Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Centralia marijuana dispensary trial ends with hung jury

Monday, May 20th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County jury deadlocked on whether 47-year-old Lauri Spangler committed a crime in connection with what police said was a medical marijuana dispensary they raided  two years ago shortly after it opened in downtown Centralia.

Spangler was the only one of four individuals in the case to go to trial. The others’ cases are already settled with plea agreements.

She was charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances, but her attorney told jurors last week all she did was get the business license and set up the checking account for her boyfriend Colby Cave.

Hub City Natural Medicine opened on Tower Avenue in early 2011 with a city-granted business license which the city said accidentally slid below its radar.

Jurors deliberated about five hours following the two-day trial last week in Lewis County Superior Court.

Lewis County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said jurors didn’t stick around on Friday to talk so that he or the defense attorney might learn what their issues were.

However, documents now available in the court file offer some clues.

Jurors sent a question to the judge on Friday after lunch, asking for the definition of “knowingly”.

The judge’s written answer delivered back to the jury room essentially said he couldn’t answer that, they should refer to their jury instructions.

Within a half an hour, jurors sent out another note, informing the judge they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt queried them individually in open court, asking if they were certain they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision in a reasonable amount of time.

The jurors were all in agreement that they couldn’t reach an agreement.

The judge declared a mistrial.

Meagher said today he hasn’t made a decision on whether to retry Spangler, however, on Thursday he will go ahead and schedule another trial.

“We’ll make our formal decision later,” he said.
•••

For background, read “Centralia marijuana store case goes to trial” from Wednesday May 15, 2013, here

Early May north Centralia church fire could also be arson, officials now say

Monday, May 20th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Investigators are re-thinking the string of fires that struck Centralia churches and other buildings two weeks ago, classifying all of them now as either arson or undetermined.

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Centerville Western Store on May 3

In a three-hour span during the early morning hours of May 3, crews were called to four structure fires and then after daylight, learned of a failed attempt at a fifth location.

They still have no suspects or motive.

Initially, a 4 a.m. fire that damaged a wall at Calvary Chapel on Seward Avenue in north Centralia was believed to be caused by an electrical issue, but authorities are reexamining that conclusion in part because of the timing, according to Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack.

“It strains credulity to think that it isn’t somehow involved,” Mack said today.

The other undetermined fire is one that struck a coffee stand in north Chehalis at 1 o’clock that morning. Flames were quickly knocked down and while an investigator was considering the possibility of a cigarette butt in a trash can, Mack said they just don’t have enough information to say if it was one thing or another.

Clearly arson and attempted arson were Centralia fires that did minor to moderate damage at the rectory-turned teen center of the Centralia Church of the Nazarene, Cooks Hill Community Church  and Centerville, the western store at the north end of the Centralia Outlets, according to Mack.

Authorities are once again seeking the public’s assistance to find who is responsible.

None of the targets have suggested a person they think police should talk to, Mack said.

Mack spoke of chatter on social media that might reveal clues.

“We just encourage people, if they hear anything even if it seems unlikely or remote, we’d like to hear about it,” Mack said today.

No suspicious fires have been reported in the area since that night, but Mack pointed out the burned siding on Cooks Hill Community Church that wasn’t spotted until 10 a.m. that day.

“There may be fires that were set but not discovered,” he said.

He suggested some folks might want to take a look around the exterior of their buildings.

Mack said he, Fire Chief Jim Walkowski and the Centralia Police Department would each be happy to hear from anyone with information.

Crime Stoppers of Lewis County is also calling upon anyone with information to consider making an anonymous phone call to them, at 1-800-748-6422 or leaving a tip online at  www.lewiscountycrimestoppers.org

•••

For background, read “Arson: String of Centralia fires under investigation” from Friday May 3, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Updated at 2:49 p.m.

MAN MUGGED IN DOWNTOWN CENTRALIA

• Police were called just before 2 a.m. yesterday to the 900 block of West Pear Street in Centralia where an intoxicated man said that he had been assaulted by a group of people as he walked home from a downtown tavern. The 26-year-old Centralia resident said he was punched in the face and believed the two females and three males took his cell phone, according to the Centralia Police Department. He said it happened by the railroad tracks, and the males were all 6-feet 2-inches tall, but police don’t have any good leads, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.

CLOSE CALL WITH TRAIN

• A pickup truck that was parked behind the Hub Tavern in Centralia and too close to the railroad tracks was “side swiped” by a freight train on Saturday night. Nobody was inside it at the time, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers called just before 10 p.m. the area near East Locust noted the truck was dragged a bit and its back end significantly damaged, according to police.

OUT-OF-CONTROL PEDESTRIAN

• A 22-year-old homeless man who reportedly was threatening people with a metal water bottle, stopping traffic and trying to pick fights with random individuals on Saturday afternoon in downtown Centralia was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the Centralia Police Department. Nathaniel R.H. Beyer, who comes from Hollywood, was contacted at the 100 block of North Tower Avenue and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

VEHICLE THEFT

• Police learned yesterday a pickup truck stolen from  I-5 Toyota in Chehalis turned up in Pierce County stripped and abandoned. An officer called about 1 p.m. on Friday to the dealership on the 1900 block of Louisiana Avenue was told the silver 2004 Ford 250 pickup vanished sometime between midnight and 7 a.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department.

POLICE CHASE

• Centralia police say Officer Ruben Ramirez and police dog Lobo were summoned just before 9 p.m. on Saturday to Alpha Way in the Onalaska area to help sheriff’s deputies track a suspect following a vehicle pursuit. The sheriff’s office said it was assisting the state patrol. Further details were not readily available.

POSSIBLE CURRENCY MANIPULATION

• Centralia police are investigating after a male tried to spend two $5 bills which had been cut in half and taped together in downtown Centralia on Saturday. The serial number on one end of the bill was different than the serial number on the other end, so the clerk denied the sale, kept the money and called police, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Kurt Reichert said if a person has only a portion of a bill – as long as they have more than 51 percent of it – they can turn it in to authorities to get a replacement bill, but it’s not okay to tape it yourself. Theoretically, a person could try to tape together two halves of bills that are each less than 50 percent, he said, which would be criminal.

VANDALISM

• Police called just after 6 p.m. yesterday about a tire slashed on a vehicle at an apartment complex in Centralia arrested a 32-year-old Napavine man. Police were told by a witness they had seen Daniel L. Fuchs do it the night before and when he showed up to the scene at the 2800 block of Russell Road, he was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief, according to the Centralia Police Department. He said the tire on his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle was bald and he didn’t want her driving on it, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.

