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Trial postponed in Centralia’s B Street homicide due to change in defense strategy

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm
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Weston G. Miller mostly just listens as attorneys and the judge discuss his upcoming murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 5:56 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – With just a week before his trial is set to begin, the former welder who fatally shot a houseguest inside his Centralia home has decided not to attempt to get an acquittal based on insanity, but on straight self defense.

Weston G. Miller, 30, and his lawyer went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge this morning to discuss how the change meant they need to postpone his trial.

“I hope the court would realize, it’s like starting over, basically from scratch,” Centralia attorney J.P. Enbody told the judge.

Enbody said it meant dealing with different experts, different criteria and different facts.

Judge Richard Brosey granted the delay but wasn’t happy.

Miller is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

Police called the afternoon of March 13 to Miller’s house on B Street found Carson dead 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.

Miller has claimed self defense from the beginning.

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

Among the further work to be done mentioned this morning was the defense getting an expert to review the autopsy findings regarding gun powder residue and the proximity of the two men to each other.

The trial has been repeatedly pushed into the future as attorneys have dealt with examinations by doctors about Miller’s competence to stand trial and his mental state at the time of the shooting.

Last month the court was informed he wanted to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and a hearing was planned so a judge could hear from experts on both sides. It’s cancelled.

Miller is also charged with several counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm as detectives say when they searched his home, they found a a MAC-10 semi-automatic and four other guns.

Miller’s previous domestic violence assault means he’s prohibited from possessing firearms.

Centralia police also allegedly discovered a silencer and a bullet-proof vest in the house.

The trial, which is expected to last five days or less, is now scheduled for the week on April 15.
•••

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

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Sheriff’s Office: Ashford man wanted for attacking roommate with power drill

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Law enforcement officers are looking for a 55-year-old Ashford man who allegedly held a cordless drill to the neck of his female roommate last night as she tried to shield her 4-year-old child.

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Robert C. Sliger

Robert C. Sliger is wanted for first-degree assault as well as an outstanding warrant, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were called to the home on the 100 block of Nisqually Way about 11:15 p.m. yesterday where they say the two had a disagreement about Sliger eating all the donuts.

The 27-year-old woman said her roommate threw pieces of firewood at her head and then followed her onto the porch as she attempted to call 911 and beat her with a metal bar, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sliger had left the residence before deputies arrived.

“She said that he then set the bar down and picked up a yellow cordless drill,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. “She said as she was trying to shield her 4-year-old daughter, he pulled the trigger on the drill and pushed it towards her throat until it was less than half an inch away from her throat.”

The victim had a large knot on her forehead and an injury to her elbow but declined medical aid, Brown said.

Sliger is known to live in both Lewis and Pierce counties, according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office said they learned of another attack over food occurred about a month ago.

The woman said Sliger struck her in the side of her head several times after she confronted him about eating her daughter’s Fruit Loops, Brown said.

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Judge will hear Onalaskan’s request to toss his murder convictions this coming September

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm
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John Allen Booth Jr. smiles at acquaintances in the Chehalis courtroom this afternoon while waiting for the judge to take the bench.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Convicted triple murderer John Allen Booth Jr. was escorted by three jail guards when he returned to a Lewis County courtroom today, casting grins to a small sprinkling of acquaintances who were seated in the otherwise mostly empty gallery.

The former Onalaskan was sentenced a little more than a year ago to life without the possibility of release for the August 2010 slayings of two men and a teenage boy, as well as shooting a woman in the face. Prosecutors said it came about because Booth and his former cell mate were “taxing” 52-year-old David West Sr. on behalf of Lewis County drug dealer Robbie Russell.

Booth, 33, filed a post-trial motion from prison asking a judge to vacate his judgement and sentence.

He appeared in Lewis County Superior Court today to set a date for a hearing. His lawyer said it could last for two days.

“Definitely I’m comfortable setting this even in September,” defense attorney Erik Kupka told the judge. “First of all, I don’t know exactly yet what I’m getting into.”

Kupka and an office partner of his, both based in Aberdeen, were appointed by the court just last week to represent Booth in his challenge.

The attorney said he met with his new client for the previous hour inside the jail, and indicated there was a lot of material to digest.

Judge Richard Brosey scheduled the hearings for the week of Sept. 2.

“That works for me, I guess, I’m kind locked up,” Booth offered to the judge.

Booth continued on addressing the judge directly, asking what was going to be done about undisclosed DNA evidence and other issues.

Brosey told Booth to speak to his attorney, not to him.

Booth is incarcerated at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. The judge offered to hold him in the local jail for a week, so his lawyers could have easier access to meet with him.

