Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Seven charged for dealing meth in Randle

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
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Leah D. Williams, 24, listens to defense attorney Bob Schroeter as she is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with delivery of methamphetamine.

Updated at 8:28 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Seven Randle residents went before a judge yesterday accused of selling methamphetamine to police informants at various times in the two months before last week’s roundup by more than two dozen law enforcement officers.

Among them was 24-year-old Leah D. Williams, whose worst crime before now was a ticket for littering in 2009.

Williams shares a home on Kiona Road with a 42-year-old construction worker. He was also arrested.

“She got caught up in the wrong crowd, let’s hope this is a wake up call,” her father Danny Williams said.

Danny Williams arranged for his daughter to move in with him in Morton if she was released from jail, since he anticipated she and her boyfriend would be prohibited from having contact with each other pending the outcome of their cases.

Leah D. Williams lives on $290 a month in financial support, plus food stamps, and has three young children, Chehalis attorney Bob Schroeter told the judge yesterday afternoon. She is charged with two counts of delivery of meth.

According to charging documents, on one occasion a confidential informant said they could purchase the drug from her boyfriend  Byron O. Daily and on another occasion said they could get it from her or her boyfriend.

Each time, the informant wanted more, but was only able to get a “quarter” for $20, according to the allegations.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey allowed Leah Williams released on a $5,000 signature bond, meaning she does not have to post bail money but will owe the court that amount if she fails to appear for any proceedings.

Friday’s arrests, dubbed Operation Big Bottom Bust for the Big Bottom Valley in which they took place some 50 miles east of Interstate 5, were coordinated by the Lewis County Regional Drug Task Force.

Ten individuals were arrested in the sweep, according to the sheriff’s office, but one was only for a warrant and two men were released without charges pending further investigation. The two are Chris Edward Green, 58, and Jason A Green, 24.

The defendants were all represented during yesterday afternoon’s hearing by Schroeter who negotiated bail and helped schedule arraignment dates.

The defendants ranged from as young as Williams to as old as 57-year-old Jack Wayne Mullins.

Mullins, a lifetime Lewis County resident who owns the property where he lives on Falls Road, was charged along with 52-year-old Diane L. Allison for the three times an informant allegedly came to their home and bought $40 worth of meth.

Allison has several prior drug convictions, according to prosecutors. Mullins has none, although he did get in trouble for driving under the influence in 2011, according to Schroeter.

All of the defendants were charged with either two counts or three counts of delivery of methamphetamine. None were charged with possession of the drug, although police said they conducted search warrants on Friday at at least three locations.

Law enforcement officers confiscated one vehicle, some cash and some methamphetamine – mostly “street level” amounts like $25 bags, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.

Beginning at daybreak, the sheriff’s office and its SWAT team with assistance from three other police agencies hit five places in an hour and a half, Seiber said. The operation came after 14 undercover buys, he said.

It’s not like the community of Randle is some kind of large hub for supplying users in comparison to the rest of the county, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Meth is everywhere. Everywhere,” Seiber said. “It just happens we got in with this particular bunch.”

According to charging documents, the police-observed “buys” all took place at the defendant’s homes, except in the case of Robert D. LaChance Sr. who allegedly made his deals in a Randle parking lot and alongside U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma. He lives with his parents on Ridge View Drive.

LaChance, 50, allegedly sold $160 worth of meth in one of his two transactions and $120 in the other.

LaChance’s legitimate income amounts to a $710 monthly payment from SSI, and like some of the others he has previous drug convictions.

The most recent undercover deals involved 42-year-old Keith Allen Sanders at his home on Morris Road where he’s lived for 30 years.

On June 3, sheriff’s detective Jeff Humphrey spoke with an informant who said he or she could purchase $40 worth of meth from Sanders, according to charging documents.

After the informant and their vehicle were searched, Humphrey provided the “pre-recorded” buy funds and then observed as the informant went to Sander’s home, charging documents relate. About 15 minutes later, the informant returned with a small baggie with a small amount of meth inside, according to the documents.

The same process was repeated the next day.

The highest bail any of them faced was $25,000 for Marty Joe Mullins, 48.

On one of the two visits informants made to Marty Mullins’ Kiona Road residence, they were made to wait while he retrieved the drugs from a neighbor’s place, according to charging documents.

Seiber said today they took 11 people into custody, and they are looking for number 12. It’s not clear who the 11th person was as the sheriff’s office announced only 10 arrests on Friday.

Morton police did arrest a 29-year-old woman for delivery of methamphetamine on Friday night after an officer was informed by someone they’d just witnessed a drug deal at an apartment on Westlake Avenue and provided a license plate numbers for a vehicle which left.

Twenty-seven-year-old Paul Leggett, of Glenoma, was subsequently located and arrested for possession of a small baggie of suspected meth.

Police arrested Bobbie E. Escontrias, 29, for delivery of a $20 amount of meth but found no drugs when the apartment was searched, according to charging documents in that case. On her person however, was found residue on a glass pipe, a baggie and a cotton ball, according to the documents.

Escontrias was charged yesterday with delivery, but with no criminal history, was allowed release on a $10,000 signature bond.

All of those charged will get a chance to make their pleas on Thursday or a week from Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.
•••

RANDLE: THE ARRESTS, THE CHARGES AND BAIL

• Marty J. Mullins, 48. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $25,000

• Diane L. Allison, 52. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000
• Jack W. Mullins, 57. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000 unsecured.

• Byron O. Daily, 42. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000 unsecured.
• Leah D. Williams, 24. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $5,000 unsecured.

• Robert D. LaChance Sr., 50. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $10,000.

• Keith A. Sanders, 42. Charge: Delivery of meth. Bail $20,000.

• Chris E. Green, 58. Arrested for delivery of meth, but released without charges pending further investigation.

• Jason A Green, 24. Arrested for delivery and possession of meth,  but released without charges pending further investigation

• Robert M. Church, 48. Arrested for felony warrant
•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Drug dealing investigation nets multiple arrests in Randle” from Friday June 7, 2013 at 10:20 a.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Updated at 7:44 p.m.

CENTRALIA MEN SLUMBER THROUGH HOME BURGLARY

• Deputies called about 3:30 a.m. yesterday to a report of suspicious circumstances at the 3000 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia arrested a 32-year-old man who allegedly burglarized his relatives’ home and garage while they were sleeping. A neighbor saw a flashlight shining in the brush outside the house and when deputies arrived, they found suspected stolen property next to a vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. When deputies went inside to check the residence, they woke up two men in their 60s who were unaware of any break-in, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said. Joshua D. Graham was located coming from the back of the garage and said his uncles were out of town and he had permission to be there, Breen said. Among the items taken were an air conditioner, a battery charger and tools, Breen said. Graham was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for residential burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.

BUSINESS BREAK-IN

• Deputies responding to an alarm at a business on the 100 block of U.S. Highway 12 south of Chehalis about 2 a.m. today found damage to a wall inside but nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A K-9 search was conducted but no suspect located, according to the sheriff’s office.

VEHICLE PROWL

• A deputy was called about 4 a.m. yesterday regarding a a vehicle prowl in which a revolver was taken at the 200 block of Mineral Road South, in Mineral. It occurred sometime since 4 p.m. the day before, according to the sheriff’ office. The vehicle had ben left unsecured, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said.

• Centralia police were called to 1000 block of South Tower Avenue just after 2 p.m. yesterday where an individual said someone got inside their car and stole a Kindle and a wallet.

