Pasco stabbing suspect charged with murder

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldMarch 10, 2012 

A Pasco man accused of stabbing his roommate Tuesday night has been charged with second-degree murder.

Charges were filed Friday against Joseph William Hart, 29, in Franklin County Superior Court.

Prosecutor Shawn Sant included a domestic violence allegation to the charge because Hart and Rod-ger Allen Lincoln were roommates. They lived in a mobile home at 925 N. Elm Ave., space 72, owned by Lourdes Health Network.

Lincoln, 53, was stabbed repeatedly. An autopsy is expected to be done Sunday.

Neighbors told Pasco police they saw Hart and Lincoln struggling in their front yard and watched Hart hit Lincoln repeatedly around the head.

When police arrived on scene, Lincoln was dead. Hart had gone back inside the home and was arrested without incident.

He has been in the Franklin County jail on $750,000 bail since his arrest.

Hart is expected to be back in court Tuesday to enter a plea.

Sant previously said that Hart could be facing his third strike under the state's "three strikes" law. If convicted of a third strike, Hart would be sentenced to life in prison.

Hart got his first strike in 2004 when he was convicted of first-degree robbery in Spokane. His second strike stems from a second-degree assault conviction in 2006, which Hart got for assaulting a fellow prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Bounty hunter may be pretending to be police officer

Kennewick police are investigating an incident in which a bounty hunter allegedly impersonated police and held a victim at gunpoint while looking for a fugitive.

The 46-year-old bail bonds agent was featured in a Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers "Wanted" bulletin Friday morning, but he made contact with police within a couple of hours of the bulletin being released, officials said.

The bail bonds agent is suspected of going to a home in the 3700 block of West Clearwater Avenue on Feb. 29 looking for a fugitive, who police say never lived at the home.

Officers were called by the victims, who reported that police had entered the home and held the resident at gunpoint with no search warrant.

The suspect reportedly forced his way into the home and was wearing a jacket with "POLICE" on the back. Neighbors said they heard bail agents yelling "police" as they entered.

The vehicle used by the suspects also appeared to be a former white unmarked police car, authorities said.

He left a business card saying he worked for BEAST, Bail Enforcement and Apprehension Strike Team. The bulletin said he was wanted on suspicion of burglary and impersonating a police officer.

His name and photo were posted online at Friday morning, but the bounty hunter is not being named now because he has not been arrested.

Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in a felony arrest.

Tips can be made to 586-8477 or go to Tips also may be sent by text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).

All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.

Motorcyclist injured in Richland roundabout

A Richland motorcyclist was hurt Friday morning when she crashed in the Steptoe roundabout, the Washington State Patrol said.

Juliana Longwell, 42, was going east on Columbia Park Trail and lost control of her bike when she entered the double-lane roundabout at Steptoe Street, troopers said.

Longwell was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland after the 9:30 a.m. crash. She was listed in satisfactory condition Friday afternoon.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Coyote Ridge prison locked down after fight

Four medium units at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center are back to normal operations following a lockdown after a fight involving several prisoners Monday morning. Visitation and programming are operating normally, prison officials said in a news release Friday.

One staff member suffered a minor injury during the fight. No prisoners were hurt, prison officials said.

All prisoners in the medium-custody units were confined to their cells during the lockdown.

The lockdown was scheduled to be lifted Wednesday but was extended if it is warranted by the investigation.

Electrical problems may be cause of house fire

Kennewick firefighters responded to a house fire Friday night about 7:30 p.m. at 2321 S. Sharron St. in Kennewick.

Owner Bob Schuster said his downstairs smoke detectors went off and he saw flames in his backyard.

He said he suspects an electrical problem sparked the fire, which started on the back deck. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly.

It is unknown how much damage the fire caused.

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