According to testimony and evidence in the eight-day trial, Booth was visiting West Sr. at West’s Salkum-Onalaska area home when West brought out a shotgun to get him to leave and Booth shot him with a 9 mm handgun. Prosecutors said the shootings that followed were executions to eliminate witnesses.

Losing their lives that day, along with West Sr., were 16-year-old David “D.J.” West Jr. and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle. West Sr.’s girlfriend, Denise Salts, survived.

Booth denied even being present, but a jury took only two hours to convict him of murder, attempted murder, attempted extortion and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was sentenced under the state’s so-called three strikes law.
•••

For background, read “Salkum triple murder: Victims cry, defendant lashes out at sentence hearing” from Friday December 16, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

WHY WON’T MY KEY WORK IN THAT LOCK?

• Morton police responding to a reported attempted break-in about 3 a.m. on Saturday found an intoxicated 23-year-old trying to get inside the wrong house. Residents at the home on the 100 block of Collar Avenue called 911 as someone was trying to get in through a sliding glass door, according to the Morton Police Department. An officer arriving there detained Andrew G. Alexander, cited him for breach of public peace and then he was returned to his own home, according to police.

THEFTS OF TOOLS AND STUFF

• A deputy called yesterday morning to the 100 block of Oyler Way in Ethel learned from an 85-year-old woman that someone had gotten into her barn sometime since the day before and left with a chainsaw, a drill and a welder, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Someone broke into a storage building at the 100 block of U.S. Highway 12 south of Chehalis and stole numerous tools including a leak detector sometime between Thursday and Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss to Gateway RV and Marine is initially estimated at $2,500, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A deputy was called on Saturday to a vacant home on the 6800 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Morton was told someone entered a detached garage sometime sine Dec. 12 and stole an electrical box and about 180 feet of copper wire, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE THEFT

• An individual called police about 8:40 a.m. on Saturday when their red 1994 Honda Accord came up missing fromm the 400 block of Southwest 18th Street in Chehalis.

• A red 1953 Kiser military six-wheel drive truck with a 1,700-gallon water tank vanished from where it had been parked for sale at the 1500 block of Bishop Road outside Chehalis, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. It was last seen on Jan. 25 and was gone the following day, Chief Civil Deputy Brown said. It is valued at $4,500, Brown said.

FIREARM MISSING

• A shopper at Sunbirds on the 1700 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis returned to his truck to find damage to the door lock and his .45 caliber handgun missing just after 4 p.m. yesterday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BEER STOLEN

• A customer who appeared to be about 18 or 19 years old walked out of a Randle store with an 18-pack of Budweiser beer without paying for it on Saturday night, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called after the approximately 7:30 p.m. incident at J and L Country Market was told a 16-year-old boy had been eyeing the same 18-pack just a few minutes prior.

DRUGS FOUND

• An officer was called to a tanning salon on Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis yesterday afternoon when a a baggie of methamphetamine was found in one of the rooms. It was taken for destruction, Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 9 p.m. yesterday after someone threw a rock through a window at the 1100 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia.

UNRULY DUI

• A 57-year-old man pulled over about 8:40 p.m. on Friday on Southeast First Street in Winlock reportedly resisted arrest and was subsequently taken into custody for driving under the influence, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Edward R. Turula, of Winlock, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after he was detained by both a deputy and a Winlock police officer, according to the sheriff’s office.

WRECKS

• An 80-year-old Curtis resident escaped serious injury when he crashed his pickup truck on the 500 block of Wildwood Road yesterday. A deputy arriving around 11:20 a.m. learned the driver had been northbound when his Dodge Ram went into the ditch and then struck a tree, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The truck was severely damaged, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 45-year-old Winlock man was arrested for driving under the influence when he rolled and wrecked his pickup truck Friday night on Pleasant Valley Road near Highway 603 southwest of Napavine. A deputy arriving just before 8 p.m. arrested and booked Erik W. West into the Lewis County Jail, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was reportedly uninjured.

