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Salkum triple murder: Victims cry, defendant lashes out at sentence hearing

Friday, December 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm
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Denise Salts, left, has a victim's advocate read her statement to the court during John A. Booth's sentencing on Friday in Lewis County Superior Court. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

This was updated at 3:23 p.m. and 7:22 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Convicted triple murderer John Booth Jr. turned toward the packed courtroom benches this morning after he was sentenced to life in prison and loudly, clearly stated: “Fuck you.”

It wasn’t clear who he was specifically addressing, but he had just listened to victims and their families for some 20 minutes tell the court he was a loser who should never again see the light of day.

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David "D.J." West Jr.

Because Booth’s conviction yesterday gave him a “third strike”, the mandatory sentence he got today was life in prison with no chance for release.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey told the courtroom the slayings were among the most gruesome in modern Lewis County history.

“Your conduct was vicious,” Brosey said.

“If there’s a case that justifies the death penalty in Lewis County, this would have been it,” the judge said.

Three jail guards sat directly behind Booth, with at least two more in the room along with a large number of sheriff’s deputies.

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David West Sr.

The 32-year-old former Onalaskan was found guilty by a jury yesterday on all counts: first-degree murder for the deaths of 16-year-old David “D.J.” West Jr. and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle. He was also convicted of second-degree murder for David West Sr., 52, and the attempted murder of Denise R. Salts, 52, as well as attempted extortion and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Booth denied even being present when the four were shot in their heads, but the jury took less than two hours to make its decision.

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Tony Williams

Two people who survived the events of Aug. 21, 2010 inside the Salkum-Onalaska area home addressed the court before Booth was sentenced.

John Lindberg held a blue bandana-handkerchief in his hand as he came forward to speak.

He thanked the offices of the sheriff and prosecutor and apologized to the court for the profanity he repeated when he testified.

“I’d just like to say to Mr. Booth, thank you for not killing me,” Lindberg said.

The 59-year-old plumber hid in a back room in the house during the shootings.

Lindberg shared the prayer he says every morning and night: “I pray he should never see the light of day again,” he said. “For as long as you are on God’s green earth.”

Denise Salts sat with a victim’s advocate who read her statement.

Salts had written it’s her turn to smile, “you’re the loser now.”

“There’s an angry part of me that wants to curse, swear and yell at you,” the advocate read. But then she thinks of Dave, D.J. and Tony, she said.

Tony William’s brother’s girlfriend, who did not give her name, said she believed Williams laid down his life for a friend that night. She spoke of the man, whose 13-year-old son and brother sat in the audience listening.

“Tony was our brother and best friend and some killer took him away from his family,” she said.

Jessica Porter conveyed her anger directly to the defendant, in an exchange not everyone in the courtroom could hear but continued until the judge asked her to address him.

“You took my brother, my dad, and you still sit here smirking and smiling,” Porter said to Booth. “And what did you get out of that? Nothing.”

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Jessica Porter, left, addresses the court with her mother Jodi Porter by her side. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

David “D.J.” West Jr.’s mother, Jodi Porter, spoke just a few words.

“Life in prison is too good for you,” she said. “Not that it matters to you, but you will meet your maker.”

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher and Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead had argued to jurors Booth and his former cell mate Ryan McCarthy visited the Wings Way house because they were “taxing” West Sr. on behalf of Lewis County drug dealer Robbie Russell.

The prosecutors contended when West Sr. brought out a shotgun to get them to leave, Booth shot him with a 9 mm handgun. The shootings that followed were executions to eliminate witnesses, prosecutors argued.

Meagher gave his sentencing recommendation to the judge.

“I guess as we say, strike one, strike two and, my gosh, strike three, four, five and six,” Meagher said. “This man needs to be sent to prison without the possibility of release.”

Port Orchard-based defense attorney Roger Hunko agreed the life without parole was the sentence the judge would impose.

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John Booth Jr. listens to proceedings, seated next to his lawyer Roger Hunko. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

When Judge Brosey gave Booth his opportunity to speak, Booth just said: “How about some probation?”

“For what,” the judge asked.

“Probably for when you kick me loose,” Booth replied.

The judge moved on.

When the judge imposed the sentence, he told Booth he didn’t think anyone in the courtroom, with the exception of Booth, believed a word of his testimony.

Brosey called Booth’s actions senseless.

He told Booth he could expect his first year in Walla Walla at the state penitentiary to be locked up alone in a cell the size of the judge’s bench and then remain in prison for the rest of his life.

That’s what you deserve, Brosey said.

Booth refused to sign his judgement and sentence document.

The judge held Booth in contempt and threatened to take away his credit for 478 days he’s already served. Brosey also suggested guards should help him affix his fingerprints to the document down in the jail instead of in the courtroom.

When the judge was finished, Booth asked: “Do I get to say anything?”

“You’ve said all you’re gonna say,” Brosey said.

By then, a line of seven law enforcement officers had filled the aisle in between the rows of courtroom benches.

That’s when Booth turned to the audience and made his final statement: “F*** you.”

The outburst elicited at least one “Rot in hell” and several other remarks to the defendant.

Hunko filed a notice of appeal.

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Jail guards and sheriff's deputies keep close to John Booth Jr. and block a path towards audience members and the door. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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The courtroom on the top floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis is filled during the sentencing. / Photo by Sharyn L. Decker

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Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher consults with Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and sheriff's detective Bruce Kimsey. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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Tony Williams' brother Danny Williams and son Cody Williams listen to court proceedings. / Photo by Sharyn L. Decker

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John Lindberg addresses the court. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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Judge Richard Brosey presides over the murder case of John Allen Booth Jr. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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John Allen Booth Jr. is led out of the courtroom and back down to the jail. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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Clothing caught in a machine killed saw mill worker

Friday, December 16, 2011 at 8:00 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 20-year-old employee at Hampton Mill in Morton died Tuesday after his clothing got caught on his neck cutting oxygen off to his brain, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Dillan Davis, 20, of Randle, was last seen during a break between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday and was found on a conveyor fatally injured, according to authorities.

