Police roundup: Connell man held on $100,000 bail for allegedly shooting ex-girlfriend's boyfriend

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldOctober 16, 2012 

A Connell man who allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend was ordered held in the Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail.

Tino Gutierrez Mata, 60, is accused of firing three shots at Benjamin Escamilla -- one round hit him in the foot -- and pointing the gun at Escamilla's head while threatening to kill him.

Mata has no criminal history, but Deputy Prosecutor Tim Dickerson requested the high bail during Mata's preliminary appearance Monday in Franklin County Superior Court.

Mata is being held on investigation of first-degree assault.

"The state's concern here is the safety of the community," Dickerson said. "He repeatedly fired a gun at an individual ... and threatened to kill him."

Mata told Judge Robert Swisher that he doesn't have "sufficient money" to pay the bail, but Swisher still set it at $100,000. He said Mata could bring up his bail issue again later.

Mata did, however, say he believed his children could help him hire an attorney, so Swisher did not appoint a defense attorney.

Franklin County sheriff's deputies were called to Mata's home at 320 Ridge Road around 10:40 p.m. Friday after Mata reported he shot a man he believed was burglarizing his home, court documents said.

Deputies, however, determined that Mata knew Escamilla because Escamilla works for Mata, documents said. Mata also apparently knew that his former girlfriend, Elvira Reyna, was dating Escamilla.

Reyna also works for Mata and rents a room in his house, documents said.

Reyna said Mata has been jealous of her new relationship. She said Escamilla came over to visit at 8 p.m., and she was woken up at 10:30 p.m. by two gunshots, documents said.

Escamilla then entered her bedroom as Mata chased him, firing another shot while trying to force open the door as Escamilla tried to close it, documents said.

Mata reportedly got inside and held the gun to Escamilla's head.

Reyna said she believed Mata was going to kill him. She said she tried to drive him to the hospital, but Mata followed them and pointed the gun at both of them, documents said.

Mata, who called 911, also reportedly forced them to stay there until deputies arrived.

Escamilla was treated at the hospital, documents said.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to charge or release Mata. If charged, his next court appearance is Oct. 23. He was ordered to have no contact with Escamilla.

Boyfriend allegedly strangles girlfriend

A 31-year-old Kennewick man is accused of trying to strangle his girlfriend and holding her against her will for several hours over what he considered suspicious numbers on her phone.

Jason Glen Ball was arrested by Kennewick police after the 28-year-old victim was able to escape from the home in the 2000 block of West Third Avenue when Ball became distracted, police said.

When police contacted the victim Friday, she was hysterical as she descried how Ball allegedly assaulted her for several hours.

She told police Ball got upset after he believed he found suspicious phone numbers on her phone, police said.

She said Ball pulled her hair and pulled a ring off her finger so violently it caused a cut, authorities said.

He also reportedly destroyed her cellphone so she couldn't call for help and prevented her from leaving.

When officers went to the home, they found the front door ajar. They called out to Ball and he came outside and was arrested without incident.

Ball was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault with domestic violence.

Ex-worker accused of stealing prescriptions

A former employee with a home health care company is accused of stealing prescription medication from a Kennewick woman she was checking on, police said.

Trisha M. Honn, 32, of Kennewick, was a suspect in a robbery that was reported by the 60-year-old victim on Sept. 24, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.

The woman said Honn went to her home in the 200 block of South Johnson Street on several consecutive days, using her position with LifeCare Solutions to get inside, he said.

Honn then reportedly spilled the victim's medications and tried to take the prescription drugs by hiding them in her hand.

When the victim confronted Honn, Honn drove away with the medications, Lattin said.

Honn allegedly told the victim if she didn't let her go, she would be hurt. The victim was bruised during the incident.

Honn was fired by LifeCare Solutions after the victim reported the theft to police.

On Friday, Honn was tracked down by police and arrested. She was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery and residential burglary.

Police also are investigating an allegation that Honn stole a prescription pad from Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and tried to fill a prescription for pain medication at two Kennewick locations, Lattin said.

That case is being investigated by both Pasco and Kennewick police departments.

Man accidentally fires gun; no injuries reported

No one was hurt Saturday when a 26-year-old Kennewick man accidentally fired his gun while cleaning it and it went into a neighbor's apartment, authorities said.

Kennewick police were called to the apartment complex in the 7700 block of West Fourth Avenue.

The man, who has a concealed weapons permit, said he was cleaning his .40-caliber pistol when it went off. Police said the man lives alone and was alone at the time.

The round passed through the wall near the baseboard, through the breezeway and into a next door apartment, police said.

The bullet continued into the living area of the neighboring apartment, missing two people by about 5 feet.

The pistol was seized as evidence and a report will be forwarded to the city attorney for review. Police said the incident was an accident.

Pasco man dies after car goes into canal

A 24-year-old Pasco man died when his car went off the road and plunged into an irrigation canal in Grandview, authorities said.

The driver, Islas G. Magana, drowned inside the car, said Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins.

Grandview police found the vehicle in the canal just before 9 a.m. Sunday, after getting a report about a car that may have left the road in the 800 block of North Elm Street, Sgt. Mike Hopp said.

Officers determined the crash likely happened at 1 a.m.

Dive rescue units from the Yakima County Sheriff's Office were called out and they found the Mitsubishi Eclipse submerged in about 15 feet of water, Hopp said.

A tow company pulled the car from the water and Magana was found inside, he said. No one else was believed to be with him, Hopp said.

The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, but initial information indicates excessive speed was a likely cause, he said.

Tri-Citians invited to ID stolen goods

Tri-Citians who had their vehicles broken into this summer should head to the Benton County Sheriff's Office to check out the stolen good recovered by deputies.

More than 250 items swiped from vehicles in Finley, Kennewick and Pasco -- electronics, knives, hunting equipment, jewelry, cellphones and tools -- will be available for victims to identify.

The "open house" is 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the sheriff's office, 7122 W. Okanogan Place, Building B, in Kennewick.

Sheriff's officials showed the items to the media in August, hoping that victims would contact detectives.

The items were likely taken in vehicle prowls in June and July. Most of the prowls occurred in the Finley area, but detectives have also tracked some property to thefts in Kennewick and Pasco.

Anyone with questions about the stolen goods or the open house can call Detective Mike Wilson or Evidence Technician Kathy Wold at 735-6555.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com

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