Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Centralia standoff target’s cause of death a mystery

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Updated at 4:43 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An autopsy is scheduled for this morning to figure out what killed a 58-year-old Centralia man who was the focus of an hours-long standoff with police over the weekend.

William L. Thomas was discovered dead by SWAT team members who finally stormed his house about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

North Tower Avenue was closed at both ends of the block beginning at Fourth Street while officers used numerous means to coax Thomas outside.

Centralia Police Department Sgt. Carl Buster said yesterday there was no  obvious cause of death, no visible signs of trauma to Thomas’s body.

Police said on Saturday they responded to the home for threats and suicidal subject. When an officer arrived, Thomas emerged with a butcher knife and then retreated inside, according to police.

Buster yesterday clarified that the “gas” introduced into the home was actually what he described as basically pepper spray in powdered form. He called it OC powder.

Besides using a megaphone to attempt to communicate with Thomas, police launched eight rounds of the substance through windows, as well as three more blasts of it, according to Buster.

Police never got a response from Thomas.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said he expects to have some answers about the death this afternoon.

Update 4:39 p.m.: McLeod said despite completing the autopsy, a determination about the cause and manner of death will now have to wait until after the results of toxicology tests come back.

That can take six to eight weeks, according to McLeod.

No signs of trauma were found, he said.
•••

For background, read “Centralia man dead after allegedly displaying a knife” from Saturday February 9, 2013 at 7:22 p.m., here

News brief: Family chased from apartment by dryer fire

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A dryer fire yesterday afternoon displaced a family of four from an apartment on the 2600 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia.

Firefighters called about 3:50 p.m. found a large volume of smoke coming from the front and rear of one apartment; the occupants of four units in the building had all evacuated themselves, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Crews contained the fire to the dryer, with minimal extension to the surrounding walls, according to Assistant Chief Rick Mack.

Nobody was injured.

The apartment’s contents sustained substantial smoke damage, Mack said in a news release. Damage is estimated at $5,000.

The two adults and two children are receiving assistance from the Red Cross, according to Mack.

Mack found the fire originated in the mechanical components of the combination washer-dryer.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Updated

SHERIFF’S OFFICE SEEKING SAFETY MINDED THIEF

• The sheriff’s office is looking for a 2007 Komatsu excavator hauled away from a Centralia-area work site over the weekend. A deputy called Sunday to the 300 block of Kuper Road was told a witness saw an individual wearing an orange safety vest and a white hard hat load the piece of heavy equipment onto a trailer just before 5 a.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The trailer was pulled by a 1980s maroon dump truck, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner, a 52-year-old Chehalis man, said the excavator is valued at about $108,000, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

MOM ARRESTED FOR UNDERAGE DRINKING PARTY

• More than a dozen minors and a 52-year-old mother were arrested when deputies busted up a noisy drinking party at an Adna home on Friday night. Deputies responding to a complaint about 11:25 p.m. at the end of Jerica Lane saw two young people with beers and subsequently spoke to Connie M. Robinson, 52, who told them yes there were young people drinking, it was a party for her son, but she wasn’t allowing any of them to leave, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies got a search warrant to go inside where they cited 18 under-21 individuals for minor in possession, according to the sheriff’s office. Robinson was arrested for supplying alcohol to minors, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said the son is 18 years old, so he wasn’t among those who got in trouble because under the law, an 18-year-old can drink alcohol at home with their parent’s permission.

MORE THEFT

• Police were called about 8:45 a.m. yesterday about the theft of a chainsaw from the 2400 block of Eureka Avenue in Centralia.

• A 19-year-old Centralia man was arrested on Saturday for second-degree theft in connection with a burglary to an outbuilding at the 100 block of Garrard Creek Road near Rochester. Dustin Nickols reportedly admitted he stole about $600 worth of items on Jan. 31 but said he had an accomplice, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Nickols was additionally arrested for malicious prosecution because he allegedly lied about the other involved individual, to “try to get the heat off” of him, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Brown said.

• Chehalis police were called about 3:45 p.m. on Friday regarding another attempted break-in to a building on the 100 block of Northwest Prindle Street.

• A deputy was called on Saturday to the 100 block of Pompey Peak Drive in Randle about a stolen fence. A large section was missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 26-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday for possession of stolen property in connection with an earlier situation, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers spotted him about 12:30 p.m. walking near North Cedar Street and Centralia College Boulevard and took him into custody, according to police. Christian D. Brown was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. Further details were not readily available.

