Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

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

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

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

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

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

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.


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.

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

Monday, February 4th, 2013

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

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 4th, 2013


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


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


• 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.

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

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

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.

Centralia medical marijuana dispensary case winding down

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

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

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

Friday, February 1st, 2013

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.


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

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

Friday, February 1st, 2013

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

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 1st, 2013


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.

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

Friday, February 1st, 2013

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