WRECK

• A 43-year-old Morton man was cited for speeds too fast for conditions and failing to wear a seatbelt after a back road, nighttime wreck outside Randle in which he missed a corner on a gravel road and traveled off the roadway and down into a “big valley.” A deputy called about 6 a.m. on Saturday learned the man, whose forehead was cut when he stuck the windshield, walked until he was picked up by a passerby and taken to Taidnapam Park near Riffe Lake to get help, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said it happened on the 320-Line, off the 300-Line from the 108 Bridge sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation;  responses for minor collisions, vehicle versus bicycle with no injuries (twice over the weekend), misdemeanor assaults, disputes, burglar alarms; complaints of kids playing in the middle of a street, kids throwing rocks, a male stumbling around urinating in public, complaints of noisy neighbors, noisy dogs … and more.

Family pet thought dead after Grand Mound fire brought back to life

Monday, May 20th, 2013
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Scooter the dog is revived by Firefighter Kylie Kavanaugh after mobile home fire. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called this morning to a Grand Mound residential fire managed to contain the blaze to one room and resuscitated a small dog discovered unconscious under a bed.

When they started breaking down the room and pulled out a mattress, they found the little dog, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Lt. Lanette Dyer said.

It was presumed dead, Dyer said, but was administered oxygen with a child bag-valve mask.

The cause of the 6 a.m. fire in a mobile home at the 6400 block of Southwest 201st Avenue is under investigation.

Dyer said the man and woman who live there were treated for scrapes and minor burns. The female was subsequently transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, she said.

Dyer said she did not know how the occupants got their injuries, but the woman was hysterical because the pet, Scooter, had not come out of the trailer.

Fire Capt. Brian Christenson had crews treating both the people and the dog, after the dog was located, she said.

Dyer called it a bright spot what is otherwise a devastating event.

Firefighter Kylie Kavanaugh used the mask to help the dog breath.

“Within a couple of moments, it started taking a couple of breaths, and then the dog’s eyes came open,” Dyer said. “Then dog then began to lick at the mask; they were all pretty excited.”

Scooter was taken to Ford Prairie veterinary Clinic to be checked out for smoke inhalation.

Centralia: Wanted man accidentally delivers himself to police custody

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 21-year-old man who showed up at the Centralia police station wearing handcuffs, asking for help getting them removed found himself instead getting a ride to jail after officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant.

Aaron M. Perez came knocking at the back door about 4 p.m. yesterday, his hands linked together in front of him with genuine Smith and Wesson police handcuffs, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.

He said his friends were playing around and then pitched the key out onto the lawn so he walked to the police department, Reichert said.

Officers at first wondered where he might have escaped from and a check showed he had a warrant from Lewis County Superior Court for failing to show up for a court date, according to police.

Perez didn’t know he was wanted, Reichert said.

Reichert said he’s heard of this happening elsewhere, but it was a first for him.

“It was pretty cut and dried, other than we were laughing all our a*ses off about it,” he said.

The young man was transported to the Lewis County Jail, and booked, still wearing the cuffs he provided, according to Reichert.

 

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

SPENDING SPREE ENDS HERE

• Three people were arrested last night for allegedly passing several counterfeit $20 bills in Centralia, currency that was produced with a copy machine, according to the Centralia Police Department. “They’re not very good copies,” Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. Officers were called just after 7 p.m. to a business on the 600 block of Harrison Avenue by a merchant who was victimized and provided a license plate number of the suspects, according to police. Subsequently located and booked into the Lewis County Jail for forgery were Jake Johnson Jr., 39; Patricia L. Mohar, also known as Patty Dukes, 42; and Tonya L. McNulty, 43; all of Centralia, according to police. Officers allegedly found three more fake bills in their possession. Reichert said the investigation is continuing into as many as four other similar instances in the area in recent weeks, including one in which someone used two phony twenties to pay their court fine.

‘HOT’ WHEELS FOUND AT BORST AVENUE

• A random check of a license plate just after 6 a.m. yesterday led police to contact five people at a Centralia home and arrest one for being in possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department. At least one other person was arrested for an outstanding warrant, police said. Officers got a search warrant for the house on the 2500 block of Borst Avenue to look for the vehicle’s keys, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. Gabriel Escamilla, 19, who rents a room there was booked into the Lewis County Jail because of the vehicle which had been stolen from Thurston County, Reichert said.

ATTEMPTED BREAK-IN

• Police were called about 5:50 p.m. yesterday to  house on the 1000 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia where someone had apparently tried to remove the knob from the front door. It didn’t appear they got inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A pair of 15-year-old Centralia boys caught on Thursday allegedly stealing spray paint from a Harrison Avenue business are also in trouble after reportedly admitting numerous taggings throughout the city over the previous couple of days, according to the Centralia Police Department. The cases are being referred to juvenile prosecutors for evaluation, according to police.

NO TURN SIGNAL LEADS TO TROUBLE

• A 28-year-old Centralia woman who reportedly allowed someone with a suspended license to drive her car found herself jailed last night after the driver forgot to use a turn signal, got pulled over and police found a small baggie of suspected methamphetamine. Tasha R. Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of meth after the contact with an officer about 6:40 p.m. yesterday at the 600 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to police.

• Spencer R. Barney, 25, of Centralia was arrested about 6:40 p.m. yesterday at the 600 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, for an outstanding warrant and also for being in possession of a dangerous weapon; a medium sized knife, according to the Centralia Police Department

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license; responses for misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft … and more.

Rochester High School student charged with rape

Friday, May 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Prosecutors filed charges yesterday against the now-former lifeguard from the Great Wolf Lodge accused of raping a young teenage girl whose family was staying at the hotel and indoor water park.

Nineteen-year-old Alex Eduardo Salazar is a senior at Rochester High School. The alleged victim is 14 years old.

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Alex Eduardo Salazar

Salazar was arrested Tuesday afternoon at school and after his court appearance the next day was bailed out by his father.

Jaime Salazar Sr. said they were hiring an attorney today.

Salazar Sr. said he knows what the allegations are and his son has been very open with him.

It’s a totally different story, he said.

“I think it’s going to be a really tough case, but I think it’s going to be okay for him,” Salazar Sr. said. “There’s stuff she’s saying that’s not true.

“Hopefully that will come out in court.”

The younger Salazar is charged with second-degree rape as well as rape of a child in the third degree.

The second charge is based upon a victim who is age 14 or 15  – too young to give consent – with the perpetrator being at least 48 months older.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office has said the girl left willingly with Alex Salazar after his shift ended, the assault occurred in his car on a nearby roadside and that he dropped her back to hotel where she told her family. She had minor injuries, Lt. Greg Elwin said.

