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Second area wildfire breaks out overnight

Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Air support is on the scene for a 40-acre fire that ignited overnight in the Capitol Forest overnight.

Firefighters from the Rochester and Littlerock area responded about 12:30 a.m. after a 911 caller reported a large fire at Capitol Peak, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

The blaze is described as approximately eight miles northwest of Littlerock and three miles south of the C Line. The fire chief is asking the public to stay out of the area.

Steep terrain and steady wind with gusts has made it difficult to fight, according to Lt. Lanette Dyer.

Crews from the McLane-Black Lake fire district are on the scene as well as the state department of Natural Resources.

DNR spokesperson  Karen Ripley said smoke is already visible from Olympia.

“There’s an off-road and ATV festival going on this weekend in the forest and there will be unexpected trail closures,” Ripley said.

Ripley said the cause is under investigation. Lt. Dyer called if suspicious, in part because it’s not yet very dry out, she said.

It’s burning on DNR trust land in logging slash and a 20-year-old old plantation, Ripley said.

In Lewis County at the Dog Mountain Fire near Glenoma, Ripley said there is little change this morning from last night.

As many as 50 firefighters were there last evening on property owned by Port Blakely. It too is burning in steep terrain and was described as spotty fires inside a 100-acre perimeter.

Engines patrolled the area overnight and a strong effort will be made today to extinguish the fire, according to Ripley.

For background, read “Breaking news: Large brush fire burning south of Glenoma” from Saturday May 4, 2013, here

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Breaking news: Large brush fire burning south of Glenoma

Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Looking toward Dog Mountain from Falls Road. / Courtesy photo by Miriam DeShasier

Updated at 7:09 p.m. and 8:33 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A large wind-fueled wildfire that started east of Morton this afternoon has spread and is still growing.

Seven fire departments plus firefighters from the state department of Natural Resources are on the scene on Dog Mountain, at the east end of Riffe Lake.

Various reports have suggested the blaze is as large as 200 to 700 acres, but a spokesperson from DNR said the fire was within a 100-acre perimeter but very patchy and spotty.

Only about 10 acres is actually fire, Karen Ripley of DNR said after speaking with the incident commander about 7 p.m.

“There’s a lot of fuel in the area, but not a lot of it has dried out” Ripley said.

Ripley said the Dog Mountain Fire on land owned by Port Blakely is in an area both recently logged and with 8-year-old trees.

Lt. Laura Hanson from Lewis County Fire District 5 said the initial call came in at 1:22 p.m. More than 50 firefighters are working the fire, according to Hanson.

The Taidnapam Park area has been evacuated, but no structures are threatened, according to Hanson.

The incident commander told Ripley the wind is beginning to die down. She said crews would likely be out there for a couple of days.

Dog Mountain, just south of Glenoma,  is known as a favorite spot for hang gliders.

Miriam DeShasier, who lives in Glenoma, took a drive down Falls Road this afternoon and said it appears the east side of Dog Mountain was burning.

“A lot of the smoke is gone from the area now,” DeShasier said this evening.


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Read about state senator’s son arrested for rape …

Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 4:51 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter reports the 14-year-old son of Sen. Brian Hatfield is facing charges of rape and child molestation in Lewis County Juvenile Court.

The state legislator from Pacific County has served the 19th District since 1994; he was re-elected in November to serve the district that now includes a portion of western Lewis County.

News reporter Richard Thompson reports the crimes allegedly occurred at one home in Lewis County and another in Pacific County this past winter involving a juvenile victim.

Read about it here

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Judge sends former Lewis County museum director to prison, criticizes disengaged board

Friday, May 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Deborah Sue Knapp sits with her defense attorney Ken Johnson as she is sentenced for theft.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Judge Richard Brosey blasted board members of the Lewis County Historical Museum today when he sentenced its now-former executive director for stealing possibly more than $200,000 during her time at the helm.

The theft was brought to light after revelations the non-profit’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was gone.

Both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney in the case deny Deborah Sue Knapp took all of it, Brosey said. Both say the museum simply lived beyond its means.

“The endowment apparently was used as a piggy bank,” Brosey said.

Being on a board is not just a ceremonial job where members can attend meetings once in awhile and nod in agreement, it comes with responsibilities, Brosey told a nearly packed courtroom this afternoon.

“I’m going to impose punishment to Mrs. Knapp for what she did,” Brosey said. “But the board of directors has to take an active role. You can’t just sit there and do nothing.”

The Lewis County Superior Court judge said he was personally offended that the heritage of Lewis County was abused, noting how difficult it is to build endowment funds, and how this scandal will make it even harder.