The state Department of Labor and Industries is investigating the death.

It happened at the saw mill on state Route 7 just north of town.

What time Davis was discovered or if he was working alone have not been released by authorities. Lewis County sheriff’s detectives were called to the scene about 11:15 a.m.

It was an accident, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said yesterday. An autopsy concluded Davis died from cerebral anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) secondary to external compression of his neck by clothing, McLeod said.

McLeod said the time of death on Davis’s death certificate is noted as 2:28 p.m., the time his deputy coroner “pronounced” Davis dead.

“It’s a shame, just a young kid,” McLeod said. “I don’t want to see this happen to anybody, but …”

The mill is owned by Portland, Ore.-based Hampton Affiliates.

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Breaking news: Triple-murder: Booth found guilty on all counts

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Updated at 6:56 p.m. and 7:24 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jurors took only two hours – over lunch – to decide John Allen Booth Jr. was guilty on all counts in his triple-murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court today.

Booth, 32, faces a sentence of life without the possibility of release under the state’s so-called three strikes law.

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John Allen Booth Jr.

The former Onalaskan was convicted of first-degree murders for the deaths of 16-year-old David “D.J.” West Jr. and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle. He was convicted of second-degree murder for David West Sr., 52, and the attempted murder of Denise R. Salts, 52.

All were shot in the head.

The shootings took place Aug. 21, 2010 inside the Salkum-area home where the Wests and Salts had lived less than a year.

Lewis County prosecutors described the shootings as attempts to eliminate witnesses after West Sr. brought out a shotgun which prompted Booth to shoot him with a 9 mm pistol. The visit by Booth and his former prison cell mate Ryan McCarthy was related to “taxing” West Sr. on behalf of drug dealer Robbie Russell, according to prosecutors.

The eight-man, four-woman jury also found Booth guilty of attempted extortion and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Booth stood quietly beside his lawyer facing the judge, hands in trouser pockets, as the court clerk read the verdict, his eye lids dropping for a slightly long blink when he heard the word guilty.

The jury found he committed the offenses with a firearm, which adds time to a sentence, as well as determining Booth displayed or demonstrated an egregious lack of remorse in the slayings of David Jr. and Williams.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher and Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead described those killings as executions.

The 6-foot-3 Booth leaned back, elbow on the defense table and turned his chair toward jurors as they were polled one by one on the verdict.

When it was over, he made the comment, “Vote for Barack Obama.” Nobody replied.

Afterward, outside the courtroom, Meagher said: “This victory goes to law enforcement.”

“They caught this guy after on a manhunt after a week,” Meagher said praising the detective work.

While jurors asked to confer with the attorneys when it was over, defense lawyer Roger Hunko left without speaking to them.

“I really don’t have anything to say,” Hunko said as he packed his files into his car’s trunk outside the courthouse. “It is what it is.”

His client already has two “strikes” so another serious felony means his sentence will be life without parole, Hunko said.

When Booth took the witness stand yesterday, he denied being at the house except for earlier in the evening when he visited to collect money for a pound of methamphetamine he said he had “fronted” West Sr.

He will be sentenced at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.

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Salkum triple homicide: Verdict reached in two hours

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jurors have a verdict in John Allen Booth’s triple murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

They left the courtroom to begin deliberations at noon and finished by 2 p.m.

Verdict details to come.

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John Allen Booth Jr. relaxes after the jury left the courtroom to begin deliberations

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Gunshot survivor Denise R. Salts, right, stands as the jury leaves the courtroom at noon today to begin deliberating.

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Salkum triple homicide: Booth Jr. denies shootings

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm
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John Booth Jr. addresses his answers toward the jury when testifying today in Lewis County Superior Court.

This was updated at 10:54 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – John Allen Booth Jr. took the witness stand in his own triple-murder trial and denied being present when four people were shot – three fatally – at 101 Wings Way in rural Lewis County on Aug. 21, 2010 .

Booth is expected to finish testifying when court resumes after lunch.

The 32-year-old former Onalaska resident, under questioning, told a story of “fronting” a pound of methamphetamine to David West Sr. sometime in July of that year and  returning repeatedly to West Sr.’s house to finish collecting on the debt.

On the evening before the 21st, Booth said, West Sr. didn’t have the agreed upon payment.

“I said, ‘how about if I leave my buddy here with you, and as soon as you give me my money, he’ll take off,” Booth testified.

Booth said he had other business to tend to and left the Salkum-Onalaska area home. He said he never went back.

He refused to name the “buddy” who he said came to visit him the following day.

Booth is charged with first- and second-degree murder, attempted murder, attempted extortion and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with shootings. His former cell mate, 30-year-old Ryan McCarthy, has been sent to prison for 14 years after a plea agreement, where he did not admit guilt but acknowledged he was present.

While the trial in Lewis County Superior Court began a week ago Monday, defense attorney Roger Hunko postponed his opening statements until this morning.

They lasted 15 minutes and most of the seats in the courtroom filled up after he announced he had only two witnesses: his private investigator and his client.

The investigator, John Wickert, testified he interviewed John Lindberg, the witness who said he hid out in a back room as gunfire broke out that night in the house shared by West Sr., his longtime girlfriend Denise Salts, and 16-year-old David West Jr.

Lindberg told him West Sr. had received approximately one pound of meth a week earlier from a Hispanic gentleman, Wickert testified.

Booth took the witness stand for some 45 minutes today explaining through his lawyer’s questioning how he sold West Sr. a pound of meth for $14,000 – because of the quality – and when he returned a week later for his money, got only $5,000 of it.

“We figured out a payment plan of $1,000 a week,” Booth said.

Booth said he drove to West Sr.’s house the evening of Aug. 20, because West Sr. had called and said he’d have his money. But he didn’t, Booth said.

“Then we had a discussion, he was gonna have my money later that night,” Booth testified. “He informed me he was gonna be there all night.”

So Booth left his “buddy” at the house, he said. And he was somewhere in Rochester near the casino when he got a call from his friend, he said.