The Great Wolf Lodge is a family oriented destination resort in Grand Mound with an indoor water park for guests. Alex Salazar had been working there a little more than six months, according to his father.

Charging documents describe how the girl and her older sister befriended the lifeguard on Monday while in the water park and the sister gave him her phone number.

He texted her later and they arranged to meet; the sisters, another friend and he met in the parking lot and had a conversation in his car, charging documents go on to say.

They all went into the arcade and after some time passed, he and the girl went to his car. Surveillance video shows they left the hotel at 12:05 a.m.

The girl told a deputy she didn’t know he intended to drive away, and became uncomfortable; he parked on the side of a gravel road and they began to kiss, then they decided to get in the backseat, charging documents state.

Click below to read the rest of the story.

(more…)

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 17th, 2013

HOUSE OF RISING SON OWNER BOOKED FOR ALLEGED DRUG SALES

• The woman who opened her Chehalis home to men transitioning out of prison was arrested yesterday in connection with an investigation into prescription drug dealing. Judy Chafin, 61, and Keith D. Williams, 48, were in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation about 3:15 p.m. at Southwest Cascade Avenue and Seventh Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Deputy Police Chief Randy Kaut said officers were originally focused on Williams and sales of hydrocodone but came to believe Chafin was involved as well. The pair were booked into the Lewis County Jail for delivery of a controlled substance, Kaut said. Chafin owns House of the Rising Son in Chehalis and managed other similar homes, including one on Nix Road west of Chehalis that became the target of neighbors and the sheriff’s office who didn’t want multiple felons living together out in the county.

SOUNDS LIKE FICTION

• A 48-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for fraud after she allegedly tried to pass a fake $100 bill at several businesses and finally spent it at a coffee shop on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue yesterday afternoon. Geraldine R. Taylor was questioned and said she found it in a fairy tale book about two years ago, according to the Centralia Police Department. “That kind of story didn’t seem credible,” Officer Mike Lowrey said. Taylor was booked into the Lewis County jail, according to police. The Secret Service will be contacted and they may or may not be able to figure out who printed the phony currency, according to Lowrey.

CARIBBEAN CONTEST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

• A Centralia woman in her 60s contacted police on Wednesday after she fell victim to a scam in which she was told she had won thousands of dollars but she first needed to wire $400 to get it. It began with a phone call from someone in Jamaica, police were told. After she paid the money, she got another call asking for more, according to police. Officer Mike Lowrey said it’s a common scheme and folks need to know they should never have to pay anything to win something. Another red flag is being told you’ve won if you haven’t even entered a contest, Lowrey said.

SUPER BAD MANNERS

• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday after a woman spotted him, called police and said he was same man who days earlier pulled his vehicle over as she was walking, opened the car door and was sitting inside with his pants around his ankles. Javier Arias-Lara was arrested for indecent exposure and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 700 block of Cousins Road west of Chehalis where sometime since Sunday someone had stolen a piece of equipment – a DR power grader valued at $1,000, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Sometime between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. yesterday, a television and a box of pictures were stolen from a storage unit on the 3200 block of Ives Road outside Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A pair of women were arrested for organized retail theft at the Centralia Outlets on Wednesday afternoon. Roberta D. Olsen, 20 of Kent, and Alisha A. Johnson, 29 of Tukwila, were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A pair of 15-year-old Centralia boys were caught on surveillance video yesterday allegedly for stealing cans of spray paint from a store on the 1600 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for evaluation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called to a location on Northwest State Avenue on Wednesday morning about the theft of a hoist.

METH ARREST

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after he was contacted by police early yesterday morning inside city-owned property at the 1100 block of B Street in Centralia. Michael E. Bieker, a homeless person, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report regarding a variety of graffiti posted on a vehicle at the 900 block of South Pearl Street early yesterday morning. The obscene pictures and “inappropriate” words were left on the car with a washable pen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report about 7:45 p.m. yesterday at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue regarding a right passenger side window of a vehicle getting shot out with a BB or pellet gun.

WRECK

• A 47-year-old Longview man was cited for driving too fast for conditions after he took a corner in the rain and spun numerous times into the oncoming lane before getting struck by another vehicle. It happened yesterday on the 1500 block of Bishop Road near Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He got a cut on his forehead and the pair of 60-year-olds from Chehalis in the other vehicle were not injured, according to the sherif’s office. His Pontiac Sun and their Toyota Matrix both sustained major damage though, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, misdemeanor domestic assault, failing to register as a sex offender; responses for shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, the discovery of a counterfeit $20 bill, possible fraud; complaints of loud music … and more.

News brief: Steel beam accident victim survives with broken bones

Friday, May 17th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The construction worker injured yesterday when a 5,100-pound steel beam tipped over and pinned him is recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The Olympia resident who is in his mid-20s ended up with a broken ankle, pelvis and ribs, according to Mike Swarthout.

Swarthout is the project manager with Kaufman Construction and Development which is erecting a 75,000 square foot sports center near Fort Borst Park in Centralia.

Aid responded yesterday morning to the site, where co-workers had already used a forklift and other equipment to move the beam.

Swarthout described the metal piece as 30 to 40 feet long and 6 feet tall; it was laying on the ground and had just been moved into position and shored up, he said.

“They’re still trying to figure out why it fell over,” he said.

The state Department of Labor and Industries is investigating.

Swarthout didn’t release the worker’s name, but said he had no internal or head injuries and other than broken bones, everything else checked out okay. He is expected to undergo surgery today, he said.

The Lewis County Sports Center is roughly 40 percent finished and will provide space for indoor baseball, soccer, volleyball and basketball. Swarthout said it could be ready for use at the end of this year.

Mother of slain Centralia child heads to prison

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
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Becky Heupel accepts hugs and farewells from her family and friends while waiting for a jail guard to arrive to take her away after sentencing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – While the man convicted of a torturous death of a Centralia toddler sits in prison for possibly life, the little girl’s mother who failed to protect her daughter will continue her grieving behind bars for a year and a day, starting now.

Becky M. Heupel, 31, was handcuffed and taken into custody this morning, after a 30-minute hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

Heupel pleaded guilty last month to second-degree criminal mistreatment, not for any abuse she inflicted but for her inaction.

Her short-term live-in boyfriend James Reeder was sentenced in March after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree rape of a child, second-degree assault and homicide by abuse. And possession of methamphetamine. Two-year-old Koralynn Fister died from drowning and head trauma while in the care of Reeder on May 24 of last year at the home off East Oakview Avenue.

Today it was Heupel’s turn to be sentenced.

The deputy prosecutor stated that Heupel’s inaction was a gross failure of her parental responsibility but he spent more time explaining to the judge why he was not asking for a much harsher punishment.