• A 58-year-old Onalaska driver reportedly was uninjured when he tried to avoid an animal and ran in to a ditch, clipped a utility pole and took out several wooden fence posts on Friday afternoon at the 200 block of Gish Road in Onalaska. His 2010 Nissan Altima however was totaled, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CHAIR CATCHES FIRE

• Firefighters called about 9:15 p.m. on Friday to a home on the 200 block of Southwest James Street in Chehalis about a burning chair inside a 13-year-old boy’s bedroom found the chair had been pulled out of the home and doused with water. The youngster had been using a lighter to burn threads from his jeans, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. There was no damage to the bedroom and firefighters installed a smoke detector in the home, according to the fire department.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

FULL MOON OVER SOUTH PEARL STREET

• A 49-year-old Centralia woman was at the Bank of America on the 100 block of South Pearl Street around 10 a.m. on Friday when she allegedly threatened to blow it up with a bomb, according to police. She didn’t possess any explosives but police said it scared employees and other customers so she was arrested for felony harassment. Sherry L. McPherson was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police contacting a 22-year-old individual who refused to leave a business at closing time on Friday night at the 200 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia say the person became combative and kicked an officer. Kiela D. Current, a Centralia resident, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police arrested a 24-year-old Centralia woman at mid-day on Friday for allegedly shoplifting at a business on the 200 block of South Pearl Street. Samantha L. Brooks was booked into the Lewis County Jail. An officer called about two hours later again to the 200 block of South Pearl Street contacted a 39-year-old Chehalis man for alleged shoplifting. Thomas D. Lininger was arrested and then released, according to police.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

• Police were called about noon on Friday to Courtland Street regarding a boy who allegedly assaulted his mother by choking her. The boy was arrested for second-degree assault and taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUNCH OF ATTEMPTED BURGLARIES

• Police got reports of attempted break-ins to businesses in the area of the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue on Friday morning, with damage to the doors. One building was entered but nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday regarding graffiti on a fence at the 200 block of North Tower Avenue.

VEHICLE ROLLS OVER EMBANKMENT

• A 51-year-old Morton woman was hospitalized after her pickup truck hit a patch of ice on state Route 7, slid off a steep embankment and rolled early yesterday morning. Troopers called just after 1 a.m. to the scene just north of town found the 1989 Toyota on its driver’s side, according to the Washington State Patrol. Mindy L. Woore was transported to Morton General Hospital with unspecified injuries, according to the state patrol. The truck was described as totaled. The trooper noted she was driving too fast.

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Centralia police offering money, asking for help with emerging gang graffiti

Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm
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On North Tower Avenue. / Courtesy Centralia Police Department

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police are paying cash money to try to nip a budding gang tagging issue around town.

Officers are seeing an increase in graffiti being attributed to the presence of an emerging gang, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Chief Bob Berg describes the problem this way:

Graffiti posted by one gang is a challenge to rival gangs, who will then cross out each other’s graffiti as a sign of disrespect. This leads to retaliation, which often leads to violence between gangs as they struggle for dominance and control of a given area.

The violence can result in everything from additional vandalism, to fights and even drive by shootings, Berg says.

Berg says the new gang, calling itself the Tiny Dukes, is attempting to expand its influence in the area and also recruiting young people.

He wants to stop it before it grows and becomes a significant problem.

Police are asking for the public’s help by reporting any tagging as soon as its spotted, especially good is to call 911 while a tagger is still in the act. The chief wants folks to report any suspicious activity, even if seems insignificant, especially if it involves young people fighting, and even partying, he says.

The police department is willing to pay up to $250 for information leading to the arrest for any individual posting graffiti on public or private property.

The amount paid out will vary in part based on its timeliness, and quality of evidence offered, according to Berg.

“We’re hoping to get some takers on it,” he said.

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Centralia medical marijuana dispensary case winding down

Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm
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David Low, right, sits with his attorney Don Blair as he is sentenced in connection with Hub City Natural Medicine

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The first of four people arrested after police raided what they said was a marijuana dispensary in downtown Centralia was sentenced yesterday to two days in jail.

With two days credit for time served, essentially no time, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge yesterday afternoon.

Hub City Natural Medicine opened with a city-granted business license on South Tower Avenue in early 2011. It was shut down in late April of that year after police realized what “education and sales of natural medicine” meant and said they twice caught a worker selling marijuana there.

At the time, some cities in Washington, such as Tacoma, allowed dispensaries of medical marijuana to operate, where, in theory, patients with authorizations make donations to obtain cannabis.

“In five years, maybe what Mr. Low was doing would be legal,” Meagher told the court. “It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.”

Meagher and defense attorney Don Blair reached a plea agreement in the case of 38-year-old David Low, of Centralia.

Low and two other individuals alleged to be the owners were charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances.

He pleaded guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, with a so-called Alford plea, to attempting to maintain a premises for using controlled substances.

“I think everybody agrees the laws are kind of in flux,” Blair told the judge. “I’m confident at least within five years, all of this will be legal.”

Judge Nelson Hunt was told Low was attempting to start an educational business to teach people to grow marijuana and both sides agreed he never gave any to anyone.

Low, who is also known as the “Dirty Cop Enforcer”, maintains a web site where he berates what he sees as injustices committed by public officials, and in particular police officers.

