the 33-year-old Rochester woman found wires coming from her car’s gas cap area leading to the ground and around the corner of her home, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. The bomb technicians used a robot to pull the wires out and found nothing attached to that end, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said. There was nothing at the other end either, he said. However, when they put a camera inside the fuel tube to the tank, they discovered burned residue, suggesting an explosive had actually been activated, he said. It’s not entirely surprising the car didn’t’ blow up when the device activated, as specific conditions of oxygen and fuel vapors may not have been present, according to Elwin. The woman told investigators she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her, according to Elwin. She’s not a celebrity, a VIP or a government employee, he said, just a regular person. The car was impounded.

THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a break-in to a store in Randle in which an unknown number of lottery tickets and some $700 of cigarettes were stolen. A deputy called yesterday morning to Gene and Barb’s grocery on the 9000 block of U.S. Highway 12 found a small window had been broken through which the intruder entered, according to the sheriff’s office. Video images from the store will be used to try to find a suspect, the sheriff’s office reported.

• Police were called yesterday evening to the 100 block of Northeast Cascade Avenue in Chehalis by a man who said he discovered jewelry, a camera and a printer missing from his apartment. The resident had someone watching his home after he was arrested and when he got out of jail, the items were gone, according to Chehalis police.

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning to two vehicle prowls in which purses were stolen. The first was on the 500 block of West First Street and about an hour later, another was reported on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, according to police.

DRUGS

• A 57-year-old man from Edmonds was arrested late yesterday afternoon for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine, according to Centralia police. Robert A. Russeff was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with officers at the 400 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THURSTON DEPUTY ASSAULTED

• A 31-year-old Tenino-area man was arrested yesterday afternoon for third-degree assault of a deputy after he allegedly pushed the deputy on the chest, flicked him on the side of the head and then ran into a bedroom and closed the door. Thurston County deputies were assisting Tenino police in removing Daniel A. Hinkle from a home in Rainier when he was served with a domestic violence protection order, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Hinkle said he knew right away he shouldn’t have done that, but by that time it was too late, Elwin said. Hinckle was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail.

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Coroner gives permission for Ron Reynolds, sons to remain mum

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

This news story was updated at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 28, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS -  Toledo Elementary School Principal Ron Reynolds and his sons have been excused from testifying at the upcoming coroner’s inquest into Ronda Reynolds 1998 death.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod signed an order today quashing their subpoenas to appear and testify.

McLeod writes in his order that the four have asserted their fifth amendment constitutional right, that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Lawyers for the Reynolds’s and for Barb Thompson – mother of Ronda Reynolds – have been filing opposing motions with the coroner as he finalizes details about what will happen at the October inquest.

Thompson’s attorney has stated the men should be compelled to take the witness stand, where they could still choose to invoke the privilege against self-incrimination. But McLeod in his order said he isn’t going to make them do that.

Ronda Reynolds, 33, was found with a bullet in her head and covered by a turned-on electric blanket on the floor of a closet in the Toledo home she shared with her husband of less than a year, Ron Reynolds. He and his three sons – then 18, 17 and 10 – were present when the first sheriff’s deputy arrived the morning of Dec. 16, 1998.

Nobody has ever been charged with any crime related to the case.

While her death was initially ruled a suicide, it was changed back and forth between that and undetermined as it it was reinvestigated and then as it was the subject of a judicial review two years ago.

Coroner McLeod hopes the inquest will bring resolution to the case.

In his order McLeod writes that despite attorney Royce Ferguson’s  assertion the privilege against self incrimination shouldn’t apply in a non-criminal proceeding, case law says it does apply.

McLeod also noted the sons’ motions are similar to their father’s motion, which is similar to one a judge granted during the 2009 judicial review allowing Ron Reynolds not to testify then.

McLeod has decided if they did testify – and if the inquest determines the deceased died by homicide and names the person responsible which could conceivably occur, he would expect prosecutors to dissect their answers looking for guilt.