“I think there’s a lot of people who think she should be charged right along with Mr. Reeder,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke said. “There’s simply wasn’t any evidence she knew about the activity of Mr. Reeder or participated in any way.”

O’Rourke noted extensive deliberations with the prosecutor’s office and police on what her level of accountability was.

He spoke of Heupel’s past, her level of intelligence, of naivety and even stupidity. He spoke of her lifetime punishment of losing her child.

“There’s some degree of selfishness on her part perhaps, blindly putting her faith in Mr. Reeder,” he said.

She has no previous felonies, he added.

Defense attorney Paul Strophy went down the same path, only farther.

“She’s already suffered a horrendous loss from someone she let into her life,” Strophy said. “Some would argue that is punishment enough.”

Strophy noted his client’s long mental health history, OCD, PTSD, agoraphobia, major depression, lack of self confidence and a history of abandonment issues.

“With her learning disabilities, and hearing loss, all these things played a role in how she was used,” he said.

Hindsight is 20-20, Strophy said, about the couple of short months in question.

He told the judge that while Heupel was informed Reeder had a history of domestic violence, she never saw it coming against her children.

“None of the injuries gave her any indication what he ultimately did would occur,” he said. “Her biggest mistake obviously was giving his explanations too much credence and that’s why it’s reckless.”

And she was cooperative, he added.

Prosecutors have indicated a lengthy list of injuries found on the child’s body, some old and some new, such as a missing toenail, a missing patch of hair, palm-sized pieces of skin missing from her buttocks, signs of penetration, bruising and more.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said outside the courtroom Heupel knew her child was being injured when she was with Reeder, and Heupel did nothing except to continue to leave her daughter with him.

“When you open your home to someone like Mr. Reeder, in this case, you’re going to be held accountable,” Meyer said.

The plea deal worked out was that both attorneys recommended Heupel go to prison for one year and one day.

While the maximum penalty is five years, the standard sentencing range for someone with no criminal history, such as Hepuel, is six to 12 months. They asked for the extra time so she  could serve her time in state prison instead of in the Lewis County Jail.

Judge James Lawler said it gave him no pleasure to impose the sentence, but that it was appropriate in the case.

“It’s clear to me you were taken advantage of by Mr. Reeder,” Lawler said. “(But) your conduct constitutes a gross failure as a parent. You did what you did because it was easier to step back and do nothing instead of confronting Mr. Reeder.”

Heupel chose not to make a statement on her own behalf, after a long pause of seemingly considering it.

A crowded courtroom of mostly supporters formed a line to hug her before she was led away. Among them was Koralynn’s father, David Fister.

Fister said he’s forgiven the mother of his only child.

He said he agrees but mostly disagrees Heupel should be locked up.

“I don’t think that’s what should have happened to her, but I understand,” he said.
•••

For background, read:

• “Mother of dead Centralia 2-year-old admits some responsibility in case” from Friday April 19, 2013, here

• “Centralia man gets maximum prison term for sexual abuse, death of toddler” from Wednesday March 6, 2013, here

News brief: Construction worker severely injured by metal beam

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A worker was airlifted to a Seattle trauma hospital after a Centralia construction site accident in which he was hit by a large metal beam this morning.

Riverside Fire Authority was called about 9 a.m. to the area near Johnson Road and Pioneer Way where an events center is being built.

Fire Chief Jim Walkowski said he didn’t know how or even where the object struck the man.

“The victim was already extricated from under the beam when we arrived,” Walkowski said.

He was conscious, but sustained “multi-system trauma,” according to Walkowski.

A helicopter landed at the nearby school football field to fly the middle-aged man to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the fire department.

Several entities are working together under a public facilities district to build an events center near the sports fields complex adjacent to Fort Borst Park.

The incident was reported to the state Department of Labor and Industries for possible investigation, but further details were not readily available.

Centralia marijuana store case goes to trial

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The long saga of the short-lived Hub City Natural Medicine – medical marijuana dispensary – is winding down, with three of the participant’s cases settled and the fourth who is taking hers to trial.

The storefront opened in downtown Centralia in early 2011 with a city-granted business license, but was shut down after police realized what “education and sales of natural medicine” on the application really meant.

Lauri Spangler, 47, is charged with maintaining a premises for using controlled substances.

Jurors in Lewis County Superior Court were reminded by a judge today not to jump to conclusions as there are two sides to every case, and then they heard 10 minutes of opening statements from attorneys.

It’s simple, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told them.

“But there are different parts of it that kind of lock this all together,” Meagher said.

Pay attention to the dates, and then to the law as it applied back then, he said.

At the time, some cities in Washington such as Tacoma allowed so-called dispensaries of medical marijuana to operate, where, in theory, patients with authorizations make donations to obtain cannabis. But the issue hadn’t come up in Lewis County.

Meagher told jurors that Hub City Natural Medicine’s application for a business license slid past city officials and was mailed out on Feb. 2, 2011. But then police found out they were selling marijuana.

Meagher said Police Chief Bob Berg sent them a letter advising them they could not do what they were doing.

The following month, police got a tip it was still going on and sent an informant into the store, Meagher said.

“And sure enough, the informant was able to buy it,” he said.

Twice more, undercover purchases were made and finally police went in and found marijuana, infused edible products and such, Meagher said.

The people involved were Daniel Mack, David Low and Colby Cave, who was Spangler’s live-in boyfriend, Meagher told the jury.

“And she helped by getting him him the business license,” he said.

Defense attorney Michael Underwood was brief when he addressed the courtroom.

His client had nothing to do with the operation of the business, she didn’t work there or go there, Underwood said.

“What the evidence is going to show is my client got the business license and set up the checking account and that’s pretty much it,” Underwood said.

They didn’t use the word “selling”, Underwood said. They gave the product in exchange for a donation, he said.

Underwood contended it was Cave, Low and Mack who handled the day to day operations.

Mack will be testifying against Spangler, he said.

“It’s gonna come out he got a heck of a deal,” he said. “In exchange for avoiding a long prison term.”

Cave and Low pleaded guilty earlier this year. Mack has pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced.

Maintaining a premises for using controlled substances is a class C felony.

The trial will continue tomorrow morning.
•••

For background, read “Centralia medical marijuana dispensary case winding down” from Saturday February 2, 2013, here

Duo gets one year for Centralia indoor marijuana farm

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A pair of brothers jailed earlier this year for growing lots of marijuana in a home they rented on Seminary Hill Road in Centralia pleaded guilty today.