He called another friend “Dee” Draper to pick up the “buddy” and then called someone else to get him from Draper’s house, he said. Devonna Draper, owner of Onalaska’s All In Restaurant and Lounge, previously testified she got such a phone call sometime after her bar closed that night.

The next morning, Booth said, he was at his shop when the buddy came to pick up his car.

“Did he give you a rundown of what happened?” Hunko asked.

“Yes,” Booth replied.

Booth said he took the gun – “I didn’t want him to get pulled over with a ‘burner’ on him” – and sprayed it down with WD-40.

He said he began getting phone calls and hearing the police were looking for him and Robbie Russell on a shooting of West Sr. So he left town, he said.

“I’m a criminal, I’m not gonna sit around,” Booth testified. “I jumped in my car and took off.”

When asked, he matter-of-factly listed off his past convictions; related to burglary, possession of a stolen firearm and assaults, plus intimidating a witness.

“Do you know personally, do you have knowledge of what happened at the house at 101 Wings Way?” Hunko asked.

“I was not there,” Booth said.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher cross-examined Booth, beginning by asking about alibi witnesses.

“In my line of work, you don’t really have that,” Booth said.

“You’re armed a lot,” Meagher said.

“Every day,” Booth replied.

Meagher asked numerous questions, and in many cases, Booth was direct in his responses. He showed a photo of a gun, which Booth said yes he wiped off, but no, it was not his.

“Where do you get your meth?” the prosecutor asked.

“Random Mexicans,” Booth said.

Meagher inquired about Booth leaving McCarthy at the Wings Way house.

“I didn’t say that,” Booth said. “I said I left my buddy there.”

“Who’s your buddy?” Meagher asked.

“I cannot currently recall,” Booth said. “I will not currently recall.”

Booth finally offered it was “Joe Nameless.”

“So you refuse to tell your alibi witness?” Meager asked.

“Yes,” Booth said.

And the questioning continued.

“In your business, what happens when people don’t pay their debts?” Meagher asked.

“That doesn’t happen,” Booth replied.

Meagher in his questioning began to recount how West Sr. came at Booth with a shot gun and that Booth opened fire.

“I understand what you’re saying, but no, I did not,” Booth said.

As Meagher recited what other witnesses had said, Booth generally sat back in the witness chair, but leaned forward toward the microphone to respond with short answers such as “That’s not right” and “I was not there.”

Then Meager related the series of events which followed, his questions coming faster and louder, accusing Booth of shooting West Sr., Tony Williams, David West Jr. and Salts.

“And you forgot about Lindberg,” Meager said.

Finally, somewhat sarcastically, Meager asked: “Did you shoot anybody else that night?”

“Thinkin ’bout shooting you,” Booth replied.

That’s when the judge said it was time to break for lunch.

On Aug. 21, 2010 when deputies and aid arrived to the home on Wings Way after an approximately 2 a.m. report of gunshots and a shooting, they found Salts, 51, alive but seriously wounded with a gunshot to her face.

They found three others in the house dead of gunshots to the head; West Sr. 52; David Jr. and Williams, 50, of Randle.

Judge Richard Brosey told jurors to expect to hear closing statements tomorrow beginning 9 a.m.

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Breaking news: Train car derails in north Centralia

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

Updated at 9 a.m. and 6:25 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are asking motorists to stay out of the area of North Central Boulevard in Centralia after a train derailment this morning.

The fire department and police were called just before 8 a.m. to the 1800 block in the Logan District, according to Lewis County Centralia Dispatch.

A fully-loaded tanker containing methanol has tipped onto its side and other rail cars are leaning, a dispatcher said.

It doesn’t appear to be leaking, he said.

Residents are being told to stay inside but no evacuations are taking place, he said.

Motorists are advised to steer clear of the area.

Riverside Fire Authority Chief Jim Walkowski said at 9 a.m. the material – a type of alcohol – is still in its container and is more of a flammability concern than anything else.

One business adjacent to the incident was evacuated and residents were told to avoid the area unless they were already inside their homes, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Shortly before 2:30 p.m., crews were able to upright the three rail cars, police Cmdr. Jim Rich said in a news release.

Area residents were advised it was safe to come and go, according to Rich. No injuries were reported.

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Randle resident dies in saw mill accident

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

This was updated at 9:01 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 20-year-old worker was killed yesterday in an accident at Hampton’s lumber mill in Morton.

Authorities are investigating.

Sheriff’s detectives were called about 11:15 a.m. to the saw mill on state Route 7 just north of town.

He was working on machinery when he died, and had last been seen on a break between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Sheriff’s Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

Hampton Affiliates, based in Portland, Ore., identified the employee yesterday as Dillan Davis, 20, of Randle.

“No words can express our sorrow to the family of Dillan and his friends throughout the Cowlitz Valley,” Steve Zika, CEO of Hampton Affiliates said in a news release.

The mill has been shut down until further notice, according to Zika.

Investigators from Labor and Industries are looking into the death to determine what happened, according to an agency spokesperson.

“We have begun an investigation, but at the moment all we know is that the worker was found on a conveyor fatally injured,” spokesperson Hector Castro said this morning

Castro said it was his understanding the young man has worked at the mill since October, and was employed at its Randle facility since last year.

An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.

The Lewis County mill is among eight owned by Hampton Affiliates in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm

DRUGS

• A 19-year-old Tumwater man was arrested for alleged drug dealing after he called police yesterday to report he’d been ripped off, according to Centralia Police Department. Kamron C. Cook, 19, contacted police about 1:35 p.m. yesterday in connection with a theft connected with the 3000 block of Borst Avenue according to police. Cook told police he met with an individual to sell a portion of his medical marijuana, saying he only needs half of what he gets and he sells the other half to make money. Police say Cook showed officers the marijuana he retained for himself as well as his scale and packaging materials and then was surprised to learn it is illegal to sell marijuana. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession with intent to deliver, according to the Centralia Police Department. Details about exactly what was stolen were not readily available.

