Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Mossyrock police chief contesting protection order

Friday, June 28th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Mossyrock Police Chief Jeremy Stamper is under court order to check his service firearm to his supervisor after each shift where it will be held until his following shift as part of a protection order sought by his wife.

He was also ordered to undergo domestic violence treatment and drug and alcohol treatment, according to court documents.

Stamper, the east Lewis County town’s only police officer, didn’t return calls for comment, but his supervisor says Stamper remains on the job.

“I have full confidence in him, or he wouldn’t be on patrol right now,” Mossyrock Mayor Tom Meade said yesterday.

Meade however said he isn’t aware of the requirement he hold Stamper’s gun.

The court case began when the police chief’s wife, Shannon Stamper, petitioned the court on May 20 for a year-long protection order and requested her husband be required to undergo treatment.

Court documents show that at a June 10 hearing, Lewis County Superior Court Commissioner Tracy Mitchell found “Ms. Stamper credible” and signed a protection order.

Shannon Stamper’s initial request said her husband never hit her, but he had access to weapons. An example of her concern she wrote about was an incident at the end of February in which she said Jeremy Stamper crushed his phone because he could not figure it out.

The order put in place has numerous restrictions, such as prohibiting him from coming within 200 feet of her residence. Five children are listed as protected as well.

A handwritten aside on the document states that work related contacts in the neighborhood are okay.

Meade said the court order comes during a contested divorce and makes no sense to him. He said the court didn’t analyze the situation thoroughly.

“This whole thing has me scratching my head,” Meade said. “I’ve supervised people for 40 years and I can spot an alcoholic and I can spot an abuser, and I just don’t see this.”

Meade said when the issue first arose, everyone thought the best course of action would be for the police chief to go on vacation. “Not administrative leave, just plain vacation,” he said.

Stamper has been back about a week and half, he said.

Meade pointed out his police chief works 40 hours, but is subject to call out at any time. He’s on duty 24 hours a day, Meade said.

The language on the standard protection order form states that if it is a domestic situation, then effective immediately the respondent may not possess a firearm or ammunition. A handwritten notation on the page indicates Stamper can possess his duty firearm while on shift, per “18 USC 8925.”

Stamper’s attorney Don Blair has filed a motion the order be revised contending the evidence did not show the petitioner was a victim of domestic violence.

Shannon Stamper four days after the order was filed made a written request it be terminated, writing the couple has agreed to reconcile and undergo family counseling. She wrote she may have been mistaken in interpreting her husband’s behavior.

Shannon Stamper wrote she has feared her husband in the recent past but never had issues of safety regarding herself or their children.

Her only comment today: “It’s all blown out of proportion.”

A hearing is set for Monday on the matter.

Arguments for re-sentencing teen drive-by shooter to be heard this autumn

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
2013.0627.Guadalupe.Solis.Diaz.Jr._2

Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. waits in a Lewis County courtroom after attorneys pick a date for his new sentencing hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former Centralia resident Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. made a brief appearance in Lewis County Superior Court today as his “do-over” of a nearly 93-year prison sentence winds its way through the system.

Solis-Diaz was 16 years old when he was arrested following a drive-by shooting in downtown Centralia in the summer of 2007.

He was tried as an adult and convicted of multiple offenses, including one count of first-degree assault committed with a firearm for each bullet that was fired. Nobody was hit.

The state Court of Appeals tossed out his virtual life sentence last September and ordered the local court to conduct a new sentencing hearing, referencing various matters that should have been handled more thoroughly, given that he was a juvenile.

The former Centralia High School student’s personal restraint petition focused on a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held a sentence of life without parole is forbidden for a juvenile who did not commit homicide.

He is represented by attorney Robert Quillian.

In January when Solis-Diaz was returned to Lewis County to begin to address the issue, Quillian asked he remain housed in the Lewis County Jail for closer access as the attorney prepared for the new sentencing hearing.

Quillian and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told a judge this afternoon they expect the hearing will take half a day. It was put on the court calendar for Sept. 27.

The deputy prosecutor who handled the case in 2007 has predicted the new sentence isn’t likely to be all that much shorter, given the statutory framework in place.

Beigh this afternoon said the prosecutors office still hasn’t finalized exactly how much time they will ask for. She’s waiting to see what arguments the defense attorney raises.

“I know what I think I’m going to recommend,” Beigh said. “But I’m trying to keep an open mind and see what they present.”
•••

For background, read: “Appeals court gives Centralia teen a “do-over” on 90-plus-year drive-by shooting sentence” from Wednesday September 19, 2012, here

Centralia jewelry shop burglary case ends with prison for two men

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
2013.0626.justin.mcpherson.sentenced_2

Justin D. McPherson of Federal Way asks a judge for mercy in deciding his sentence in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge yesterday disregarded a defendant’s plea for a special drug offender sentencing alternative and gave him seven years plus two months in prison for the failed Centralia jewelry store burglary in which he was shot.

Justin D. McPherson, 29, stood before Judge Nelson Hunt in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday and admitted he acted selfishly and irresponsibly, saying he didn’t want to “live this life anymore.”

“I do have a drug problem,” McPherson said, his voice breaking. “I need help. I just ask for your mercy.”

McPherson was found guilty by a jury last month for breaking into Salewsky’s Jewelry shop in the early morning hours of March 20. He was confronted by the owner’s son who awoke in an upstairs apartment and shot him before he escaped through a hole he’d cut in a wall to an adjoining office space, dropping a trail of jewelry behind him.

Hunt told the Federal Way resident he deserved hard time.

“It may be that you have a drug problem, but frankly it doesn’t matter to me,” Judge Hunt said.

“You’re also a criminal.”

Hunt outlined his reasons. Part of it had to do with the obvious planning that went into the crime, he said.

Mainly, the judge said, McPherson went into a building where he didn’t belong when someone was present. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t aware anyone would be there, he said.

Gunshots threaten everybody, Hunt said.

“This was a legitimate use of self defense, but it was caused by you,” he said.