The endowment was in an account meant to be left untouched, so it could generate interest which could be used for operating costs.

“It’s egregious its depleted,” Brosey said.

Knapp was arrested at the end of 2011, five and a half years after she was hired to run the institution that inhabits a former rail station on Northwest Front Way in Chehalis.

After months of trial preparations and negotiations, the now-53-year-old agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentencing recommendation. The hope was she could do about 12 months of jail time on work release, if she could find a job.

That didn’t work out.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and defense attorney Ken Johnson’s back up plan was to ask the judge to give her one year plus one day, so she could serve her time in state prison instead of in a county jail.

State prison was at Knapp’s request, in part because it’s better equipped to deal with her ill health, according to her attorney.

The top of the legislatively mandated standard range for the crimes to which she pleaded guilty is 14 months.

Judge Brosey today imposed 14 months and ordered her immediately into custody.

Knapp was taken away in handcuffs, although she had hoped not to check into the jail until the evening before transport to prison, because of issues regarding bringing her heart medication into the jail.

Prosecutors alleged Knapp basically doubled her salary for a period of time, by obtaining “draws” that weren’t subsequently accounted for, writing her own payroll draw checks without anyone else’s knowledge and many times listing them in the check register as voided. She used the museum’s debit card to pay personal expenses, in an amount the two sides don’t agree upon.

Halstead had told the court he believed he could prove she took in excess of $124,000 and said it appeared she took more than $200,000, but that wasn’t provable.

“Reports that over $400,000 was taken by Mrs. Knapp, that’s just not true” Halstead told the court.

He said he knew the deal would make outsiders on both sides unhappy, but he wanted both for her to do time and be able to pay restitution.

Knapp’s attorney told the court his client has already paid $20,000 in restitution, money she borrowed from a relative.

“Mrs. Knapp is ashamed and embarrassed to be in this position,” Johnson said. “She would like to apologize to the entire community.”

He took a moment as well to share his view of the museum’s books, noting it operated without a budget or accountability.

“The endowment was used routinely to balance things out, they were living beyond their means,” Johnson said. “Anyone who’s attempted to blame Mrs. Knapp for that in total is simply mistaken.”

The final deal saw Knapp pleading guilty to five counts of first-degree theft.

Knapp herself addressed the judge only briefly. She said she appreciated the judge’s consideration and she was sorry.

Edward Fund spoke to the court as a member of the museum who has been involved in fundraising over the years.

“I just want people to actually learn from this,” he said.

His wife, former museum board member and newly elected Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund, focused on the betrayal, sharing examples of how she felt Knapp manipulated her and others.

“I didn’t know she would go from a very good friend to someone who would exhaust the museum fund,” Fund said.

The museum’s current board of directors is said to contain both old and new members.

For background, read:

• “Knapp confesses she stole money from Chehalis museum as its director” from Wednesday March 13, 2013, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:16 am


• Centralia police were called about 6:50 p.m. yesterday to take a report that someone stole a safe and a computer from a residence on the 600 block of South King Street.

• Chehalis police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a burglary at an apartment on the 500 block of Northeast Jefferson Avenue. The resident arrived home to discover the door partway open and its lock broken, according to police. Missing were cigarettes, a piece of jewelry and pain medication, detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said.

• Police took a report from the 900 block of Goff Street in Centralia about 4:10 p.m. yesterday that someone stole jewelry, coin “banks” and other items from a home.

• A deputy was called yesterday to a break-in to a large shop building at the back of property on the 900 block of Ceres Hill Road west of Chehalis. The victim said among the missing items were a propane tank and torch, a ladder and numerous car parts to include one bumper and 15 automobile hoods, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A woman who left her purse in a shopping cart when she went to load her groceries in her car at Safeway in Centralia returned to the cart to find the purse gone, according to a report made to police about 5:15 p.m. yesterday.


• Centralia police took reports yesterday of gang-type graffiti spray painted on a shop and traffic sign a the 2200 block of North Tower Avenue. More graffiti was reported later in the day to a fence on the 1700 block of Hillview Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for trespassing, driving with a suspended license, violation of no contact order; responses for shoplifting, minor collision, suspicious people, suicide attempt … and more.

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Arson: String of Centralia fires under investigation

Friday, May 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

Response at Centerville Western Store on Lum Road / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

Updated at 6:12 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three fires broke out within less than an hour overnight in Centralia, causing damage at two church buildings and a third at the Outlet Mall.

They are under investigation.