He said he started the crusade after a traffic stop in late 2011 and what he says was the wrongful turning off of his video camera by a Centralia officer.

Low told the judge he thought his case grew out of a misunderstanding of his role and a “lot of stereotyping.”

“I never intended to commit a crime there,” Low told Judge Hunt. “I have to take responsibility.”

Hunt accepted the plea and sentencing recommendation and told Low he was free to leave, after providing a DNA sample to jail staff.

The crime is an unranked felony, meaning it has a sentence of up to 365 days, according to Meagher.

Still awaiting trials are Lauri Spangler, 47, and Colby Cave, 35, of Curtis. They remain charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances. A charge of possession of a stolen ATV that grew out of a search of their property has been dropped, Meagher said.

Daniel J. Mack, 41, who was arrested during the April 20, 2011 raid of Hub City Natural Medicine for delivery and possession of marijuana, pleaded guilty in June. He has yet to be sentenced, according to Meagher.

Mack was persuaded to testify against the others, Meagher said.
•••

For background, read “Centralia police seize computers, products at medical marijuana business” from Thursday April 21, 2011, here

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News brief: Former Onalaskan incarcerated for 2010 slayings back for attack on his conviction

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – John Allen Booth Jr. is back.

The convicted triple-murderer who once called Onalaska home was sent to prison for life in December 2011, but was booked into the Lewis County Jail this morning.

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John Allen Booth Jr.

Booth, now 33, filed a post-trial motion which will be heard by a Lewis County Superior Court judge.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said it isn’t related to the evidence that turned up in the coroner’s office several weeks after the conviction.

Meagher called it a “collateral attack”.

Booth was convicted in the shooting deaths of David West Sr., 52,  David “D.J.” West Jr., 16, and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle. The three, along with Denise Salts who survived a gunshot, were found in the home Salts and the Wests shared on Wings Way in the Onalaska-Salkum area on August 21, 2010.

Last year about this time, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said finger nail clippings and hair trimmings from all three victims were found in a sealed bag in the work locker of a former deputy coroner. The materials had no “chain of custody” documentation, nor did they get into the hands of law enforcement or attorneys in the case.

Both Booth’s attorney and  Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said it was a potential appeal issue for Booth.

Booth is scheduled to go before Judge Richard Brosey at 2:30 p.m. on Monday to set a date for the motion hearing.
•••

For background, read “Report: Triple murderer surprisingly charming and well-mannered” from Monday December 19, 2011, here

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News brief: Judge denies request to withdraw guilty plea in child sexual abuse, death case

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – James Reeder changed his mind.

The 26-year-old Centralia resident has been awaiting sentencing for the May death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter after pleading guilty last month.

The so-called Alford plea, in which he did not admit guilt, was part of deal which could get him a minimum of about three decades in prison and possibly remain there for life.

From the Lewis County Jail, Reeder penciled a two-page letter to Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler asking to please be allowed to withdraw his plea, saying he has been telling his lawyer all along he wanted to take it to a trial.

Judge Lawler denied his request today.

Reeder pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to homicide by abuse, second-degree assault, two counts of first-degree rape of a child and possession of methamphetamine. The victim, Koralynn Fister, died May 24 in Centralia.

Reeder’s sentencing remains scheduled for March 6.

Attorneys are still waiting for a pre-sentencing investigation report from the state Department of Corrections.
•••

For background, read “Defendant in Koralynn Fister death pleads guilty” from Wednesday January 9, 2013, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

POLICE: TEENAGER JUMPED IN GANG-RELATED INCIDENT

• Centralia police called about 11 p.m. yesterday to a fight at South Tower Avenue and Cherry Street arrested two men who allegedly beat up a 17-year-old boy who was knocked unconscious in what police called a gang-related incident. The boy, from Centralia, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. Police say the boy and two other young men were walking down the street when a vehicle pulled over and the driver got out to ask the boy if he was a gang member or not. When the boy replied no, the driver asked if the boy knew who he was and then told him, “Spooker Josh LVL,” according to the Centralia Police Department. Denham said Joshua Rhoades had a closed knife in his hand when he punched the boy and once they fell to the ground, another male from the vehicle began punching and kicking the boy. The victim’s two friends managed to repel the attackers, police were told, who jumped back in their car and left. Arriving officers arrested Rhoades, 32, for second-degree assault and Michael J. Daily, 25, for third-degree assault, according to police. Both are Centralia residents. Rhoades told police he was the victim in the situation, Denham said. Denham said the teenager didn’t want to go to the hospital, but officers talked him into it because he had been knocked out. The role of the men’s female companion was part of an ongoing investigation today, Denham said.