OUT OF CONTROL SON

• Deputies were called about 6:30 p.m. on Friday to a Silver Creek residence by an 82-year-old woman who said her adult son was drunk and tearing the house apart. When deputies arrived to the 100 block of Gershick Road, they found 60-year-old Steven Fishback passed out and arrested him according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He allegedly had done more than $3,000 worth of damage to a wooden electric organ, an antique room divider and a lamp, according to the sheriff’s office. “He had no explanation as to why he tore the house apart,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Fishback was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree malicious mischief, Brown said.

OUT OF CONTROL DAUGHTER

• Chehalis police were called just after 9 p.m. on Friday about a 9-year-old girl reportedly whining, crying and screaming because her mother wouldn’t stay with her while she was going to bed. An officer handled the issue with a phone call, according to police.

WOMAN ASKS POLICE TO TELL MAN TO PULL UP HIS BRITCHES

• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. on Friday to a complaint from a woman about a man working on his vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot; his jeans had slid down and exposed his underpants. Chehalis police detective Sgt. Gary Wilson didn’t have details about the outcome, but said even so-called plumber’s butt isn’t classified as indecent exposure in a criminal way.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, February 10th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by Debbie Davis Dwelly

Updated at 4:56 p.m.

ONE INJURED IN FIERY WRECK NEAR WINLOCK

• Firefighters were called just before 1 p.m. today when a car went off the roadway near Winlock, struck a wire fence and caught fire in a ditch. One male was airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said he didn’t know if the patient got out on his own or if bystanders pulled him out but the vehicle was fully involved in flames when they arrived. It happened near Morton and Military roads on state Route 505, Jacobson said. The driver is identified as James M. Hunter, 66, of Centralia, by the Washington State Patrol. His 2005 Hyundai Accent was destroyed. The cause of the wreck is under investigation, according to the state patrol.

ANOTHER HOT HONDA CAR TURNS UP IN TENINO

• Centralia police took a report about 8:30 a.m. yesterday of a 1991 Honda Civic stolen during the night from the 400 block of North Oak Street. It was found several hours later in the Tenino area with its battery missing and some wires cut, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRICKERY AND FRAUD

• Centralia police took a report from a 75-year-old woman on the 2400 block of Leisure Lane who fell victim to a phone scam on Friday morning. A caller claiming to be from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse told her she needed to purchase a $300 prepaid PayPal card and give them the number before she could collect her prize, according to police. The woman was told someone would be arriving at 10 a.m. to collect more money, but they never showed up, according to the Centralia Police Department. The woman is out $300, Sgt. Stacy Denham said.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from a female at the 1200 block of G Street in Centralia regarding fraudulent use of her bank account.

UNRULINESS

• Police used a Taser gun on a 29-year-old Centralia man when he allegedly tried to fight with officers arriving at the 1000 block of Orton Street last night. Officers responding about 11 p.m. were told Nichole R. Unterwegner, 30, pushed several people, according to the Centralia Police Department. She was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to police. Justin J. Russell, 29, was arrested for obstruction, resisting arrest and being in possession of unspecified drug paraphernalia, police reported. Both were booked into the Lewis County jail but scheduled to be released today.

• A 27-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 5 p.m. on Friday after he allegedly slashed a tire near the 1100 block of F Street and then was found at a neighbor’s home, where he was arrested for violating a protection order and other alleged offenses, according to the Centralia Police Department. Francisco T. Lamas was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY AT HISTORIC HOUSE

• Centralia police are investigating an incident in which the front door was kicked in at the historic Borst Home on the 2500 block of Pioneer Way. An officer responding to an alarm about 10:15 p.m. on Thursday noted nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Twenty-four-year-old Chehalis man shoots, wrestles with intruder

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Updated at 1:35 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A rural Chehalis resident shot and injured an intruder outside his bedroom door overnight.

Deputies were called about 4:45 a.m. to the 400 block of Highway 603 where the 24-year-old resident said he was asleep with his wife and heard someone talking outside, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He armed himself with a pistol and a subject somehow got inside, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The suspect, Brian L. Creed, 51, of Chehalis entered the residence and started down the hallway towards the homeowner who was standing in front of his bedroom door to protect his wife in their bedroom,” the sheriff’s office stated in a news release.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the resident told Creed to stop, but Creed charged him.