Zeshawn H. Hasnani, 27, and Sohail Hasnani, 24, went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court where their lawyers and the prosecutor recommended they be sentenced to one year and one day.

When they were charged, police said they had seized 90 plants in various stages of growth and prosecutors suggested the men were supplying product to medical marijuana dispensaries around the state, alleging also that one of their businesses was nothing more than a post office box in Florida.

A money laundering charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Seattle attorney David Arganian said they both had medical marijuana authorizations, and had taken steps to get legal counsel but some advice they got was not the best.

“They weren’t running a cartel or anything like that,” Arganian said. “They were growing marijuana; they did a couple things, like I say, they shouldn’t have.”

While Initiative 502 passed by Washington voters in November has somewhat decriminalized recreational use of marijuana, no licenses have yet been issued to growers, distributors or retailers.

And local governments have kept at bay any legitimate cultivation of medical cannabis in the county via collective gardens through moratoriums and other means.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke asked a judge to accept the plea agreement, noting it was because of the facts of the case and the risks of going to trial.

The Hasnanis pleaded guilty to manufacture of a controlled substance, marijuana and also to possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, with intent to deliver.

The standard sentencing range for their offenses is zero to six months, but both sides agreed to ask for a higher sentence so they could serve their time with the state Department of Corrections instead of in the local jail.

Judge Richard Brosey agreed.

Other charges which were dismissed included possession of marijuana and maintaining a premises for using controlled substances, as well as the special allegations of doing it near a school bus stop and committing the crimes while armed with a firearm.

Arganian said the college educated pair from Florida were shocked to have found themselves locked up on $250,000 bail, as was their family.

“They learned a lot,” he said. “Unfortunately, the hard way.”
•••

For background, read “Police: Centralia home a hub for marijuana for regional dispensaries” from  Friday January 11, 2013, here

News brief: Teen lifeguard at Great Wolf Lodge accused in rape of guest

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 19-year-old lifeguard from the Great Wolf Lodge is jailed, accused of raping a 14-year-old guest of the Grand Mound hotel and indoor water park.

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Alex Eduardo Salazar

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office says Alex Eduardo Salazar befriended the girl and she left willingly with him yesterday when his shift ended. The assault occurred in Salazar’s car on a nearby roadside, according to the sheriff’s office.

He then dropped the teen back off to the establishment where she informed her family of what occurred, according to Lt. Greg Elwin.

Deputies arrested Salazar yesterday afternoon at Rochester High School where he is a senior, Elwin said. He lives in the Grand Mound-Centralia area.

The victim sustained minor injuries, according to Elwin.

Great Wolf management is cooperating with investigators and reviewing their protocols, he stated in a news release.

Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying any other potential victims.

Elwin said Salazar was initially booked for rape of a child third-degree but at his probable cause hearing was ordered held also on second-degree rape.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Updated at 12:56 p.m.

MOVIE HEIST

• A deputy was called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to an Onalaska-area home where someone broke in and stole 1,000 DVD movies, two large screen televisions and a Playstation. The 30-year-old victim at the 300 block of Burnt Ridge Road said it occurred sometime since Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The burglar got inside through an unlocked window, according to the sheriff’s office.

MOTORCYCLE MISSING

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon regarding a black dirt bike stolen from outside an apartment on the 600 block of Southeast Dobson Court. The Kawasaki 125 was taken sometime between midnight and 8 a.m., according to police.

PHONEY BILLS TO PAY COURT FINE

• An officer was called to Centralia Municipal Court yesterday afternoon after the discovery an individual had paid his fine using two fake $20 bills. The person, who may or may not have known the money was counterfeit, is being sought, according to the Centralia Police Department. The bills had the same serial number, according to police.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 1000 block of Eckerson Road regarding a burglary that occurred a week earlier. Further details were not readily available.

SUSPECTED VEHICLE PROWLER ARRESTED

• A 14-year-old Chehalis boy was arrested last night after a woman spotted three males trying to get into parked cars along Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis. She saw one boy manage to get inside one vehicle and rummage around just before 9 p.m., according to police. An officer tracked them down and booked the teen into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for vehicle prowl, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

DISPUTE LEADS TO ARREST

• A 21-year-old man was arrested on Friday night after he allegedly forced his girlfriend up the stairs to their apartment at the 200 block of Main Avenue in Morton. Witnesses said she was yelling for help, according to police. Aaron J. Jacobs was arrested for unlawful imprisonment and booked into the Lewis County Jail but was released yesterday without charges pending further investigation.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon to a report of graffiti spray painted on a large portion of one wall of the restroom at Penny Playground on Southwest 13th Street.

NOT IN THE LOST AND FOUND

• A baggie containing a crystal substance found near the front door of a business on the 400 block of Second Street in Morton last week was turned over to police and logged into their property room. The material tested positive for methamphetamine, the Morton Police Department reported yesterday.

WRECK

• A 24-year-old Aberdeen woman was hospitalized after a two-vehicle wreck on state Route 508 about four miles west of Onalaska late yesterday afternoon. Both vehicles were totaled, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers called about 5:20 p.m. said Toni R. Emery was traveling eastbound in a Nissan Stanza when her car crossed the centerline striking the driver’s side  of a Honda Odyssey driven by Iris J. Chung, 44, of Chehalis. The Nissan ended up on its top after hitting one ditch and the Odyssey ran through the ditch on the opposite side of the road, according to the state patrol. Emery was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, the patrol reported.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as shoplifting, domestic misdemeanor assault, minor collision, suspicious circumstances, loud children, a 17-year-old runaway from Centralia located in Sacramento, Calif. … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Updated at 6:35 p.m.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE: BURGLARY TO STORE WAS INSIDE JOB

• Someone broke into the Ethel Market on U.S. Highway 12 about 4:45 a.m. on Sunday and made off with three cartons of cigarettes and $792 cash, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Surveillance video showed an individual used a key to get inside and questioning of all the employees with keys led to the arrest of Jerimy M. Trudeau, 30, of Centralia, according to the sheriff’s office. Trudeau reportedly told a deputy Rachel A. Deckert gave him the key and told him how to get in, the sheriff’s office reported. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the two split the money and merchandise. Most of it was recovered, according to Brown. Both Trudeau and Deckert, 32, of Toledo, were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary and theft, according to the sheriff’ office.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY

• Police were told someone went into an apartment on the 1500 block of Lewis Street in Centralia and stole medications and a rent check. The incident which was reported on Friday afternoon is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A Chehalis resident returned home to their apartment on Southwest Third Avenue found the front door open and called police about 1:40 p.m. on Friday. Nothing initially appeared to be missing, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Police called to a home on Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis on Friday morning were told someone had taken a Trek bicycle from the basement. The value is about $300, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THEFT

• A real estate agent contacted the sheriff’s office on Saturday afternoon after discovering someone had stolen the key lock box from a home on the 100 block of Riffe Hill Road near Morton.