WHISKEY THURSDAY AT SHOP N KART

• A 34-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting two bottles of whiskey, some Visine and also flour tortillas from Shop ‘N Kart yesterday. Police called just after 1 p.m. to the grocery on the 2100 block of North National Avenue booked Christina R. Harris, of Tumwater, into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• And an officer was called back just before 3 p.m. after a customer walked out of Shop ‘N Kart with an unpaid for bottle of whiskey and began drinking it in the parking lot. Matthew E. Eastman was arrested for third-degree theft and then released, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PRESCRIPTION MIX UP?

• Chehalis police were called about 5:45 p.m. yesterday about the possible theft of narcotics from the pharmacy at Safeway. An individual said they only got half the number of pills in their Hydrocodone prescription, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The incident was being investigated, according to police.

VIDEO CAMERAS STOLEN BUT IMAGES REMAIN

• A deputy was called about 5:40 a.m. yesterday to a burglary at the 200 block of Hamilton Road North in which someone moved a forklift but got it stuck in some mud and entered several trailers and sheds before leaving with a pump, a seven-drawer Craftsman tool box – with tools – and surveillance cameras. The video images will be reviewed to look for suspects, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BULLDOZER AMONG MISSING ITEMS

• A deputy called Wednesday to property on the 300 block of Beck Road in Onalaska learned that several items had gone missing since last Friday including a box van, a bulldozer and an asphalt roller. A caretaker of the property had arrived to find someone there with a flatbed trailer, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

DIAMONDS, RUBIES AND MORE MISSING

• A 58-year-old woman reported a theft yesterday of about $2,000 worth of jewelry from her home on the 400 block of U.S. Highway 12 outside Chehalis. A deputy was told that among the items that disappeared sometime since Dec. 31 were a 1972 Toledo class ring with the initials MB, a  gold ring with an rectangle aquamarine stone, a diamond and ruby ring and a solitaire diamond ring, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

LAUNDRY ROOM HEIST

• A washing machine was stolen from a laundry room on the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 12:30 p.m. yesterday. It was a coin operated machine, the theft of which was caught on camera, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BARN BREAK-IN

• Someone stole 200 feet of copper welding wire from a barn on the 300 block of Hamilton Road outside Chehalis, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. A deputy called to the property learned it occurred sometime between Wednesday and yesterday and appeared to have involved an individual on a bicycle who was accompanied by a vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.

CAR PROWL

• Someone broke out the back window of a vehicle and stole tools and a stereo on the 1000 block of F Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 8:25 a.m. yesterday.

HELMET LIFTED FROM BIKE

• Centralia police were called at 1:30 a.m. today by an individual who said his helmet was stolen from his motorcycle while he was in a tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.

STREET DEPARTMENT WOES ON PROSPECT

• Chehalis police were called again yesterday morning to Southeast Prospect Street where someone had spray painted two speed limit signs orange and white as well as painted a stop sign white.

INMATE SMASHES VIDEO SCREEN WITH HEAD

• A 35-year-old inmate at the Lewis County Jail was “arrested” after he reportedly shattered the screen on a video visitation monitor on Wednesday. A deputy advised of the damage by jail staff viewed the images that showed Nicholas F. Leroux hitting his head on the screen, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The offense is third-degree malicious mischief. The damage is $800, according to the sheriff’s office.

OUT-OF-CONTROL DOG BITES THREE

• Centralia police say a dog had to be Tased yesterday morning to get it secured after it attacked another dog, bit the victim dog’s owner and attacked a cat. it happened on the 1500 block of Lewis Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CHIMNEY FLAMES UP

• Crews were called just before 7 p.m. yesterday to a chimney fire on a home at Southwest 18th Street at Ruzicka Drive in Chehalis. “We put a chimney nozzle down there, put the fire out and went inside to make sure it didn’t extend into the attic,” Chehalis Fire Department Firefighter Jay Birley said. It didn’t, Birley said. The damage was minimal, he said.

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Olympia man charged in attack of medics will be sent to Western State Hospital

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:40 am
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Wade C. Buchanan awaits his turn to see a judge in Chehalis on Thursday.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man accused of biting, hitting and kicking three paramedics in an apparently unprovoked attack at a Centralia gas station will be examined by doctors at a state mental hospital before a criminal case will proceed in Lewis County Superior Court.

Wade C. Buchanan, 47, of Olympia, remains held in the Lewis County Jail following his arrest on Saturday.

Buchanan appeared before a judge in Chehalis yesterday morning, where his lawyer requested a competency evaluation.