McPherson was sentenced for one count of second-degree burglary and one count of residential burglary, as well as second-degree malicious mischief for cutting a hole in the wall inside the building.

He was represented by Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge the case against McPherson’s childhood friend Ryan W. Cox wasn’t quite as strong. Cox pleaded guilty in a plea deal.

Later yesterday, Cox was sentenced to seven years for his role.

Halstead said it never was learned how the two non-local men knew about the place; they broke through the back door of the vacant neighboring space and used a crowbar to break through a wall to get into the shop.

The two women who testified they waited in their cars nearby but didn’t know of the plan to steal any jewelry have pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance.
•••

For background, read “Jewelry store break-in defendant’s companions testify against him” from Thursday May 30, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Updated at 5:59 p.m.

STOLEN GAME

• Centralia police took a report about 6:25 p.m. yesterday that an Xbox was missing from a home on the 2600 block of Cooks Hill Road.

PHONY $1 BILLS TURN UP

• Police were called to the 500 block of North Pearl Street yesterday when two counterfeit $1 bills were found as a customer attempted to pay their city light bill. The customer finished paying with real money and the fake cash was taken by the police department.

VANDALISM

• Someone spray painted a couple of parked cars along the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 1:15 a.m. today.

• Centralia police were called about 11:10 a.m. yesterday to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue where someone had spray painted graffiti on the roof of a building. It was fairly multi-colored and less gang like than “artsy,” according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police responded about 6:45 a.m. today to the 1000 block of E Street where someone had rummaged through a car. It wasn’t immediately clear if anything was stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The two men charged in the beating and stun gun assault of a 32-year-old Chehalis man who thought he was with them to buy drugs pleaded not guilty today to intimidating a witness, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery and harassment. Joseph M. Hanks, 30, of Rochester, and Elijah M. Garibay, 25, from Elma, remain held in the Lewis County Jail following the June 18 incident outside the Peppertree Motel on Alder Street in Centralia. They appeared before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. Their trial was set for the week of August 12.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drunken driving; responses for alarms, misdemeanor domestic assault, fender bender, skateboard stolen from a playground; complaints about barking dogs, panhandlers … and more.

Trial gets underway for indefinite detention of accused sexual sadist

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County jury heard via videotaped interview a convicted rapist talk about 10 to 12 of his victims as they sit through a trial in which they will decide if 46-year-old Mark T. Robinson will remain locked up even though he has served his prison term.

Robinson, once a truck driver, was convicted in September 2000 after raping at knifepoint a teenage girl he picked up at a Spokane truck stop, an 18-year-old who escaped his big rig at an exit on Interstate 5 near Toledo. She was hitchhiking to visit her child in Toledo.

2012.0514.mark.robinson.small_2

Mark T. Robinson

The trial which began yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court is expected to run into next week, according to Senior Counsel Malcom Ross, at the Office of the Attorney General of Washington.

Ross filed the petition for Robinson’s civil commitment in May of last year. Such a petition is filed for approximately 1 percent of offenders who are released from prison in Washington, Ross said at the time.

The process comes from the Community Protection Act of 1990, the first of its kind in the country. The state Attorney General’s Office typically handles the cases, in the county where the criminal conviction occurred.

If the 12-person jury finds unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt Robinson is a sexually violent predator, he will be retained in custody for treatment until he’s deemed no longer dangerous, according to Ross.

Robinson, who according to court documents, was raised in a farming area outside Olympia, bullied in special education classes and dropped out of school, confessed he got a thrill out of raping.

His only other conviction is patronizing a prostitute in 1998, according to Ross.

The then-18-year-old rape victim won’t be among those who take the witness stand. She died years later in a homicide in another state, Ross said. He wasn’t certain of the details.

“It would be useful to hear from her, we wish we had her,” Ross said. “But the most important parts will be the experts discussing the mental disorder.”

The legal term is a mental abnormality that would cause one to reoffend in a sexual way, Ross said. The diagnosis is sadism.
•••

For background, read “Rapist convicted in Lewis County faces indefinite lockup after prison term” from Monday May 21, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Updated at 1:28 p.m.

WOMAN STRIKES MAN WITH PIECE OF WOOD

• A 34-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday after she allegedly hit her boyfriend with a board. Officers responding about 1:50 p.m. to the 1400 block of Johnson Road booked Jennifer L. Leard into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. The man’s injuries were minor, according to police.

NEPHEW THREATENS VIOLENCE

• Centralia police arrested a 25-year-old man for second-degree robbery after he allegedly threatened to hit his uncle unless he gave him money. Officers responding to the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road at about noon on Monday arrested David L. Reser-Edwards, of Centralia, and booked him into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was released from jail yesterday without charges pending further investigation.

DISPUTE FINDS ITS WAY INTO CHEHALIS BUSINESS

• Chehalis police yesterday were still trying to sort out a commotion from the day before when a man chased a woman in a pink bathrobe into Ace Hardware on the 700 block of South Market Boulevard. An arriving officer got different versions of what had preceded the incident, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The woman said she had been inside the vehicle when the man pulled her hair but also said they had been at a bank together and she grabbed a check from his hand and ran, Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said.

TV TAKEN IN BURGLARY

• Chehalis police were called to the 100 block of Northeast Division Street yesterday evening after a woman returned home and found someone had broken into her apartment and stole a 32-inch television. The door had been pushed in, according to police. It happened sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

RV BREAK-IN

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday that someone broke into a travel trailer on the 100 block of Salem Plant Road in Silver Creek and stole a cast iron griddle, a television and a portable fire pit. It happened sometime between the evening of June 8 and Monday, according to the sheriff’s office.

MISSING CAR

• A silver 1991 Honda Accord was reported stolen from the 1800 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Monday, according to the Centralia Police Department. It’s license plate reads 109ZUL, according to police.