• Chehalis police were called about 7:45 a.m. yesterday to a residence on Pennsylvania Avenue when an individual said he spotted a female in his carport rummaging through hi vehicle. She took off in a car and a check of the license plate the victim observed revealed it was stolen out of Bellevue, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Police suspect another vehicle prowl nearby on Northwest Duffy Street is related, Wilson said.

• Police took a report about 11:30 a.m. yesterday of two vehicle prowls on Northeast Glen Road in Chehalis in which sports equipment and other items were stolen.

THEFT AND DRUGS

• Police called about 4:40 a.m. on Sunday regarding a suspected shoplift from Wal-Mart located two individuals hiding behind a dumpster and recovered about $300 worth of razors. Randy E. Leonard, 22, of Longview, was arrested for third-degree theft and then released, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Police found a “tiny” amount of suspected methamphetamine as well as an implement for “hot-knifing heroin” on his pregnant female companion, according to police. Her case will be referred for possible charges pending lab tests on the material, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. She was not arrested or booked at the time because of the potential liability and expense of keeping a pregnant woman in jail, WIlson said.

NO BOMB

• Police were called to the Goodwill store on Harrison Avenue in Centralia late yesterday afternoon after someone discovered what appeared to a bomb threat scrawled on a wall. Officer walked through the building and found nothing suspicious and the business decided to close early as a precaution, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NO FIGHT

• Police called about 1:40 a.m. on Sunday to a report several subjects were fighting in the are of the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue found no victims, no suspects, no injuries and nobody willing to talk about what they might have been involved in, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

WRECK

• A rear-end collision on U.S. Highway 12 near Interstate 5 yesterday that knocked a Honda Accord onto its top sent one person to the hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol. A trooper called about 12:45 p.m. to the scene south of Chehalis found both vehicles were totaled and cited the 75-year-old driver of a Dodge Ram pickup for following too closely and inattention, according to the state patrol. Lyle Zeller, 75, of Ethel, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was treated and has been released, according to authorities. The 22-year-old driver of the Honda, Jerry Birdwell, of Chechal, was reportedly uninjured.

• Two women who were injured early Saturday morning in a rollover wreck northwest of Olympia remain hospitalized, one of them facing potential charges for driving under the influence and vehicular assault. Troopers called about 3:30 a.m. to U.S. Highway 101 near state Route 8 found a 1994 Honda Accord on its top. The driver, Amanda Mojica, 19, of Centralia, is in good condition today at  Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. Her passenger, Aracelie Hernandez, 20, of Aberdeen, was listed in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle this morning.

• A Freightliner truck blew a tire and ran off the freeway into the brush this afternoon on southbound Interstate 5 south of Napavine. The Washington State Patrol reports the vehicle was totaled in the approximately 1 p.m. incident near milepost 66. The driver, a 42-year-old man from Vancouver, was however uninjured, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with  suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, minor collisions, disorderly subjects, suspicious activity, shoplifting, and other misdemeanor theft; complaints about graffiti, barking dogs, noisy neighbors … and more.

News brief: Toledo resident, two others hurt in overnight crash

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Updated at 5 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Toledo driver and his two passengers were hospitalized after an early morning wreck when their car ran into a tree in Pierce County.

Troopers called about 3:45 a.m. to state Route 507 three miles north of Roy found a 1994 Honda Civic was totaled, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Joshua Brake, 22, of Toledo, was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed when his vehicle left the roadway to the right and collided with a tree, according to the state patrol. He was transported to Madigan, according to the state patrol.

Passenger Anthony Hill, 22, of Olympia, was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center and a third male who was unidentified was taken to Tacoma General Hospital, the investigating trooper reported.

Only the driver was wearing a seat belt; speed and alcohol are blamed. Charges are pending.

Update: The previously unidentified occupant is Beau A. Dawson, 26, of Seattle, and he passed away at St. Joseph Medical Center, according to the state patrol.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

WATER RESCUE TEAM RETRIEVES DOG, WOMAN FROM RIVER BANK

• Chehalis firefighters were out at the crack of dawn at the Newaukum River to rescue a dog who couldn’t swim. Capt. Pat Gilligan said they were called about 4 a.m. to Stan Hedwall Park by police for a situation he believed began as a missing person around 10 o’clock last night. It turned out the woman spent the night on the opposite side of the river because although her Labrador didn’t mind crossing the river with her, her other dog wouldn’t get in the water, according to firefighters. Capt. Rob Gebhart and Firefighter Jay Birley paddled their kayaks about 400 yards upstream to retrieve them. They put the woman and the non-swimming canine into a kayak and pulled them across the river, Gebhart said. He said he didn’t know why she was out there or why her friends left, but noted she had built a fire and needed no medical attention.

THEFT

• Centralia police responding about 6 p.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue note local banks are reporting a male attempting to pass fraudulent checks from a local construction company, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 46-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for allegedly attempting to steal alcohol from a store on the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia last night. Police responded about 8:25 p.m. cited Patsy A. Bartlett for third-degree theft and then released her, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECKS

• Centralia police called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue after a vehicle struck several poles outside a business arrested a motorist for hit and run, for driving under the influence and for not having a valid driver’s license. Carla J. Raby was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A Centralia woman and her passenger were injured after a rollover wreck early this morning northwest of Olympia. Troopers called about 3:30 a.m. to U.S. Highway 101 near state Route 8 found a 1994 Honda Accord on its top. Amanda Mojica, 19, of Centralia, was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital and Aracelie Hernandez, 20, of Aberdeen, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the Washington State Patrol. Trooper Guy Gill indicated the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening but the driver is suspected of having been under the influence and is arrested for vehicular assault. They were both wearing seat belts; the car was totaled, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, violation of a protection order; other responses for misdemeanor theft, minor vandalism … and more.

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Amanda Mojica’s Honda Accord lays upside down off U.S. Highway 101. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Updated

BAD NEIGHBOR

•  Chehalis police were called about 9:30 a.m. yesterday to the 100 block of North Market Boulevard after a woman said a man walked into her apartment wearing just his boxer shorts. “She screamed, he left,” Officer Linda Bailey said. Responding officers found 32-year-old Ronald J. Jennings outside his apartment; he had locked himself out, Bailey said. Jennings was arrested and booked into jail for first-degree criminal trespass as well as for indecent exposure – because his private parts were showing, according to Bailey.

BAR FIGHT

• Police are looking for 31-year-old Kyle E. Wagar after he allegedly  assaulted two people in a truck outside a bar on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue last night. Officers called just after midnight were told the attack was unprovoked and that the Chehalis resident was seen running from the scene, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUSINESS THEFT

• A deputy was called to a business on the 800 block of Lincoln Creek Road outside Centralia yesterday after its owner discovered some of his business checks had been stolen. Four of the nine missing checks have been forged and cashed, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is $615, according to the sheriff’s office.

FIREARM THEFT

• Centralia police were called just before 11 a.m. yesterday regarding a rifle stolen from a home on the 200 block of North Gold Street. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

GARAGE THEFT

• Police were called to the 800 block of South Gold Street yesterday afternoon regarding unspecified items taken from someone’s garage.

CAR PROWL

• A vehicle’s window was sprung from its tracks and an amplifier and two 10-inch subwoofers were stolen at the 100 block of Southwest Fifth Street in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 5:30 a.m. today. The theft occurred sometime after 10 p.m. yesterday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS AT SCHOOL

• An officer responded to W.F. West High School in Chehalis yesterday afternoon regarding a 15-year-old student with suspected marijuana. The case will be referred to prosecutors for possible charging, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

GUN SCARE NEAR SCHOOL

• Police rushed to the area yesterday just after 1 o’clock when someone said they saw two males walking toward R.E. Bennett Elementary School carrying what appeared to be assault rifles. A spokesperson for the Chehalis Police Department said the subjects were located but nobody was arrested. Officer Linda Bailey said she didn’t yet have a report so she couldn’t share further details. Update: Officers contacted the individuals who indeed were carrying their rifles as they walked to their apartment, but it was about a quarter mile north of the school, according to police. People got “freaked out” but there was nothing illegal going on, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

POSSIBLE PEEPER

• Chehalis police took a report yesterday from a mother who said her daughter saw someone looking in her window the night before at the 300 block of Southeast Park Hill Drive in Chehalis. Extra patrols were requested for the area.

INDUSTRIAL PARK FIRE

• Firefighters were called about 10:15 p.m. yesterday to a foundry in the Chehalis Industrial Park off Sears Road for a small equipment fire. Nobody was hurt, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

VEHICLE FIRE

• Firefighters were called about 11 a.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of South Schueber Road northwest of Chehalis when a log loader caught fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, according to Lewis County Fire District 6.

ACCIDENT

• Two people were transported to the hospital after a motorcycle accident on Koontz Road yesterday near Napavine. One patient was to be airlifted, according to Lewis County Fire District 15 Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson, but he didn’t have further details because he was only assisting Lewis County Fire District 5 with the call.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault; responses for minor collisions, dispute, stolen bicycle, to pick up a counterfeit $20 bill from a business; complaints of barking dogs, vicious dog  … and more.

Breaking news: Drug dealing investigation nets multiple arrests in Randle

Friday, June 7th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Updated at 11:16 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 10 people this morning in the Randle area following a months-long drug investigation.

Deputies, along with three other law enforcement agencies and the state Department of Corrections, began their operation at daybreak, according to the sheriff’s office.

Officers are currently conducting searches at three different locations in Randle, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

One person was picked up on a warrant, but the rest have been booked into jail for delivery of methamphetamine, according to Brown. More arrests are expected, according to Brown.

The morning raids – dubbed Operation Big Bottom Bust, named for the Big Bottom Valley in which they took place – are being conducted by the sheriff’s office regional task force.

Assisting were officers from the Morton Police Department, the Chehalis Police Department and the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office. Brown said about 25 personnel are taking part.

Brown, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said she did not know yet if any drugs have been found. Their work isn’t done.

“I don’t really know how long they will be out there, it could be hours,” she said.

Brown indicated the residences visited were located on the 100 block of Morris Road, the 100 and 200 blocks of Kiona Road, the 100 block of Falls Road and the 100 block of Ridge View Drive.

The arrested are:

• Keith Allen Sanders, 42, Delivery of meth
• Marty Joe Mullins, 48, Delivery of meth
• Chris Edward Green, 58, Delivery of meth
• Jason A Green – 24, Delivery and possession of meth
• Jack Wayne Mullins, 57, Delivery of meth
• Diane Lynn Allison, 52, Delivery of meth
• Robert Delano LaChance Sr, 50, Delivery of meth
• Byron Otis Daily, 42, Delivery of meth
• Leah Danyale Williams, 24, Delivery of meth
• Robert M Church, 48, Felony warrant

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Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

•••

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Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

News brief: Delay plagued rape case ends with guilty verdict

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A jury of six men and six women found Leo B. Bunker III of Winlock guilty as charged in a rape case in which doctors told the victim the stress of testifying could kill her because of her heart condition.

The victim took the witness stand earlier this week and returned to the Chehalis courtroom this afternoon to hear the verdict.

Bunker, 53, testified on his own behalf denying her allegations that he physically abused her during their short marriage in late 2011. He said he was impotent and couldn’t have done what she said, according to his attorney Michael Underwood.

A first trial that began in January ended in a mistrial when Bunker, who was diagnosed with throat cancer after his arrest, caused a daylong recess because of his illness and then the following day the judge took ill.

The former log truck driver was found guilty of  two counts of second-degree rape, one count of harassment and two counts of violating a protection order. The jury deliberated about three and half hours.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler ordered him held without bail pending sentencing.
•••

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

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

DRUG BUST

• Chehalis police found a “significant” amount of heroin, more than 200 grams of methamphetamine and several thousand dollars cash when they searched two cars they impounded yesterday morning in Centralia. Two people were arrested for conspiracy to deliver drugs after detectives contacted the occupants of two vehicles they said met up at Plum and Ash streets. Detectives made contact with them, took them into custody and their cars were seized, Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Ashley C. Varga, 23, of Chehalis, and Anthony W. Miller, 41, of Centralia, according to Wilson.

MYSTERY ASSAULT

• Police and aid called about 1:45 a.m. today to The Hub tavern in Centralia regarding an assault found a 22-year-old patron lying on his back in the beer garden. When he regained consciousness, he told officers nobody assaulted him, according to the Centralia Police Department. However, a female was overheard saying, “That’s what you get for ‘punking’ my brother,” police said. The victim would not cooperate with police in pursuing the matter, police said.

AUTO THEFT

• A Chehalis police officer was flagged down about 5:40 a.m. today after a car was discovered missing from its driveway on the 1200 block of Northwest Cedar Way. Stolen is a white 1998 Nissan Altima, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

NOT A BREAK-IN

• Chehalis police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday regarding a burglary at a home on Northwest Prindle Street in which the caller was moving out from. Police were told a window had been broken out. The report turned out to be unfounded, police said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence; responses for minor accidents, alarm, dispute, report of possible inappropriate touching, female seen “passed out” near train tracks; complaint about lewd pictures sent on Facebook, neighbor’s rabbits in a garden  … and more.

Unexplainable Centralia murder case ends with three-decade sentence

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Prosecutors offered no motive and last month’s four day trial revealed only the rejected self defense claim but today a courtroom finally heard a lengthy recitation from Weston G. Miller’s lawyer that shed light on last year’s fatal shooting of his houseguest in Centralia.

Miller is delusional.

The 30-year-old former welder could have but chose not to pursue an insanity defense, according to Centralia attorney J.P. Enbody.

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Weston G. Miller

Miller was diagnosed with paranoid delusional disorder by a psychiatrist who said the best course for him would be long term treatment at Western State Hospital, Enbody said.

“He was sure people were trying to poison him, including Ms. DeSalvo and Mr. Carson,” Enbody said.

Enbody read aloud passages from doctor’s reports that described how Miller placed security cameras around his B Street house, believed his neighbors were stealing from him, thought someone had hacked into his bank accounts and wouldn’t eat food unless it was pre-packaged because someone was trying to poison him.

His client didn’t know who to trust and was frightened of David Carson, Enbody said.

“He was preoccupied with people being after him, being in danger,” he said.

Miller was in Lewis County Superior Court today to be sentenced for first-degree murder. He was convicted by a jury last month in the death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

Carson and his girlfriend Sara DeSalvo, who were on again off again homeless, were staying at the B Street home for a short time in exchange for DeSalvo doing some heavy cleaning.

Miller fired a 9 mm pistol at close range into Carson’s chest after asking him to step out of a bedroom.

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David Wayne Carson

Carson, who once worked with expensive show dogs in southern California and most recently as a millwright, was dead at the scene when police arrived on the afternoon of March 13, 2012.

Judge Richard Brosey gave Miller 30 years in prison.

He called it the most senseless and without explanation of homicides he’s seen in all his years.

Brosey said he didn’t need to decide if Miller was lying or just had a very warped perception of what occurred.

“Mr. Carson had no knife, he wasn’t advancing on you,” Brosey said. “It was an impossible scenario to have played out.”

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher had told the judge the standard sentencing range given the conviction was from just shy of 26 years to almost 33 years. He asked for the top end.

“Quite frankly the state thinks that for taking a life, that is low, but we are bound by it,” Meagher said.

Meagher pointed out that Miller had ignored a previous court order prohibiting him from possessing firearms yet had four of them, using one to kill Carson. Furthermore, Meagher said, Miller was still refusing to take responsibility for what he did.

Meagher read a passage from a psychiatrist’s report that offered further insight.

It appears likely Miller may have downplayed his reported methamphetamine use; he said he was awake three days before the event, the deputy prosecutor said.

Miller’s disorder is consistent with delusional meth psychosis, he read.

According to Enbody, it’s not clear how much of a role methamphetamine played.

The documentation of his client’s deterioration goes back to October 2011.

“Even then, he thought people were trying to kill him,” Enbody told the court. “I think that’s the start of what everyone talked about; the disorder he slipped into for a variety of reasons.”

Miller had two stays at the mental health unit at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, and tested negative for methamphetamine while he was there, Enbody said.

The diagnosis of paranoid delusional disorder he spoke of came after months of being locked up awaiting his trial, he said. Nobody drug tested him when he was arrested, Enbody said.

Today in the Chehalis courtroom, Miller chose to give a statement on his own behalf.

He said he only knew Carson three days but considered him a friend.

“I tell you the truth, I never wanted to hurt David, I had no motive,” Miller read from a piece of paper.

He spoke of himself as someone who’d purchased a home at age 21 to make a life for his family, was an outstanding citizen and worked until an on-the-job accident.

He told how the year 2011 saw his younger brother’s death and then he got behind in his accounting classes, got behind in his bills, and began showing signs of obsessive compulsive disorder and started to get paranoid.

During the trial, jurors heard descriptions of the shooting from the only two individuals – besides Carson – who were there.

DeSalvo and Miller agreed Miller knocked on the door of the bedroom. Miller said his two house guests had been fighting. DeSalvo said they were not.

When Miller spoke today, he maintained that Carson was “choking out” DeSalvo in the bedroom, that Carson let go of her and when he brought a knife up to the level of Miller’s throat, Miller fired at him.

He said he told DeSalvo to call 911.

“I know I shouldn’t have left, but I was in shock,” he said. “I just wanted to get out of the house and get somewhere safe.

Miller said he needed a hug from his father.

“Again, I want to say I’m sorry,” he read. “I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

DeSalvo and family members offered their thoughts in court today as well.

The 46-year-old woman called Miller a liar who murdered the love of her life. She advanced the theory he was a serial killer, who’d let a secret slip to her boyfriend.

“You told someone about something you didn’t want him to know,” DeSalvo said, facing Miller and raising her voice. “And that’s why you killed him.”

“Come clean,” she nearly shouted. “Where’s Kayla Croft-Payne and the other girls you killed?”

Enbody read a statement from his client’s younger sister, who was in the courtroom.

Crystal Miller said she looked up to her brother as a protector and as a proud father with a good heart, but she didn’t understand why he went the direction he did.

“Weston has shocked many people, including his friends and family,” Enbody read.

Carson’s grown daughter sat on a bench on the opposite side of the courtroom.

A statement from Caitlin Carson was read aloud for her.

“I hope every day you are reminded we lost our father on March 13, 2012,” her statement said. “But your daughter lost her father too.”

Carson’s brother Daniel Carson spoke softly when it was his turn.

Miller took his brother, his childhood friend, he said.

“Birds of a feather flock together,” he said. “That’s why my brother was at your house. He struggled with addiction.”

The conviction and sentencing were a small consolation, and it mattered not if he could ever understand why the murder took place, he said.

Miller reduced a man, a brother, a father, an uncle to a pile of ashes in a plastic bag, he said.

He told Miller he ought to have used his fists instead of a gun.

“I hope the court sends a message to the rest of meth users,” he said. “If you pick up a weapon and take somebody’s life, there’s going to be severe consequences.”

•••

For background, read:

• “Centralia murder trial: Self defense or premeditated?” from Thursday May 9, 2013 at 9:10 a.m., here

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

• “Centralia murder trial: Miller found guilty in B Street shooting death” from Friday May 10, 2013 at 5:51 p.m., here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Updated at 4:43 p.m.

SAFE CRACKER IN PE ELL

• A deputy was called yesterday afternoon to the 100 block of Meyer Road in Pe Ell about a residential burglary in which someone broke into a safe and stole more than $3,000 cash, which included as much as $1,000 in quarters and $400 worth of silver dollars. The 59-year-old victim said it occurred while he was on vacation between May 25 and yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Someone removed part of a window on the backside of the home, according to the sheriff’s office. Also taken was a five-ounce silver China panda medallion valued at $100, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The resident said he had left his son home house sitting but nobody else knew the combination to the safe, according to Brown.

GLENOMA BURGLARY

• Someone cut the padlocks off three outbuildings at the 7500 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma, according to a report made to the sheriff’s office yesterday. The 55-year-old victim said it occurred sometime between 7 p.m. on Monday and 5 o’clock yesterday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said it’s unknown what if anything was missing.

DEPUTY WINS DISAGREEMENT

• The recipient of a protection order served last night in Toledo who was told he had to vacate the residence instead told the deputy to leave. The 9:30 p.m. visit to the home on the 100 block of Hopp Road North ended with 36-year-old Christopher R. Beecroft taken into custody and  booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Beecroft’s arrest was for violating the court order and for resisting arrest, according to the sheriff’s office.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE

• A 40-year-old Centralia man was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief after police were called to the home he shares with his girlfriend on Warsaw Street about 3:20 a.m. today when she reported he had torn up some of her clothing and broken a picture frame. Desidero Ramirez-Cruz was issued the citation and transported elsewhere, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officer John Panco said he didn’t know where Ramirez-Cruz was taken but that sometimes officers offer that as a way to cool off.

THEFT

• Chehalis police were called yesterday to the 2500 block of North National Avenue because someone stole two grocery carts from the Twin City Senior Center.

CAR PROWL

• Someone stole a wallet from an unlocked vehicle inside a carport at the 400 block of Tucker Road near Toledo sometime between 7:30 p.m. Monday and 4 a.m. yesterday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the items stolen are the 27-year-old victim’s rent money, driver’s license, credit card and a debit card, according to the sheriff’s office.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police were called just after 8 a.m. yesterday regarding a window getting broken on a vehicle on Southwest Fifth Street.

POLICE: GROCERY WORKER PUTS HIS HANDS ON YOUNG CUSTOMER

• Chehalis police were called at 3 p.m. yesterday to Shop N Kart grocery on North National Avenue after a 12-year-old girl said a man tried to grab her. Officers interviewed both the girl and the 58-year-old employee, but made no arrest, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “She was under the impression he was trying to get her to the back of the store,” spokesperson Officer Linda Bailey said. “He said said no … he was merely trying to show her merchandise.” There were no eyewitnesses, and police intend to forward a report to the prosecutor’s office for evaluation of possible charges, Bailey said. The business went ahead and “trespassed” the employee, meaning he can’t come back onto the premises without getting arrested for trespass, according to Bailey.

