Sasha A. Morgan, in red, consults with a lawyer, while her co-defendant Jesse R. Bartley, far left, waits his turn to go before the judge for their bail hearings.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – While she was arrested for first-degree assault, 29-year-old Sasha A. Morgan was charged the following day with second-degree assault, in connection with a stabbing incident in Centralia.
Morgan was brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday afternoon, where her bail was set at $20,000.
Court documents indicate the victim, a 34-year-old Tacoma man, was stabbed two times in the leg.
Morgan told police it was self defense.
Centralia police yesterday described the incident as related to a failed drug transaction.
According to charging documents and police, officers were called at mid-morning on Tuesday to a disturbance at the 600 block of South Silver Street where they spoke with Morgan, her companion Jesse R. Bartley and the victim.
The victim, Jamie Zurinskas, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment of his wounds.
According to the victim, he gave $20 to Bartley who said he and Morgan could get him some methamphetamine but they never came back so he went looking for them.
Charging documents go on the give the following general account:
Zurinskas found Bartley and Morgan in their car, pounded on the window and Bartley got out and said he would make it right.
One version of the story includes yelling, arguing, and an aggressive movement which caused Bartley and Morgan to fall to the ground.
At one point, Morgan told an officer, she ended up on the bottom of the pile of a fight, so she pulled out a knife and stabbed Zurinskas twice.
Morgan and Bartley allegedly had consumed the meth meant for Zurinskas.
Police collected a knife with a bloody four-inch blade and also recovered from the car a scraper baggie with white crystal residue, plus two glass pipes.
Bartley, 25, and Morgan were both charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance. Morgan was charged also with second-degree assault, with a deadly weapon enhancement.
Both offenses hold maximum penalties of 10 years in prison.
Bartley, said by police to be transient but by a defense attorney yesterday to be from Winlock, has no felony criminal history, only convictions for driving with a suspended license. His bail was set at $10,000.
Morgan, who lives in Tacoma is formerly of Centralia.
Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meager told the jude she has prior convictions for residential burglary, forgery and theft of rental property, and because of the knife allegation, presented a community safety risk regarding release.
Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke pointed out the judge Morgan’s crimes are at least five years in the past. Morgan’s mother and father attended the hearing.
O’Rourke asked the Judge Nelson Hunt to allow Morgan to be released from jail pending trial on a $10,000 unsecured bond, which her father would co-sign.
“She is a drug court former participant, I know quite a bit about her,” he said. “She is a risk to community safety.”
Both qualified for a court-appointed lawyer, and their arraignments were on the court calendar for today.
For background, read “News brief: Fight over meth sale leads to assault with knife” from Wednesday November 18, 2015, here