• A Stihl weed eater and two small gas cans were stolen from a building at he cemetery on the 100 block of Mineral Creek Road sometime between Friday and Saturday.

• A wallet and medication were reported missing from a locker at the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard on Friday morning.

• A 21-year-old Centralia resident was arrested yesterday morning after he reportedly showed up at his parents home on the 500 block of South Washington Avenue in Centralia asking for money even though police had told him before to stay away. Before Matthew D. Christiansen left, he reportedly went into the backyard and took a painting respirator, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers found him and booked him for burglary.

DRUGS

• A 40-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine when she was picked up on an outstanding warrant overnight at the 300 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia. An officer got a tip about 12:25 a.m. that Tina A. Thode was at a bar and when he contacted her, found suspected meth in her purse, according to the Centralia Police Department. She was  booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• Centralia police arrested a 25-year-old Centralia woman for possession of methamphetamine after responding about 8:10 p.m. on Saturday to a domestic dispute at the 1200 block of Alder Street. Suspected methamphetamine was found in her purse, according to the Centralia Police Department. Kindra M. Powell was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

WRECKS

• A 57-year-old motorist was arrested for driving under the influence after he ran into a light post on the 500 block of North Gold Street in Centralia yesterday and knocked it off its base. Robin D. Hodgins of Centralia was cited and released, according to the Centralia Police Department. He suffered minor injuries and was going to be taken to the hospital by a sober driver, according to police.

• A 22-year-old Mossyrock man was arrested for driving under the influence after a one-vehicle collision yesterday afternoon at the 700 block of Tucker Road in Toledo, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. Zachary G. Little was also arrested for driving on a suspended license and being in possession of an illegal “butterfly” knife, according to the sheriff’s office. His vehicle had run into a ditch, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 50-year-old motorist told police he didn’t stop because he didn’t want to be late for work when he reportedly struck a parked pickup truck on the 1600 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis and continued on with one tire missing late Friday night. The subject, Maximino C. Lopez-Ortiz of Centralia, was tracked down in a parking lot on State Street and issued a citation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• An 84-year-old Yakima man was taken to Morton General Hospital to be checked for possible injuries after a single-vehicle wreck on Friday afternoon on U.S. Highway 12 just west of Packwood. Granville L. Parrish was traveling westbound when his pickup truck went off to the right entering a ditch and striking an embankment, according to the Washington State Patrol. A trooper called to the scene about 2:30 p.m. noted Parrish had been seat belted and blamed the crash on inattention.

• A 19-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested for driving under the influence and having an open container about 8:15 p.m. on Saturday at the 100 block of Northwest Quincy Place in Chehalis. A deputy subsequently learned Tyler M. McKee has caused major damage to an occupied SUV he struck a few minutes earlier at the 1800 block of Jackson Highway and was cited also for hit and run and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Two young women from New Jersey were hospitalized after a single-car collision yesterday evening on Interstate 5 in Chehalis. Troopers were called about 6:30 p.m. to the northbound lanes near the 13th Street interchange where a 2007 Ford Fusion had hit the jersey barrier, according to the Washington State Patrol. Mikaela N. Sessions, 19, and Victoria M. Abbate, 20, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with unspecified injuries, according to the state patrol. The investigating trooper reported Sessions began to make a lane change, found it wasn’t safe to do so and swerved to the left, then over corrected and lost control of her car. The wreck was blamed on inattention.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, suspended license, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft; responses for minor collisions, dog bites, possibly stolen dog, alarm, disputes outside of taverns, suspicious circumstances; complaints about loud music, egging of a house and a vehicle … and more.

Sheriff’s office digs around Winlock property in connection with missing girl case

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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Detectives comb through debris at a property on Ferrier Road. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Sheriff’s detectives yesterday finished up two days of searching two wells and digging through mounds of garbage at a property south of Winlock after getting tips the body of the missing Kayla Croft-Payne had been dumped there.

Nothing of interest was located except for a dog carcass, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said today.

The Lewis County girl vanished three years ago. She was 18 years old when a missing person report was made, days after her last posting on social network sites.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the office had received several tips Croft-Payne had been killed and either buried or tossed down a well at property on the 1500 block of Ferrier Road.

She said the young woman used to hang out with the people who lived there.

The owners gave detectives permission to conduct the search, according to the sheriff’s office. Brown said she didn’t know if the property has changed hands.

The sheriff’s office says the place is known as “the farm” by those who frequent it.

Brown said detectives excavated a 20-foot deep well which had recently been filled with trash and debris. They used a pump to drain a 35-foot deep well.

A neighbor assisted with his backhoe and the detectives worked sixteen hours on Wednesday and Thursday, but turned up nothing, according to Brown.

According to Brown, deputies had received information in the past about the location which was vague, but two new tips in the past three weeks offered more detail.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said in a prepared statement his people worked diligently and conducted a thorough search.

“This case has been troubling for our office and we still hope to find Kayla and bring closure to her family and friends,” Mansfield stated.

At a gathering the weekend before last at Penny Playground in Chehalis, family and some friends marked the three year anniversary since Croft-Payne disappeared.

Her aunt has connected with a Vancouver, Wash.-based organization that is investigating women and girls exploited by online modeling sites.

Croft-Payne wanted to be a model, and spoke of getting photographs taken for a portfolio.

Earlier this week, the sheriff’s office outlined the lengths it has gone to pursue that lead, noting they now know it was a different modeling site that Croft-Payne used than the one they checked.

Brown says the case has never been dormant, and detectives continue to follow all leads.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone who knows anything about the case to please call them at 360-748-9286 or contact Crime Stoppers of Lewis County, at 1-800-748-6422.

•••

For background, read “News brief: Model Mayhem website not involved in missing Lewis County girl’s case” from Tuesday May 7, 2013, here

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Detectives search a well at a property on Ferrier Road. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Centralia murder trial: Miller found guilty in B Street shooting death

Friday, May 10th, 2013
http://www.lewiscountysirens.com/?p=18853

Weston G. Miller hangs his head after hearing a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Murder defendant Weston G. Miller blinked once and finally lowered his head after he was found guilty as charged today in Lewis County Superior Court.

A jury took a little more than three hours today to convict the 30-year-old Centralia resident of first-degree murder in the shooting death last year of a house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

He’ll be back in court next Thursday morning when attorneys will set a sentencing date.

In the trial that began on Monday, jurors and spectators heard that Carson died from two gunshots to his chest, that it occurred at a fairly close range and that Miller claimed self defense.