The resident fired one shot but was then tackled; the resident broke free and held Creed at gunpoint until deputies arrived shortly after 5 a.m., according to Brown.

The sheriff’s office says Creed had been using methamphetamine earlier; he recently moved into a house nearby off Nix Road.

Brown said the intruder was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in stable condition. The 24-year-old resident was reportedly uninjured.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Creed is in critical condition.

Detectives were on the scene this morning conducting an investigation, according to Brown.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield scheduled a news conference for tomorrow and issued a prepared statement.

“My office works very hard in ensuring people feel safe and secure in Lewis County, however; people have to be prepared to protect themselves in situations like this in their own homes,” Mansfield stated. ”Our response times are as fast we can make them but there may be a time when you are by yourself and you are forced to make a life or death decision to protect yourself and your family, like this man did.”

Centralia man dead after allegedly displaying a knife

Saturday, February 9th, 2013
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Police tried for at least an hour and half to get a allegedly knife-wielding man to come outside before storming the home.

Updated at 7:49 p.m. and 8:46 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – An hours-long standoff on North Tower Avenue in Centralia ended early this evening when police entered a home and found the subject deceased.

Police Chief Bob Berg said it began with a 57-year-old Centralia man reportedly threatening his wife and sister with a knife. William L. Thomas was suicidal, police said.

When an officer arrived to the house, just north of Fourth Street, Thomas emerged with a butcher knife and then retreated inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Thomas’s mother, sister, wife and a family friend were outside and were taken away from the area by police.

Crowds gathered at both ends of the block, which were strung with yellow police tape, and listened as police used a loudspeaker to coax the man outside. A gray armored vehicle parked on the street in front of his home.

Some nearby residents had been asked to leave their homes.

After an hour and half of attempted negotiations, the SWAT team entered and found the man deceased, Berg said. Police later said Thomas is 58 years old.

Detectives are at the scene conducting an investigation, treating it as a crime scene, the chief said. Police didn’t say how Thomas died, only that his cause of death is unknown.

Chief Berg said the department has a “history” with the Thomas, and he was about to go to jail for assaulting one of Berg’s officers. Yesterday, he was upset about a city light crew in the alley behind his house, Berg said.

When officers first arrived about 1:30 p.m., Thomas threatened to stab one of his female family members in the heart, according to police.

This afternoon, officers used various mean to entice him outside, shooting tear gas into the home numerous times before finally breaking through the front door.

They never got any response from him, Berg said.

Tower Avenue, a main route through town, was reopened about 6 p.m.

It was back at the end of April when Thomas was arrested for reportedly grabbing an officer’s arm and slamming it into a gate when police responded to a dispute at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue. Thomas filed a claim against the city saying the two officers assaulted him damaging his glasses and injuring him.

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North Tower Avenue was taped off between Fourth and Fifth streets until around 6 p.m. tonight.

•••

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SWAT members creep onto the front porch.

 

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 8th, 2013
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Elaine Clark, part owner of the Fantasy Shop, said the business had such a bad Christmas, they were hoping for a better Valentine season.

BANDIT LOADS UP ON  ADULT SEX TOYS, BEDROOM APPAREL

• A gloved, ski mask-wearing burglar used duct tape to cover up security cameras at a Chehalis adult store and loaded up his truck with merchandise while it was closed yesterday morning. It happened at The Fantasy Shop on the 800 block of West Main Street near the park and ride lot between 7:10 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., according to the Chehalis Police Department. He made off with at least $2,000 worth of adult toys and other items such as dress up clothing and blow up dolls, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. “Kind of the high-end stuff,” Carrell said. “So he knew what he was looking for and left the junk.” Police say surveillance footage shows he first tried to get in by ramming the front doors with his pickup truck and when that failed, broke a window. Officers responded to an alarm and brought in a police dog, but the man was gone, according to police. Police are asking anyone with information to please call them. The subject is described as a thin, white, middle-aged man with short brown hair and a wide widow’s peak who was wearing a Carhart-type jacket, jeans and possibly tennis shoes. The vehicle is a white, probably 1990s Ford Ranger with a roof that has chipping paint and rust, as well as chipped spots on its tailgate, according to Carrell. It has what she described as split-lid, diamond box tool box, she said. Elaine Clark, part owner of the Fantasy Shop, said she would imagine someone at the park and ride that time in the morning could have seen something. Clark said the business had such a bad Christmas, they were hoping for a better Valentine season. They still have plenty of merchandise left, she said.