WRECK

• A 39-year-old motorist was arrested for driving under the influence after he allegedly struck a car causing it major damage yesterday afternoon at the 1300 block of Bishop Road near Interstate Avenue in Chehalis. A deputy responding abut 3 p.m. noted all injuries were minor, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Christopher E. Thayer, of Chehalis, was arrested and booked in to the Lewis County Jail. He also had a suspended license, according to the sheriff’s office.

HEADS UP TO POLICE

• Chehalis police took a call from an individual yesterday on the 700 block of Northwest Ohio Avenue who said he was going to sit up with a pistol overnight in his backyard because people had been prowling around in the area in recent nights, and he just wanted officers to be aware. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said he didn’t yet know specifics of the police contact with the man, but he doesn’t recommend anyone sit up with a loaded firearm and wait for someone passing by. His advice is call 911 if and when something suspicious occurs, he said.

MISSING VEHICLE FOUND UNDER WATER

• An SUV stolen from the park and ride lot in Chehalis in early March 2003 GMC Yukon Denali turned up in an old rock quarry pond in Rochester, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Ray Brady said yesterday the 2003 GMC Yukon Denali was discovered over the weekend by some boys who were kayaking in the pond off 196th Avenue Southwest. A dive team and a tow company on Monday recovered the SUV, which seemed to have been ditched there intentionally, according to Brady. The sergeant said it had obviously been in the water for some time.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, driving with a suspended license; responses for alarms, disorderly subject, fender benders, other misdemeanor thefts, a citizen worried about a man living in his truck with his 5-month-old baby which appeared to have a skin condition, was wearing clothing that didn’t fit and was drinking only powdered milk – a Chehalis officer who responded found the child was clean, healthy and being taken care of, so no further action on the part of police was necessary, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson … and more.

2013.0624.denalisfrompond_2.jpg

An abandoned Yukon Denali is pulled from a pond in Rochester. / Courtesy photo by Grant’s Towing

Police: LVL gang member caught dealing meth

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police arrested a 28-year-old Tenino man yesterday after he allegedly sold $50 worth of methamphetamine to an informant behind the Hub Tavern in Centralia.

Ruben Alberto Palomares was the subject on an ongoing investigation by the Chehalis Police Department, according to Deputy Chief Randy Kaut. He was picked up late in the afternoon in a vehicle traveling on Cooks Hill Road in Centralia, Kaut said.

Officers conducted what Kaut called a high-risk stop, which includes drawn weapons.

Palomares is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, meth.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher in asking for bail this afternoon told a judge the defendant has only misdemeanor crimes on his record, but that prosecutors are concerned with his known gang ties.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter who represented Palomares for the hearing said his client works in Winlock and has a solid address in Tenino where he’s lived with his mother for at least the past 10 years.

He qualified as indigent and Centralia attorney Don Blair was appointed to handle his case.

Judge Nelson Hunt ordered him held on $25,000 bail pending trial.

According to charging documents, a police informant twice last month purchased $40 worth of meth from Palomares, and then yesterday bought $50 more while police were conducting surveillance.

A search made today of the impounded vehicle turned up the pre-recorded buy money as well as “paraphernalia” confirming his association with the local LVL gang, according to charging documents.

Palomares once was one of four individuals suspected as being involved in a drive-by shooting in Chehalis that occurred in 2010. Nobody was injured, but a vehicle was shot. That case fell apart because of witness issues, according to Meagher.

Delivery of methamphetamine is a class B felony with a maximum penalty of 10 yeas in prison and a $20,000 fine.
•••

For background, read “Last suspect from summer 2010 drive-by shooting in Chehalis now accounted for” from Wednesday October 3, 2012, here

Illness and delay plagued Winlock rape case ends with lengthy prison term

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
2013.0625.leobunker.sentenced_2

Leo B. Bunker, right, consults with his attorney Michael Underwood as he is sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court to prison for rape.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 53-year-old Winlock man convicted of raping his wife was sentenced today to 38 years in prison.

Leo B. Bunker III, who denied the accusations when he took the witness stand during his trial earlier this month, filed a notice of appeal following this morning’s court hearing, but suffers from advanced throat cancer.

Bunker’s lawyer called it a virtual life sentence even without the illness; a prosecutor indicated it was well-deserved.

“He is incredibly dangerous, ” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke told the judge. “He will absolutely get out and either kill (the victim) or hurt someone else.”

Bunker was arrested in late 2011 after deputies were told he physically abused the woman he reunited with some 35 years after they dated in high school. The victim testified he quickly became possessive and violent, preventing her from talking on the phone or leaving the house and terrifying her with cruel and sadistic threats.

She described how she went through with their wedding, because she didn’t think she could get away from him and still make sure she and her family would be safe.

O’Rourke today read a statement from the victim in which she wrote when “Buddy” came back into her life, it reminded her of better times, but she quickly came to fear him and would do just about anything to avoid his rage.

Bunker was convicted by on June 6, as charged, of two counts of second-degree rape, one count of harassment and two counts of violating a protection order. The jury found “aggravating circumstances” which allowed for additional time on his sentence.

On the advice of her doctor, the victim stayed away from today’s proceedings, according to O’Rourke. She sufferers from a coronary condition so serious her doctors told her could kill her if she testified.

Bunker’s older sister however was in the courtroom in support of her sibling.

“It’s one thing to go to prison for things you did, but it’s wrong when you didn’t,” Debra Tsugawa said.

Tsugawa said she doesn’t know if her brother will live long enough to see through his appeal.

She said her brother was diagnosed in August of last year with an aggressive cancer while he was locked up awaiting trial, but his treatment was delayed until January and by then it had spread to his lymph glands and thyroid.

Because he is in the custody of the jail, Lewis County has been responsible for paying for his medical care. As of two weeks ago, the bills had added up to more than $250,000, according to Lewis County Jail Chief Kevin Hanson.

The sentencing was initially scheduled for next month, while waiting for a pre-sentencing report from the state Department of Corrections.

Hanson reported to the Lewis County Board of Commissioners two weeks ago, that he asked Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer to ask DOC to expedite the report because Bunker needed further significant medical procedures before then.