It began about 3:20 a.m. when a female showed up at the front door of the downtown fire station and said she thought there was a fire next to the Centralia Church of the Nazarene on the 1200 block of West First Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Tim Adolphsen.

At 3:35 a.m. crews were called to the Centerville store off Lum Road, he said.

And just after 4 a.m., they were notified of another at a church on the 2500 block of Seward Avenue, he said.

Nobody was injured, he said.

Investigators have concluded already the last fire, at Calvary Chapel in north Centralia, was from an electrical issue, but the other two are arson, Chief Jim Walkowski said.

Fire investigators and police going to have a busy day, he said.

“We’re trying to find people who may have wanted to do harm to these buildings,” Walkowski said.

The most seriously damaged was the house just west of the Nazarene Church, which is used for youth activities, according to firefighters. The bulk of the fire was in its garage area however, Walkowski said.

He estimated the loss to as much as $50,000.

“That has been deemed a set fire, that’s an arson,” Walkowski said. “From where it started and the burn patterns, it was definitely a set fire, not an accident.”

The chief said he was just arriving at the scene when they were informed of an alarm activation at Centerville, the western store at the north end of the Centralia Outlets, so he headed that way instead.

Flames there originated in a hot water tank enclosure attached to the east end of the structure, he said.

“We were able to get inside quick enough so they will be open for business today,” Walkowski said.

The chief is asking residents who may have surveillance cameras to take a look at their footage to see if they show any vehicles or even people walking down the streets. And to please call him at 736-3975 or the police department if they find anything.

“We’ve solved lots of fires with these,” Walkowski said.

Four other fire departments, from Rochester to Napavine, assisted, he said.

The fire damage at the church on Seward Avenue was minimal, although it sustained some smoke and water damage, according to Walkowski.

By 10:30 a.m., crews learned of an attempt to burn yet another building, Cooks Hill Community Church on the 2400 block of Cooks Hill Road. They don’t know when it occurred, because it failed.

“One of the workers walked outside and found the side of the church had scorch marks,” Walkowski said.

The chief said they are asking folks to be hyper vigilant, and be sure to move any combustible materials away from the exterior of their homes or buildings.

A fire earlier in the night at the north end of Chehalis remains under investigation as well, he said.

Crews were called about 1 a.m. to the Firehouse Espresso stand on the 2300 block of Kresky Avenue. Flames were found on the backside, which were quickly knocked down, according to Chehalis Fire Department Firefighter-Investigator Jay Birley.

Birley said they had a garbage can behind the structure, and he’s suspicious about cigarette butts.

“It’s looking toward accidental, but I won’t know more till later today,” Birley said.

He’s described the damage to the coffee stand as moderate.


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News brief: Centralia man faces first-degree murder trial for B Street shooting

Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Attorneys confirmed to a judge today they are ready to begin the murder trial on Monday for 30-year-old Centralian Weston G. Miller.

Miller has been in the Lewis County Jail awaiting trial since the  March 13, 2012 fatal shooting of his house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.


Weston G. Miller

Centralia attorney J.P. Enbody has indicated he will be arguing self defense. Miller has claimed self defense from the beginning.

Police called the afternoon of March 13 to Miller’s house on B Street found Carson dead inside with two bullet wounds in his chest and chased down Miller who had left in a pickup truck. Officers were told Carson and his girlfriend Sara Delsavo had been arguing and Miller told them to stop it.

He said Carson came at him with a knife in his hand, but Delsavo said her boyfriend was unarmed, according to charging documents.

The case got off to a slow start because of questions whether Miller was competent to stand trial.


David Wayne Carson

At one point, Miller was prepared to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, and before that, his attorney indicated his client would be relying upon a defense of insanity / diminished capacity.

Miller has already pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm that grew out of the same investigation.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said the trial is expected to last about four days. The charge is first-degree murder.

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Updated at 7:57 p.m.


• A 54-year-old Centralia woman making her regular check upon a neighbor yesterday was met at his doorway and hit in the head with a baseball bat, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers called just after 1 p.m. to the 300 block of West Magnolia arrested Craig A. Olson, 51, according to police. The assault came out of nowhere, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert, who said there was no prior conflict between the two. It appears Olson has “issues,” Reichert said. The victim was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with a cut to her head, he said. Olson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for for second-degree assault.