SHOE STORE THEFT

• Two males and a female described by Centralia police only as black reportedly shoplifted eight pairs of shoes from the Nike store on the 100 block of High Street in Centralia last night. Police called about 7:30 p.m. were told workers lost sight of the trio when they ran across a parking lot, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police think they fled in a vehicle.

FUEL STOLEN

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday about gasoline stolen from U-Haul trucks parked on the 1000 block of South Gold Street in Centralia.

JEWELRY THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 12:23 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of West Plum Street regarding a stolen ring. The victim said it was a one karat diamond ring valued at $1,500, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRUCK PROWL
• A deputy was called yesterday to the 100 block of Olequa Drive near Vader where a man told them that sometime since Monday, someone prowled his pickup truck and made off with a tool tray, a spot light, 70 CDs in a case and other items.

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Chehalis police are hoping anyone who recognizes this truck or the man in this security video image will contact them as they investigate the burglary to The Fantasy Shop. / Courtesy photo

•••

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He looks like Spiderman here, inside the adult gift store. / Courtesy photo

Chehalis firefighter’s synthetic marijuana case ends with misdemeanor

Friday, February 8th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Former Chehalis firefighter Adam Myer was sentenced yesterday to one day in jail in connection with an issue involving the synthetic marijuana called “Spice”.

Myer resigned from the fire department last autumn after an investigation in which Spice wrappers were found in the trash in the fire station building.

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Adam Myer

He pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday to misdemeanor use of drug paraphernalia. A felony count of possession of the controlled substance was dropped.

The synthetic marijuana is one of numerous similar products that used to be available legally for purchase over the counter.

As part of yesterday’s proceedings, the 43-year-old also pleaded guilty to an unrelated separate charge of driving under the influence of Spice.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge that as the drug investigation unfolded, he learned of the DUI that occurred on Sept. 9, 2011.

It involved a private vehicle, not a fire truck, Meager said. Myer denied using the drug during work hours.

For the DUI, Judge Richard Brosey sentenced Myer to the maximum of 364 days in jail with all but one of the days suspended for two years.

Brosey imposed almost $2,000 in fines and noted Myer’s driver’s license would be suspended for 90 days.

Myer has said he never knowingly purchased anything illegal. Outside the courtroom, he said it was a fair outcome, with the change in his offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“They adjudicated it properly,” he said.

He was ordered to report to jail on Feb. 19.

•••

For background, read: “Synthetic marijuana found at Chehalis fire station building” from Friday October 26, 2012, here

News brief: Centralia used car business owners deny theft scheme

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Keith A. and Lorrine D. Birdwell pleaded not guilty today to what prosecutors call major economic offenses that victimized a Centralia-based bank in connection with the Toledo couple’s used car business.

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Keith and Lorrine Birdwell

The Birdwells operated  Birdwell Brothers Auto Sales with sites in Centralia and in Lacey.

They were charged last month with one count of first-degree theft and five counts of felony unlawful issuance of a bank check.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg contends in charging documents that Security State Bank’s unrecovered losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He alleges the couple used various deceptions to avoid paying back the bank on loans for the vehicles.

Keith, 47, and Lorrine, 44, went before Judge James Lawler in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon. They were accompanied by Vancouver, Wash.-based attorney Chad Schaff.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial date was set for the week of April 22.
•••

For background, read “Centralia used car lot owners appear in court on criminal charges” from Wednesday January 23, 2013, here

Potential plea agreement in the works for Chehalis bar fight stabbing suspect

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A plea deal has been offered for the Centralia woman charged with a stabbing outside a Chehalis bar, but her lawyer said he hasn’t yet had time to present it to her.

Lena A. Castillo, 24, remains in the Lewis County Jail since a fight last month outside Garbe’s Bar and Grill on Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

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Lena A. Castillo

Castillo is charged with first-degree assault.

Prosecutors allege the victim started the physical altercation but that Castillo continued attacking 22-year-old Ashley Stewart with small knife after Stewart stopped fighting and was on the ground.

Both females are from Centralia.

Castillo was in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon where defense attorney Mike Underwood said he wanted to push her trial date out farther into the future.

