By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – After spending more than three years in custody, between jail and the state psychiatric hospital, a Packwood man was sentenced today for events he says he mostly doesn’t recall but a prosecutor called a day of hell for the victim.
Zachery H. Bynum pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping, two counts of second-degree assault, harassment and resisting arrest.
It was July 16, 2013, when Bynum was arrested at gunpoint on U.S. Highway 12 near Kiona Creek Road after an approximately four-mile police pursuit. He had dragged his young woman friend out of the Glenoma grocery store and forced her to drive toward Randle.
“She was the one who went through this,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said of the then-22-year-old Morton woman. “She’s the one who had a knife held to her throat.”
Bynum, then 41 years old and living mostly in the woods, was suspected to suffer from severe mental issues from the start.
The allegations included Bynum first forcing the young woman up a logging road where he threatened her with a machete.
Defense attorney Jacob Clark today told the judge of a 10-minute evaluation by personnel from Western State Hospital that initially found Bynum competent and then jail visits in which he would watch his client pull out wads of hair and rip off his own fingernails.
“I’d talk through a little door, he wouldn’t come out from underneath his bed,” he said.
Clark said he asked them to evaluate him as an inpatient, which they did and when he’d come back, spend time in solitary, he would deteriorate again.
“We went through the process I think five times, maybe more,” Clark said.
Clark spoke of a previously undiagnosed brain disease that included cyclical swelling. His client’s current state of mind was the best it’s ever been, he said.
Halstead described the plea agreement in which both attorneys recommended 110 months in prison, as an amount of time sought because of the impact to the victim and also witnesses, including children.
The victim was present in the courtroom and asked Halstead to convey her wish Bynum get the maximum penalty.
Bynum took the judge up on an offer to address the court.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t remember what happened mostly, I believe it, but I’m sorry for what happened.”
Judge James Lawler agreed with a sentence of nine years and two months.
“I don’t think adding more time is going to change the impact on Mr. Bynum, given the mental health issues,” Lawler said.
The judge gave him credit for 1,142 days already served and ordered 36 months of supervision upon his release.
For background, read “Lawyers: Mentally disturbed Packwood man kidnapped woman friend” from Thursday July 18, 2013, here