“Thus, I find it reasonably likely that the Reynolds testimony might be used in evidence in subsequent criminal proceedings against any or all of them,” McLeod wrote.

Coroner McLeod will instruct the jurors the Reynolds have asserted the privilege against self incrimination and no adverse inference should be drawn based upon their exercise of their constitutional right.

In a separate decision yesterday, McLeod noted the inquest jury will consider all possible manners of death.

Ferguson had objected to the label of suicide being one of the options the inquest jury may choose from, citing a ruling in the judicial review civil case in which the previous coroner was ordered to remove suicide from the death certificate .

The inquest is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10.
•••

For more details about McLeod’s decision, download and read his order, here
•••

Read most recent news story on the inquest, here

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Read about bomb squad called to Rochester …

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that a Rochester woman said she can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her after a possible explosive device was found in her vehicle’s gas tank this this morning.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski wrote today that bomb squad technicians investigated.

For more, read “Explosive device left in Rochester car prompts inquiry” from The Olympian on Tuesday Sept. 27,  2011, here

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Rail lines now under continuous scrutiny after tampering

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

BNSF Railway is continuing to inspect its rail line “around the clock” after the discovery yesterday of tampering in between Vancouver, Wash. and Chehalis.

“We’re looking at all aspects, all components of our railroad structures and bridges,” BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said at mid-day.

They are keeping on eye on the north to south tracks affected yesterday as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest, Melonas said.

Freight and passenger train traffic was shut down after the first incident was reported about 11 a.m. yesterday at the Longview Junction, according to Melonas.

The tracks were reopened in the early afternoon after inspections.

BNSF is being vague about the nature of the tampering; Melonas wouldn’t say if it caused any equipment malfunctions.

He did say there have been no interruptions of service since they reopened.

The tracks carry about 50 trains daily, 10 of which are Amtrak passenger trains.

The freight trains carry all manner of loads, including hazardous materials “from A to Z,” Melonas said, although he was quick to point out no related fatalities have occurred since 1981.

The railway police are working with outside agencies to ensure the safe movement of trains, he said.

Chehalis and Napavine police said they have had no dealings in their cities with BNSF about the issues, but yesterday about 1 p.m., Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams assisted them in processing some evidence at the north end of town, Williams said.

Williams declined to elaborate in part because he was only helping with another agency’s investigation.

Melonas declined to say if BNSF was also working with Homeland Security, only saying it’s not uncommon for them to work with local and national agencies.

“We’re not speculating at this point,” he said as to whether the tampering might be related to the dispute the Longview longshoreman are involved with.

BNSF is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction. Melonas said details can be left at BNSF’s crime line at 1-800-832-5452.

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News brief: Suspicious fire starts inside Napavine residence

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called about 10:10 a.m. today to a mobile home fire in Napavine extinguished it quickly but found signs it was intentionally set, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

Fire Chief Eric Linn said nobody was home when crews arrived but heavy smoke was coming from all ends of the mobile home.

Firefighters put out flames in a couple of the bedrooms and subsequently found three separate areas inside where the fire started and a petroleum-type container, Linn said.

The family – with children – who live there are on their way to the residence now, Linn said.

The single-wide sits in a mobile home park on Forest Lane, off Forest-Napavine Road, according to Linn.

A fire investigator and sheriff’s detectives are examining the scene, he said.

Crews from Fire Districts in Winlock and rural Chehalis assisted, and they managed to save about 80 percent of the home, he said.

Linn said it appeared at least one pet perished, a hamster-type animal.

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Convicted Lewis County murderer died from heart problem and/or plastic bag over head

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Law enforcement concluded their investigation into the prison death of a former Lewis County man deciding it was a suicide.

Daniel W. Johnson, 54, was found dead in his cell with a plastic bag over his head at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen in July.

Johnson began his prison sentence in 1993, convicted of murder after a man and a woman were found stabbed to death in a home on Elk Creek Road near Doty. The victims were the resident, Paul Pilz, and his friend Eleanor Warden.