It happened March 13, 2012 inside Miller’s house on B Street.

What they didn’t hear from witnesses or prosecutors was any explanation for why it happened.

Carson’s girlfriend Sara DeSalvo – has described how she and Carson were inside a bedroom that day and Miller kept coming to the door to tell them to stop arguing.

DeSalvo told jurors Miller knocked on the door and asked her boyfriend to come out for a minute, and as soon as the door closed she heard three shots. Miller told police during an interview he opened the door and Carson charged at him with a rusty kitchen knife so he shot him.

DeSalvo and Carson who were off and on homeless were staying with Miller for a few days in exchange for her doing some house cleaning.

The case has dragged on over a year in part because of questions about Miller’s competency and sanity.

One friend of Miller’s was sitting in the benches behind him when the verdict was read this afternoon.

Carson’s brother, two grown children and other family members have attended most of the trial.

DeSalvo, who said Carson proposed to her the night before he was killed, sat behind his family and cried when the verdict was read.

She said she still doesn’t know why Miller shot her boyfriend.

“I have no idea,” she said.

•••

For background, read “Centralia murder trial: In the defendant’s own words” from Friday May 10, 2013 at 10:13 a.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 10th, 2013

OOPS

• A load on a log truck struck the Chamber of Commerce Way overpass on northbound Interstate 5 in Chehalis yesterday afternoon spilling at least some of the logs onto the roadway. Troopers called about 4:15 p.m. cited the driver, Curtis G. Fasano, 50, of Chehalis, for carrying a load over the legal height, according to the Washington State Patrol. There was no damage to his Kenworth truck or the trailer, according to the state patrol.

NO FISHING DAY

• A 77-year-old Centralia man contacted the sheriff’s office yesterday morning after he discovered the electric trolling motor was missing from his boat at his shop on the 2500 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. He said it was taken sometime between 9 a.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. yesterday and realized it was gone when he went to go fishing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning by an individual who said an iPad was stolen from their vehicle the day before while parked at Wal-Mart.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft; responses for minor collision, alarm, someone possibly attempting to cash a forged check, a child throwing rocks, suspicious circumstances … and more.

Centralia murder trial: In the defendant’s own words

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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Weston G. Miller consults with his lawyer, J.P. Enbody during a recess in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Jurors yesterday heard Weston G. Miller describe the events inside his Centralia home that led him to pull a 9 mm handgun out of his sweatpants pocket and fire multiple shots at a houseguest.

Miller, 30, is charged with first-degree murder for the March 13, 2012 death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

The trial in Lewis County Superior Court which began on Monday is expected to wrap up today.

The only other person who was in the house on B Street – Carson’s girlfriend Sara DeSalvo – has described how she and Carson were inside a bedroom that day and Miller kept coming to the door to tell them to stop arguing.

The former welder did not take the witness stand, but portions of a two-hour taped interview with police were presented to the jury yesterday.

The fragmented interview suggested Miller was rescuing DeSalvo from getting beaten.

Miller indicated he invited DeSalvo to stay in his home and didn’t know she was bringing a boyfriend with her.

Under questioning by two Centralia police officers, Miller spoke of DeSalvo telling him of the things Carson had done to her and that Carson was the kind of guy who would cut someone’s throat.

He said he heard yelling like DeSalvo was getting “choked out”, went to the bedroom and found Carson with his hands all over her.

“I said wait a minute, this is my house, my kid’s room, this is not happening here,” Miller said.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher has described for jurors that three times Miller came to the bedroom door to confront the couple.

Miller, in his interview with police, said he would then stand outside the door listening to the couple.

At one point, he went to the back of the house to get his gun, he said.

In a portion of the sometimes fuzzy audio, it sounds like Miller told police he heard DeSalvo saying why don’t you just go kill him now and Carson saying shut up, shut up.

Miller described Carson whispering in a deep voice.

The final time was when he fired his gun.

“I opened the door and he was like right there, he came right at me,” Miller said.

With what? he was asked.

“Like a “freaking rusty kitchen knife,” was his reply.

Closing statements will be heard this morning in the Chehalis courtroom.
•••

For background, read “Centralia murder trial: Self defense or premeditated?” from Thursday May 9, 2013, here

News brief: Beware of caller posing as Chehalis police

Friday, May 10th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A local couple were hit with a new twist on an old scam with a caller pretending to be an officer from the Chehalis Police Department.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said the scheme involved the fraudster somehow managing to make the recipient’s caller ID appear as though the phone call came from the police department.

“They’re using one of our officer’s names, asking for Western Union type payments,” Wilson said yesterday.

Wilson said he was contacted on Wednesday by the target who got suspicious and called him instead of falling for the trick.

The sergeant wants to remind the public to never give out personal information to anyone who calls asking for it.

The Chehalis Police Department does not ever ask people for payments over the telephone, he said.

“The bottom line is we would never ask anyone to send Western Union or money to anywhere,” Wilson said.

In this particular case, Wilson said, a Chehalis woman was told on the phone an officer would contacting her in a follow up phone call and her husband answered when that call came.

He was skeptical and began grilling the person on the phone, Wilson said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

THE OPPOSITE OF A JOY RIDE

• A 48-year-old fired carnival worker reportedly took off from the fairgrounds in Chehalis with his employer’s semi truck yesterday, hauling two trailers loaded with at least one kiddy ride. A deputy came upon the big rig abandoned and stuck in a ditch at Tono and Big Hanaford roads in south Thurston County yesterday afternoon; its two trailers tilted over, according to the Chehalis Police Department. A deputy tracked down the driver a few miles away. “The deputy saw a guy sitting on a park bench in Bucoda and put two and two together,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The man was apparently upset because his boss wouldn’t provide him transportation home after discharging him, according to Wilson. He told the deputy that as he was traveling, he noticed the truck was sluggish and looked behind and thought the trailer with the kiddy ride was gone, Wilson said. He tried to unhook the trailer, but ended up getting his bicycle and belongings and taking off, Wilson said. James McGuire, from Salem, Ore. was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for taking a motor vehicle without permission, according to police.

GAMES STOLEN

• A home on the 600 block of South Tower Avenue was burglarized, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department about 7:40 p.m. yesterday. Missing are Xbox games and controllers, according to police.

HONDA STOLEN

• A silver 1999 Honda Civic was reported stolen from the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia about 2:15 p.m. yesterday. It has a license plate reading ADJ 2205, according to police. Officers report they have a suspect and are investigating.