Underwood told the judge he needs to get an investigator to see if there were other witnesses, he needs time to sit down and go over all the materials and he hasn’t yet spoken with his client about the plea deal extended by prosecutors.

Judge James Lawler suggested instead the parties return to court next Thursday.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead declined outside the courtroom to say what the deal was.

Stewart was treated for four stab wounds to her stomach and one to each leg and was expected to make a full recovery. Castillo told police the Jan. 12 dispute was about her ex-boyfriend.

Chehalis police called the fight mutual combat and said after the arrest they couldn’t prove who owned the pair of brass knuckles that turned up in the restroom where the stabbing victim was tended to by friends.

Castillo has pleaded not guilty.
•••

For background, read:

• “Police: “Mutual combat” between two women in Saturday assault outside bar” from Monday January 14, 2013 at 12:19 p.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Updated at 4:46 p.m.

OFFICERS DETAIN ONE FOLLOWING RUCKUS AT CITY HALL

• Police arrested 69-year-old John C. Baker yesterday morning after they were summoned upstairs at Centralia City Hall where Baker was reportedly causing a commotion in the city attorney’s office. Sgt. Stacy Denham said he wasn’t sure what Baker’s business at the office was but he was arrested for misdemeanor theft as when police asked him to step outside to discuss the matter, a stapler belonging to the city clerk was noticed in his pocket. Denham said one of Baker’s “parting shots” was he would return at 9 a.m. today to go “nose to nose” with the person in the office. Baker, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

BRASS KNUCKLES PUT ALLEGED COMBATANT IN JAIL

• Centralia police officers called about 10:15 a.m. yesterday about two males fighting in an alley arrested one of them for possession of brass knuckles as well as disorderly conduct. Witnesses told police Terry Bryan, 33, a homeless person, attacked a 22-year-old acquaintance for no reason in the area of the 500 block of North Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim did not wish to press charges for assault but Bryan was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the aforementioned offenses, according to police.

IN-PROGRESS HOMICIDE TUNS OUT TO BE PRANK

• Centralia police responded about 11:15 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of Virginia Drive after getting a call from a child that a parent was being killed. The young girl reportedly called 911 several times but hung up before dispatchers could get more information. When officer checked the address given by the girl, they found only a family at home, no violence, according to the Centralia Police Department. They checked neighboring apartments as well without success until they discovered an 11-year-old girl who made the calls as a hoax, according to police. She was warned about the consequences for making a false report but not arrested because of her young age, according to police.

BURGLARIES IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning about repeated burglaries to a building across from the police department on the 100 block of Northwest Prindle Street.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon to an auto business on the 1600 block of North National Avenue about an attempted break-in and vandalism to a truck parked in the lot. A screen had been removed from the building and the window broken on the vehicle, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Someone punched holes in the water holding tank on a travel trailer parked at the 1300 block of Kresky Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

ALLEGED GANG MEMBER DENIES BEATING TEEN

• Centralian Joshua Rhoades, purported to be an Surenos LVL gang member, pleaded not guilty this morning to second-degree assault involving a fight in downtown Centralia last Thursday night in which a 17-year-old boy was knocked unconscious.  Rhoades, 32, remains held in the Lewis County Jail as prosecutors included so-called aggravators in their charging, alleging it occurred with a deadly weapon – a knife – and was meant to improve Rhoades’ standing in a gang. Charging documents allege Rhoades and two others got out of a green Ford Taurus in the area of South Tower Avenue and Cherry Street and approached three young men and that Rhoades identified himself as LVL, asking the trio if they were rival “Nortenos”.  The victim, Dustin McLean, told police he replied “no” and then held his head while Rhoades and Rhoades’ friends kicked him in the head, according to charging documents. McLean also said Rhoades used the closed knife like brass knuckles to punch him in the face several times, charging documents allege. One of the young men, Caleb Capo, said when he jumped in to defend his friend, that 24-year-old Ashley Huner punched him twice, charging documents state. Police subsequently found and detained Rhoades, Huner, and 25-year-old  Michael J. Daily. A knife and two cell phones were found in Huner’s jacket pocket, but she said the coat belonged to Rhoades, according to the documents. Rhoades told police he was the one who got jumped, after three young men rushed his car. Rhoades, Daily and McLean all had facial injuries, police stated. This morning, a trial date for Rhoades was scheduled for the week of March 25 in Lewis County Superior Court.