The Grays Harbor County coroner concluded the manner of death was undetermined, finding possible asphyxia and an irregular heartbeat, but the sheriff’s office said today they found several reasons to label it suicide.

Johnson had no defensive wounds, and according to his parents had mental issues and had tried to commit suicide before, Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office detective Sgt. Steven Shumate said.

“It’s a combination of a number of things, we’re very confident it’s a suicide and not a homicide,” Shumate said.

When Johnson was found by his cell mate the morning of July 27, he also had a cord around his neck, but no ligature marks from it, Shumate said.

Shumate said detectives learned Johnson rarely left his cell, and had collected some plastic bags even though the prison had stopped using them some time ago. It was a thin bag that was not secured around his neck, Shumate said.

Correspondence between Johnson and a relative of one of his victims also were looked at, Shumate said.

Johnson was serving a 27-year sentence following the December 1991 deaths in West Lewis County.

Johnson, then 34, had just been released from psychiatric treatment days earlier, and had a five-year psychiatric history, according to court documents.

Coroner Dan Burns said there was nothing to indicate homicide, but the cause of death was arrhythmia – even  though there was no disease that would explain it – and a significant condition was the asphyxiation due to the plastic bag.

•••

Read previous story from Saturday July 30, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

ROLLOVER CRASH ON PEARL STREET BRIDGE

• A 67-year-old Tenino man escaped serious injuries when he swerved to miss either a possum or a cat and rolled his car on the bridge at the 1200 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia last night. Aid and police called about 11:35 p.m. found the Mitsubishi Mirage on its top but the driver had only minor injuries, according to Centralia police. He didn’t hit the animal and was not cited, police said.

SMASH AND GRAB

• Centralia police were called twice yesterday to vehicle prowls in which somebody broke out a side window to get inside. From the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue a purse was stolen and about two hours later a report was taken about a radar detector missing from a vehicle on the 1800 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR SPRAY PAINTED

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to the 1400 block of Southwest Kelly Avenue where someone had spray painted the word “druggy” on a car during the night, with purple paint.

RED CROSS VAN TAMPERED WITH

• Somebody damaged a Red Cross van on the 1800 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis apparently trying to siphon gas from it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

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Read about homicide investigation in Elbe …

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 9:40 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Elbe-area man was arrested overnight after he reportedly walked into a fire station and said he fatally shot another man on his property and hid the body, according to The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

Reporter Stacey Mulick writes detectives believe the victim is the suspect’s daughter’s boyfriend.

Read Mulick’s news item, here

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Read about murder charge for Centralia mother of baby boy …

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the Centralia mother of the 4-month-old  who died on Saturday has been charged with second-degree murder, with aggravating circumstances.

Rachel Bryan, 20, was arrested last week and her baby taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with head injuries.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that four days before the infant was hurt, Child Protective Services began investigating if she was a fit mother.

Read Pawloski’s story here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

POLICE: CHILD CARRIED OUTSIDE BY NECK, BY BABYSITTER

• A 42-year-old Rochester man was arrested for second-degree assault after he allegedly picked a 10-year-old girl up by the neck – causing her to black out – and put her outside in the rain yesterday morning in Centralia. Christopher L. Dodson was babysitting her and other children on the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road, according to the Centralia Police Department. Centralia Officer John Panco said the children were apparently being too loud and the girl argued about having to go outdoors. Panco said she fell limp to the ground, but regained consciousness and went back inside. A neighbor saw part of it and called police, he said. She was taken to the hospital to be checked but is doing okay, Panco said. Dodson was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

CENTRALIA WOMAN STRUCK BY CAR

• A 22-year-old Centralia woman was hospitalized after being hit by a car this morning on the 1200 block of Mellen Street near Borthwick Street. Police were called just before 6:40 a.m. to the accident involving a 37-year-old male driver from Centralia. The victim complained of head, neck and shoulder injuries which police described as minor and the fire department described as necessitating care by a paramedic instead of an EMT. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital. A police department spokesperson had no information on details of what happened or if the driver was cited.