TOOLS STOLEN

• A deputy was called just after 8 o’clock last night to the 400 block of Telegraph Road south of Winlock when a 51-year-old resident saw three males trying to get into his shop. The subjects ran north and a vehicle was heard starting up, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The same building was broken in to sometime after 5 p.m. the night before, with an estimated $2,500 loss of various tools, according to the sheriff’s office. Nobody was found, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police reported this morning they are recommending charges of forgery and theft for an 18-year-old Centralia man in connection with an issue at the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue. Further details were not readily available.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 11:20 a.m. yesterday to the 1400 block of Lum Road where a stereo and a garage door opened were stolen from a vehicle while its owner was at work.

• An officer responded about 9:12 a.m. yesterday to a vehicle prowl at the 1000 block of E Street in Centralia. Missing were a purse and a GPS unit, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FUNNY MONEY

• Police were given a license plate number for a vehicle that fled the 600 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia abut 9:30 p.m. yesterday after one of its occupants attempted to pass suspected fake $20 bills, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A warrant arrest about 1 o’clock this morning led to a jail booking for possession of methamphetamine as well. Wilbert Stovall, 44, of Centralia, was arrested after contact with police at East Summa Street and Roosevelt Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A response by police about 3:30 p.m. yesterday at the 300 block of Bryden Avenue led to a recommendation of charges of possession of marijuana by three teens. One is 16 and two are 17, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police contacted a couple engaged in an intimate encounter in a car parked next to Fort Borst Park about 5 o’clock this morning and booked the 29-year-old Centralia woman in to the Lewis County Jail for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. Krista R. Cate has been scheduled to be released from jail this afternoon.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A June court hearing was set for 32-year-old Centralian Joshua D. Rhoades, after his lawyer filed a motion for a new trial, in the case of a street fight in which a 17-year-old boy was knocked unconscious. Rhoades was convicted by a jury in Lewis County Superior Court two weeks ago of second-degree assault. His attorney said today he filed the motion after he got information from his client that jurors may have seen him being handcuffed. In general, the custody status of a defendant is supposed to remain unknown to jurors, according to Baum. Baum said he hasn’t investigated the issue yet and will be doing so and filing a more detailed motion. Rhoades’ conviction came with a deadly weapon enhancement and a so-called aggravator that the incident was intended to enhance his affiliation in a gang. The extra findings mean a judge would be free to send him to prison for as long as 10 years.

• A 38-year-old Randle man arrested in November was found guilty yesterday 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. David C. Haviland, who worked at Hampton mill for 16 years, according to his attorney, remains in jail following his three-day bench trial in Lewis County Superior Court. Judge James Lawler scheduled Haviland’s sentencing for June 19. According to court documents, his wife told authorities he told her he was drunk, he felt horrible and would take it back if he could.

BUSTED

• Police say the 14-year-old arrested after he was caught spray painting graffiti on Railroad Avenue in Centralia defaced at least 18 rail cars and tagged one piece of heavy equipment. He and an 18-year-old man ran when a deputy tried to contact them about being on railroad property at about 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Centralia Police Department. One of them was carrying a backpack containing numerous cans of variously colored spray paint as well as large permanent markers, according to detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald. The boy was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center; the case involving his companion – whom police think had more limited involvement – was referred to prosecutors for evaluation of charges, Fitzgerald said in a news release. While the tagging can probably be removed by less costly means, a verbal estimate by a BNSF employee placed the cost of repainting just one rail car at about $10,000, Fitzgerald said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, DUI, underage person in possession of alcohol, violation of a no contact order; responses for minor collisions, disputes, misdemeanor theft, children breaking off flowers, suspicious circumstances such as a stranger ringing someone’s doorbell at 5:30 a.m. to ask for a cup of coffee and someone who looks like a tweaker in a passing car making gang signs at another driver … and more.

CORRECTION: This has been updated to reflect accurately who David C. Haviland allegedly told he was drunk, he felt horrible and would take it back if he could, regarding the rape of a child case.

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Tagged rail car in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Centralia murder trial: Self defense or premeditated?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
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Weston G. Miller stands next to his attorney in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The murder trial of Weston G. Miller continues this morning in a Chehalis courtroom, with a videotape of Miller’s interview with police expected.

Miller, 30, is charged in the March 2012 shooting death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson who had been staying at his house on B Street in Centralia.

Centralia defense attorney J.P. Enbody has told jurors there’s no doubt his client shot Carson, but contends it was because Carson came at Miller with a knife.

Only one other person was present, Carson’s 46-year-old girlfriend Sara DeSalvo who spent more than two hours on the witness stand, and was repeatedly asked by the judge to focus.

“Again, listen to the question and answer the question that’s asked,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said numerous times.

DeSalvo, at times distraught and at times seemingly irritated by questioning, apologized, saying she knows she talks fast.

Yesterday, jurors heard the pathologist who conducted the autopsy describe a grazing bullet wound on Carson’s left forearm as a probable defensive wound.

Miller was charged last year with first-degree murder in the death. Prosecutors have not offered a motive, but the case got off to a slow start because of questions whether Miller was competent to stand trial.

Police called the afternoon of March 13 to Miller’s house on B Street found Carson dead inside with two bullet wounds in his chest and chased down Miller who had left in a pickup truck. Officers were told Carson and DeSalvo had been arguing and Miller told them to stop.

Jurors have heard that Carson and DeSalvo were off and on homeless after Carson lost his job. After they were kicked out of one Centralia home, DeSalvo asked Miller if they could stay a short time, in exchange for her doing some much needed major house cleaning.

DeSalvo, on Tuesday afternoon and yesterday morning told the court about the week prior and the day of the shooting.

She described Carson, the love of her life, as amiable.

“He never had any disagreements with anybody, he was very soft-spoken and quiet,” DeSalvo said.

She spoke of Miller wanting to be friends with Carson and hanging out smoking pot together.

Under questioning, it became apparent Miller grew weary of his house guest’s arguing.

On the last day, Carson and DeSalvo were in the bedroom and Miller repeatedly knocked on the door and told them to stop fighting.

Weston was being a jerk for no reason, she said.

He knocked on the door one last time, according to DeSalvo.

“He said, ‘hey man, can I talk to you for a minute’,” DeSalvo testified.

Carson kissed her, handed her his pot pipe and opened the bedroom door, she testified.

“As soon as it closed, as soon as I heard it click, I heard pop, pop, pop,” DeSalvo said.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher has told jurors no knife was found in Carson’s hand. Enbody has pointed out three knives found in the guest bedroom where Carson stumbled onto his back and lay dead.

Today, jurors are expected to hear testimony from neighbors who rushed in to the house to see if they could help Carson.

•••

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Sara DeSalvo sobs on the witness stand.