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Joshua Rhoades, right, tells Judge James Lawler he is not guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court.

News brief: Tenino Fire Department loses leader to illness

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Tenino area fire department lost its longtime operations chief last week.

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Janet Lee Duncan
1953 – 2013

Janet Lee Duncan, 59, continued to work even as she dealt with cancer, but died on Jan. 29, according to Tina Vanderhoof, office administrator for Thurston County Fire District 12.

“It’s been three years, the battling,” Vanderhoof said. “We miss her terribly.”

Duncan was with the fire department more than two decades and lived in the Skookumchuck Valley even longer, with her husband, Robin Duncan who is the department’s chief.

She leaves behind also three sons, six grandchildren and other family.

A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 at the Tenino High School gymnasium.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

LOOKING FOR A BEDTIME SNACK?

• A deputy was called about 10:30 p.m. yesterday to a home in Onalaska after a 28-year-old man walked into a stranger’s residence, strolled past the couple who live there and went into their kitchen. The husband escorted the man back outside where he waited for the deputy, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened at the 3000 block of Centralia-Alpha Road, according to the sheriff’s office. The intruder, who appeared to be under the influence of something, gave various names and was finally identified as Matthew E. Eastman, a homeless person who lives in the Chehalis area, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The couple did not want to press any charges, but Eastman was arrested and booked for making a false statement to a public servant, Brown said.

DRILL ASSAULT SUSPECT FOUND, ARRESTED

• An Ashford man wanted for allegedly assaulted his roommate with a cordless drill was arrested yesterday when he returned to his home. Deputies were looking for him after they were called Monday night and told he beat his 27-year-old female roommate with a steel bar, threw firewood at her head and held a power drill to her throat as she shielded her 4-year-old daughter. Robert C. Sliger, 55, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

JUVENILE ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called just after 1 a.m. today to Greenhill School regarding a felony assault. Further details were not readily available.

BUSINESS BURGLARIZED IN CHEHALIS

• Chehalis police were called about 4:15 a.m. today about a burglary on Northwest Prindle Street. Someone had broken a window to get inside a business but some of the missing items were found in the bushes nearby, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Recovered was a vacuum cleaner, a hand truck, a radio and  mechanic’s “creeper”, Officer Linda Bailey said. The break-in is under investigation.

MECHANICS TOOLS MISSING IN CHEHALIS

• A deputy was called about noon yesterday to a “mechanic’s facility” on the 100 block of Ribelin Road in Chehalis where almost $2,200 worth of Matco, Craftsman and another brand of professional tools were missing from a large rolling tool box, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim, a 27-year-old man from Chehalis, said it occurred sometime since the previous day, according to the sheriff’s office.

SHOP BURGLARIZED IN VADER

• A 57-year-old Vader man called the sheriff’s office yesterday to report a guitar, a spotting scope and two bows were missing from his shop on the 800 block of State Route 506 in Vader. The theft occurred sometime during the previous five days, a deputy was told.

GARAGE BURGLARY IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police arrested a 19-year-old Centralia resident yesterday in connection with a burglary to a garage discovered Monday at the 3000 block of Russell Road. Police say Dustin Z. Nickols at first blamed someone else but then admitted stealing the firearm reloading gear and selling it. The property was recovered and returned to its owner and Nickols was booked into the Lewis County Jail for theft, trafficking in stolen property and malicious prosecution, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MISSING

• A trumpet was reported stolen from the band room at Washington Elementary School in Centralia on Monday.

BOTCHED DINE AND DASH

• Chehalis police were called to Denny’s restaurant on Southwest Interstate Avenue just before 4 p.m. yesterday regarding a complaint a customer had left without paying for her meal, and had forgotten her driver’s license. The business wanted police to know what happened but chose not to pursue it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CHILD FOUND ALONE IN BANK

• Police were called to the 2000 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue in Chehalis at 2 p.m. on Monday where a 6-year-old boy in the bank’s lobby said his mother drove away without him. It was only minutes before the mother showed back up, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “It seems like somebody just lost track of their world,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. “She turned around and came back to the credit union.”

SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR CALL

• Chehalis police were called just after 6 p.m. Monday about a male sitting in the street and barking at a trash can. The caller said the skinny, bald individual appeared to be under the influence of something, according to police. An officer checking the area of South Market Boulevard and 18th Street couldn’t locate the subject, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

PROWLING AROUND VEHICLES

• Someone rummaged through an unlocked vehicle parked at the 400 block of Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis, according to a report made to police on Monday morning.

• A police officer was called about 3 p.m. on Monday to the 300 block of  Northeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis where someone had entered a vehicle and gone through items in it, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There may have been some change missing, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart about 10:30 p.m. on Monday where a subject was watching what appeared to be someone trying to break into a truck. An officer contacted a 53-year-old Centralia man who was wanted on an outstanding warrant related to a driving offense in Whatcom County, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Gary D. Newton was booked into the Lewis County Jail, for the warrant, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Police were called Monday morning the Centralia Outlet Mall where someone had spray painted light blue apparent gang graffiti on the side of the Gymboree store.

DRYER FIRE

• A fire at a home Monday afternoon on Third Street in Chehalis appeared to be caused by something electrical, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. Crews called about 2:25 p.m. found the resident was using a clothes dryer when flames started near the outlet. They used a dry-chemical extinguisher to stop it, Chief Kelvin Johnson said. The damage was estimated at about $1,000, he said.

Centralia resident escapes injury when propane heater explodes inside house

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
2013.0205.windsoravehousefire_2

Crews prepare to help salvage belongings after a fire damaged the front portion of a Centralia house, to the right of the fire trucks, this afternoon.

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – A malfunctioning space heater ignited a house fire in north Centralia today that claimed the lives of three cats and will temporarily displace the couple who live there.

Firefighters called just after 3 p.m. to Windsor Avenue just south of Fulton Street were told of reports of explosions and two people inside the single-story home, and then told it was only one person.

“When we got here, he was outside, thank goodness,”  Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Mike Kytta said.

Crews then proceeded to attack the fire, he said.

The man who lives there had been starting up a propane heater when it emitted flames, according to Kytta said. He threw it out onto the porch, Kytta said.

He was uninjured, but treated by medics for minor smoke inhalation.

The couple had four cats, three of which did not survive, according to the fire department. One of them was administered aid and oxygen. A local veterinarian took the cat and other animals to board them. The Red Cross was summoned to assist the couple.

Crews were still on the scene after 5 p.m. preparing to check again for smoldering and help retrieve some belongings that weren’t ruined.

Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Rick Mack said the bulk of the fire damage is in the front room, just inside the front door. He estimated the loss to the home and contents at $74,000.

Mack said the propane heater developed a failure in its supply line. It was hooked up to a 20-gallon cylinder of fuel, he said.

The heater wasn’t the kind he sees often, but similar to a type one might use to heat a garage or shop, he said.

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

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
2013.0205.weston.miller.defense_2

Weston G. Miller mostly just listens as attorneys and the judge discuss his upcoming murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 5:56 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – With just a week before his trial is set to begin, the former welder who fatally shot a houseguest inside his Centralia home has decided not to attempt to get an acquittal based on insanity, but on straight self defense.

Weston G. Miller, 30, and his lawyer went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge this morning to discuss how the change meant they need to postpone his trial.

“I hope the court would realize, it’s like starting over, basically from scratch,” Centralia attorney J.P. Enbody told the judge.

Enbody said it meant dealing with different experts, different criteria and different facts.

Judge Richard Brosey granted the delay but wasn’t happy.

Miller is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

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

Miller has claimed self defense from the beginning.

He said Carson came at him with a knife in his hand, but Delsavo said her boyfriend was unarmed, according to charging documents.

Among the further work to be done mentioned this morning was the defense getting an expert to review the autopsy findings regarding gun powder residue and the proximity of the two men to each other.

The trial has been repeatedly pushed into the future as attorneys have dealt with examinations by doctors about Miller’s competence to stand trial and his mental state at the time of the shooting.

Last month the court was informed he wanted to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and a hearing was planned so a judge could hear from experts on both sides. It’s cancelled.

Miller is also charged with several counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm as detectives say when they searched his home, they found a a MAC-10 semi-automatic and four other guns.

Miller’s previous domestic violence assault means he’s prohibited from possessing firearms.

Centralia police also allegedly discovered a silencer and a bullet-proof vest in the house.

The trial, which is expected to last five days or less, is now scheduled for the week on April 15.
•••

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