WRECK FOLLOWUP

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning the two individuals in yesterday’s serious-injury collision at Twin Oaks Road west of Chehalis are from Spanaway and College Place. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said it appeared the 54-year-old man and 49-year-old woman were not wearing seat belts. The pair were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with what firefighters described as possible life-threatening injuries following the approximately 11:40 a.m. rollover wreck. Brown said the driver sustained possible broken hips. According to the investigation, the 2004 Toyota Tundra pickup was traveling down Frogner Road approaching Twin Oaks Road and didn’t stop. Brown said the driver attempted to turn right, but slid sideways off the road into a field. They were delivering telephone books in the area.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor assault, alarm, fender benders, dispute, suspicious circumstances; complaint about a neighbor shooting at kids with a BB gun (Sorry folks. No arrest, no report, no details on the BB gun.) … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

NICE CATCH

• Chehalis police were called about 12:35 p.m. yesterday when a woman caught a small boy wearing only a diaper and a shirt on the sidewalk next to South Market Boulevard and kept him from crossing the busy street. Twenty to 30 minutes later, officers were contacted by a resident around the corner and down the block whose 3-year-old vanished from his sandbox, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The child was returned to the home safely, according to police.

GLENOMA HOME BURGLED

• A 64-year-old Glenoma woman got home from work yesterday afternoon to find her front door kicked in and a wooden jewelry box missing from her dresser. The break-in on the 8300 block of U.S. Highway 12 occurred sometime between 6:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT

• Police were called just after 3 p.m. yesterday regarding a garage burglarized at the 600 block of Warsaw Street in Centralia.

• Centralia police were called yesterday to the 1200 block of Mellen Street to a complaint about three computers being stolen. It turned out to be a civil matter, not a criminal matter, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A deputy took a report yesterday that someone stole about 20 gallons of diesel and small hand tools from a tractor belonging to the Lewis County public works department at U.S. Highway 12 and Meade Hill Road in Glenoma. The theft occurred sometime since last Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Police were called just after 11 a.m. yesterday about an overnight car prowl at the 1500 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis. Someone ripped the stereo out, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called yesterday afternoon to the 1500 block of Delaware Avenue in Centralia where someone had spray painted on the wall of a building.

WRECK

• Two young people in a Jeep escaped injury when a tarp flew off a load in front of them on Interstate 5 south of Napavine yesterday afternoon and landed on their vehicle prompting a rollover wreck. A trooper called at 2:30 p.m. to the southbound lanes near milepost 66 reported the driver swerved in an attempt to dislodge the tarp, striking the concrete barrier before rolling over, according to the Washington State Patrol. Kaitlyn R. Corral, 20, and John Shannon Jr. 23, both of Kent, were unhurt, but the 2005 Jeep Liberty was totaled, according to the state patrol. The driver of the semi which was hauling a dump truck on a flatbed trailer was cited for an unsecured load, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; responses for alarms, stolen bicycle, other misdemeanor theft, parking lot fender bender, suspicious circumstances such as person sleeping outside someone else’s house, subject passed out next to railroad tracks … and more.

News brief: Two seriously hurt after Twin Oaks Road wreck

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
2013.0604.twinoaks.frogner.wreck.trim_2

Responders work on one patient while others prepare to stabilize the vehicle in order to get out a trapped patient. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 6

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A man and a woman with possible life-threatening injuries were airlifted after a single-vehicle wreck west of Chehalis today.

Firefighters called about 11:40 a.m. to Twin Oaks and Frogner Road found a pickup truck on its side, and cut off its roof to extricate the female passenger who was trapped.

Neighbors and passing motorists were on the scene helping already, according to Lewis County Fire District 6 Chief Tim Kinder.

Sarah Hamilton said she heard tires squealing, a crash and a boom outside her home which sits at the bottom of a hill.

She and her boyfriend ran out and found the driver outside the truck on the ground, she said. He was conscious and talking, she said.

“He said his brakes went out,” Hamilton said.

The couple were apparently delivering phone books; a load of them were scattered around the truck.

The two were transported to the Chehalis-Centralia Airport where they were loaded into two helicopters bound for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

2013.0604.frogner.twinokscrashtwo_2

Twin Oaks at Frogner Road west of Chehalis.

News brief: Thurston County man lured to address gets beat up

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are looking for a Thurston County man following a beating last night of a 52-year-old Lacey resident.

2013.0604.william.robert.bellamy_2

William R. Bellamy

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office says the victim was lured to an address on the 9600 block of Old Highway 99 south of Tumwater under the pretense of performing some contract work about 8:30 p.m. yesterday.

When he arrived, he was knocked to the ground, punched and kicked sustaining broken bones, including in his face, according to the sheriff’s office.

William R. Bellamy, 54, who is wanted for second-degree assault, was last known to live in Lacey, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said.

Bellamy drove the injured man to an Olympia hospital and dropped him  at the emergency room, according to Elwin.

Elwin said he believed the incident was related to them both seeing the same woman.

The victim is recovering at Capital Medical Center.

Elwin is asking anyone who knows Bellamy’s whereabouts to call 911, and anyone with information about the assault is asked to phone the sheriff’s office at 360-786-5500 or 360-704-2740.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Updated at 6:59 p.m.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY

• Police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia where someone had broken the back door to a home and stolen a television, a computer and other electronics.

MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT

• Police called just after 3 a.m. yesterday when subjects were seen pushing a motorcycle down the street on Southwest Wilson Avenue in Chehalis subsequently found it on the 200 block of 14th Street. Nobody at that location knew how it got there and it was returned to its owner on the next block, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A utility truck belonging to Century Link was reported stolen from the 100 block of Tahoma Street in Packwood on Friday morning. The 2012 Ford F450 was taken sometime after 8:30 p.m. the night before, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’ Office. The loss is estimated at $73,000. It has a license plate reading B24820V, according to the sheriff’s office.

BARNYARD DISPUTE

• A deputy was called to the 300 block of Hale Road West near Winlock on Friday morning when a 47-year-old man caught his neighbor’s German Shepherd with a chicken in its mouth. The poultry owner shot the dog in the shoulder with a .22 rifle and the dog ran home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The man said the animal had killed a rooster as well, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The German Shepherd is recovering fine from being shot but his owner was cited for the dog being off his property, Brown said.

THREATS

• A 26-year-old Centralia man who allegedly destroyed a mailbox and tried to fight his neighbor was arrested after deputies were called abut 8:45 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia. Henry Herrera-Montealegre was booked into the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct, trespass and malicious mischief, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 72-year-old Chehalis man contacted police about a threatening phone call he received on Friday. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BARN THEFT

• A 22-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested just after 8 a.m. on Saturday after she was found allegedly taking unspecified items from a barn near the 1400 block of North Pearl Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Shila Brennan was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone broke a car window on the 500 block of North Rock Street in Centralia and took CDs, according to a report made to police yesterday afternoon.

• Chehalis police took a report of a vehicle prowl about 9 p.m. on Friday night at the 600 block of Northwest Pennsylvania Avenue. Someone rummaged around inside but nothing appeared to be missing, according to police.

DISPUTE AND DRUGS

• Centralia police were called about 6:45 a.m. yesterday to a dispute on the 1200 block of West Main Street where they arrested a 39-year-old Centralia man. Brian L. Feist allegedly shoved his girlfriend down and repeatedly punched her in the face, according to police. He was searched and suspected methamphetamine found, police said. Feist was booked in to the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FAKE BILLS

• A Chehalis business on Southwest Interstate Avenue called police on Friday about three counterfeit $20 bills it had taken in.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• The rape trial in which the prosecutor is afraid the victim’s bad heart won’t hold out having to face her alleged attacker began this afternoon, with testimony from the victim. Leo B. Bunker III, 53, of Winlock, is charged with two counts of second-degree rape, one count of harassment and two counts of violating a protection order in connection with a woman who says he physically abused her during their short marriage in late 2011. He was charged in December of that year and has been locked up since awaiting trial. Prosecutors last week unsuccessfully attempted to allow the victim to testify via video, because her doctors have said the stress could kill her. Defense attorney Michael Underwood last week was denied a request to get the trial postponed because his client who is recovering from throat cancer and treatment doesn’t have a very strong voice with which to assist his attorney in the courtroom. The trial in Lewis County Superior Court took an early recess after the victim had been on the stand about an hour and half today. Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke and Underwood spoke to the judge at his bench while the jury was on a break. Judge James Lawler afterward said only that given the situation, court would reconvene at 9 a.m. tomorrow. O’Rourke said she expects to finish questioning the victim in the morning.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license, violation of a protection order, shoplifting; responses for fender benders, suspicious circumstances, burglar alarms, misdemeanor assault, stolen bicycle; complaints of barking dogs, noisy neighbors … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

CEMETERY VANDALISM

• Centralia police are investigating a report of graffiti on a tombstone at Greenwood Cemetery on Van Wormer Street. Officer Corey Butcher said it appeared it was originally painted bright green and someone spray painted on top of it, “White paint dummy.”

VACANT HOUSE BREAK-IN

• Police were called about 10:20 a.m. yesterday to the 1500 block of Sunset Way in Centralia where a vacant home being remodeled was broken into. Someone kicked in the back door, according to the Centralia Police Department. It wasn’t immediately clear if anything was missing, according to police.

WALLET STOLEN

• An individual who left his backpack on a curb at the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard while he went for a run yesterday afternoon  returned to discover his wallet was missing, according to Centralia police.

NURSE ARRESTED FOR THEFT FROM PATIENTS

• Kirotv.com reports a search of the Tenino home of a nursing assistant turned up jewelry including rings she allegedly stole off the fingers of Alzheimer’s patients at her workplace. Richard Thompson writes that Kerrina Koch, 41, was arrested for first-degree theft and has been fired from the Olympia facility.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant; responses for misdemeanor assaults … and more.

Lewis County rape case plagued with delays hits another hurdle

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Leo B. Bunker

Leo B. Bunker, in orange jail garb, listens while attorneys and a judge finalize details for his trial.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County rape trial that has been repeatedly postponed because of illnesses involving the defendant, the victim and even a judge faces yet another test.

Doctors say the stress of facing in court the man she says violently raped her and otherwise physically abused her during their short marriage could trigger another heart attack for the victim.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke told a judge today the victim has an ongoing coronary condition, has had a quadruple bypass and has 28 “stents”. She recently had a heart attack, according to the prosecutor.

O’Rourke said she’s been in close contact with the woman’s treating physician and cardiologist.

“Both have highly advised against her testifying at all,” O’Rourke said.

The prosecutor’s comments came during a hearing today in which she requested the woman be allowed to testify via video, specifically using Skype on a 70-inch screen which would be present in the courtroom.

O’Rourke described how when Leo B. Bunker’s first trial began in January, the victim had so much anxiety, she broke down sobbing and had to be picked her up off the floor.

“I know its unprecedented, but I think we have the technology,” she told the judge. “I think if there ever was a case to do something like this, this is it.”

Judge James Lawler denied the motion, but called it an unusual situation.

“Her condition doesn’t make it impossible for her testify, but that it would be stressful,” Lawler said. “Given that, I can’t find she’s unavailable.”

“It will be uncomfortable, it is for every victim that has to  come in to testify,” he said.

The trial is scheduled to begin next week.

Bunker, 53, of Winlock, has been locked up for about a year and half awaiting trial.

He was charged in December 2011.

The victim contacted law enforcement about a month earlier, describing how she’d recently reconnected with the man who she dated in high school, according to charging documents.

In the beginning, it was okay, but then he began to dominate her, would not let her talk on the phone or leave the house without his permission, she told the deputy.

Charging documents allege that in early October 2011, he forced her to go to Vancouver, Wash. to get married.

She said she was waiting for him to go to jail to get away from him, according to O’Rourke. According to his attorney, Bunker was convicted of violating a protection order in connection with an assault on his previous wife. But his report date got moved, and the victim, frightened she would not survive, snuck out and contacted an ex-boyfriend, according to charging documents.

When she tried to sneak back in, he accused her of cheating, began choking her and said he would kill her, she told the deputy. She said he ripped off her clothes and raped her.

The victim spoke of his taste for pornographic movies depicting violent rape and murder, allegedly telling her to pay attention because it could happen to her, according to charging documents.

Bunker is charged with two counts of second-degree rape, one count of harassment and two counts of violating a protection order. He has pleaded not guilty.

Since being locked up awaiting trial, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and has undergone surgery and radiation, according to his attorney.

His trial finally began in January, but on the second day he was sick from chemotherapy, according to O’Rourke. The next day they reconvened but the following day, the judge got sick, she said. A mistrial was declared.

It has repeatedly been postponed since then because of Bunker’s health, and then when the victim had a heart attack.

Defense attorney Michael Underwood today asked the judge to delay the trial once again. Because of the throat condition, his client’s voice is just a whisper, he said.

“He looks good, but he’s not feeling good,” Underwood told the judge. “I just need him to be in his best best medical condition he can be in (for trial).”

Lawler denied the request. Underwood indicated he was going to prepare a motion for a change of venue, due to pretrial publicity.

O’Rourke said last week, the victim wants to testify; she wants Bunker put away. Not so much for punishment, but because she’s afraid of him, O’Rourke said.

After today’s hearing and the judge’s denial of using Skype, it’s not clear what will happen.

“Given that the doctors have told it it could kill her, I’m not going to force her to testify,” O’Rourke said.

News brief: Guilty verdict reached quickly in jewelry store trial

Friday, May 31st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A jury took less than two hours today to find a Federal Way man guilty in the failed March jewelry heist in downtown Centralia.

Justin D. McPherson, 29, survived a gunshot wound he sustained when he was confronted inside Salewsky’s Jewelry shop in the early morning hours of March 20. Centralia police detectives tracked him down at a Tacoma hospital.

The owner said all the stolen pieces were recovered; in a trail of jewelry that led through a hole cut into the wall of the shop.

Plea deals were made with two women who police at first labeled the getaway drivers, but both testified they weren’t in on a plan to break into the business.

Their testimony however placed McPherson and his childhood friend Ryan W. Cox in the vicinity at the time of the burglary.

Cox had a plea agreement with prosecutors as well, but it fell through and he wasn’t called to testify in the three-day trial. He remains in the Lewis County Jail.

McPherson was found guilty of residential burglary, second-degree burglary and second-degree malicious mischief.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead described the shop as a residence because Jeremy Salewsky lived in an upstairs apartment. Salewsky testified he went downstairs to investigate noises and fired at a person who surprised him, and then jumped out a hole in the wall.

The second burglary count is related to the vacant business on the other side of the wall.

McPherson shook his head ever so slightly as he turned toward the jury when the verdict was read. He is represented by Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson.

The jury of nine women and three men also found an aggravating circumstance, that McPherson committed the crime while the victim was present.

That finding means a judge will be free to sentence him to the maximum of 10 years, according to Halstead.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
•••

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

News brief: Randle pair hurt in Clark County freeway wreck

Friday, May 31st, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two people from Randle were injured this afternoon when their car ran into another car that had lost control on Interstate 5 in Clark County.

Margaret E. Sundstrom, 66, was transported to PeaceHealth Hospital, after the collision which occurred just before 3 p.m. near milepost 16, north of Vancouver, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Her passenger William L. Little, 68, was injured as well, according to the state patrol.

Sundstorm’s 2005 Buick LaSabre was described as totaled.

Troopers responding to the scene said a 55-year-old Portland driver was merging onto the freeway southbound from Northwest LaCenter Road when she swerved right to avoid a semi truck, overcorrected, veered back in to the center lane and was struck broadside by the Buick.

That driver, Thuy T. Vu, was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center as well, according to the state patrol. Her 1989 Dodge Dynasty was also totaled.

 

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 31st, 2013

STOLEN MODEL AIRPLANE, DUCT TAPE LEAD TO GUNSHOTS, CHASE

• A burglary north of Morton was apparently solved early yesterday when law enforcement officers caught up to a suspect vehicle that turned off state Route 7 onto a logging road but was blocked by fallen trees. The 47-year-old driver admitted he had run out of his shoes when fleeing the scene at the 1700 block of state Route 7 where the burglary victim said he fired warning shots into the air after catching  acquaintances stealing items from his garage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The shoes were found in the yard and damp footprints matching the tread were discovered inside the garage, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies and Morton police called just after 1 a.m. learned from the 58-year-old victim that after he fired shots, a car towing a utility trailer left the scene but he got in his vehicle and found the car on a nearby road. The man said when the female got out of the car he fired more warning shots and the pair fled again, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Brown said a missing gas can was found in the suspect’s car. Found near where the car had briefly parked were other stolen goods – a model airplane, its controls and duct tape, Brown said. Booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary were Kimberly D. Annis, 44, and Timothy H. Thayer, 47, both of Seattle, according to the sheriff’s office. The two had different accounts of what had gone on, and denied being inside the man’s garage, Brown said.

MULTIPLE GUNS, OTHER GOODS TAKEN IN BURGLARY

• A 49-year-old Chehalis area man called 911 yesterday after returning home to discover a burglary in which five firearms and other valuable were stolen. A deputy called about 4:50 p.m. to the 100 block of Taylor Road south of Chehalis found a back door had been forced open. Among the items taken were clothing, DVDs, ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun, a Marlin 357 rifle, a Ruger 22, a 9 mm semi-automatic Ruger and a Glock 9 mm, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime since April 11, according to the sheriff’s office. The loss is estimated at more than $2,300.

SHOP BURGLARY

• Someone broke a window to get inside a shop building at the 400 block of Burchett Road in the Onalaska area, making off with a Honda 5 hp boat motor, a Stihl weed eater and a Husqvarna chain saw. A deputy called yesterday afternoon learned the break-in occurred sometime since March 31, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

DRUGS

• A 49-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for illegal possession of Oxycodone and for an outstanding warrant yesterday morning in centralia. Anthony W. Pyper was booked into the Lewis County Jail following contact with police about 11 a.m. at the 500 block of North Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police are investigating the possibility of illegal possession of  prescription drugs following contact with a 19-year-old Lakewood man about 12:30 a.m. at the 1200 block of Mellen Street. Saul Estaba-Perez, 19, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving with a suspended license, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police are looking for a bald male on a BMX-style bicycle following a vehicle prowl yesterday evening at East Locust Street and South Tower Avenue. Officers called just before 7 p.m. found the subject had fled the area. He was wearing blue pants and a light green sweatshirt, police were told.

RACING TICKET

• An 18-year-old Centralia resident – Jordon J. Sansouci – was cited for racing and reckless driving following contact with police at the 2800 block of Russell Road in Centralia just after 11:30 p.m. yesterday.

MORE FAKE BILLS

• Chehalis police were called to Wal-Mart about 4:30 a.m. regarding a pair of counterfeit $20 bills received at the store. Officers will be looking at security video to follow up, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Someone slashed the tire of a vehicle at the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 6 p.m. yesterday.

WRECK

• A 56-year-old Onalaska man and his female passenger were hospitalized with neck and back pain following a single-vehicle rollover collision yesterday afternoon at the 1400 block of little Hanaford Road outside Centralia. A deputy investigating the approximately 3:15 wreck concluded the 1996 Ford Explorer was traveling too fast on a wet road at a sharp curve when it left the roadway and landed in a ditch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle was described as totaled.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for violation of a protection order, warrant; responses for shoplifting, dispute, out-of-control teenager, male staggering in the roadway … and more.

Jewelry store break-in defendant’s companions testify against him

Thursday, May 30th, 2013
2013.0529.justin.mcpherson.salewskysdayone

Justin D. McPherson, right, stands with his attorney Ken Johnson as jurors exit the courtroom during his trial for burglary.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two women who drove away from downtown Centralia with the two suspected thieves following the botched burglary at Salewsky’s Jewelry shop say they didn’t really know what was going on.

They were waiting in their cars in the parking lot at the railroad station after a long night at a casino, 30-year-old Jennifer Nordyke testified.

“Ryan and Rachael were talking about getting a hotel,” Nordyke said. “The guys say, hold on, we’ll be right back.”

The men were gone 15 to 30 minutes, she said.

Prosecutors initially said Nordyke and Rachael Hunter were the getaway drivers after Justin D. McPherson and his friend broke through a wall into the Tower Avenue business early one morning in mid-March, and fled after McPherson was shot when he was confronted by the owner’s son.

The two women have made plea deals in exchange for their testimony. Ryan W. Cox, also charged in the case, remains held in the Lewis County Jail.

The trial for McPherson opened yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court. It’s expected to run in to tomorrow.

Centralia police called about 7 a.m. on March 20 found a trail of dropped jewelry leading from a person-sized hole cut into the wall of the store from a vacant adjacent business space. Officers recovered a crowbar. The lock on the back door at the alley was discovered broken.

A Seattle area man who was staying at the Olympic Club hotel and smoking a cigarette near his work van early that morning testified he saw two men in black running toward him.

“All I heard was go, go, go,” Joshua Morris said.

The two cars he’d noticed with women in them parked near his van then squealed out of the lot, Morris said.

He thought a bank had been robbed, he said.

“At first I didn’t believe what I saw,” he said. “But I’ve seen a lot of movies.”

Fred Salewsky testified he thinks all of the missing jewelry has been recovered, about $3,800 worth.

Salewsky told the court yesterday he got a call from his son Jeremy Salewsky early that morning.

Jeremy Salewsky lives in an apartment above the shop the senior Salewsky bought from his father in 1985.

“My son tells me, ‘I think I might have shot someone’,” Fred Salewsky said. “I said, I will be right there.”

Centralia police got a break in the case a few days later when an off-duty detective learned a male with a gunshot wound was dropped off at a Tacoma hospital by a female in a red Mercedes the morning of the burglary, according to charging documents.

Officers arrested Nordyke on March 22 when she showed up to visit McPherson; they arrested McPherson as he was released from the hospital a few days later. Cox was charged on April 30; Hunter on May 10.

Police described McPherson as someone with an extensive criminal background, well known to police in the Renton, Kent, Auburn area.

The 29-year-old has a 2006 conviction for possession of stolen property, as well as three three eluding convictions, according to prosecutors. He is represented by Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson.

