By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A 41-year-old Packwood man being held in the Lewis County Jail allegedly took a 22-year-old woman up a logging road and threatened her with a machete, telling her either she was going to kill him or he was going to kill her before she managed to talk him into going to the Glenoma grocery, where he then forced her to drive him away as deputies arrived.
Zachery H. Bynum was arrested after an approximately four-mile police pursuit, during which he held the large knife alternately to the young woman’s ribs and neck, according to court documents.
Authorities say she tried to jump from her pickup truck while it was still traveling in excess of 45 mph after its front tires had been punctured by spike strips; it was only after it struck a guard rail and further struggling that she broke free and ran to the safety of a nearby patrol car.
Tuesday’s events were triggered because the woman met with Bynum to tell him she could not see him any more, court documents state.
Bynum, a homeless person, is charged with kidnapping and a multitude of other offenses.
He appeared before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court, with shackles around his waist and his ankles. He refused jail officers’ attempts yesterday afternoon to bring him into court.
“My client could not be here yesterday because he suffers from significant, I mean significant, mental health issues,” defense attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge.
Prosecutors asked for bail to be set at $1 million, citing the danger to the victim and the community.
“Short of a violent sexual assault or homicide, I can’t think of much else more he could have done,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told the judge.
Prosecutors said the Morton woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of cuts on her neck and other places on her body as well as scrapes.
Bynum has a prior felony conviction for second-degree assault from 1994 and several misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence and harassment, according to prosecutors.
Judge Nelson Hunt set bail at $250,000 and scheduled Bynum’s arraignment for next Thursday.
Charging documents are somewhat vague about the relationship between the two and don’t identify the location of the logging road or how long she and Bynum were there before they got to the grocery store at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
O’Rourke said he didn’t yet have a detailed timeline but got the impression from police reports the whole thing may have taken place over a period of a couple of hours.
She told deputies she is married and has had a romantic relationship with Bynum and they were also friends, according to court documents. She said she and her husband were reconciling and her husband no longer wanted her to see Bynum, the documents state. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said the two were dating.
Charging documents based on Lewis County Sheriff’s Office interviews with participants and witnesses allege the following account:
When the young woman met with Bynum on Tuesday to let him know she couldn’t see him any more, he became upset and asked her to give him a ride to a friend’s house. Along the way, he became hostile, calling her names and even spitting on her.
When they neared the destination, he ordered her to pull up a logging road, screaming at her.
Bynum grabbed her by the hair and dragged her up the logging road and away from her vehicle and her dogs which were inside. He took out the large machete and held it in his hand.
Bynum repeatedly shoved her to the ground and ordered her to keep walking and when she struggled, he grabbed her by the throat and said “if she was going to talk like a man, she would fight like a man.”
He told if she didn’t comply, he would kill her dogs.
Finally, when they were stopped, as he stabbed his machete into the dirt near her, he told her it was her or him and he wasn’t going back to prison.
“(S)he knew she was going to die,” charging documents state.
The young woman convinced him they should go somewhere and continue talking, and she drove them to the store on the 8000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma.
O’Rourke charged the defendant with one count of kidnapping for events up to this point and a second count of kidnapping for what happened at the small grocery after they arrived.
Bynum warned her not to do anything stupid, but once inside, she jumped over the checkout register, stood next to the clerk and begged her for help.
“The checker appeared scared and told (her), I’m sorry.”
Bynum pulled the screaming, struggling woman by her hair out of the building, choked her into unconsciousness and then ordered her back into the truck, smashing her face into the steering wheel.
That’s when a deputy arrived. She pulled away and the pursuit began.
The sheriff’s office spoke of him holding a large knife – described as a mini machete – to her neck. Charging documents refer both to a knife and a large machete.
The truck finally stopped near Kiona Creek Road.
Deputies said Bynum refused to comply with their demands, even at gunpoint, walking toward a deputy and telling him to shoot him in the head. It took a sergeant approaching with a Taser for him to get on the ground.
The defendant fought and resisted arrest, even with multiple officers attempting to detain him.
Bynum is charged with 12 counts, including first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, felony harassment, misdemeanor assault, attempting to elude and resisting arrest.
Schroeter told Judge Hunt Bynum has no income or assets. He was given a court-appointed attorney.
For background, read “News brief: Morton woman assaulted, forced to flee arriving law officers” from Wednesday July 17, 2013, here