Judge James Lawler today ordered Bunker to pay more than $2,000 in fines, fees and reimbursements such as for his defense attorney and his time in jail. Lawler said he is also ordering the medical costs to be repaid if prosecutors can provide evidence that’s allowable.

Bunker may have no contact with the victim for life and will be on community supervision after his release for the rest of his life.

•••

For background, read “Lewis County rape case plagued with delays hits another hurdle” from  Friday May 31, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 24th, 2013

POLICE: BIKE-JACKER CAUGHT

• Centralia police arrested the 34-year-old driver of a car that nearly ran into a building yesterday and allegedly briefly stole a bicycle from an individual who stopped to help, in an attempt to flee the scene. It happened about 6:50 p.m. at the the 800 block of Vienna Street. Responding officers detained Sergio Paramo-Rangel, 34 of Centralia, and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for attempted second-degree robbery, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say they believe Paramo-Rangel was intoxicated when he went through a stop sign and ran into the concrete step in front of the north door of the old Logan School. Thirty-one-year-old Christian G. Delossantos, 31 of Centralia, was arrested about 20 minutes later in connection with the same general location for a warrant, although it’s not clear if his situation was related. Further details were not readily available.

TRESPASSERS EVADE POLICE, BRIEFLY

• Centralia police responded to a vacant residence on the 1300 block of North Pearl Street about 11:30 a.m. yesterday and sent in a police dog when two individuals wouldn’t come out. Police say Michael E. Bieker, 27,  and Kathryn R. Daily, 28, both of Centralia, were hiding in the attic. Bieker was bit on the arm, according to police. The pair reportedly escaped out a trap door into the kitchen but were then detained. Both were arrested and booked into the Lewis County jail for trespass and obstructing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. yesterday, someone stole a 2002 Honda Civic from where it was parked on the 100 block of Sommerville Road near Napavine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called yesterday to the 400 block of West Magnolia Street regarding unspecified items which had been stolen from the home over the previous “couple months.” Further details were not readily available.

• A 12-ton hydraulic jack and a chainsaw were stolen from a barn on the 100 block of Naylor Road near Mossyrock, according to a report taken by a deputy on Friday. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning it happened between 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

• Chehalis police were called to the 900 block of Southwest 21st Avenue about missing pain pills as well as some jewelry and some money on Friday morning.

• Police were called to the 1900 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis about the apparent theft of mail by the victim who said someone returned a piece of missing mail to him on Friday morning.

VANDALISM

• Someone broke several windows out of a Dodge Durango parked in its driveway on the 5400 block block of Jackson Highway outside Toledo sometime between midnight and 12:30 a.m. on Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported today.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrest for driving under the influence; responses for family dispute, alarms, fender benders … and more.

News brief: Salkum fire department plans house fires

Friday, June 21st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Lewis County Fire District 8 will be burning down a house tomorrow in the Onalaska area, as they practice fighting fire.

The training at the 200 block of Gore Road will begin at 8 a.m. and last until 3 p.m., according to Chief Duran McDaniel.

Joining them will be personnel from fire districts in Mossyrock and Onalaska, according to McDaniel.

It will happen again on Thursday evening beginning at 7 p.m. with a second house, at the 2300 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Salkum. McDaniel said that should last about four hours.

Both houses, built in the 1930s, were donated to the fire department, he said.

News brief: Chick warming lamp may have ignited fire

Friday, June 21st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire that destroyed a chicken coop in north Centralia this afternoon appears it may have involved a heat lamp, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Assistant Chief Rick Mack said he thinks the owner lost a few chicks, although he wasn’t certain if they were turkeys or chickens.

It happened around 2:30 p.m. on West Carson Street. The structure was about 12 feet by six feet in size, according to Mack.

He said it is likely accidental.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Updated at 2:01 p.m.

MACHETE WIELDING PEDESTRIAN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY

• A man walking along a Centralia street swinging a machete angrily yesterday afternoon found himself at gunpoint after he menaced an approaching officer in an unmarked vehicle. It just before 4 p.m. at 1200 block of North Pearl Street, near Sixth Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say Jeremy D. Leatherman shed his sweatshirt and “flexed” while staring at the officer. A second officer pulled out a gun, Leatherman ran and dropped his machete, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. There was no explanation as to why he was carrying the garden tool, according to police. “He was spun,” Reichert said. Leatherman was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine.

BRAWL LEADS TO FRACTURED FACE BONES

• A 37-year-old client at a Chehalis drug and alcohol treatment center was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday for allegedly breaking bones in a fellow resident’s face during a fight the night before. An officer called to American Behavioral Health on the 500 block of Southeast Washington Avenue learned the 46-year-old victim had been taken to the hospital. Booked into the Lewis County Jail was Billy Joe King, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He is to be be released without charge pending further investigation.

OFFICERS, K-9, TRACK ASSAULT SUSPECT THROUGH “JUNGLE”

• A second person was arrested yesterday for an assault after he was spotted off “Jungle Road” in Centralia and took off running. At about 2:45 p.m. an officer tried to contact some individuals walking in the railroad right away that begins near East Maple Street and after he suspected one who fled was a wanted person, summoned other officers to “set up a perimeter,” according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. A police dog found 22-year-old Billy J. Bartlett hiding in some brush farther north, according to police. Bartlett, a Centralia resident, was taken to be treated for puncture wounds to his thigh and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, Reichert said. The assault of a male occurred early Tuesday morning in the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue. Damen J. Kroll, 24, Chehalis, was arrested earlier this week for the same incident.

STOLEN FIREARM

• A Chehalis resident reported yesterday someone stole his muzzle loader from under his bed sometime since Sunday. An officer was told the front door had been left unlocked by another occupant who left the home on the 1000 block of Southwest 20th Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There are no suspects, police said.

STOLEN SMOKER

• A 60-year-old man from Yelm called the sheriff’s office yesterday after discovering his Brinkmann double-burner smoker was stolen from outside his trailer at a campsite at Taidnapam Park south of Glenoma. The victim said at about 11:30 the night before he heard a small car with a loud muffler pull up and stop. The $200 smoker is green with black paint on the bottom, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VANDALISM

• Someone broke out a window and tried to kick in a door at the Centralia railroad station last night. Centralia police said a male was seen doing it but no arrest was made.

• Centralia police took reports yesterday of gang-style graffiti left at the baseball field on 900 block of Johnson Road as well as on three buildings and the viaduct in the area of the 100 block of Sixth Street. They seem to be related to one another, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WINLOCK MAN STOPS HOUSE FIRE

• Firefighters were called just before 5 p.m. yesterday to a home on the 900 block of Northeast First Street in Winlock after a resident smelled smoke and discovered a fire burning in a storage area attached to the home. He put it out with a garden hose and the damage was minimal, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. It seemed it might have ignited from an improperly disposed of cigarette butt, Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A 38-year-old Randle man was off to prison this morning for 28 years and four months to life following his sentencing this week in Lewis County Superior Court. David C. Haviland was convicted last month of five counts of rape of a child in connection with sexual assaults of a young relative over a three year period beginning when she was 13 years old. After he’s served his minimum sentence, the former longtime Hampton Mill employee will go before an indeterminate sentence review board which will decide if or when he can be released. A judge signed an order prohibiting Haviland from contact with the victim for the rest of his life. His attorney filed a notice of appeal.

TRUCK VERSUS TREE

• A 63-year-old Randle man was airlifted after he suffered severe injuries when his pickup truck ran off Centralia-Alpha Road and hit a tree yesterday afternoon. Firefighters called about 2:30 p.m. to the scene, east of Logan Hill Road outside Chehalis, had to cut a door off the vehicle to get the patient out, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. He was picked up by a helicopter at a nearby private airstrip off Hewitt Road, according to Firefighter Mike Goodwillie.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault, kid caught with marijuana pipe; responses for alarm, disorderly subjects, suspicious circumstances, rock thrown through windshield of parked vehicle, request to get rid of a panhandler, request for help with keys and baby locked inside car … and more.

News brief: Attempted arson discovered at downtown Centralia building

Friday, June 21st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Arson investigators are looking into a find yesterday at an old wooden warehouse in downtown Centralia, a spot where someone intentionally set fire to stairs leading into the building.

It’s a scorched area only about four inches by eight inches in size and was cold when he examined it, Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack said this morning.

Mack said he doesn’t know if it’s related to the early May arson spree that damaged three churches, a coffee stand and Centerville, the western store at the north end of the Centralia Outlets.

“Clearly it was set intentionally, Mack said.

The building on the 400 block of South Tower Avenue currently has multiple occupants, but originally was Sherwood Forest Farms, according to Mack.

It would have been a very devastating fire if it had not extinguished itself, he said. He said it appeared to have smoldered for a good period of time.

Centralia police said it appeared to have occurred sometime during the past week. Mack said he doesn’t know when it happened.

A team of police and fire personnel are continuing their investigation into the unsolved arsons.

“We’re still looking for information,” Mack said. “If anyone knows or hears anything, we want to talk to them, regardless of how remote they might think it is.”

•••

For background, read “Early May north Centralia church fire could also be arson, officials now say” from Monday May 20, 2013, here

Prosecutor: Intimidation appears to be motive behind attack on man at Centralia motel

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
2013.0619.elijah.garibay.peppertreebeating_2

Elijah M. Garibay, 25, of Elma, consults with defense attorney Bob Schroeter in Lewis County Superior Court during his bail hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The victim of a beating that led to a nighttime police search through a Centralia neighborhood for suspects was a key witness in a trial that ended earlier this week in the conviction of a fellow heroin user.

Thomas Pennypacker, 32, of Chehalis, testified against Lonzo Lawson who was sentenced to more than eight years for breaking into a Napavine bar and stealing almost $15,000.

But that’s not what prosecutors think necessarily specifically led to the events on Tuesday night in the parking lot of the Peppertree Motel on Alder Street.

“I’m inclined to believe this is related to other individuals,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told a judge.

The suspects allegedly called Pennypacker a snitch and said they were going to kill him as he was choked, repeatedly shocked with a stun gun and punched in the face. He escaped the car he had arrived in with the men and ran to the motel office for help, according to charging documents. The car sped away and two of the three men from it were captured in the area within the next hour and a half, according to police.

The Centralia Police Department initially said the victim was with the subjects because he was trying to buy heroin.

O’Rourke said it looked like a beating under the guise of a drug deal. “A pick ’em up payback kind of thing,” he said.

He wouldn’t confirm if Pennypacker was one of law enforcement’s so-called confidential informants, drug case defendants that can get certain plea deals if they cooperate with police in setting up drug dealers.

“All I can say is he is involved in cases with the state,” O’Rourke said yesterday afternoon, noting the recent trial.

Yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, two of the three suspects were charged with multiple offenses including intimidating a witness. Judge Richard Brosey ordered them held on $250,000 bail pending their trials.

Joseph M. Hanks, 30, is from Rochester. He was described by Pennypacker as “somewhat of a friend” who picked him up Tuesday night because they were going to buy some heroin.

Elijah M. Garibay, 25, has an Elma address listed as his residence in court documents.

Pennypacker indicated in the documents he didn’t know Garibay, that he was just one of two men Hanks unexpectedly picked up as they were driving to get drugs.

Charging documents give the following account:

A Centralia officer interviewed Pennypacker at the hospital where he was being treated for his injuries, which included Taser injuries along his face and shoulder.

Pennypacker told the officer he hadn’t known anyone else was coming with him and Hanks, and it concerned him when the two men were picked up.

He said after they arrived at the Alder Street motel, he handed $60 to Hanks, who gave it to one of the passengers. That man got out and almost immediately Garibay who was in the backseat put his arm around Pennypacker’s throat and began strangling him. Then Garibay began Tasing him in the face and side.

Hanks got out and began punching Pennypacker in the face full force, he said.

That’s when they called him a snitch and said they would kill him. Then he fled to the motel office and they sped away in Hanks’ Honda.

Motel manager Kaitlin Mendonca, in her vehicle, chased the car to the nearby dead end of Long Road, where they got out and left on foot.

The 25-year-old said today she wasn’t really sure what she was doing, but wasn’t going to let them just drive away.

Court documents indicate Hanks was spotted in a field and turned himself over to officers.

Later in the night, law enforcement was advised a resident few blocks to the north was holding at gunpoint a suspicious male discovered in a yard.

Dan Henderson, 44, and a Centralia city council member, turned the man – who was Garibay – over to arriving officers. Some of his clothing he had allegedly shed was found nearby.

Police said yesterday no heroin was found when the car was searched. Police did find a stun gun, drug paraphernalia and small plastic bags, among other things, according to charging documents.

It’s not clear who the third suspect is, but charging documents for Garibay and Hanks which describe the evening’s events don’t mention the third man assaulting the victim.

Garibay and Hanks are each charged with intimidating a witness, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery and harassment.

Garibay’s prior convictions include one felony and 11 misdemeanors. Hanks’ include five felonies and 20 misdemeanors.

Their arraignments are scheduled for June 27.
•••

For background read:

• “Attempted drug deal turns violent in Centralia” from Wednesday June 19, 2013, here

• “Lawyers: Who broke into the safe at Frosty’s tavern?” from Wednesday June 12, 2013, here

2013.0619.joseph.hanks.peppertreebeating_2

Joseph M. Hanks, 30, of Rochester, listens to defense attorney Bob Schroeter in Lewis County Superior Court during his bail hearing.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Updated at 12:52 p.m.

FELONY ASSAULTS

• Police responding to the 400 block of West Cherry Street about 9:40 p.m. yesterday arrested a 24-year-old woman for bringing a golf club into a domestic dispute. Kindra R. Youckton was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say Youckton had pushed her boyfriend, he slapped her and then when he was turned around “packing up stuff” she struck him across the back with the club. Twenty-five-year-old Eric Davidson was arrested for fourth-degree assault for his role in the fight, and then was released pending a court hearing, according to police. Youckton is to be released without charge pending further investigation.

• A 24-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault after police responded to disputes in the area of the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia early Tuesday morning. The victim said he saw a male throw a female down and after he tried to intervene, he was chased and attacked. Damen J. Kroll, 24, subsequently arrested and was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

• A 47-year-old Rochester man was arrested yesterday for second-degree rape in connection with a Memorial Day weekend incident at a small gathering near Adna after the bars closed in which he allegedly took advantage of a young woman who was extremely intoxicated. “She was unconscious apparently from the alcohol,” Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Steve Aust said. The 28-year-old woman had been with friends at a downtown Chehalis bar and left with three males to go to a home on Curtis Hill Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Michael T. Taylor allegedly also assaulted two others present who tried to stop him, according to the sheriff’s office. Taylor was booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday.

DRUGS

• Centralia police responded to a possible fight about 3:30 a.m. today on West Maple Street near the police department and ended up arresting a 42-year-old man with a warrant who had suspected methamphetamine on him, according to the Centralia Police Department. Dale A. Drew, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

THEFT

• Chehalis police are investigating the theft of a $35,000 excavator from Chehalis Rentals on Northwest Louisiana Avenue. An officer called to the business yesterday was told a woman rented the piece of equipment for four hours but but it’s been a couple of weeks and she hasn’t yet returned it, according to police.

• Chehalis police were called to Kit Carson restaurant yesterday on Southwest Interstate Avenue following the discovery hundreds of dollars were missing from the business. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A deputy was called last night after a shed was discovered broken into at the 100 block of Mineral Creek Road in Minter. Someone forcibly entered and left with about two gallons of gasoline as well as a green plastic garden cart, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime after 7 p.m. on Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office.

COUNTERFEIT BILL

• Police were called about 6:15 p.m. yesterday to a business on the 600 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia where a customer attempted to spend a phony $100 bill. No arrest was made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to the 1200 block of Mellen Street when the owner of the vacant building discovered damage inside. The former King Solomon’s restaurant has been vandalized over time, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TODDLER FALLS FROM WINDOW

• Aid was called about 6:15 p.m. yesterday after a 2-year-old child fell out the window of an apartment on the 1400 block of Johnson Road in Centralia. The toddler ended up being okay, but was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be checked out, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The 33-year-old convicted of sneaking into a Napavine bar and taking nearly $15,000 cash from its safe was sentenced yesterday to eight years and eight months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in fines and fees as well as to repay the money he stole. Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler told Lonzo W. Lawson II he must make payments of at least $25 each month beginning in 60 days. Lawson was found guilty earlier this week of breaking into Frosty’s Saloon and Grill in early April and then spending most of the proceeds on partying; he gave some to two friends who he’d asked to come with him, but chickened out, according to attorneys in the case. Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke said the owner should be getting back the nearly $2,500 that was recovered and then as a victim, will be first in line to receive reimbursement from Lawson’s monthly obligation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drug cases in which no information is readily available; responses for misdemeanor theft, vehicle collisions, damage found on a vehicle’s gas cap, suspicious activity such as juveniles seen drinking alcohol … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

BAD EMPLOYEE

• A 31-year-old worker at a Centralia warehouse was arrested yesterday for allegedly punching his supervisor in the face. A deputy called to Millard Refrigerated Services at the Port of Centralia off Harrison Avenue was told Michael J. Erhardt, of Kelso, assaulted the 49-year-old Chehalis man and then left, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy subsequently contacted Erhardt and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for fourth-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said it is unknown what the argument was about.

BAD NEIGHBOR

• The sheriff’s office reported this morning a 54-year-old Silver Creek man was arrested for allegedly kissing his 16-year-old neighbor’s head, face and neck when he gave her a ride home. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said a deputy took a report on Saturday about that day’s incident and contacted Barry R. Engeseth on Monday to take him into custody. The girl said she got a ride from the Texaco station in Silver Creek by Engeseth because she knows him, but he stopped Ike Kinswa Park on the way and he kissed her and tried to grab her breasts before taking her home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Engeseth was booked into the Lewis County Jail for fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, according to Brown.

