By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
Sunday morning wasn’t the first time 23-year-old Amanda Bassell was accused of taking a knife to a family member’s neck.
Amanda Lee Bassell
While the sheriff’s office said she’d recently been released from prison for felony eluding and then assaulting a prison guard, a closer look at her criminal history shows it was a conviction for such an act that got the Centralia area resident put away less than three years ago.
Bassell is being held on $500,000 bail in the Thurston County Jail, following her arrest for allegedly stabbing her sleeping mother in the throat at their Rochester home.
A judge found probable cause to hold her for attempted second-degree murder. Thurston County Deputy Prosecutor Craig Juris said he has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to file the charge.
Her mother Ruth Daarud, 42, is said to be in stable condition, following surgery on Sunday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.
Bassell had accumulated four felony convictions in less than two years – for theft, eluding and one drug charge – before the summer day in 2009 that landed her in prison.
Court documents give the following account of July 22, 2009:
Bassell was pulled over about 3:15 a.m. in Centralia because she was driving a car without its headlights turned on.
She smiled at the officer when he told her to quit trying to restart the car, then popped the clutch, hammered the gas pedal and blew through a stop sign, traveling an estimated 50 mph as she crossed Pear Street.
The car was found later abandoned at exit 88 off Interstate 5.
Her uncle later told police she showed up in Rochester and begged him to give her a ride to Centralia so she could cash a check. As they were driving on Harrison Avenue, she saw someone she knew and told him to stop.
When he didn’t, she became enraged and held what appeared to be a steak knife to his throat, saying “I’m gonna cut you mother f*****.”
He grabbed her arm, but then she climbed head first from the back seat out the passenger window of a two-door Chevrolet Blazer. It was moving.
Police at the time said he had a slight cut on his forearm that didn’t need medical attention.
That evening, Centralia police were called to a home on B Street where they were told Bassell had been hanging around and wouldn’t leave. Officers found her sleeping in a children’s wading pool in the backyard.
She struggled. By the time she arrived at the jail, in the back of a patrol car, she had freed herself from the handcuff and locked the door.
Lewis County prosecutors asked psychologists from Western State Hospital to evaluate to determine if she was mentally stable.
A psychologist noted Bassell’s risk to others was above average but her presentation of a psychiatric disorder was not credible.
Bassell pleaded guilty in September 2009 to eluding in Lewis County Superior Court. For that, she was sentenced to just over two months.
She was also convicted of third-degree assault, making a so-called Alford plea, stating she did not remember the facts surrounding the accusation, but agreed the state could provide sufficient evidence of her guilt.
She was sentenced to 17 months in prison.
The report from Western State Hospital also offers details of Bassell’s life, some of which were self-reported by the young woman, who was described as “not a reliable historian.”
Bassell said she got good grades until as a high school student she enrolled in Running Start and began smoking methamphetamine.
She got married in April 2007. Information from the jail given to the psychologists noted she was associated with the Surenos gang.
Among her “impairments” listed by mental health specialists were alcohol and drug dependence and personality disorder.
“The defendant failed to move forward to an adequate adjustment to adulthood,” one of the psychologists wrote.
While incarcerated, she assaulted a guard, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Court records show she pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the summer of 2010.
She was released from prison on May 11, and was staying at her parent’s Rochester home until Sunday morning.
For background, read “Breaking news: Rochester stabbing suspect found hiding in abandoned house” from Sunday May 20, 2012 at 7:55 p.m., here