McPherson is charged with one count of second-degree burglary as well as one count of residential burglary.

He’s sat quietly in the courtroom as Johnson and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead questioned witnesses.

Jeremy Salewsky testified yesterday it was too dark too see more than a male figure with a blue hooded sweatshirt when he came downstairs to investigate an odd noise that morning.

He didn’t expect to see someone standing there, and fired from his Colt 45 handgun, he said.

He couldn’t even tell which way the person was facing, he said. Police have said McPherson was shot in the lower back.

“The individual jumped back though a wall that was cut,” Jeremy Salewsky testified.

The younger Salewsky said then he just stood there stunned a minute or two after it happened.

Nordyke, who said she and McPherson live in Federal Way, told jurors she expects prosecutors will drop two felony charges against her. Her hearing is set for tomorrow.

She admitted she didn’t want to be on the witness stand.

“If I testify, I get a misdemeanor charge, rendering criminal assistance,” she said, her voice breaking. “And I get to stay in drug court so I can raise our children.”

McPherson and she have known each other about 10 years. He and Cox have been good friends since childhood, she said.

She described leaving Centralia, a town she said she wasn’t familiar with, and traveling north on the freeway looking for blue hospital signs, trying to keep McPherson awake, holding hands and praying.

Nordyke explained he used the name of a friend’s ex-husband who had health insurance at the hospital, because they didn’t have insurance.

Reluctantly, she read aloud a passage from a police report in which she told officers she heard McPherson say to a friend that morning, “Dude, Mike, I tried to rob a jewelry store.”

On the stand today, Hunter said she’d been offered the same plea deal.

Halstead questioned her about what she thought McPherson and Cox were doing when they left the women in the parking lot that morning.

“Maybe something that wasn’t on the up and up,” Hunter said.  “So I didn’t really ask.”

Cox is scheduled for a change of plea and sentencing next week.
•••

For background, read “Jewelry store burglary suspect, alleged getaway driver awaiting May trial” from Thursday April 4, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Updated

ONE INJURED IN COOKING FIRE

• A Centralia woman was hospitalized after she tried to stop a kitchen fire by carrying a pot of burning french fry oil outside last night. Firefighters called about 9 p.m. to the 500 block of Pine Street found the five occupants of the residence outside and the inside filled with smoke. The fire was out but the stove and cabinets were scorched, Capt. Scott Snyder said. Snyder said it seemed as they were collectively preparing french fries but all were in another part of the home when they noticed smoke in the kitchen. He called the young woman extremely lucky, suggesting smothering the flames with the pot’s lid instead of picking it up would have been safer. “She did have some pretty bad burns where it landed on her feet,” he said. She was treated by medics and transported by AMR to Providence Centralia Hospital, he said.

UNWELCOME ADVANCE

• A Randle man was arrested yesterday morning after he went into a female friend’s house uninvited during the night and got in to bed with her. The 37-year-old woman woke up right away, told him to get out and called 911, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the home on Bennett Road at 5 a.m. arrested James W. Ballard, 40, and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for trespassing, according to the sheriff’s office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the two apparently had differing interpretations of their relationship.

UNWELCOME ATTENTION

• An investigation into alleged unlawful imprisonment and stalking against a 55-year-old Chehalis man ended yesterday with police finding probable cause for his arrest but instead of detaining him, they directed prosecutors to issue a summons to the subject regarding felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case involved a brief incident in which William A. Appleby Sr. allegedly blocked a woman’s path to a doorway at the Chehalis wastewater treatment plant and multiple instances of allegedly parking and watching or driving past another female’s residence earlier this spring, according to police.

THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday to a home on the 2500 block of Kristine Avenue where cash and a computer were reported stolen. They have a suspect in mind and are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called to Centralia Outlet stores yesterday afternoon where a male and female passed a “bad” travelers check at one location and attempted the same at another.

• A deputy was called last night to the 200 block of Clinton Road outside Chehalis after the discovery an ATV had vanished from a chicken barn. The 2000 Eton 90cc quad wasn’t drivable and seemed to have been stolen sometime since April 1, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE VERSUS POLE

• Centralia police responded about 11 p.m. yesterday after a white Dodge pickup truck truck a utility pole at the 900 block of South Gold Street and left the area. The truck was subsequently located a few blocks away but its driver was not identified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for misdemeanor assaults, driving with a suspended license; responses for violation of a restraining order, parking lot fender bender, accidental 911 calls, stray cat questions, burglar alarms, suspicious circumstances … and more.

•••

CLARIFICATION: This entry has been updated to clarify that while police said they arrested and then released William A. Appleby Sr. yesterday, they say he was arrested on paper but not physically detained. As of Dec. 12, 2013, no charges had been filed.

Centralia Outlet pepper spray melee defendant disputes police accounts

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
2013.0528.summerhilltwo_2

Tamala J. Summerhill, right, waits while defense attorney Bob Schroeter confers with a deputy prosecutor during her court appearance.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Tacoma woman accused of letting loose with her pepper spray at the Centralia Outlets over the weekend says news reporters got the story all wrong.

Tamala J. Summerhill, 53, bailed out of jail but returned to go before a Lewis County Superior Court judge yesterday afternoon.

Police said they were called to the shopping center on Saturday because a female used pepper spray to break up a brawl between her grown son and another man outside the Nike Factory Outlet then chased the subject, spraying him and two boys who were with him.

Summerhill is charged with two counts of third-degree child assault and one count of fourth-degree assault.

“I want to tell it, and I will let my lawyer do that,” Summerhill said after her court hearing.

Centralia police said after a disagreement inside the store between 22-year-old Jesse Summerhill and a 38-year-old Tumwater man, the pair ended up in a fight once they got outside.

The 38-year-old Tumwater man had the younger Summerhill on the ground when the mother sprayed him, according to the police version.

Police arrested Jesse Summerhill, also of Tacoma, for misdemeanor assault

How and why the scuffle started and what happened after are not very clear.

Both men told police the other one initiated the rudeness inside the store – over a cashier being ready to take the next customer in line – and once outside challenged the other one to fight, according to charging documents.

The documents allege the following information:

Corey Leneker said he had begun to walk to his car with his two 8-year-old boys but the mother and son followed him calling him names.

“He ordered the two boys to get in the front seat of their vehicle, which they did,” charging documents state.

The two men fought. After Leneker was sprayed he ran and they chased him, Leneker told police. She was spraying as they were running, he said.

Leneker reached his vehicle when the woman sprayed him again and the two boys, charging documents state.

It was streaming spray and not the fog type, according to police.

An independent witness told police Leneker was trying to shield the kids when she sprayed all three of them.

Officers checked the children who both had red and inflamed faces and trouble seeing because of the irritant in their eyes; symptoms of having been pepper sprayed.

Tamala Summerhill told police she sprayed Leneker to get him off her son. When confronted with the information from the witness, she made no comment.

“The boys, I don’t know why they’re an issue,” defense attorney Bob Schroeter said outside the courtroom. “The father said he put them inside the vehicle.”

During the brief court appearance yesterday afternoon, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said he had no problem with setting bail with a $10,000 signature bond.

Judge Richard Brosey pointed out it was already set at $20,000 and she posted bail, so he wouldn’t change it.

Schroeter, who represented Tamala Summerhill just for that appearance, said her income qualified her for a court appointed attorney.

Tamala Summerhill works at Joint Base Lewis McChord in child care and family services, Schroeter said.

Her arraignment was scheduled for June 6.