• A 14-year-old boy at the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center allegedly kicked a staff member causing her to fall down and spit on others yesterday morning because he didn’t want to go back to his room, according to police. A Chehalis police officer is referring the case to juvenile prosecutors for possible charges of assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A Chehalis police officer was summoned to the principal’s office at W.F. West High School in Chehalis yesterday morning regarding a complaint from a 15-year-old girl that she was inappropriately touched by a 14-year-old boy. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for a possible charge of simple assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Centralia police were called to the 1000 block of Airport Road yesterday afternoon after a 28-foot travel trailer was discovered missing. A witness had seen a red Dodge pickup towing the white Kit trailer away around 2 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department. The camping trailer has a license of 1581RV, according to police.


• Gas cans, fuel, tools and other items were discovered missing from a storage shed at the Mineral Creek Cemetery sometime between April 7 and Tuesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A 43-year-old woman pulled over on her moped on Interstate 5 in Chehalis because she was swerving as she used one hand to eat from a bag of Doritoes ended up in the Lewis County Jail yesterday evening. A deputy noticed the scooter had no license plate and its ignition wires were taped together, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Kristina M. Andrews, of Vancouver, Wash., said she had just purchased the moped from a friend and was heading to Seattle, the sheriff’s office reported. It turned out the vehicle had been reported stolen in Portland, so Andrews was arrested for first-degree possession of stolen property, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A pair of teenage cousins from the Tacoma area who allegedly stole at gunpoint some marijuana they showed up to buy from a Centralia man in December – and then found their car being shot up as they fled East Van Buren Street – won’t be going to trial. Eighteen-year-old Yahdriel E. Jones was in court today, where attorneys told a judge he intends to change his plea to guilty. Howard E. Ross 19, had already “pleaded out” and agreed to testify, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kjell Warner said. A 28-year-old Centralia man who had placed an ad online on Craigslist that he had “extra quality meds” up for donation, of $125 per ounce, found himself struck in the face by a pistol on Dec. 15 when he got inside their car in front of his house to conduct business, according to charging documents. Jones will return to a courtroom on Tuesday to change his plea.

• A pair of brothers arrested in January after a marijuana growing operation was discovered in their Seminary Hill Road home have accepted a plea offer and will return to court May 15 for further proceedings. Zeshawn H. Hasnani, 27, and Sohail Hasnani, 24, allegedly sold their product to medical marijuana dispensaries and have been jailed since their Jan. 10 arrest by Centralia police. Attorneys told a judge today the men will change their pleas.


• “I’m not going to hold her on $35,000, this is totally ridiculous.” –  Judge Richard Brosey remarking upon a bail request after being informed Rachelle L. Braaten, 24, was charged with burglary because she went inside her Centralia home, in violation of a no contact order regarding her child. The Centralia mother was initially charged, and ordered to stay away from her toddler, after allegedly giving the little one a hit off a bong.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license, misdemeanor assault, responses for non-injury collision, possible fraud, disturbances, suspicious circumstances, suicide attempt, dog fight … and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm


• Prosecutors yesterday filed charges against the Chehalis father accused of taking money from W.F. West High School’s senior class fund. Robert N. Downs Jr., 43, has been summonsed to appear in Lewis County Superior Court to face one count of first-degree theft and 14 counts of forgery, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office. Police began investigating in January following a complaint the account had less money in it than students’ parents thought there would be. Police last month said they discovered the husband of a woman in charge of the money signed his wife’s name to 14 checks from the account he wrote out to himself, totaling $8,200. The wife replaced the money back into the account after she learned of the losses, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The fund comes from a tradition of parents collectively starting fundraising during their children’s freshman year to pay for graduation-related activities. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he believes more than $8,000 was stolen.


• A chainsaw was stolen from a shop building on the 2400 block of Seward Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• Police were called about 10:15 a.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of West Main Street in Centralia about the theft of a business check which was subsequently used to purchase more than $600 of merchandise in  Longview. Police have a suspect in mind and are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning about a counterfeit $20 bill received by an employee at a business on the 1400 block of Louisiana Avenue. Officer Linda Bailey said an officer would have taken the currency for evidence and run its information through a U.S. Secret Service database to see if it a “known” counterfeit. When police have no local leads, they send fake bills off to the Secret Service, she said.


• Centralia police took a report of graffiti on no parking signs at the 2200 block of North Tower Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. yesterday. Earlier in the afternoon, an officer was contacted a person’s fence on the 100 block of East Roanoke Street being tagged with spray paint.

• An officer was called about 9 a.m. yesterday to the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia where a female said someone spray painted her car during the night.


• Toledo area firefighters were called about 3:15 a.m. today when a driver on his way to work encountered a herd of elk crossing state Route 505 near Layton Road. Fire Chief Grant Wiltbank said the vehicle’s airbag deployed and the motorist was uninjured. One female elk was severely injured, according to Wiltbank.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with a suspended license; reports of misdemeanor assaults, shoplifting; complaints of panhandlers near businesses, a person sleeping outside an apartment building who wouldn’t leave … and more.


Vehicle after encountering elk on state Route 505 / Courtesy photo by Grant Wiltbank

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Purse recovered after Centralia robbery, along with drugs and other stolen property

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police found stolen guns, signs of gang activity and more than a “personal use” amount of suspected methamphetamine when they searched a Logan district house yesterday as they investigated the stick up of a motorist who said she got lost on Centralia streets the night before.

Two people have been arrested for the robbery that occurred about 12:15 a.m. Tuesday at the 100 block of Harrison Avenue.

Centralia Police Department detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald said the Olympia area woman told officers she came to town to help someone move, got lost and pulled into a church parking lot to use her cell phone.

A male appeared of out nowhere and stole her purse and phone at gunpoint, Fitzgerald said. She was reportedly unhurt.

The thief was described as a white male with a distinctive tattoo on his neck wearing jeans and a dark hoodie, according to police. Police were told he fled to a red or maroon sedan which was driven away by a blond female, according to police.

Officers searched the area and eventually located a similar car parked outside a residence on the 1500 block of Delaware, according to Fitzgerald.

Two of the individuals who live or were staying there were arrested. Anthony F. Johnson, 28, from Morton, for first-degree robbery and  Kaylie J. Longmire, 18, of Centralia, for being an accessory to robbery, according to the Centralia Police Department.

A patrol sergeant separately indicated that a 25-year-old Centralia man, David J. Eslick, was arrested just after midnight today, in connection with the robbery as well as for allegedly breaking into the concession stand at the high school football stadium earlier in the night.

Fitzgerald said today detectives were investigating a possible link and believed the participants in the purse theft drove Eslick to the stadium.

Yesterday, a police sergeant said the Olympia woman knew the robbers and was meeting them, but Fitzgerald said that’s not information he was given.

“There may be all kinds of stuff that comes out of this, cause we’re not finished yet,” Fitzgerald said.

During the search of the house, detectives found three stolen firearms, one of which its owner didn’t yet know was missing, according to Fitzgerald.

They also discovered photographs and graffiti in the house that was evidence of gang activity; mostly the so-called Tiny Dukes and some that could be Crips or Surenos connected, he said.

Also found were unspecified items police believe have been stolen in local burglaries as well as the Olympia woman’s purse, according to police.

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News brief: Nobody seriously hurt in messy Centralia collision

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A wreck that included two vans, a utility pole and a church in Centralia this morning shut down the intersection at North Gold and East Main streets but caused only minor injuries.

Firefighters called around 10:30 a.m. said one van occupied by two women rolled over when it was struck by another van which was headed south on Gold Street.

They were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Scott Snyder said.

“It also hit a power pole which brought everything down in the intersection,” Snyder said. “It was a mess.”

The other driver told police he was distracted by his GPS system and missed a stop sign.

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Manslaughter conviction upheld for Onalaska man who opened fire upon suspected burglars

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Updated at 1:25 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Onalaska man imprisoned after he fatally shot a suspected burglar outside his house three years ago has lost his appeal.

A panel of three judges upheld the manslaughter conviction of Ronald A. Brady in their opinion filed yesterday.

Brady, 60, was sentenced to just over five years for the death of 56-year-old Thomas McKenzie of Morton.

Through his attorney, Brady appealed on several grounds, including his contention the court erred when it refused to give his proposed jury instruction on the right to resist a felony.

Brady’s attorney argued self defense in the summer 2011 trial in Lewis County Superior Court and Brady avoided a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter. He was acquitted of an assault charge upon McKenzie’s wife, Joanna McKenzie.

Brady admitted shooting at the pair outside his house he was renovating on the 2100 block of state Route 508, describing to deputies opening his garage door and finding flashlights shined in his face. He also testified he was firing at the truck to keep it from leaving.

He told sheriff’s detectives he was staying overnight at the unoccupied house in case burglars from earlier in the day returned. Brady resided in a nearby rental home.

The Washington State Court of Appeals stated the facts of the case did not support such an instruction, as any felony that may have been committed did not pose an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm to Brady.

The only crime being committed at the time he opened fire with a .22 rifle was criminal trespass, the judge’s stated.

Among the judges’ references was a 1955 case and decision saying that a homicide committed while resisting the commission of a felony is not justified “unless the attack on the defendant’s person threatens life or great bodily harm.”

The decision was authored by Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall, with Judge Thomas R. Borgen and Judge Jill M. Morgan concurring.


For background, read “Breaking news: Onalaska murder trial: Guilty of second-degree manslaughter” from Friday June 24, 2011, here

Read the decision

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Dryad dog breeder, judge, oppose permanent prohibition on animal ownership after neglect case

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The case of the Dryad woman whose numerous foxhounds were seized from a living area overrun with feces last fall has been settled with a plea agreement and a sentence handed down by a judge, but dissatisfied  prosecutors are now asking another judge for a stiffer penalty.

Nancy Punches, now 80 years old, made a so-called Alford plea in which she admitted no wrongdoing but pleaded guilty to 10 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.


Punches’ dog kennel Oct. 19, 2012

Lewis County District Court Judge Michael Roewe gave Punches a 364 day jail sentence but then suspended it for two years, providing she abides by certain conditions.

According to court documents, Roewe said that during the 24 months while her sentence is suspended she may own up to two animals, which must be spayed or neutered, and she may not engage in any animal selling, dealing, breeding or related commercial activity.

Punches was also ordered to pay more than $19,000 in fines, fees and restitution; not suspended.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Nelson hoped the restrictions would last longer.

When county employees and volunteers descended upon Punches’ River Road property last Oct. 19, a deputy said he could not see the floor of some kennels because the water, mud and feces was so deep. One puppy was found dead and others were sick.

Her 65 dogs were confiscated, including three which survived the December 2007 flood with her.

Punches, who works in a hospital lab in Morton, started showing dogs in 1960 and has been breeding them for decades.

At the time, and at her sentencing on Jan. 25, Punches said she didn’t intend for the animals to multiply, but her fencing had deteriorated; she was in the process of cleaning up and finding homes for some and then the rains came “everything broke loose.”

The judge’s decision was largely in keeping with the agreement made between Nelson and Punches’ attorney, Bart Ricks, according to court documents.

However, according to the documents, the recommendation to the judge was the animal prohibitions be kept in place for 20 years. Roewe told them he had no authority beyond two years, the documents state.

On the same day as sentencing, Nelson filed a motion asking Roewe to reconsider, suggesting the law indicates Punches should be permanently banned from having similar animals because she has multiple convictions for animal cruelty.

Roewe said he understood the law to mean she would be banned after getting convictions on multiple occasions.

“The whole purpose of that statute is to impose greater sanctions on people who don’t learn from their first conviction,” Roewe said. “There’s only one conviction in the court’s mind, and that conviction includes 10 counts.”

Now Nelson has filed an appeal to Lewis County Superior Court, asking it to find that Punches should be prevented permanently from owning similar – unaltered – animals.

Ricks indicated he is contesting the prosecutor’s request, and expects to file a motion within the next week.

The Chehalis attorney declined to talk further about the case.

He did say his client has no animals now, not even the two the judge allowed for.

Ricks said he expects he and Nelson will argue the issue before a Lewis County Superior Court judge when a hearing is scheduled at a future date.


For background, read “Aged flood survivor loses her stock of prize-winning canines for the second time” from Sunday October 21, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 10:29 am


• Police responded to Centralia Middle School about 10:40 a.m. yesterday and arrested two teenage boys for allegedly setting fire to a plastic light cover in the boy’s bathroom. Further details were not readily available, however, according to Riverside Fire Authority, there was no actual fire and firefighters were not summoned to the Johnson Road school. The two were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for first-degree arson, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A light blue 2012 Ford Focus was stolen from a driveway at a residence on the 3000 block of Skate Creek Road North in Ashford sometime between 4 p.m. on Sunday and 11 o’clock yesterday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has a license plate of AGL 0040, the sheriff’s office reported this morning. There is no suspect information, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Morton police reported yesterday they are continuing to investigate a report of an assault made on Wednesday about an incident that might have occurred the previous weekend at the Bucksnort Pub.


• An officer was called on Thursday afternoon about a burglary to an apartment at the 300 block of Westlake Avenue in Morton. Police reported yesterday the victim believed someone entered the home a day or two before and took a number of unspecified items.

• Tire rims were reported stolen yesterday morning from behind a business on the 1000 block of West Main Street in Centralia, according to police.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday that someone stole a wallet from a vehicle at the 1100 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia. It occurred sometime since Saturday evening, according to police.


• Chehalis police called about 11 a.m. yesterday to a complaint someone slashed two tires on a vehicle on Northwest Florida Avenue noticed rub marks, as opposed to punctures, on both tires on the curb side, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting, DUI; responses for burglar alarms, misdemeanor thefts, disturbances; complaints of disorderly dogs … and more.

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News brief: Gun wielding thief steals purse from driver

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

Updated at 2:20 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police are investigating an overnight robbery in which a motorist said she was approached at gunpoint at the 100 block of Harrison Avenue.

Officers called about 12:15 a.m. were told the female was inside her vehicle when a male with a pistol demanded her purse.

She handed it over and he fled to a maroon sedan then left the area, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Sgt. Brian Warren said the victim actually knew the man and they were meeting; although Warren didn’t know the details about why.

The victim was not hurt, according to police.

Information from her led police to a residence in the Logan district of Centralia where they arrested Anthony F. Johnson as well as Kaylie J. Longmire. Longmire was driving the car, Warren said.

A gun has been recovered and officers are searching the home this afternoon, according to Warren.

Further information still to come.

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Kayla Croft-Payne: Family of missing girl questions link to modeling website

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Shelbie Croft watches her helium balloons snag in a tree at the edge of Penny Playground.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Her mother, father, two little sisters, two aunts, two cousins, three girlfriends and three people who didn’t know her came together on Sunday, all for Kayla Croft-Payne, the Lewis County girl who vanished three years earlier.

Still, they have more questions than answers about what happened to the then-18-year-old.

“I talk to detective Callas two times a month, he promises she won’t become a cold case,” her father Thomas Payne told the small group.

Payne, formerly of Longview traveled from his new home north of Seattle to a vigil held at Penny Playground in Chehalis yesterday. The day marked three years since his daughter last logged on to her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing a few days later by a girlfriend who lived with her south of Chehalis.

“We won’t let her become a cold case,” her aunt, Karen Hinton said. “We need people to tell us what they know.”

Hinton has found a spark of hope for answers as she’s begun to question who was the photographer her niece met online who arranged to take pictures of her so she could create a modeling portfolio.

She found the potential clues simply by looking at Croft-Payne’s Facebook page, she said.

“Her last entries are, I’m going to a photo shoot, I can’t wait to get my portfolio done,” Hinton said.


Kayla Croft-Payne

Hinton has connected with a Vancouver, Wash.-based group called National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation (NWCAVE). It’s president and co-founder has taken up the cause to bring media attention to the case.

Early last month, NWCAVE’s Michelle Bart contacted numerous members of the press to describe how Croft-Payne is one of three young women around the country who posted photos and information about themselves on the same modeling website and left for modeling only to never return home.

Bart is concerned certain photographers may be using the ModelMayhem website to prey upon women.

Bart says she learned Croft-Payne went missing after she went to meet with a photographer she met there. Hinton said she’s passed the information to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and a detective has promised to follow those leads.

She’s encouraged, but at the same time discouraged it wasn’t investigated previously.

“I don’t know how this was overlooked by the police for so long,” Hinton told the gathering yesterday. “It’s beyond me.”

The vigil was, as promised, informal. Bart shared with the group the need to keep Croft-Payne’s face and name in the public eye.

A moment of silence was shared when  6-year-old Shelbie Croft set free a small cluster of helium balloons for her sister into clear, but cool skies. They were caught by the branches of the first tree along the expected route.

Ashley Smith traveled from her home in Spanaway to remember her friend with others yesterday. She’s 20 years old now, but three years ago she was a 17-year-old Lewis County girl who was with Croft-Payne 24 – 7, she said.

They lived together in a trailer off Newaukum Valley Road, between Chehalis and Napavine.

“I don’t know what to think anymore,” Smith said. “I don’t want to think the worst.”

She’s heard the various rumors and  doesn’t seem to give any more weight than the others. Maybe her friend was made to pay off someone’s drug debt, as in sex trafficking, she said. Maybe her friend overdosed on drugs, and someone got scared and hid her body, she said.

But Smith said the website ModelMayhem didn’t ring a bell to her, and she thought it would if her friend was using it.

“She was really into, wanted to be a model really bad,” Smith said.

Croft-Payne wasn’t headed to meet a photographer when she disappeared, Smith said.

The photo shoot was in Bellevue and it was about two weeks earlier, Smith said. The two of them were headed up there together, she said, but various circumstances, including their lack of a ride, caused it to fall through.

“The night she went missing, we were together,” Smith said.

Smith said she and Croft-Payne were at a friend’s house in Onalaska. Another friend came to pick her up, to give her a ride to her boyfriend’s, she said.

“She told me she was going to Manny’s house,” Smith said.

All of the possibilities that come to mind are unpleasant, Smith said.

“It’s hard to think of pleasant ones, given the crowd we were hanging with,” she said.


Read background on Kayla Croft-Payne, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm


• A 32-year-old Chehalis man was arrested on Saturday after items he allegedly stole from his girlfriend were found at a Chehalis pawn shop. A deputy was contacted on Friday by the 32-year-old woman from the 100 block of Skinner Road in Napavine who said not long after she began a relationship with Raymond G. Denault, he took several rings and fishing poles from her home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Denault was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft, trafficking in stolen property and burglary, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A deputy was called about 5 a.m. on Saturday about a break-in to a home on the 2400 block of Salzer Valley Road outside Centralia where five tool boxes, a trimmer and a carton of cigarettes were stolen, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office has two suspects, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• Someone threw a rock through the front window of a home on the 400 block of Coal Creek Road outside Chehalis, went inside and stole a safe, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the burglary was reported on Sunday night and said it’s unknown what the safe contained.


• A deputy responded to the Lion’s Club Campground on Front Street in Mineral on Saturday for a report a 15 horse power motor was taken from a boat belonging to a Puyallup man and to the same place the day before where a Tacoma man said someone cut a cable and stole a $1,000 Honda generator which had been attached to his trailer.


• A 44-year-old Centralia man as arrested for possession of methamphetamine about 10 a.m. on Saturday at the 1300 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia. Keith A. Obrist was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police were called about 4:45 a.m. yesterday to the 2000 block of Borst Avenue where an individual said he observed someone inside his car – which he got a picture of –  who then ran off into the park.


• Centralia police took two reports on Saturday night of theft of gasoline from vehicles at the 2800 block of Russell Road.


• Police were called to the 800 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia just after 9 o’clock yesterday morning to take a report someone had slashed a children’s’ inflatable pool its owner had just spent three days setting up.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday evening to an address on Saunders Way to a report someone had slashed a soft-sided hot tub, deflating it. The loss is estimated at as much as $2,000, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Someone spray painted graffiti on the skateboard ramps at Riverside Rotary Park on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, something which was discovered on Saturday morning.


• A female driver struck the back end of a parked vehicle on Southwest 13th Street near Penny Playground in Chehalis about 10:15 a.m. yesterday which caused her car to roll onto its side, according to police. There were no serious injuries, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 32-year-old Centralia man was cited for wheels off the road when his vehicle failed to negotiate a curve, rolled onto its driver’s side and then back up onto its four wheels at the 2500 block of Salzer Valley Road outside Centralia on Friday. A deputy called about 4:40 p.m. to the scene noted the 2007 Toyota Yaris sustained major damage but the two occupants declined aid, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with suspended license, warrant, DUI; responses for family disputes, bar dispute, non-injury, minor injury – including hit and run – collisions, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault, burglar alarms, found wallet, found bicycle; complaints loud music, erratic drivers … and more.

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Three years later: Gathering set in Chehalis for missing Kayla Croft-Payne

Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Kayla Croft-Payne hasn’t been heard from since April 28, 2010

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A vigil will be held tomorrow afternoon in Chehalis to mark the three year anniversary of the disappearance of Lewis County teen Kayla Croft-Payne.

Family and friends will gather at 2 p.m. at Recreation Park in Chehalis. Members of the general public and families of other missing persons are welcome, according to Michelle Bart

“We just want to get the word out not to forget Kayla,” Bart said.

Croft-Payne was 18 years old and living in a trailer between Chehalis and Napavine on April 28, 2010 when she last logged onto her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days.

When the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigated, detectives followed tips up into Pierce County, and down into Cowlitz County, saying the last place they could verify she was seen was a trailer park in the Toutle area.

Croft-Payne’s aunt, Karen Hinton, who lives in the Portland area, connected a few months ago with a Vancouver, Wash.-based group called National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation (NWCAVE), and together they have pursued information about Croft-Payne meeting a photographer online as she created a modeling portfolio.

Her last postings on her Facebook account talk about how she couldn’t wait to get her portfolio done and that she was going to a photo shoot, Hinton said.

It’s a path the sheriff’s office is now beginning to examine, Hinton said.

Croft-Payne had posted a profile on a website called Model Mayhem, as did at least two other missing girls, according to Bart of NWCAVE.

Bart said the Sunday afternoon vigil will be informal, and include an update on the case.

Read background on Kayla Croft-Payne, here

What: Vigil for Kayla Croft-Payne
Where: Recreation Park, Penny Playground in Chehalis, 221 SW 13th St.
When: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday April 28, 2013