“I think there’s competency issues,” Chehalis attorney Chris Baum said. “It’s important to deal with that early on in a case.”

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he was still gathering reports, but believes previous cases against Buchanan have been dismissed, possibly related to issues of competency.

Buchanan was charged on Monday with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault in connection with the afternoon incident at the Chevron station on the 1200 block of Mellen Street, near Interstate 5.

AMR’s headquarters is just around the corner

Police say no one could explain why Buchanan lashed out at the men.

The AMR medics were fueling up their ambulance and Buchanan’s vehicle was parked at the gas pumps in front of them, according to police.

Centralia Police Department Sgt. Carl Buster said Buchanan made a comment about them driving a new ambulance and then charged one the medics. Court documents allege Buchanan approached the driver, Steven Spurgeon-Busz, and tried to pull him out of his rig; he resisted and Buchanan bit him on the arm, breaking the skin.

Buster said, after the arrest, that surveillance footage of the scene showed the driver kicking Buchanan away from the ambulance.

The video captured what appear to be the first portions of what turned into a brawl, but much of it becomes blocked by a gas pump and then an arriving truck.

Charging documents say when Ronald Dire-Day moved in to help, Buchanan struck him in the face leaving a large cut; the two AMR employees tackled Buchanan and then a third medic arrived to assist.

Scott Riley was trying to control Buchanan’s legs when he was kicked in the chest, according to charging documents.

Another customer, 49-year-old Victoria Disney, of Vancouver, Wash., told police she jumped on Buchanan’s back in an effort to help the medics, according to authorities.

Buchanan allegedly continued to fight when four police officers responded, as one applied a Taser to the back of his neck and another sprayed pepper spray in his eyes and mouth, according to charging documents.

“(He) attacked them and he’s crazy,” Disney reportedly told police. She was unhurt.

Buster said Buchanan sustained some scrapes.

In court yesterday, Buchanan was shackled at both his waist and ankles.

Judge James Lawler signed an order allowing DNA to be taken via a mouth swab so it could be tested for communicable diseases, given one of the medics was bit.

A review hearing was scheduled for Feb. 21, so the lawyers could inform the judge if the report from Western State Hospital is back after the competency evaluation.
•••

For background and link to video footage, read “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – THREE MEDICS INJURED IN GAS STATION BRAWL” from Sunday January 27, 2013, here

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Local medic punished for discrepancies, violations regarding medications

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Lewis County paramedic’s credential has been suspended indefinitely for forging forms related to controlled substances and for administering unauthorized doses of morphine to patients.

Marla Fleming-Nixon worked for Lewis County Medic One and also as a volunteer medical coordinator for the Napavine area fire district.

Her credential expired in April of last year. Nixon was fired from Medic One a few months before that and resigned from Lewis County Fire District 5 at the same time.

Grant Wiltbank, executive director of Medic One, a shared ambulance service formerly known as South Lewis County EMS, said his internal investigation was limited to discrepancies in documentation.

“Probably the strictest policies we have are dealing with controlled substances,” Wiltbank said, adding that it wouldn’t cost a person their job if it only happened once.

The investigation that followed, conducted on behalf of the state’s manager of emergency medical services, resulted in a statement of alleged charges issued last September.

Nixon chose to forego a hearing on the matter and signed an agreed order two weeks ago acknowledging she committed unprofessional conduct, according to documents filed with the state Department of Health.

The resolution of the case was reported publicly by the Department of Health yesterday.

The facts Nixon agreed were true are as follows:

Between October and November 2011, on about eight occasions, she administered 20 mg or more of morphine sulfate to patients without medical control authorization. Protocols allow a paramedic to give as much as 10 mg without additional permission.

Between February and August of the same year, Nixon falsified the the required witnesses’ signature when she completed a patient controlled medications documentation form which includes a section noting amounts disposed of. That happened about four times, according to the documents.

Wiltbank described the disposal or waste of controlled medications issue explaining, for example, a standard vial holds 10 mg and if a patient is given less than that, a medic must get rid of the excess in front of a witness.

The conduct was found to cause no or minimal patient harm, according to the state documents.

Fire District 5 Chief Eric Linn said Nixon worked with his district for about two years and he had no reason to think she did anything unsatisfactory.

“I was very surprised, she’s a good medic, she worked very hard,” Linn said.

As the medical services officer, Nixon supervised and taught EMTs, and was responsible for quality assurance and ordering supplies, he said.

Paramedics employed by Lewis County Medic One respond jointly with fire districts in south and central Lewis County.

Wiltbank, who didn’t have personnel records in front of him this afternoon, said he thought Nixon worked for Medic One for three, perhaps four or even five years.