• The Washington State Patrol reported yesterday a pair of cousins from Winlock and Chehalis were arrested after a traffic stop in which suitcases containing approximately six pounds of marijuana were found in the trunk of their car. It happened about 10:15 a.m. last Thursday on Interstate 5 near LaBree Road, according to the state patrol. A drug detection dog found the drugs in the 1994 Ford Mustang, the state patrol reported. Gregory S. Carlile, 28, of Chehalis and Jonathan M. Carlile, 39, of Winlock, were booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver according to the state patrol.

• Centralia police reported yesterday they arrested a 27-year-old Centralia woman for possession of methamphetamine and a warrant the night before at Johnson Road and Harrison Avenue. Samantha J. Tanori, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Robert P. Penfield, 56, of Centralia, was arrested Saturday evening for an outstanding warrant after police got information he was at a motel on Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis. He was also in possession of a back tar-like substance and was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THEFT

• A 59-year-old Elbe resident called the sheriff’s office on Monday after he discovered a pair of strangers had been living on his property outside Morton, cutting up an old truck and selling scrap from the property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office. Among the items missing or damaged were six radiators, a transmission, a tire repair machine, a six-cylinder engine and wrought iron fencing, according to the sheriff’s office. William G. Hodges, 48, of Gold Bar was arrested and booked for burglary and theft for the goings-on at the 5700 block of state Route 508, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Hodges’ 33-year-old friend, also from Gold Bar, had left, but will be referred for charges on similar offenses, Brown said.

• A 9 mm Smith and Wesson pistol and a .22 caliber Springfield rifle were among the items stolen in a burglary on the 600 block of Chilvers Road outside Chehalis, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office last Friday. Also taken sometime since Monday were silver coin and binoculars, the sheriff’s office said.

• Some $5,000 of unspecified logging equipment was reported stolen sometime over the weekend of December 3  from a logging site near the 800 block of Deep Creek Road outside Chehalis, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday.

• Chehalis police said yesterday an officer took a report on Friday of a Stihl chainsaw stolen from the 400 block of Northwest Park Street.

• Centralia police took two reports of stereos stolen in car prowls on Sunday; one on the 200 block of West Hanson Street and later on the 2800 block of Russell Road.

• A 19-year-old Centralia man allegedly fought with security after he tried to shoplift from a business on the 500 block of South Tower in Centralia yesterday evening and was arrested, according to the Centralia Police Department. Joseph K. Aldrich was booked into the Lewis County Jail for robbery, police reported.

WRECKS FROM DEER AND OTHER THINGS

• A 29-year-old Centralia driver swerved to miss a deer on the 1300 block of West Reynolds Avenue in Centralia and broke a power pole and totaled their 2003 Dodge Dakota, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened about 2:45 a.m. on Monday. Injuries were not life-threatening to the driver, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 22-year-old Castle Rock man as cited for driving under the influence after he totaled his 1996 Toyota Corolla when rolling it on the 300 block of Meier Road about 12:35 a.m. yesterday, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with minor injuries described as cuts, the sheriff’s office said.

• A 59-year-old Longview man said he swerved to miss a deer  and hit a tree on the 400 block of Russell Road in Winlock on Sunday morning, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was cited for driving under the influence.

• A 55-year-old Lewis County employee said he swerved to miss a deer on Friday afternoon when the dump truck he was driving along Highway 603 in Winlock damaged about 30 feet of barbed wire fence and the truck, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

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Salkum triple homicide: John Booth Jr., Robbie Russell and extortion

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm
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Jessica Porter testifies about her brother D.J. and father David West Sr. during during their murder trial. / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

This was updated at 8:21 a.m. on Tuesday December 13, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The prosecution painted with broad strokes a picture of John A. Booth Jr. working as a “collector” of money for Robbie Russell in the local drug world.

Testimony in today’s proceedings in Booth’s triple murder trial in Chehalis included some who described Booth as a quiet, but large, guy who accompanied Robbie Russell when Russell was shaking people down for cash, although one older gentleman who took the witness stand said the former Onalaskan came across as a “nice kid” and a bragger.

Booth, 32, is charged with attempted extortion as well as murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the August 21, 2010 fatal shootings in the Salkum-Onalaska area.

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office argued in opening statements the deaths involved getting rid of witnesses after gunfire erupted when David West Sr. brought out a shotgun to chase off Booth and his former cell mate Ryan McCarthy who had showed up at his home to “tax” him.

When it was over, West Sr.’s unfired shotgun lay beside his body, and 16-year-old David West Jr. and a friend Tony Williams were dead as well. West Sr.’s longtime girlfriend Denise Salts survived a gunshot.

Booth’s trial in Lewis County Superior Court is in its second week.

Russell, 48, has never been charged in the case.

Last December, when Russell was sent to prison for six years for unrelated crimes, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said Russell was still a “person of interest” and they’d looked into links, but he didn’t have any evidence Russell was involved in the slayings.

Raymond Haskins, who lives in Yelm, testified today that in February 2010, Russell brought Booth with him when he came to talk to him about $2,100 Haskins owed Russell for the purchase of some methamphetamine.

Were you intimidated? Deputy Prosecutor Meagher asked.

“He introduced himself, we shook hands,” Haskins said. “He’s a pretty big guy. Anything I would have thought after that would be an assumption.”

Haskins spoke of a later debt to Russell of $20,000 and a visit to his house by Booth on August 10, 2010, he said was brokered by McCarthy.

Haskins said he invited them, as he figured Booth, who he referred to as “Six”, would most likely being trying to collect.

He was more concerned about Booth coming over than Russell, he said, because “he’s … uh, a bigger guy.”

Russell had been arrested in April for possession of stolen property – belonging to Haskin’s father – and Russell blamed  him for his arrest, Haskins testified.

“Robbie had determined I was responsible for his bail, and other charges I would owe,” Haskins said.

Haskins testified he wanted to give his side of the story to Booth, who would relay it to Russell.

The agreement, arranged ahead of of the visit, was, on that day, “no action would be taken,” he said.

However, during that visit, no threats were made, Haskins agreed when queried by Booth’s lawyer.

Another witness who took the stand today spoke of a time that summer when Booth approached him telling him “basically my son owed him money and said I could pay it if I wanted.”

Linn Perry relayed that Booth bragged about why he had the nickname “Six”, saying he’d been shot six times and  once shot a guy for $5.

Perry said he didn’t take it as a real threat, although he showed Booth his knife and threatened him to stay away from his son.

“He seemed like a nice kid and everybody always has a rough front to them,” Perry said. “That’s all I really thought.”

Deputy Prosecutor Meagher also called a witness who said she hung out with McCarthy and Booth in Onalaska about a week before the shootings.

They met while traveling down Interstate 5 from Olympia, conversing through open car windows on a hot summer day, La Shawna Wolfe said.

Wolfe, 32, said she is from Onalaska.

Wolfe got in their car and they stopped at Brenda’s Market and then spent some time at the All-in Tavern in Onalaska, she testified.

They said they had 9 to 5 jobs but were down her on their “other job,” Wolfe said.

“Did they say they were taxing people that evening?” Meagher asked.

“They were on business, yeah,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe testified she opened the glove box and saw a silver pistol.

The three of them drove to West Sr.’s home off Gore Road and she sat with McCarthy while Booth went inside, she said.

“They were talking about this gentleman owning a Harley and not all the debt being satisfied,” she said.

Another witness was Robert Downing, who said he’d known West Sr. for some 30 years.

Downing said he met with West Sr. at the Wings Way home on Aug. 20, 2010 at around 8:30 p.m.

He testified West Sr. needed money ‘really bad” and offered to sell for $1,000 a boat he’d purchased two months earlier for $6,500.

“I told him if he needed to do it, I’d go ahead and do it,” Downing said.

Downing said he left the house around 10:30 p.m. or 11 o’clock, some 15 minutes or so after John Lindberg arrived.

Twenty-three-year-old Jessica Porter was among the last of the witnesses to take the stand on Monday.

David “D.J.” West Jr. was her brother and West Sr. was her father.

Porter, her two young children and her boyfriend Shane Reynolds were visiting the Wings Way residence from their home in Klickitat County on August 8 of last year when Robbie Russell, Booth and McCarthy showed up at her dad’s house, she testified.

The family had just returned from boating; it was only the second day of the visit, she said.

Booth sat on the couch, asked DJ about her children, she said.

Reynolds testified as well. He said West Sr. and Russell went into the bedroom used as an office for about a half an hour.

Then Russell came out winked at Booth, and Booth jumped up and followed him out, he said.

When West Sr. emerged, he was scared, Reynolds said.

“I asked, ‘what’s up’?” Reynolds testified.

West Sr. said he’d given Russell $1,000, he said.

Deputy Prosecutor Meagher asked Porter how her father appeared.

“He just told us we needed to go home, he wanted us to go right then,” Porter said.

Booth is represented by Port Orchard attorney Roger Hunko. Testimony is scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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John A. Booth Jr. in Lewis County Superior Court / Courtesy photo by Bradd Reynolds

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Read about methadone deaths, cost cutting and controversy …

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 9:32 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports hundreds of people die each year and more often than any others, the poor pay the price as the state cuts costs by steering patients to an inexpensive narcotic painkiller it insists is safe.

Two Seattle Times reporters write about accidental overdoes of methadone, a drug often prescribed for chronic pain which is described as cheap and also unpredictable.

The Seattle Times comprehensive Sunday story focuses in on a “preferred” drug list that took effect in 2004 for doctors prescribing to those covered under injured workers claims, state workers and Medicaid.

That was the same year complaints began about Toledo’s Dr. Lance Christansen, whose license was taken away over a string of patient deaths primarily attributed by authorities to over-prescribing methadone.

In May, June, August and September of that year, four Lewis County residents died from accidental overdoses of methadone.

Among those who raised alarms about Christiansen, was the state Department of Labor and Industries, sparked by a call from the Lewis County Coroner’s Office about suspicious deaths.

In one of those deaths, the state alleged Christiansen prescribed five to 10 times the appropriate amount.
•••

Read The Seattle Times story “State pushes drug that saves money, costs lives” from Sunday December 11, 2011, here

Read “Toledo doctor was working on ‘new’ therapy” from June 18, 2005  in The (Centralia) Chronicle, here. (Readers must pay to read unless they subscribe)

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm

CENTRALIA HOUSE CATCHES FIRE

• Firefighters were greeted by heavy flames and a large column of smoke when called to a house fire just before 8 o’clock this morning at the 400 block of North Buckner Street in Centralia. The occupants had evacuated and crews were able to make a pretty quick knockdown on the outside before the entering the home, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Casey McCarthy said. It apparently had been burning for a little while, McCarthy said. He described the damage as extensive on the backside exterior of the single-story wood-frame house. The cause is under investigation, McCarthy said. No injuries were reported. Update 10 a.m. Sunday December 11, 2010: Centralia police report the fire appears to have been caused by a generator being operated on the back porch.

NAPAVINE-AREA MOBILE HOME FIRE

• A mobile home fire west of Napavine yesterday displaced a family but no injuries were reported. Lewis County Fire District 5 was called about 11:30 a.m. to Peaceful Lane where a woman had returned home and noticed smoke, according to Fire Lt. Laura Hanson. The fire was confined to a bedroom but there was also smoke damage, Hanson said. The family won’t be able to stay there, she said.

DRUGS

• A former longtime worker at Maple Lane juvenile detention facility for boys in in Grand Mound was arrested in Centralia last night with suspected methamphetamine in his coat pocket. Gary A. Lohr, 65, said it wasn’t his coat, according to the Centralia Police Department. It happened around 8 p.m. on the 400 block of North Buckner Street, according to police. An officer observed Lohr driving a vehicle with expired license tabs and Lohr reportedly parked, got into a different vehicle and left, according to Centralia police. He was stopped and arrested for driving with a suspended license, and then for possession of methamphetamine, police reported. Lohr was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 36-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver early Thursday morning at the 500 block of Jackson Street in Centralia. Albert L. Brown was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Police were called yesterday morning about $400 getting stolen from a locker at a gym on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia.

