Benton County court roundup

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldOctober 14, 2012 

A 26-year-old man reportedly despondent since his ex-girlfriend found a new love interest was ordered held on $150,000 bail Friday on charges he threatened to kill her fiance and himself.

Kenneth Ray Holman, who's been in the Benton County jail since his Monday afternoon arrest, asked for a lower bail amount or even to be released on his own recognizance.

Lawyer Eric Hsu told the court he'd advised Holman that he was looking at substantial bail considering the allegations. Hsu, the county's indigent defense coordinator, handled preliminary matters and arraignments Friday in Benton County Superior Court.

"This is a very disturbing fact pattern," said Judge Craig Matheson, who opted to leave the high bail.

Holman pleaded innocent to second-degree assault and felony harassment, with gun and domestic violence allegations for each charge. He has another count of felony harassment with a gun allegation.

Trial is set for Dec. 3.

According to court documents, officers were sent Monday to Kennewick General Hospital after a witness reported seeing a man point a gun at a woman as she walked into the facility. The victim, Holman's former girlfriend, was unaware that Holman had drawn his gun because her back was to him, but the witness quickly alerted security, documents said.

Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire told the court the incident traces back to the couple's breakup.

The woman has since moved on, found a new love interest and is planning to marry him, and Holman was despondent because of that, so the ex-girlfriend finally agreed to meet with him. The woman said she would be at the KGH Medical Mall since she was taking her grandmother there for an appointment.

Holman and the woman talked in the parking lot area and the distraught Holman claimed he was going to kill himself. He then pulled a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol out of a holster, put it in his mouth and told the woman he'd loaded the gun with hollow-point bullets that would "blow his head clean off," court documents said.

Holman also said he would kill the woman's fiance, then turn the gun on himself, documents said.

The woman told police the conversation lasted about 20 minutes, with Holman making the repeated threats to kill, Whitmire told the court. When she felt she'd heard enough and was unable to console Holman, the woman turned to walk into the hospital.

That's when the witness allegedly saw Holman point the gun at his ex-girlfriend as he said her name over and over.

The woman was in fear that Holman would kill her fiance and himself, and still believes he will follow through on the threats if released, Whitmire said in documents.

"The state takes this very seriously," said Whitmire, explaining to the judge that $150,000 bail is very conservative considering the charges.

Hsu argued that Holman is not a flight risk because he has no felony history, has lived in Kennewick for 21 years and is in the process of enrolling at Columbia Basin College to pursue a bachelor's degree.

Sam Swanberg was appointed by the court to represent Holman. He can ask to have the bail reduced at Holman's next hearing.

Man faces more charges in sexual exploitation case

Less than 24 hours after a Kennewick man was charged with propositioning a teen boy to perform sex acts, prosecutors accused him of trying to get rid of evidence in the case.

J. Jesus Diaz, 46, was arrested late Friday morning after new information allegedly came to light that led to an additional charge.

He pleaded innocent to sexual exploitation of a minor and tampering with physical evidence. His trial is set Dec. 3.

Diaz was arrested for the first time Monday by Kennewick police and made an initial appearance in court Tuesday. He was ordered held without bail on a 72-hour investigative hold.

Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra filed the sexual exploitation charge Thursday afternoon and set bail at $10,000.

Diaz -- who was arrested under the name Jesus Gomez Diaz -- posted bond and was released from the jail at 9:45 p.m. Thursday. He was at his Kennewick home when police picked him up on the new charge some time before his 1:15 p.m. Friday hearing.

The original charge stems from an Oct. 7 incident in which Diaz allegedly contacted the teen boy near Fourth Avenue and Olympia Street.

The boy said he had seen Diaz around the area and Diaz asked if the teen wanted to make some money doing yard work, according to police and court documents. The boy said yes and agreed to go to the man's South Dayton Place home to see what needed to be done, documents said.

At some point, Diaz reportedly asked the boy about sex and if he'd be willing to have sex or perform sexual acts in front of a streaming web camera, court documents said. Diaz allegedly offered to pay him $50 for each sex act on the web cam, and an additional $50 for each sexual contact he had with people off camera.

The teen declined and was taken back to the parking lot where he met Diaz, police said.

The boy claims Diaz tried to grab his genitals, but he used a fist to knock away Diaz's hand. The victim also told officers he was scared for his safety.

On Friday, Petra asked to have Diaz's bail increased to $30,000 given the amended charges.

Diaz's lawyer, Christine Bennett, said Diaz will not be able to come up with the higher amount.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service