Danny Wing, right, and his wife Brenda Wing listen to lawyers and a judge decide their bail in Lewis County Superior Court.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Lawyers for the Vader couple accused in the battered child death of a 3-year-old boy both told a judge today nothing in the charging allegations indicate their client did it.
“Nothing in there suggests she was the agent in this death,” Vancouver-based attorney Mark Muenster said.
Brenda A. Wing, 27, and her 26-year-old husband both clad in green striped jail garb sat handcuffed at the defense table during the discussion of their bail pending trial.
“(It) does not contain any evidence Danny Wing abused this child, ever,” Steve Thayer, also from Vancouver, said.
The couple was arrested and charged on Friday in connection with the Oct. 5 death of Jasper Henderling-Warner.
His 21-year-old mother who lives in Vancouver had allowed the Wings to care for her son for a period of time described by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office as several months. Jasper died at Providence Centralia Hospital where he was rushed after Brenda Wing called 911 and said he was not breathing.
The coroner concluded from healing fractures, numerous bruises and an autopsy Jasper died of chronic battered child syndrome, meaning ongoing physical abuse.
Charging documents describe a timeline and the child’s injuries, but offer no details of what happened to the boy. The Wings gave conflicting accounts of his final weekend.
Nikki Warner wanted to be present at this afternoon’s hearing in Lewis County Superior Court, but said she was stuck in Vancouver, where she’s been mostly homeless and struggling to earn money for food, for gas.
She said she wants answers about her son’s death.
“I’m pretty much numb on the case,” Warner said this afternoon by telephone. “I feel like a deer in the headlights.
“I have to totally shut out my grieving so I can work; I’m pushing myself to sidetrack myself to work.”
Charging documents describe a note signed by Warner and the Wings making them Jasper’s guardians from July 31, 2014 until July 31, 2015. The sheriff’s office has said they are distantly related.
The couple has three children of their own, between infancy and age 6, but they were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services after the Oct. 5 death.
The Wings were arrested when they went to CPS office in Centralia for a visit with their children, on a $500,000 arrest warrant.
This afternoon, Muenster argued Brenda Wing’s bail should be reduced to $50,000, indicating she would be highly motivated to stay in the area with ongoing shelter care proceedings regarding her children.
Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set her bail at $200,000 because of the potential flight risk and the seriousness of the charge.
Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead requested bail be raised to $750,000 for Danny Wing, because he has prior convictions including domestic violence offenses, and noted a September case in another county involving a drug violation and a third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer.
Attorney Thayer pointed out the Wings retained them after the death and knew a criminal filing could be made, suggesting Danny Wing didn’t flee during that time, so he wouldn’t be likely to flee now.
“Their parents are present,” Thayer told the judge.
Judge Brosey left Danny Wing’s bail at $500,000.
The lawyers asked for a delay before the Wings arraignment, as they need time to see if arrangements can be made about legal representation on the charges.
Ordinarily, a person has a right to be arraigned within 14 days, but they waived that right and a court date was set for Dec. 4, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.
The Wings are each charged as either the principal or accomplice with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter.
Sheriff’s office spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown has described the mother as upset, angry and sad.
Warner this afternoon said there’s not a word for what she’s going through.
“This whole case with Danny and Brenda, it just blows me away,” Warner said. “I just want to know why they did it, and what my son did that was so wrong.”
For background, read “Coroner: Ongoing physical abuse led to Vader toddler’s death” from Friday November 7, 2014 at 9:18 p.m., here
Tina Murphy of Winlock and Penny Morosoff of Toledo hold posters in support of Jasper Henderling-Warner outside the courtroom this afternoon.