• Police were called about a burglary at the 1000 block of Marsh Avenue in Centralia on Wednesday morning.

• Centralia police took a report on Thursday of a vehicle prowl at the 300 block of West Chestnut Street. It had occurred overnight and a CD player was missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report yesterday that someone spray painted a fence on the 100 block of East Roanoke Street.

• Gang-style graffiti was reported found on the back of a garage on the 300 block of South Diamond Street in Centralia on Thursday morning, according to police.

• Chehalis police were called Thursday morning to Southwest McFadden Avenue about graffiti on a garage.

• Police were called Wednesday morning to Washington Elementary School on the 800 block of Field Avenue in Centralia about graffiti that showed up on the walls of the school, according to the Centralia Police Department. It didn’t appear to be gang-related, police said.

WRECK

• A 19-year-old Chehalis driver escaped serious injury when she apparently hit some ice, ran into a ditch and rolled her car on the 400 block of Highway 603 near Chehalis, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday. It happened late Thursday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said. Her 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier was described as totaled.

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Salkum triple homicide: Gunshot survivor testifies

Friday, December 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm
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Denise R. Salts answers questions from Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Denise R. Salts was tentative with many of her answers on the witness stand today, but more certain on a three points.

Salts, 52, said she recalled hearing only one gunshot that night while she was outside watering her tomato plants.

She said she went in through her back door and saw Ryan McCarthy at the dining room table, her longtime boyfriend David West Sr. sitting on the floor and John A. Booth standing facing the living room with his arms crossed.

“I didn’t see him have a gun in his hand, but he is the one who shot me,” Salts said identifying Booth as the man sitting at the at the defense table.

Salts was the lone survivor when she and three others were shot at her Wings Way home near Salkum in August 2010.

The first week of Booth’s triple-murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court came to a close with a little more than an hour of her testimony.

Salts spent about 19 days at Madigan Hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound through her face, according to the doctor who treated her.

It was a small entry wound to the right of her nose, but the bullet fractured her jaw and other bones before exiting behind her left ear, according to Dr. Brian Chen.

As Salts was transported to the hospital on Aug. 21, 2010, her 52-year-old boyfriend, his 16-year-old son and a 50-year-old friend lay fatally wounded in her house, which was transformed into an active crime scene.

“She’s undoubtedly the strongest woman I’ve ever known,” her friend Pam Ferry said during an afternoon break in court proceedings. “And the fragile-ist at the same time.”

Ferry said she was referring to Salts’ strength to face Booth in court.

Ferry noted how much her friend’s life had changed.

“She gets frustrated, because she can’t remember things,” she said.

Salts said she lives in Randle now. She had lived at the Salkum-Onalaska area home less than a year when the homicides took place, she said.

That day, she said under questioning by Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher, she had gone to town and returned around 10 p.m.

Her friend John Lindberg showed up about a half hour later, she said. Tony Williams, 50, had come over around 7 p.m., she said.

She didn’t know Booth and McCarthy, except they had come to the house once before about two weeks earlier with Robbie Russell, she said.

She thought about five minutes elapsed from the time she went inside and before she was shot, she said.

“I see Dave, Dave was sitting down on the floor,” Salts said. “I knew something was wrong.”

She recalled Booth coming towards the back door and saying to her ‘are you gonna call the cops?’ she said.

She said she asked him to leave.

Under questioning by defense attorney Roger Hunko, Salts said she was near the refrigerator and Booth pushed her.

“I was coming through the door, I was right by the fridge, his arms were like this” she said crossing her arms, “And I got shot.”

When asked how close Booth was to her, she held her hands about two and half feet apart.

Salts testified that after Booth and McCarthy left, her boyfriend was alive. She lay on the floor for what felt like hours, she said.

“I tried to, I tried to move myself over to Dave,” she said. “I was too weak to go far.”

Yes, she had previously said she thought she had seen McCarthy with a gun, she said. And she told a deputy she thought he had a machete also, she testified.

Did she remember telling detective Bruce Kimsey she had been outside taking care of her goats and horses? Hunko asked her.

“I was not taking care of my goats and horses, I was watering my tomato plants,” Salts said. “The horses were chores the kids did.”

Do you recall when you talked with Kimsey, you said Booth said “how ya doing?” and then you got shot? Hunko asked her.

“I guess,” Salts said.

Do you recall how many shots you heard from outside? she was asked.

“One,” Salts replied.

Her friend Lindberg has previously testified that that night, West Sr. asked him if he had any money on him, money Lindberg was certain West Sr. was going to hand over to Booth.

Lindberg described he was two steps behind West Sr. after West Sr. grabbed a shotgun from his bedroom, walked down the hallway, cocked it, and aimed toward the dining room table, trying to get Booth and McCarthy to leave.

That’s when the shooting began and Lindberg fled to a back bedroom, which he later escaped from after the shooting ended, according to Lindberg.

Booth, 32, is charged with the attempted murder of Salts, second-degree murder of West Sr., first-degree murder of David “D.J. West Jr. and first-degree murder of Williams.

He is also charged with attempted extortion. Prosecutors allege he and McCarthy were “taxing” West and others on behalf of Robbie Russell.

McCarthy, 30, has been sent to prison for 14 years after a plea agreement, where he did not admit guilt.

Russell, early on named a person-of-interest in the triple homicide, was not charged in the case, but was sent to prison following unrelated convictions.

Testimony is scheduled to resume on Monday morning.

Also on the witness stand today were:

• Jennifer Dahlberg, a forensic scientist, who said she found DNA on a gun she was asked to test that came back positive for Booth.

• Shawna Trent Booth who was asked to identify a cell phone as her husband’s but said she couldn’t.

• Gregory Sage, who said he knows Booth as “Big Six” from working out at a gym testified that Booth phoned him in August 2010 and; “He said a guy pulled a shotgun on me and I had to drop him.”