BAD DRIVERS

• Police were called when a vehicle ran into the exterior of the Centralia Women’s Center on the 1000 block of South Schueber Road in Centralia just after 7 p.m. yesterday. The damage was minor and nobody was hurt, according to police.

• The sheriff’s office is looking for an older red car, possibly a Geo Metro, that struck a 17-year-old Chehalis girl’s car last night at Highway 603 and Brown Road East outside Chehalis. A deputy called about 10:20 p.m. was told the car pulled out from a stop sign in front of the girl’s Honda Civic causing her to lose control and then struck the driver’s side of her car but left the scene, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The damage to her car was minor, according to the sheriff’s office.

BAD PIECE OF EQUIPMENT

• An explosion yesterday afternoon in the Chehalis Industrial Park included a fireball and damage to a piece of equipment but nobody was injured. Firefighters were called to Conrad Industries, a business on the 100 block of Melhart Road which recycles tires, at about 2 p.m. and found one of the workers spraying water, but there was no fire left to put out, according to Lewis County Fire District 6. They have something called a “heat cyclone” which was apparently shut down but for whatever reason built up pressure, according to Firefighter Matt Foley. The force of it broke bolts that allowed a metal lid to fly up and put a hole in the ceiling, he said. It also broke a four-inch pipe in half, he said.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police took a report about 1:40 a.m. today of a vehicle prowl at the 2000 block of Borst Avenue. Stolen was a Pioneer stereo and a purse, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, driving under the influence, other misdemeanor assaults; responses for misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances … and more.

Attempted drug deal turns violent in Centralia

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
2013.0618.longroad.heroindealpeppertree.trim_2

Police detain one individual on Long Road in Centralia following an assault in the parking lot of the Peppertree Motel. / Courtesy photo by Raymond Smith

Updated at 11:16 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An individual who was trying to buy heroin instead was beaten and shocked with a stun gun by the three males he met up with last night in Centralia, according to police.

Police were called about 9:45 p.m. to the parking lot of the Peppertree Motel on Alder Street by citizens who saw what was happening and called 911, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Officers learned the participants were inside a car when the victim was choked, punched and then zapped with a hand held Taser, according to police. The 32-year-old Chehalis man was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

Police from Centralia and Chehalis, as well as the state patrol, searched the neighborhood, eventually taking two suspects into custody. The third has not been located.

Sgt. Kurt Reichert said the victim fought back and didn’t give up his money. He didn’t yet know this morning the dollar amount involved.

It’s not clear if the trio even had any drugs they intended to sell, according to Reichert. None were found, he said.

One suspect had fled in the car to the dead end of Long Road, pursued by a witness, and then departed on foot, according to police. Joseph M. Hanks, 30, of Rochester, was soon located in a grassy field and detained, according to police.

An individual who jumped out of the way of the fleeing vehicle and fell down was hurt, so they were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, Reichert said.

The other suspect turned up a few blocks away on South Cedar Street, being held at gun point by a citizen, Reichert said. Elijah M. Garibay, 25, of Elma, was then taken into custody.

After the car was impounded, police found the stun gun device, but no heroin, according to Reichert.

Hanks and Garibay were booked into the Lewis County Jail for robbery, assault and attempted delivery of a controlled substance. Police say Garibay also had outstanding warrants.

“This is what we had last year,” Reichert said.

He was speaking of the seller of purported medical marijuana who got into the car of two teenagers he thought were customers on the street in front of his East Van Buren Street home.

In that mid December case, 28-year-old Joshua Z. Smith was robbed of his weed at gunpoint and struck in the face before he bailed out of the vehicle. Smith shot at the car as it departed and was recently charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, while armed.

The Tacoma area residents have since pleaded guilty for their role.

Mammoth road-blocking semi from Friday is just one of 13 more coming through

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
2013.0614.tunnelmachine.trim_2

State Route 505 at North Military Road. / Courtesy photo by Jo Withrow

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A giant oversized load on a semi truck that blocked state Route 505 to Winlock for more than four hours last week was a tunnel boring machine on its way to China, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were called about 12:45 p.m. on Friday when one of its wheels went into a ditch as it tried to make the turn to continue up North Military Road, a state patrol spokesperson said today.

Trooper Will Finn  said they had to call some folks up from Kelso to help get the big rig on its way.

Later that night, it got stuck again trying to make a corner in Centralia.

And it was stalled the night before at state Route 506 and Military Road near Vader.

Finn said he learned the load originated in Canada and traveled through Montana and Idaho trying to get to the port in Grays Harbor so it can be shipped across to Asia.

It’s just one of many trying to make the same journey, according to Finn.

“There are 16 of them, it’s the third one they’ve moved,” he  said.

He said he wasn’t actually certain if each load is an entire tunneling machine or just components, but he did know the truck, trailer and load that had so much trouble on Friday was 120 feet long and 17 feet tall.

He wasn’t sure why it didn’t choose to travel on Interstate 5, and asked about that, he said.

“I guess the company hauling it didn’t want to deal with I-5 because they didn’t want to deal with the over passes,” he said.

His understanding was each time it would come to an overpass too low to clear, it would have to exit the freeway and get back on.

Lewis County granted the travel route permit, but if it allows another one, things will be different.

“I can virtually guarantee we’re not going to go through that again,” Tim Elsea, the director of Lewis County Public Works said today.

Elsea said he doesn’t yet have all the details, but they are looking at the situation.

He described the procedure for such permits: The pilot company proposes a route and the county looks into height and weight restrictions that would prevent travel on certain roads and over certain bridges, Elsea said.

“But we don’t check if they can make all their turns,” he said.

Elsea said he followed the same protocol as usual for issuing a route permit.

The pilot company originally wanted to go a different way, but there were three bridges on Jackson Highway that aren’t authorized for anything above normal weight loads, he said.