He called it an unfortunate situation, and said there was no animosity on his part.

“This is a very big deal,” Wiltbank said. “This was the first time we had to deal with a situation like this.”

Attempts to reach Nixon for comment were unsuccessful. A phone number listed for her in Winlock has been disconnected.

The documents state that if she seeks to reinstate her paramedic credential, she would be placed on probation for at least two years with monitoring to ensure public safety. She also would be required to complete a number of classes beforehand, as well as pay a fine of $500.

Nixon first became licensed to practice as a paramedic in Washington in 1995.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm

FIREFIGHTERS DOUSE FLAMES INSIDE VACANT APARTMENT

• Nobody was injured when a fire broke out last night in a vacant upstairs apartment in Centralia. Firefighters called just before 9:30 p.m. to the complex on Virginia Drive just off North Pearl Street found smoke coming out the front and back windows, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The building has six units but other residents had gotten themselves outside, according to Assistant Chief Mike Kytta. It appears to have been a malfunctioning baseboard heater, Kytta said. The damage was primarily to the wall, the heater and the nearby carpet, he said.

OFFICERS FIND WANTED MAN HIDING IN HIDE-A-BED

• Police arrested three people when they found a man wanted on a warrant attempting to conceal himself in a hide-a-bed at the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia yesterday. Officers went to Dominic L. Combs’ trailer home in the Pepper Tree RV Park with information he was there just before 4 p.m., according to police. A man and woman told officers Combs was not inside but he was subsequently found with items piled on top of him on his bed, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Found under the bed were prescription drugs not prescribed to Combs so he was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of those and his warrant, Denham said. Booked for rendering criminal assistance were Ashley M. Williams, 24, of Rochester and Joseph L. Nickols, 30, a local homeless person, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT PACKWOOD

• A deputy took a report yesterday from a man who takes care of another individuals’ horses at the 100 block of Timberline Drive in Packwood that sometime over the weekend someone got into a shed and stole a lantern, an emergency radio, waders and a half tank of gas from a van, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police yesterday were investigating a possible fraud involve someone making transactions on someone’s account. Further details were unavailable.

THEFT CENTRALIA

• Centralia police took a report about 11 p.m. yesterday from an individual at the 1100 block of West First Street who said someone stole his wallet while he was playing dodge ball.

THEFT CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 10:40 a.m. yesterday about a vehicle prowl at the 1200 block of Bishop Road. Further details were unavailable.

UNRULY SUBJECTS

• A pair of Castle Rock residents were arrested late yesterday afternoon for fighting in public at the 1500 block of Lum Road in centralia. Matthew S. Brown. 25, and Shane A. Ibarra, 30, were both then released, according to the Centralia Police Department. Brown was additionally cited for resisting arrest, according to police.

• A 35-year-old Bellevue man was arrested just after noon yesterday at Woodland Avenue and Hunt Street for obstructing a peace officer, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MARIJUANA FOUND AT HIGH SCHOOL

• Chehalis police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to W.F. West High School about a student with suspected marijuana. The officer spoke to the 17-year-old girl and confiscated the material so it could sent to a drug lab to be tested, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A Centralia police officer responded just after 3 p.m. yesterday about a building tagged with graffiti on the 400 block of North Gold Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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News brief: Firefighters rescue Centralian after boat flips in river

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Crews responding this morning to a call about an upside down pontoon boat and an oar spotted in the Skookumchuck River in north Centralia found a man who was out of the water but prevented by thick brush from getting up the bank.

Two men from Centralia in two boats had apparently launched from the park off B Street and one of them overturned near there, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The swift water carried his companion’s craft probably another three quarters of a mile downstream before he was able to get off the river, Assistant Chief Mike Kytta said.

The man, in his 50s, had gone into the water and was carried by the river underneath some branches and trees but got himself to the water’s edge, according to Kytta.

Firefighters had to clear a path through the berry vines and brush, Kytta said.

“He was tired and cold and they had to assist him up the bank,” Kytta said.

He was loaded into an ambulance by 11:10 a.m. and taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be evaluated, according to the chief.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Updated at 6:31 p.m.

HOMELESS MAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER GETTING ‘JUMPED’ IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police are investigating after a 45-year-old homeless man with serious injuries sought help at a gas station on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue yesterday evening. An officer called about 6:25 p.m. found the man with a broken nose and numerous facial fractures, according to police. “He was highly intoxicated, he just said someone jumped him,” Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Officers searched the area including Fort Borst Park but found no suspects, according to Denham. The man was checked by medics and transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Denham said. Police were told the injuries were not consistent with falling down or something of that nature, and will be interviewing him again, according to Denham.