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Salkum triple homicide: Bullets, blood and other evidence offer possible scenario

Friday, December 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm
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Diagram of crime scene at 101 Wings Way, in the Salkum-Onalaska area

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter


CHEHALIS – Those in the courtroom began to get more clues yesterday about what happened inside the Wings Way house when they heard testimony about where bullet holes, shell casings, three dead males and other items of evidence were found the morning of Aug. 21, 2010.

A 9 mm cartridge case lay on the living room floor and bullet fragments were discovered in various places, including a bedroom, another bedroom described as an office and on the living room floor.

The triple-murder trial of John A. Booth Jr. continued in Lewis County Superior Court with witnesses that included a forensic scientist and the doctor who conducted the autopsies.

Booth, 32, is charged with the fatal shootings in the Salkum-area home of David West Sr. 52, West’s 16-year-old son David West Jr. and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. He is also charged with attempted murder of West Sr.’s girlfriend, Denise Salts, then 51 years old.

Blood was found beneath the heads of each of the three who died, as well as on a coffee table, multiple places on the living room floor, a curio cabinet in the hallway and near door jambs of two bedrooms, according to forensic scientist Brianna Peterson’s testimony on Thursday. Peterson, who works for Washington State Patrol, helped collect evidence from the home.

The body of Tony Williams, 50, was found laying across the narrow hallway in between two bedrooms, Peterson said. He died of a gunshot into his right eye, inflicted at a fairly close range, according to Dr. Emmanuel Lacsina who also took the witness stand.

Lacsina said he conducted all three autopsies on Aug. 23, 2010.

David West Sr., 52, was mortally wounded by a gunshot in his head, but also sustained two “distant” gunshots; one in his abdomen and another in his left thigh, Lacsina said.

His body was found laying in roughly the same location in the living room where the day before, a witness had described he stood as he cocked his 12-gauge shotgun, according to testimony. The gun, with the hammer still cocked, lay on the floor beside him, Peterson said.

Photographs of the crime scene and diagrams were displayed on a large screen, as the witnesses shared information with the jurors.

Family members of one of the victims were present, but left the courtroom as photos of West Jr. were presented inside what has been described as a double-wide modular home.

West Jr.’s body was shown laying wedged in between the end of the couch and a coffee table close to the front door.

He was shot through the left cheek, but a second wound – which was fatal – was a “close range” gunshot to his head that exited under his right ear and was found lodged in his right arm, according to Dr. Lacsina.

Found in the small east bedroom, was a bloody sock and a cartridge case on the floor, as well as a bullet hole on the wall above the bed, according to Peterson.

Among the bullets recovered was one that penetrated the east dining room wall, Peterson testified.

Two metal fragments were found in the other bedroom – used as a computer room, as well as blood on the wall near its door, according to Peterson.

Peterson resumed her testimony this morning, when she spoke of what was found in the kitchen area, where Salts had been found alive in a pool of blood.

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News brief: Developmentally delayed Morton man to be civilly committed instead of going to trial for alleged attack

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County judge yesterday signed an order meaning Steven Moulton of Morton will likely be held indefinitely at Western State Hospital instead of going to trial for an alleged assault of an 8-year-old boy in a public restroom.

At the prosecutor’s request, Moulton was found incompetent to stand trial and the charges were dismissed, according to Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke.

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Steven R. Moulton, Lewis County Superior Court in December 2010

They will petition for Moulton to be civilly committed to the state hospital because he is a danger to the community, O’Rourke said.

Moulton is currently in the care of Western State, O’Rourke said.

The then-21-year-old was charged a year ago in connection with a summer 2010 incident in which he allegedly crawled under the closed door of an occupied bathroom stall where a child said he covered his mouth and punched him twice. It happened in Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

Moulton was charged in Cowlitz County for a similar incident this summer in Castle Rock, and found to be developmentally disabled, a condition that can’t be fixed with medicine, according to O’Rourke.

The Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office challenged the finding but were not successful, O’Rourke said.

It’s a permanent condition, O’Rourke said.

“We came to the conclusion whether we like it or not, we’re not going to get the court to find him competent,” O’Rourke said. “Here, we did not challenge the competency finding.”

O’Rourke said in all likelihood, Moulton will be civilly committed and then reviewed every six months to see if he is no longer a danger and might be released.

Moulton had once before in Lewis County been found not competent in a criminal case related to a developmental disability.

His Lewis County cases were dismissed yesterday with prejudice, meaning the prosecutor could refile the charge at a future date.

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Salkum triple homicide: Man who fled after four were shot recalls events of Aug. 2010

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9:13 am
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John A. Booth Jr. listens to testimony in Lewis County Superior Court.

This news story was updated at 1:20 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – John Lindberg told jurors he was two steps behind David West Sr. after West Sr. grabbed a shotgun from his bedroom, walked down the hallway, cocked it, and aimed toward the dining room table, trying to get John A. Booth and Ryan J. McCarthy to leave his house on Wings Way.

That’s when the shooting began, Lindberg said.

“The gunfire, it wasn’t from the shotgun, it was rapid fire,” he said.

As West Sr. began to topple, Lindberg ran back to the master bedroom, he said.

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John Lindberg

Now, Lindberg, a plumber, is one of only two individuals alive – other than the accused pair – who were inside the home that night where four people were subsequently found shot, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Denise Salts, then 51, survived a gunshot in her face and is expected to testify today in Booth’s triple murder trial.

It was about 2 a.m. on Aug. 21 of last year when deputies were called to the rambler in the Salkum-Onalaska area. Inside, 52-year-old West Sr, his 16-year-old son David West Jr. and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle were dead. Salts lay bleeding on the kitchen floor.

McCarthy, 30, has been sent to prison for 14 years after a plea agreement, where he did not admit guilt. Booth, 32, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted murder and other offenses. His trial began Monday and is expected to go through next week.

Under questioning by attorneys yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, Lindberg told what he heard, saw and recalled from that night. At times, his voice broke as he described fearing he would be killed, and how he hid out until only he and the victims remained in the house.

Lindberg had arrived about 12:30 a.m. to visit, and was followed into the West’s home by Booth and McCarthy, two people he said he had never met before.

They conversed at a dining room table as West Sr. spoke of getting a title to a truck for Booth. Lindberg said.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher questioned Lindberg at length.

Booth asked West Sr. if they could talk outside, and then they stepped out for 15 to 20 minutes, Lindberg said.

Salts was in the living room with someone else, he said.

When West Sr. came back inside, he asked Lindberg if he had any money, Lindberg relayed. He told him he only had $100, but followed him to the master bedroom, and told him he had more on him, but didn’t want to say so in front of Booth, Lindberg testified.

“His face was red, beet red, he looked pretty stressed out,” Lindberg said of West Sr.

That’s when West Sr. picked up the gun and  said “”F*** it, I’m going to end this bullshit once and for all,” Lindberg said.

Lindberg said under questioning when West Sr. started to fall, he fled to the back bedroom where he paced back and forth. He had seen McCarthy at the dining room table, but couldn’t see Booth, he said.

From the bedroom, he said, he heard Salts, but not what she was saying, and heard something hit the floor.

“I heard Tony’s voice,” he said. “Don’t, don’t, you don’t have to shoot, Lindberg relayed.”

Then a sound like a gun was jammed, or being reloaded, he said, and then another “bang”.

“Did you stay where you were at?” Deputy Prosecutor Meagher asked.

“Yeah,” Lindberg said, covering part of his face with one hand and stifling a sob.

“I thought I was gonna die next,” he said.

Lindberg said he heard footsteps coming down hall, and he froze, but then he took a look out the doorway.

“I could see McCarthy going in this room, next the boy is here, Booth was there,” he said. “Booth had the boy by the hair.”

Lindberg said he was an arms-length away from West Sr. and when the men’s backs were turned, he darted behind them into the master bathroom.

As he was closing the door, he said, “I hear a bang, another gunshot, then I hear the boy hit the floor.”

It was dark and he felt around but could not find a window, he said. All he could hear was the fan, he said. There were no more shots, he said.

“Boy, it seemed like forever, 20, 30 minutes,” Lindberg said. “I started praying … cause I didn’t want to die.”

Finally, he looked out and could see the front door was open, he said.

“I had to control myself to jump over Dave’s body, the shotgun,” he said. “I ran.”

Lindberg said he went to the gate and looked around for the men, and noticed their car was gone. He got in his car and drove away fast, he said.

Lindberg headed east on Gore Road and saw a car pass him coming the other way, he said. He kept going, he thought they were returning to kill him, he said.

Then Lindberg, who carries a police scanner in his car, heard his license plate on the scanner and stopped, he said.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Wallace arrived and asked if he was alright. He said no.

Wallace testified Lindberg was shaking and crying, almost unable to control his hands.

“He told me what happened,” Wallace said.

Witnesses continue to testify today in the Chehalis courtroom, including the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsies.

The trial is expected to run through next week.

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News brief: Firefighters to escort Santa around Twin Cities

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters will be joining Santa Claus as he cruises through both Centralia and Chehalis Thursday evening beginning at 6 p.m.

In Chehalis, the so-called Santa Mobile will be traveling its usual annual route starting near Southwest 13th and 16th streets.

Chehalis Firefighter Steve Emrich advises Santa and his helpers will distribute candy canes along with safety information. Donations will be collected for the food bank.

In Centralia, Santa’s sleigh should be found throughout the Edison District until 9 p.m.

There, he and his helpers will be collecting donations of new toys as well as items for the food bank, according to Riverside Fire Authority’s Judith Emler.

The following night, the procession will be repeated in the Fords Prairie area, Emler said.

Chehalis’s Santa Mobile will be out again a week from Thursday, beginning in NW Westside neighborhoods, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

ICY ROAD CRASHES

• A 35-year-old Morton man was uninjured when he totaled his pickup truck after swerving to miss a deer early Tuesday morning on the 300 block of Burnt Ridge Road in Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called about 6:30 a.m. reported the vehicle slid on black ice into a ditch and utility pole, rolling onto its side.

• A 26-year-old driver reportedly escaped injury on Tuesday morning when she lost control of her car on the 2300 block of Wildwood Road, sliding into a culvert which flipped her Honda Civic onto its side. A deputy called about 7:30 a.m. reported the Raymond woman’s vehicle was totaled. She said she hit some black ice, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT

• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested overnight for second-degree possession of stolen property and possession of an unspecified controlled substance. Conrad J. Perry was booked into the Lewis County Jail in connection with a 1:30 a.m. contact with police related to the 500 block of Hillkress Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. At the same time, Robert T. Lusk, 33, of Chehalis, was arrested for trespass and booked into jail, according to police.

• Centralia police were called to the 1200 block of Alder Street yesterday morning where a safe was discovered missing from an office. Further details were not readily available.

• Police took a report of a car prowl yesterday morning at the 200 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia. Among the missing items was a Craftsman “roadside kit”, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A 22-year-old Chehalis man whose car window had recently been smashed out and repaired called police after almost catching someone breaking his car window again early yesterday morning, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The victim’s 2003 Acura was parked outside his home on the 100 block of Southwest Fifth Street when he heard it and saw someone running away, according to police. Police say it appears to be some type of ongoing dispute.

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Salkum triple homicide: Witness who was at the house during shootings to testify today

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm
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Diagram of crime scene at 101 Wings Way, in the Salkum-Onalaska area

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man who was at the Wings Way house when four people were shot is among the witnesses who will testify this afternoon as John A. Booth Jr.’s triple murder trial continues in Lewis County Superior Court.

John Lindberg hid in a bathroom when the guns came out during the events of Aug. 21, 2010 in the Salkum-Onalaska area, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher.

Somehow when the two men, allegedly Booth and his former cell mate Ryan J. McCarthy, fled the home, they forgot Lindberg was there, Meagher has said.

This morning jurors heard from a Washington State Patrol detective who diagramed the crime scene, from the sheriff’s office evidence director and from a Spokane deputy who found a 9 mm handgun in an attic where Booth was arrested days after the slayings.

More to come.