“I will say the haulers kind of felt like we were too restrictive of them because of the bridge collapse in Skagit County,” he said. “But that’s not it at all, it was our normal process.”

Elsea said the truck managed to get through at state Route 505 by taking some of the axles off, making the turn and then putting them back on.

In Centralia at about 8:30 that night, the same giant oversized load blocked an intersection at Mellen and Yew streets, long enough for the owner of a parked car to be located to so they could be asked to move their car in order for the truck to get around a corner, according to the police department.

Finn said it’s unknown when the next 13 similar loads may attempt to travel through the area.

2013.0614.tunnelmachinetwo_2.jpg

State Route 505 at North Military Road. / Courtesy photo by Jo Withrow

Centralia police track illegal Oxycodone trade to prison inmate

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Updated at 12:15 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Efforts to quash illegal pain pill sales in Centralia have led to an inmate who allegedly headed up a drug trafficking organization from prison, using fabricated telephone numbers to direct and set up deals between suppliers, sellers and customers, Centralia police revealed today.

The investigation that began after the local man was incarcerated in January has caught 20 other individuals in four counties and culminated yesterday in searches at New Beginnings Wellness Centers in Tumwater and Aberdeen, which involved the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the Centralia Police Department.

At the center of the alleged drug ring is 30-year-old Forrest E. Amos, formerly of Napavine, according to police.

It’s mainly Oxycodone, Centralia police’s Anti-Crime Team Sgt. Jim Shannon said this morning.

“We’re doing everything we possible can to reach out as far as we possibly can to cut that off at its source,” Shannon said.

The organization has primarily been involved in illegal delivery of prescription pain relief medication but also has illegally facilitated medical marijuana authorizations, according to Centralia police.

Intercepted prison phone conversations and surveillance of the ensuing drug deals have resulted in arrests, identification of more suspects and further arrests over the past several weeks, according to police.

In the process, authorities have confiscated approximately 1,650 illegal prescription pills with a street value of as much as $66,000, according to Shannon.

Besides Centralia and Chehalis, the arrests have been made in Napavine, Longview, Lacey and at Sea-Tac Airport, according to news release from the Centralia Police Department.

Some of the 20 people ‘caught” have not been arrested, but their cases referred to prosecutors for evaluation of possible charges, according to the news release.

It’s not a marijuana investigation, but officers have also confiscated 156 marijuana plants, one and a half pounds of dried marijuana, according to police.

The investigation has included the seizure of five vehicles, $19,000 cash and a house in south Chehalis, according to Shannon.

Shannon said they have more arrests to make today.

The list of potential charges for Amos and others is long, including  leading organized crime, extortion, identity theft, fraud, first-degree assault, delivery and/or possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, as well as Medicaid fraud, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Shannon said yesterday’s search warrants served in Tumwater and Aberdeen focused on medical records and other documents. New Beginnings Wellness Centers is operated by a nurse practitioner named Sharol Chavez, he said.

DEA agents and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General will be reviewing them for possible federal violations, according to Shannon.

Other entities involved in the investigation include the Longview Police Department Street Crimes Unit, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security Investigations and the Washington State Department of Corrections Internal Intelligence and Narcotics Group, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Chief Bob Berg called it a complicated and lengthy investigation which would not have been possible without the cooperation of several agencies.

“The chief suspect in this case, while not in the community, continued to have a major impact on our community,” Berg stated in the news release. “The continued good work of the department’s Anti-Crime Team has been a contributing factor in the downward trend of crime in Centralia.”

Amos is serving time for possessing prescription drugs without authorization. He was sent to prison in January, according to Shannon.

Police allege Amos attempted to hide his prison phone conversations by extorting personal information from sex offenders in prison and using it to set up fake phone accounts. Inmates can communicate with outsiders via collect phone calls, according to Shannon.

Shannon said prison investigators caught onto the telephone scheme early on.

Amos allegedly arranged with a co-conspirator to have contraband smuggled in as well, according to Centralia police.

Police made the investigation public today because it is nearing its completion at the local level, according to police.

Details about the mentioned first-degree assault were not immediately available.

The residence local authorities are in the process of seizing came out of the arrest of Justin Currier in February, according to Shannon. His team was investigating the pain pill trade and just incidentally turned up more than 150 marijuana plants at Currier’s home, he said.

News brief: Rochester wife arrested after husband stabbed

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 42-year-old Rochester man was hospitalized last night after he was stabbed, allegedly by his wife.

Deputies and aid were called about 9 p.m. to a residence in the 7700 block of 196th Lane Southwest where the victim said, initially, the wound came from falling on some bricks, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation however concluded he and his 35-year-old wife had been arguing in the kitchen and she stabbed him in the back of his shoulder, according to sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin.

Sarah A. Horr, 35, of Rochester, was arrested for first-degree assault, according to Elwin.

Her husband was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for treatment.

The investigation is continuing, according to the sheriff’s office.

News brief: Jury convicts Napavine bar theft suspect as charged

Monday, June 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Thirty-seven-year-old Lonzo W. Lawson II was convicted of burglary for breaking in to Frosty’s bar, convicted of theft for stealing some $15,000 from inside the Napavine business and convicted again for trafficking in stolen property because he gave some of the cash to two of his buddies.

A jury took only a couple of hours today to come up with a verdict in the trial that began last week in Lewis County Superior Court.

Prosecutors told the jury Lawson pedaled a bicycle seven miles to burglarize the Napavine establishment on April 9 and spent the proceeds on partying.

He faces as much as eight years and three months in prison.

Lawson also was found guilty of a special allegation of committing the crime with a deadly weapon – he took a knife from bar’s kitchen to break through its office door. The extra finding probably added three to four years to the potential sentence, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke said.

Lawson, who has been described as a transient, was convicted today also of possession of heroin and methamphetamine. He was represented by Centralia attorney Don Blair.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
•••

For background, read “Lawyers: Who broke into the safe at Frosty’s tavern?” from Wednesday June 12, 2013, here