SLEEPING DRIVER JAILED

• A 32-year-old Centralia woman was woken up and taken to jail after an officer contacted her “passed out” behind the wheel of a vehicle at an intersection early this morning.  An officer responding about 6:10 a.m. to North Tower and East Oakview Avenue noted the car was at a stop sign with the engine turned off, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. Tammy L. Brick was subsequently arrested for possession of methamphetamine and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STOLEN CAR FOUND, BRIEFLY

• Police following up overnight to a suspicious sight at a motel parking lot determined a 2012 Audi there was stolen. An officer near the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive observed two known subjects around 3 a.m. near the newish vehicle, according to police. They and others contacted in a motel room denied it was theirs but subsequently the officer was told the driver had “borrowed it”, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. The suspected driver, a 39-year-old Elma man, had already left the area by the time police confirmed with the car’s owner in Elma it was missing, according to police. The 39-year-old is being sought for possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FLEEING SUSPECT HEADS TOWARD POLICE STATION

• An individual police called a Good Samaritan called 911 when they spotted a man allegedly shoplift drill bits from Home Depot in Chehalis yesterday and then trailed his vehicle until it was stopped about a block from the police department. Officers responding just before 11 a.m. arrested the suspected shoplifter and his driver, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Christopher D. Buck, 27, of Chehalis was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine when suspected drugs were found on him at the jail, according to officer Linda Bailey. A recommended charge of third-degree theft was added to his case, Bailey said. The driver, Stephen D. Cobb, 40, of Onalaska, was booked for reckless driving and criminal conspiracy, Bailey said. The car was impounded, she said.

TRUCK BODY PARTS MISSING

• Tailgates were stolen off three trucks at the 1500 block of Northwest State Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 9 a.m. yesterday. They are worth $1,000 each, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BREAK-IN AT TACOMA POWER PROPERTY

• Someone stole part of a scrapped copper “cooling core” from a fenced storage yard owned by Tacoma Power in Mossyrock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called out yesterday to the 100 block of Onion Rock Lane learned someone cut a hole in the fence and got inside sometime between Friday and Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at $250.

MAN FOUND IN EMPTY HOUSE

• A 30-year-old homeless man was arrested for first-degree trespass yesterday evening after he was discovered inside a vacant home on the 1000 block of E Street in Centralia. Jesus Alejandro Munoz-Cauich was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A Centralia police officer responded to a morning call yesterday about a building tagged with graffiti on Tower Avenue. This time it was at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORTON POLICE PURSUIT ENDS WITH WRECKED HONDA

• A 24-year-old Randle resident was arrested last night for attempting to elude after he allegedly tried to get away from Morton police and headed west on state Route 508 into the Bear Canyon area. A trooper called about 9:20 p.m. to milepost 21 reported the 1993 Honda tried to turn right onto a gravel and dirt road but the driver lost control and it went up an embankment. The driver reportedly fled on foot but was apprehended by police, according to the Washington State Patrol. The car was towed. Michael P. Miller was transported to Morton General Hospital for unspecified injuries, according to the state patrol. He was later booked into the Lewis County Jail.

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Read about Thurston courthouse campus locked down following phone threat …

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports deputies will be posted outside the courthouse for security throughout the day following a morning phone call to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office that put the campus on a brief lockdown.

The newspaper’s staff report states the caller was upset about a case and mentioned he had guns and was close by just before 10 a.m. today.

Read more here

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Threat via senator’s office draws police response in Chehalis

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police converged on a Chehalis home yesterday afternoon after a caller to Sen. Patty Murray’s office in Washington D.C. reportedly threatened suicide and said it was “going to make the national news.”

The man, in his early 30s, had said he was not getting the help he needed from the veterans administration for his disability, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

A half dozen Chehalis officers as well as at least one sheriff’s deputy responded to the area of Northwest Ohio Avenue following the approximately 4 p.m. call from Washington D.C. according to police.

“We got information there were guns in the house,” police Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

Carrell said an acquaintance of the man’s spoke with him on the phone, asked him to come outside and he did so peacefully within about 20 minutes.

Police didn’t find explosives or anything that indicated the man had the means to cause any kind of large-scale or nationally newsworthy incident, according to Carrell.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson met him at the door and the man was taken voluntarily to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to Carrell.

A spokesperson for the senator’s office said the details of the veteran’s complaint were confidential, but it did trigger a call to the U.S. Capitol Police in D.C.

Sen. Murray’s office will be following up on his concerns, spokesperson Matt McAlvanah said.

Murray is the former chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and remains a senior member, so they do help veterans who have issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs, McAlvanah said.