THEFT

• A deputy was called Sunday to the golf course on Newaukum Golf Drive in Chehalis where someone overnight had stolen a golf cart from the pro shop. It was found submerged in a pond on the grounds, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy took a report yesterday from the 100 block of Meadowbrook Lane in Randle of the theft of 70 to 80 hydrochodone tablets. A potential suspect has been identified as a friend of a relative who had visited, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called just after noontime yesterday to a report of  burglary on the 700 block of Yew Street. A number of items including jewelry and DVs had been stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called at 9 a.m. on Saturday to the 1100 block of Elm Street in Centralia about an attempted burglary. An alarm may have scared the intruder away as a sliding glass door was found open and several items were found stacked outside the home, according to police.

• A 1992 Buick LaSabre was reported stolen from the 4900 block of state Route 6 on Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported today. The victim said it was in her driveway about 10 p.m. on Thursday. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the keys had been left on the floorboard and the car doesn’t lock. The car has a license plate of 030 TIZ.

• A bank bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash was reported stolen from an unlocked car on the 300 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning.

• Chehalis police were called about 5:40 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Northwest State Avenue where someone was seen trying to break out the window of a vehicle. A 17-year-old Centralia boy was subsequently arrested for attempted vehicle prowl, according to police.

• A $600 metal detector as taken from a Salkum man’s truck parked at the Tacoma City Light parking lot on the 100 block of Beach Road at Mayfield Lake sometime between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday while its owner was fishing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VANDALISM

• A deputy took a report on Sunday of vandalism to a gate belonging to Port Blakely Tree Farms on the 900 block of Falls Road southeast of Glenoma. The damage is estimated at $2,000,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

• Chehalis police were called about 11 p.m. on Friday to Southwest Gails Avenue to a report someone had just thrown a can of paint onto a car parked in a driveway. The victim was able to wash it off and had removed most of it by the time an officer arrived, according to police.

POSSIBLE SEXUAL ASSAULT

• Centralia police are investigating a report from a young woman in her early 20s who on Saturday told police she had passed out the night before at a party on the 3000 block of Russell Road and woke up with no clothes on. She didn’t remember much as she had been drinking, according to Centralia police.

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Woman who leapt from van on I-5 identified as Jamie Jacaway

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Updated 5:44 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The woman who died after she jumped from a moving vehicle on Interstate 5 in Centralia on Friday night has been named as Jamie M. Jacaway, 27, of Chehalis.

Jacaway had been at the Grace Foursquare Church in Centralia and asked for a ride from someone there who was heading to Chehalis, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Robert Hicks offered and they got on the freeway at Harrison Avenue, and as they reached about milepost 80 traveling at ordinary freeway speed, Jacaway opened the passenger door and jumped out, according to the state patrol.

Hicks stopped immediately and no foul play is suspected, Trooper Ryan Tanner said.

Jacaway had ended up at the church on Borst Avenue as she had caught a ride with someone heading to a program there; she was trying to get to the women’s shelter.

Tammy Carr, director of the Friday night 12-step recovery event that was under way, said Jacaway was acting erratic and clearly not doing well. They tried to get her help, tried to get her to eat, but to no avail, Carr said. They attempted to get her to stay for the 12-step meeting but she didn’t want to come in, Carr said.

The finally called police about 7:15 p.m.

Carr said Jacaway had left and came back, and then kept trying to flag down people outside, stepping into the road.

“We knew we couldn’t keep her here, we were afraid she would get hurt, or something horrible would happen,” Carr said.

By the time an officer arrived, she had left in the van, according to police.

By about 7:50 p.m., police learned of the fatality on southbound Interstate 5.

Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Jim Rich said this afternoon he’s met Jacaway several times on the job.

“Most of the calls where I dealt with her on patrol were from concerned passersby or neighbors, asking please take a look and check on this woman,” Rich said.

She’s been in the community for quite some time.

“We’ve tried to hep her, and connect her with various agencies,” he said. “I wouldn’t even try to guess what the cause of it all was.”

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office is working with her mother and father who are making funeral arrangements, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris.