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B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Updated at 7:31 p.m. on Thursday March 15, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors said the owner of the house on Centralia’s B Street told his house guests to stop arguing, then went and loaded his handgun before he “called the victim out of the bedroom” and shots were fired, killing 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

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David Wayne Carson

The accused, Weston G. Miller, told police he acted in self-defense yesterday, that Carson rushed him with a knife, according to charging papers. Detectives haven’t found evidence Carson was armed, Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer wrote in court documents.

Miller, 29, was charged today with first-degree murder, with a maximum possible penalty of life in prison.

He was arrested after “fleeing” his own house yesterday afternoon.

Miller is described as a lifelong local resident, a former welder who collected on-the-job injury payments until the end of last year. Neighbors say the past few months he’s had financial issues, including getting the power shut off in his home.

Carson’s family says he had been staying with Miller for about a week, with plans to use a college grant to become a “bush” pilot in Alaska.

Prosecutor Meyer today told a judge Miller is a danger to the community.

“This was an unprovoked attack, he shot the victim two times and the victim is deceased,” Meyer said.

Meyer said detectives found in his house five guns, a silencer, a laser site for a gun and a bullet-proof vest.

Miller’s domestic violence assault two years ago means he’s prohibited from possessing firearms, according to Meyer.

Neither Centralia police, prosecutors or charging documents shed light on how the two men knew each other or any details about the dispute between Carson and his girlfriend Sara Delsavo. Only that the couple were arguing in a bedroom and Miller told them to quit it on two, perhaps three occasions.

Delsavo allegedly indicated that the day before, however, Miller offered to shoot Carson for her, and showed her his silencer, according to charging documents.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Miller held on $1 million bail.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter had argued for much lower.

He pointed out the victim has a “rap sheet” that runs eight pages and an outstanding warrant for criminal trespass.

Miller’s only background was a two-year-old fourth-degree assault gross misdemeanor, Schroeter said.

“He poses no threat to the community whatsoever,” he said. “(The documents) seem to insinuate my client got in the middle, tried to rectify a situation.”

Police believe Carson was shot with a 9 mm handgun.

Miller was interviewed by police after his arrest.

According to charging documents, he said he got his gun from his bedroom, loaded it, put it in the pocket of his sweatpants and returned to the victim’s room.

He said he saw (Carson) just a few feet away from him with a knife in his left hand, and that he came at him, causing him to pull out his gun and fire, charging documents say.

Delsavo told police her boyfriend only moved toward Miller when Miller called him, and said her boyfriend was not armed, according to the documents. She heard several gunshots, she said.

Police have said they think three shots were fired.

Miller was also charged with five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

When detectives searched his home, they found a .22 caliber rifle, a Walter .22 caliber pistol, a Walter 9 mm pistol, a Rohm revolver and a MAC-10 semi-automatic, according to charging documents.

Several of the victim’s family members were in the courtroom when Miller appeared, including Carson’s 21-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.

His older brother Dan Carson spoke earlier about a life cut short.

David Carson – always the adventurer – had just signed up for college and was going to learn to fly, so he could go work in Alaska, he said.

“He seemed pretty excited Saturday when I talked to him about it,” he said.

The family grew up in Centralia, but when David was young, he hitched a ride on a train to California and his life took a turn for the worse, according to his brother.

“David, he never liked to following the rules much,” he said. “He always wanted to play or look for some bug or a bird.”

A bum on the train molested him, there was a gun and David Carson shot and killed the man, his brother said. He spent five years in juvenile detention in California, he said.

Dan Carson recalls his brother got out when he was 16.

One of his greatest loves was dogs and he took a job in San Bernadino caring for expensive show dogs, his brother said. He even worked with the St. Bernard from the movie “Beethoven” and a chihuahua from a Taco Bell commercial, he said.

Then that ended with some kind of a squabble, he said.

“He got into meth for awhile and he went down that road,” Dan Carson said. “Committed enough stuff, it was pretty much hopeless taking part in the American dream, if you will.”

Then life was good again, when David Carson worked at Hardel plywood in Chehalis as a millwright.

“He bought a truck, was picking it up, even going to church from time to time,” he said.

In the recent past, David Carson stayed temporarily with his mother in Chehalis, and then his girlfriend found him the place to stay on B Street, Dan Carson said.

He was talented, an artist as well, he said.

“He was good at whatever he did, when he decided to put his mind to it,” he said.

David Carson leaves behind his mother, two brothers, two children and a “California pit bull” named Titus.

Miller’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, March 22.
•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Man fatally shot in Centralia, suspect arrested” from Tuesday March 13, 2012 at 6:36 p.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

MAN JAILED AFTER HOSTILE ACTIONS TOWARD PET, VEHICLE

• Deputies were called to a home on the 1200 block of North Fork Road east of Chehalis about 9:20 p.m. yesterday after a man allegedly kicked a small cat across a porch and threw a brick at his ex’s car. A 45-year-old woman said they’d separated about three weeks earlier and he came knocking, wanting her to come back to him, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She told him to leave, shut the door and then watched as he kicked the animal and damaged the car, according to the sheriff’s office. A deputy subsequently contacted Michael T. Gleason, 48, of Chehalis, and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, domestic violence, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The case was also referred to the prosecutor’s office for a possible charge of animal cruelty. Brown didn’t have details on the cat’s condition. The damage to the Mercury Cougar was estimated at $750, Brown said.

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Police: Centralia man died from two shots from 9 mm handgun

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

Updated at 12:40 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police believe David Wayne Carson was shot twice in the chest with a 9 mm handgun yesterday on B Street in Centralia.

Carson was dead inside the home after police and aid responded to calls just before 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

Carson, 43, is a Centralia resident.

The 29-year-old man who lives there – Weston G. Miller – fled before police arrived and was found soon after, driving a pickup truck on Big Hanaford Road, according to police. He was taken into custody without incident, police reported.

Miller was arrested and booked yesterday evening for first-degree murder.

Police haven’t revealed what they learned about what transpired inside the house or led to the shooting.

Officers searched the home yesterday and found a 9 mm handgun, which they believe was used to shoot Carson, according to the Centralia Police Department. They also found several other firearms, Officer John Panco said in a news release this morning.

Later today, police plan to search Miller’s truck to look for more evidence, Panco said.

Panco said a 9 mm is bigger than a .22 but not as big as a .45 – police usually carry a .40 or .45, he said.

“We think a total of three bullets were fired,” Panco said.

Two struck Carson in the chest, according to Panco.

Carson and his girlfriend had been staying at the house and were getting ready to move out, according to his younger brother, Dan Carson.

Dan Carson said his brother worked at Hardel plywood in Chehalis until a couple of years ago. Before that, he had a job in California taking care of expensive show dogs, he said. They both grew up in Centralia, he said.

Miller is expected to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

•••
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect correctly the size of firearm Officer Panco said Centralia police usually carry.

•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Man fatally shot in Centralia, suspect arrested” from Tuesday March 13, 2012 at 6:36 p.m., here

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News brief: Montesano resident killed in freeway collision north of Rochester

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 40-year-old woman from Montesano is dead after her car was struck by a semi truck on Interstate 5 near Maytown just before 5 p.m. today.

The Washington State Patrol reports she was southbound when she lost control, spun out and came to rest in lane one. A southbound Peterbilt tractor-trailer rig ran into her Hyundai Elantra and forced it into the concrete barrier, according to the state patrol.

Her name was not released.

The driver of the semi, Sarbjit Dhudwal, 33, of Chehalis, sustained a minor injury, according to the patrol.

The cause and any possible charges remain under investigation.

All lanes of traffic were reopened by just before 9:15 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

Update Wednesday March 14, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.: The victim has been identified by the state patrol as Cheryl A. Dimler, 40, of Montesano.

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Breaking news: Man fatally shot in Centralia, suspect arrested

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm
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Police wait for a search warrant before going back inside a house on the 900 block of B Street where a man was shot dead.

Updated at 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A 43-year-old local man is dead of a gunshot and Centralia police are questioning a suspect this afternoon.

Officers and aid were called just before 3 p.m. to a home on B Street, just north of East Third Street about someone being shot.

When paramedics were sent inside to check him, there were no signs of life, according to responders.

Centralia Police Department spokesperson Officer John Panco said he did not know if the suspect or the dead man lived at the house.

A suspect was picked up soon after by officers – driving in the Big Hanaford area and is being interviewed at the police station, Panco said.

His identity hasn’t been released and won’t be unless he is arrested, Panco said.

Crime scene tape was strung blocking access to a light green house with a pink bicycle and a black barbecue on its porch while officers conferenced outside with one another this afternoon.

Monique Camoza who works in an office across the street said she saw several people coming out of the house before police arrived, including a  screaming woman asking where the ambulance was, because “he’s dying.”

Although an arriving officer told her to stay out, she went back inside saying, “He doesn’t want to die alone,” Camoza said.

Officer Panco said he had no idea what transpired or who was inside the house before it happened.

Several people were being interviewed at the station, Panco said late this afternoon.

Across the street neighbor Lane Jolly said he didn’t hear anything but he knew the home’s resident, a man in his late 20s or early 30s who has resided there for seven or eight years.

He has a daughter who doesn’t live with him and seems to be a very good and very proud father, Jolly said.

He used to be a “high angle welder” but got injured, Jolly said.

“The last six months, things kinda went south for him,” Jolly said.

He’d been having a lot of trouble lately with people stealing things from him, he said.

“It’s a sad deal,” Jolly said, believing his across-the-street neighbor to be the man in custody.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and his Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher arrived not long after police.

They and commanding officers, including Chief Bob Berg were soon huddled in crime scene response vehicle, writing a search warrant so they could back inside, according to Panco.

Just after 7 p.m., the police department announced Weston G. Miller was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree murder.

Miller, 29, is the resident of the green house in question, according to Panco.

The victim is also a Centralia resident, but police did not release his name.

Panco said that’s the coroner’s office responsibility and he expected they would do that after next-of-kin are notified.

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Centralia police investigate fatal shooting on B Street

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

PHARMACIST ARRESTED FOR TAKING MEDS FROM WORK

• A pharmacist at K-Mart was arrested yesterday for alleged theft of a variety of prescription medications from the Chehalis retail establishment on the 1200 block of Northwest Louisiana Street. Police said Gunars Arnits, 59, of Longview was reportedly “skimming ” a couple of doses here and there and consuming them on the job. Police Sgt. Gary Wilson said it’s not clear how much was missing but the assortment included controlled substances. Arnits was arrested for third-degree theft and then released, Wilson said. The sergeant said he understood Arnits was let go from his job and the case would also involve the state pharmacy board.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 7:10 p.m. yesterday about the theft of jewelry from a residence on the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to the 1100 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue and told of an apparent burglary that happened there last month.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning two safes were stolen from an office of a business on the 1700 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis. A deputy called Sunday to Kugel Industries learned intruders forced their way in “through a wall”, according to the sheriff’s office. The contents were unknown although may have included approximately $400 cash, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The break-in occurred sometime between Friday and Sunday, Brown said.

• A 1996 GMC Jimmy truck disappeared after its owner left it stuck in a ditch around 4 a.m. Sunday along the 400 block of Lincoln Creek Road outside Centralia, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Its owner, a 30-year-old Centralia resident, said he got a ride home and when he went back later, it was gone. It has a license plate reading 994 XEW and is valued at $2,000, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• Cash, a debit card and a stereo faceplate were reported missing following a vehicle prowl on the 500 block of Waunch Street in Centralia yesterday morning.

VANDALISM

• Somebody spray painted a white stripe down the side of a car on the 1100 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

DRUGS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a deputy stopped a 51-year-old driver on Saturday evening for a traffic infraction and she voluntarily handed over an unspecified amount of suspected methamphetamine. The encounter occurred just before 6 p.m.  Sunday on U.S. Highway 12 in Randle, according to the sheriff’s office. The woman was released and the case referred to the prosecutor’s office for a possible charge of possession of methamphetamine, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Brown did not indicate why the woman was not arrested and booked into jail.

• A 42-year-old Morton resident was arrested by a trooper over the weekend in connection with allegedly selling methamphetamine from his home on the 600 block of Main Avenue. Robert P. Eklund was ordered held on $10,000 bail on a charge of delivery of meth when he appeared in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday. Charging documents allege a contract informant with the sheriff’s office exchanged $60 in marked money for a small baggie of meth from Eklund in mid-February and then a warrant was issued. Eklund was booked into jail Sunday night, according to the Lewis County Jail log.

WRECK

• Police called about 11:30 p.m. yesterday to a single-vehicle accident on the 1300 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia later arrested the 19-year-old driver for leaving the scene. Hugo A. Campuzano-Garcia, 19, of Centralia, suffered possible head injuries and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Read about train kills man near Castle Rock …

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a man was killed by a train north of Castle Rock about 9 a.m. today.

Their news item notes it occurred while the as-yet-unidentified man was walking on the Toutle River railroad bridge.

Read more here

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Police: Couple selling heroin from Chehalis home

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police found a “pretty good amount” of heroin when they raided a house on Southwest Fourth Street near McFadden yesterday and arrested two individuals for dealing.

Sgt. Gary Wilson said the visit by some 10 officers at 9 o’clock yesterday morning followed an approximately two-month investigation.

The couple were arrested and jailed and two small children there were turned over to Child Protective Services, Wilson said.

Zane Verley, 33, was booked for three counts of delivery, one count of possession and another count of possession of methamphetamine, according to police. Stephanie Fuller, 26, was booked for one count of delivery, police said.

Another individual in the house at the time was detained but released because he was not wanted for anything, Wilson said.

Officers spent a couple of hours searching the home, he said. The couple had just recently moved there, according to Wilson.

The serving of the search warrant followed undercover “buys” and assistance from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson said.

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Read about outsiders including Lewis County judge dealing with Montesano courthouse attack suspect …

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 12:52 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times writes that Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard oversaw the probable cause hearing on Monday for 34-year-old Steven Daniel Kravetz, accused of stabbing a judge and shooting a deputy in the Grays Harbor County courthouse.

News reporter Sara Jean Green reported that Kravetz was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and ordered held on $750,000 bail amid beefed up security.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation and keeping Kravetz in their jail, Green wrote.

Read more here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 12, 2012 at 11:13 am

Updated 12:29 p.m.

WRECKS

• A 56-year-old Winlock driver was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after her vehicle sheered a utility pole off at the ground on Highway 603 near Devereese Road southwest of Chehalis yesterday afternoon. Janice M. Sedlak was passing in a no passing zone when she lost control of her SUV and struck the pole at about 5 p.m., according to responders. Her vehicle sustained major damage, including a windshield broken by a four by four post, according to the sheriff’s office and Lewis County Fire District 6. Sedlak was treated and has been released, according to a hospital spokesperson.

• A Centralia log truck driver was cited for leaving his rig parked in the street on the 1000 block of Reynolds Avenue while he got out and locked a gate early this morning after another vehicle ran into the back of it. The 2005 Toyota Rav4 was totaled but its driver – a 56-year-old Centralia women – sustained only minor injuries, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after the approximately 4:15 a.m. collision, according to sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust. She did not see the log truck, Aust said.

• Centralia police report an officer was called to a two-vehicle head-on injury collision just after 11 p.m. Saturday at Cooks Hill and Military roads. A Centralia Police Department spokesperson said no details on the wreck were available to him.

THEFT

• A $1,000 of what was described as 300 feet of 220 service copper wire was reported stolen from a building on the 100 block of School House Road in Winlock on Friday morning, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called to the 1400 block of View Avenue on Friday afternoon about a checkbook stolen from a vehicle sometime in the previous several days.

DRUGS

• Centralia police report they arrested a 46-year-old Chehalis resident some time on Saturday for possession of methamphetamine and second-degree theft. Matthew D. Gillaspie was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer at the 500 block of Yew Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DOG FIGHT

• Centralia police report a dog was taken to the Lewis County Animal Shelter after an officer was called about 1:30 p.m. Saturday to the 1400 block of Lewis Street where the Pit Bull allegedly attacked another dog plus its owner who tried to separate the animals. Further details were not readily available.

More to come. Maybe.

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Read about police chase through Lewis County

Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm
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Kia Sephia at milepost 39 on Interstate 5 at Kelso. / Courtesy photo by David Jackson

Updated at 10:25 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pursuit by numerous police agencies through Lewis County this afternoon ended with two males – wanted in connection with an Olympia homicide – taken into custody near Kelso.

Winlock Police Department Officer Steve Miller was on the Park Road overpass at Interstate 5 when he spotted the suspect vehicle eastbound on Park Road, according to Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams. It was about 2:45 p.m.

Olympia police detectives had asked for assistance in locating the subjects in the Winlock area, Williams said.

A pursuit ensued through various county roads at speeds at times in excess of 95 mph, maybe into triple-digits, according to Williams.

Miller was joined in the chase by Toledo police and deputies from both Lewis and Cowlitz counties, the chief said.

Williams said the occupants of the stolen car were throwing full pop cans and several lit firework-like items at their pursuers. He said they were an unknown type of incendiary device, possibly mortars.

The chase wound onto Jackson Highway and through Toledo and eventually back to Interstate 5 at exit 57 where Officer Miller conducted a so-called PIT maneuver, but the car recovered and continued on, according to Williams.

The car continued south on Interstate 5 where troopers and police from Castle Rock and Kelso joined in until the car lost control and wrecked, William’s said.

Doty resident Sharyl King Quinn said she was passing through Castle Rock headed home when she saw a dozen police vehicles “flying” southbound with lights and sirens.

The chief said it was either because of spike strips set out to stop them or attempting to avoid the strips that caused the crash.

The wanted subjects were taken into custody, Williams said.

The Olympian newspaper reported detectives were after a person interest in Friday’s homicide at an apartment on Lilly Road in Olympia.

Olympian news reporter Lisa Pemberton wrote earlier this evening the chase initially began near Centralia and ended with the crash that shut down Interstate 5 near near the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso this afternoon.

The Longview Daily News reported the two occupants were 21-year-olds and that nobody was injured.

Update: from The Olympian on Monday March 12, 2012 at 5:27 p.m.: News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes the two 20-year-olds were in Thurston County Superior Court today in connection with the stabbing death of a 29-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier.

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Murder suspect: “When he was good, he was such a good young man”

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Joshua Leroy Vance was a Centralia College student who got straight “A”s last semester and earlier this week he cut his own hand so severely, he was taken to a Seattle trauma hospital to save his fingers.

Vance, 25, is in the Lewis County Jail today, because according to prosecutors, that same night he also cut the throat of his sleeping father and stabbed him at least 11 times.

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Joshua Leroy Vance

Terry Vance, 58, was found dead on his bedroom floor early Wednesday morning after family members awoke to screaming.

Joshua Vance, his father and 11-year-old nephew lived together in his grandmother’s Onalaska home.

Family members say he was prone to violent outbursts, his mental health issues so serious, he could not work and collected social security disability payments instead.

His grandmother Bonnie Vance said he’d been off his medication since last weekend.

“Each day he was off of it, I could see him deteriorating and going back to the way he was before,” she said.

“He could be very abusive and erratic,” she said. “And then he would come to and he would be pretty good. For awhile.”

“And then something would happen and … It’s been bad,” she said.

“And when he was good, he was such a good young man,” she said.

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Terry Vance

Deputies were called about 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday to a mobile home on the 400 block of Pennel Avenue in Onalaksa when Joshua Vance called 911 and said he killed his father.

According to charging documents, his grandmother confronted him in the hallway, he dropped a knife and ran outside.

Eleven-year-old Thomas Flood told deputies he followed, to warn his Uncle Larry Vance who lives in an adjacent travel trailer.

Thomas said he heard Joshua say, “I killed my father and I slit my throat so somebody come help me because I will die in about five seconds,” charging documents state.

The child said he ran back inside and hid.

Both Bonnie and Joshua Vance had reportedly called 911.

When deputies arrived, they had firefighters tend to Joshua Vance’s cut hands.

It was self-inflicted laceration to the fingers on his right hand, according to Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner who treated him.

“He said he did it to make himself stop,” Conner said.

Prosecutors described the injuries as severe and wrote that he cut his hand on the knife while stabbing his father.

When Deputy Matt McKnight videotaped him before he was taken to the hospital to save his fingers, Joshua Vance told him he was going to kill everyone else on the property, but he couldn’t because he cut his hand, according to charging documents.

Charging documents also say his grandmother saw him a few hours earlier, pulling kitchen knives out of their cutting block and checking their sharpness.

Joshua Vance was charged today with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt ordered him held on $1 million bail.

He sat quietly, shackled with a large bandage on his right hand.

Deputy Prosecutor Joely Yeager said the cruel and heinous act showed he was extremely dangerous to the community.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter said the case showed Joshua Vance has significant documented mental health needs that have not been met.

Bonnie Vance says her grandson has had issues for years.

“His (treatment providers) were in the process of changing his medicine,” she said. “Because of the cost of it; he evidently didn’t have it for a few days.”

The uncle, Larry Vance, was in the courtroom this afternoon, and afterward, said he saw something bad coming as well. But not this.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s like a nightmare I can’t wake up from,” he said.

His biggest question is, why? he said.

Larry Vance commented that just a few days previous he asked his nephew why he wasn’t at school.

“He said he had the flu, it was finals week and he was going to flunk all his classes,” he said.

It was odd, because he got such good grades the previous semester, he said.

Larry Vance said he warned his mother a few days ago, his nephew was “turning into a Hyde again.”

He said his mother and the family have bent over backwards to help his nephew.

Bonnie Vance didn’t talk about herself, in a brief interview yesterday. She spoke of her children and grandchildren.

The 78-year-old raised her family on the block near the school and across from the ball field since about 1970.

Terry Vance and her two younger sons all attended Onalaska schools, as did her grandson, though he also attended Centralia High School too, she said.

Terry Vance played, coached and refereed baseball for years, she said.

“He dearly loved his grandkids, fishing and his games,” she said.

Her two adult sons stayed with her to take care of her, she said. “I had cancer, I’m okay now,” she said.

Joshua Vance was given a court-appointed attorney. His arraignment is scheduled for March 22.
•••

Family friend Cindy Hanson says a group of Onalaskans are getting a work party together, to brighten up Bonnie Vance’s home – do a little renovation like the carpets, and maybe plant a garden, she said.

“Just trying to be supportive,” Hanson said.

Donation can be dropped off at Brenda’s Country Market, she said.

•••

Read “Coroner’s office names Terry Vance as victim in Onalaska home” from Wednesday March 7, 2012 at 7:53 p.m., here

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Read about search still on for suspect in Montesano courthouse attack …

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports authorities are still looking for the man who stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff’s deputy this afternoon at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano.

It is believed the man identified as Michael Thomas is armed with the deputy’s .45 caliber handgun, according to news reporters Jennifer Sullivan and Jonathan Martin.

Read more here

Update on Saturday March 10, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.: The Seattle Times reported the suspect – Steven Daniel Kravetz, 34  – was arrested in Olympia today. News reporter Emily Heftter noted he has a 2008 conviction Lewis County for an incident in Centralia.

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News brief: Drug investigation comes to North Pearl Street

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

One person was detained following a two-month long narcotics investigation after the sheriff’s office served a search warrant this morning in Centralia.

Deputies with the Lewis County Regional Drug Task Force were joined by Centralia police about 8:45 a.m. at the 1000 block of North Pearl Street, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Also assisting were SWAT teams from both agencies, according to Centralia police; as well as personnel from the state Department of Corrections, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Brown did not say who was detained but expected to release more details after the weekend. Further arrests are expected, she said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 11:20 am
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Looking south on Pearl Street towards Fourth Street in Centralia./ Courtesy photo by Gene Inman

SWAT TEAMS IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia area residents report a SWAT vehicle and several police cars showed up at North Pearl Street near Fourth Street about 9 o’clock this morning. Cheryl Towne said she saw them at a building known by locals as The Creamery. A Centralia Police Department spokesperson said their agency’s SWAT team was assisting the sheriff’s office SWAT team with an operation he did not share details about. More to come.

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION

• Firefighters were called about 5:15 this morning to smoke coming from a downtown Chehalis building on North Market Boulevard. A delivery person had opened the door at the Chinese buffet and smoke rolled out, according the Chehalis Fire Department. Inside, a bucket of oily rags had ignited on their own, Firefighter Kevin Reynolds said. Crews used a fire extinguisher to douse the fire, according to Reynolds.

• Firefighters were called just before 4 o’clock this morning to a business that sells propane bottles on the 3800 block of Galvin Road in Centralia where a fire was burning in an outdoor Dumpster.  Used paint filters from spray painting inside a black plastic bag had spontaneously combusted, according to Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Tim Adolphsen.

BURGLARY

• Some four to five thousand dollars worth of electrical supplies and parts were taken from an outbuilding on the 100 block of Schoolhouse Road in Winlock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It was reported yesterday evening and may have occurred around midnight, as a neighbor heard a dog barking around then, according to the sheriff’s office. Someone broke a lock and went through a sliding glass door, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A Toledo resident returned home last night to find a door to her house kicked in. Nothing appeared to be missing from the home on the 200 block of state Route 506, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said. It occurred between 7 a.m. and 8:15 p.m., according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Brown said the intruder may have been scared away by an alarm.

HANDBAG LIFTED WHILE SHOPPING

• Chehalis police were called to Shop N Kart about 1:40 p.m. yesterday about the theft of a purse from a shopping cart.

DRUGS

• A 50-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of heroin after contact with an officer at the 1200 block of View Street about 1:30 p.m. yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department. Lynn A. Vangorder was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

ASSAULT

• Centralia police were called about 6:30 a.m. today to an assault at the 500 block of North Rock Street. Further details were unavailable.

SON TO FACE MURDER CHARGE FOLLOWING RELEASE FROM HOSPITAL

• Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Vance was booked into the Lewis County Jail last night for first-degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office jail roster. Vance was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries after he called 911 early Wednesday morning and said he killed his father. Terry Vance, 58, was found dead of apparent stab wounds in the home he shared with his mother, son and grandchild. Joshua Vance is expected to go before a judge this afternoon.

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News brief: Fire destroys Rochester home

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Six people are displaced by a fire that tore through their Rochester home last.

Nobody was injured but firefighters are still on the scene this morning putting out hot spots, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

Crews were called about 10:25 p.m. to the two-story home on the 11600 block of 183rd Avenue Southwest, according to Chief Robert Scott. Flames were already coming through the roof and the second story, Scott said.

The occupants are two adults and four children, he said.

“I think they were getting ready for bed when they were alerted by a working smoke detector at the top of the stairs,” Scott said. “If this had happened in the middle of the night, the outcome would have been much different.”

The family got them selves and their pets out, and called 911, according to Scott.

The house is still standing, but what wasn’t burned by fire is damaged by smoke and water, he said. He estimated the loss at $100,000.

Five area fire departments assisted, bringing water because its an area without fire hydrants, Scott said.

He said the wood home, built in 1901, was a challenge because of hidden spaces and multiple roofs.

The Red Cross was called in to help the family, he said.

The owner of the house has insurance, but the family living there did not have renters insurance, according to the fire department.

Investigators are there this morning trying to determine the cause, he said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

RIDE BY PURSE THEFT

• Police say a woman at Fort Borst Park hung her handbag on the mirror of her vehicle while loading up her children when a thin male on a bicycle rode by and snatched it. It was reported about 1:20 p.m. yesterday from the 2000 block of Borst Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

GAS CANS LIFTED

• Chehalis police were called just after 9 a.m. yesterday to Northeast Adams Avenue where they were told a gas can was stolen from a patio and another from a neighbor’s carport.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called to the 100 block of West Main Street about 10:15 p.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl. A laptop computer, a coat and CDs were taken, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SHOP BREAK-IN

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday an estimated $6,000 of items including a four-wheeler, tools and a generator were stolen from the 100 block of Rest Haven Lane in Packwood. A lock was cut and a door pried open to a shop, according to the sheriff’s office. It had occurred sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRUGS

• A 26-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer early Wednesday morning on the 300 block of South Silver Street. Bryan G. Mako was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An 18-year-old was arrested for possession of a prescription drug without its prescription when contacted by an officer in Rotary Riverside Park in Centralia on Tuesday afternoon. Corey J. Bunnell, from Olympia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BIG RIG DRIVES OVER SMALL CAR

• A 27-year-old Chehalis woman escaped with cuts to her head and other possible injuries when a semi truck moved into her lane causing her Ford Escort to be dragged under its trailer. It happened just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday on northbound Interstate 5 in Chehalis, near the Chamber of Commerce Way interchange, according to the Washington State Patrol. Jennifer R. Belcher was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and her car which spun out onto a grassy area was totaled, according to the state patrol. The driver of the 2005 Peterbilt, Barry L. Skavlem, 45, of Rochester, was reportedly uninjured. “She was very lucky she wasn’t worse,” Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Kevin Curfman said.

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Coroner’s office names Terry Vance as victim in Onalaska home

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm
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Family members head to retrieve some personal items this afternoon from the home on Pennel Avenue.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

ONALASKA – Sheriff’s detectives were joined by a team of crime scene specialists from the Washington State Patrol today as they gathered evidence of an apparent homicide in Onalaska, just south of Onalaska Elementary-Middle School.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says 25-year-old Joshua Vance called 911 at 2:45 a.m. and said he’d just killed his father.

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Terry Vance

The father, Terry Vance, 58, was found dead of apparent stab wounds in a bedroom, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office this morning had no explanation as to why.

The front of the beige mobile home on Pennel Avenue just south of Fifth Street was barely visible with both a travel trailer and a fifth wheel parked in front of it. It sits across from the school ball field.

Some neighbors were uneasy about the news, although not everyone was aware anything happened.

Raymond Palm walked over to the yellow police tape blocking at Fourth Street after getting a phone call from a friend this afternoon, he said.

It makes him afraid, a homicide happening so close to his home, Palm said. Onalaska is usually fairly quiet, according to Palm.

“Doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s a big thing,” he said, recalling the triple murder 18 months ago off Gore Road,

Bruce Hood was preparing a planting bed for raspberries a couple of doors up behind the mobile home and wondered what was going on.

“I wondered why the sheriff’s office was there,” Hood said.

The sheriff’s office said deputies happened to be three blocks away when the younger Vance called. They think Joshua Vance attacked his father while he was asleep in bed.

Vance was taken into custody without incident, and taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with cuts to his hand, according to responders. He was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was listed in satisfactory condition late this afternoon.

Vance’s grandmother and school-age nephew who live in the home were there but unharmed, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

Brown said she didn’t know how Joshua Vance was injured. He will be booked into jail for homicide following his release from the hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

A nearby neighbor who didn’t share her name said she thought Terry Vance was a caregiver to his mother, who has lived there for many years.

Dick Zoda was outside finishing cutting down a tree at his home at the end of the block this afternoon. Zoda recalled often being asked to join the family for BBQ whenever he and his dog took walks.

“I was up a lot last night, but I didn’t hear anything,” Zoda said. “It’s hard to imagine what happened there. Can’t imagine.”

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Breaking news: Homicide investigation in Onalaska

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 8:57 am
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Detectives gather to collect evidence at the mobile home across from the school's ball field on Pennel Avenue today.

Updated at 9:56 a.m. and 4:59 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 58-year-old Onalaksa man is dead of apparent stab wounds and the sheriff’s office says they believe his grown son attacked him while he was asleep in bed.

Deputies were called about 2:45 a.m. today by Joshua Vance, 25, who said he had just killed his father at their home on the 400 block of Pennel Avenue in Onalaksa, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning.

Vance was taken into custody without incident, and transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with what must be serious injuries, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

Vance’s grandmother and school-age nephew who live in the home were there but unharmed, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Detectives are processing the scene this morning, Brown said.

Details of what led to the incident are either unknown or being withheld, according to Brown.

The father is Terry Vance, the Lewis County Coroner’s Office said.

The father was found deceased in a bedroom, Brown said. The home is on the block south of Onalaska Elementary-Middle School.

A sheriff’s office news release said Joshua Vance is being treated for injuries he sustained while attacking his father.

Brown said she doesn’t know how Joshua Vance was injured, whether he harmed himself or they occurred while he was defending himself or some other way.

It’s still being investigated, she said. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

Joshua Vance will be booked into jail for homicide following his release from the hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

A hospital spokesperson this afternoon said he is listed in satisfactory condition.

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Centralia city council member charged for killing neighbor cat

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Updated Thursday March 8, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia City Council Member Bill Bates has been charged with a gross misdemeanor for fatally shooting his neighbor’s cat with a pellet rifle last week.

Bates, who is also pastor of a downtown church, said it was an accident, he was only trying to run it out of his yard.

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"Susie"

It happened a week ago Monday in the 900 block of Ham Hill Road in Centralia.

The cat’s owners – the Pannette family – and Bates both said police described to them it’s not criminal to shoot a nuisance animal on your own property.

However, Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg said there is a specific city ordinance about shooting an animal with an air gun.

It’s unlawful to point or shoot an air gun at property of another, Berg said. The cat is the “other’s” property, he said.

The frustration over the untimely death of their 10-year-old cat prompted Dusty Pannette to flyer her neighborhood, so others would be aware of the dangers posed to their roaming animals.

Today, Pannette said she’s satisfied, but not even interested in going to court when he appears before a judge.

“I’m just glad they’re charging him so I don’t have to stand on my soapbox anymore,” she said.

Bates said he has no comment.

He has said he was tired of the animal walking on his clean cars and messing in his beauty bark.

A police officer delivered the citation to Bates on Saturday. His arraignment in Centralia Municipal Court is set for March 27.

Chief Berg said the case was referred to the city attorneys’ office for possible charges and her decision was made on Friday. He disputes the officer told the parties it wasn’t against the law.

The police chief bristled somewhat at the question of whether his department or the city prosecutor should investigate an alleged crime committed by one of the “bosses” of their boss, the city manager.

Some people give city council members too much credit for  the actual reach of their authority, he suggested.

“What I can tell you is the way this case was handled was exactly the way any case would be handled,” Berg said.

Bates, 60, was charged by criminal citation with unlawful use of an air gun – which includes pellet or BB guns.

He was also charged under state law with willfully or recklessly killing or injuring a pet. Both are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine.

Pannette says she’s been amazed by the number of letters and sympathy cards from friends and strangers as well as the outpouring of intense opinions about how right or the wrong the minister’s actions were.

“I was really surprised,” she said. “You have your gun people, your animal people, your religious people and your average Joe Schmoe.”

Chief Berg agreed it’s an interesting conversation, with strong feelings on both sides. The rules and attitudes about weapons, property and pets vary.

While the city has the ordinance about using pellet guns on animals, residents in unincorporated Lewis County don’t have a similar prohibition.

It’s unlawful to discharge a real firearm inside the city limits as well, but that’s not the case out in the county.

And while unincorporated Lewis County has an ordinance in which owners are specifically not permitted to allow their animals to trespass or damage someone else’s plants, animals or property, the city of Centralia has no such “leash law” for cats; only for dogs and livestock.

“There is no city ordinance about cats running at large,” Berg said.

And then there are animal cruelty laws to consider.

Chief Berg says its allowable for those in the city to take reasonable precautions to protect their property, but you can’t use deadly force to protect your property, he said.

“I think the answer here is the manner he chose to get the animal,” Berg said.

Pannette, who owns a clothing store in the Fairway Center in Centralia, said the lawyer she and her husband Jay Pannette hired when they thought the pastor was going to walk away from what happened, told her he couldn’t take any credit for something getting done.

Bates was charged before their attorney got a meeting with the police chief, she said.

“We’re just glad they’re doing something, I’m hoping they take his gun away,” she said.

The family also came to he conclusion over the weekend they finally had an answer to mysterious injuries “Susie” the tom cat had turned up with since before the holidays, she said.

“When you go back to, when you think, someone’s been shooting at him, that would explain the bruise between his tendons on his foot and the hole in his neck,” she said.

Bates is serving his fourth year on the city council and is minister at Destiny Christian Center, an Assemblies of God church on North Tower Avenue in Centralia.

He has apologized publicly, and told the Pannettes he usually shot at the cat’s feet, according to Dusty Pannette.

Bates spoke at length last week about what occurred, but declined on Tuesday to say thing more.

“You know, right now, I have no comment on it,” Bates said.
•••

For background read “Minister, city council member shoots neighbor cat dead with pellet gun” from Thursday March 1, 2012, here