Pasco kidnapping case moves forward

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldOctober 19, 2013 

Prosecutors waited more than a year for the results of lab work before pushing forward with the case against a Pasco man who allegedly held a knife to his ex-girlfriend and forced her to walk into his home.

The DNA testing in Kenneth Robert Dickerson's case was low on the state lab's priority list because he was not in custody awaiting a trial date.

But once the results came in, the Franklin County Superior Court case was refiled last month.

Dickerson, 56, has pleaded innocent to first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and intimidating a witness, all felonies. Trial is set for Nov. 6.

The victim, a former girlfriend, reportedly was a witness in a theft case involving Dickerson. Prosecutors earlier said Dickerson was angry at her for calling him while he was in jail and putting him in "a tough spot" in that case.

He was convicted of the second-degree theft, though Dickerson's lawyer at the time claimed the woman had lied.

Then on May 26, 2012, the woman was leaving a friend's home when Dickerson came out of nowhere and pressed a knife to her side, court documents said. He had a restraining order against the woman at the time.

Dickerson forced the woman to go to a motorhome at his West Pearl Street house, and said "if she screamed or ran he would stick her," documents said.

She said she fell while walking up the motorhome steps and he reportedly kicked her in the back.

Dickerson forced her onto the bed, placed his hands around her neck and squeezed, then hit her repeatedly, court documents said.

The victim told police that he also hit her with a metal cord that he grabbed from under the bed, documents said.

Dickerson apparently got distracted when a man knocked on his door and yelled at him. When Dickerson went outside, the victim escaped -- running out of her shoes, which were found by the motorhome.

Dickerson ran back inside but was arrested after a long standoff with police, court documents said. A pocket knife and metal cord were recovered by officers, documents said.

The woman's injuries included a wound on her hand and multiple cuts on her shoulder from the cord, and a small mark and cut on her side from the knife. Her backpack also reportedly was found inside the motorhome.

Officers contacted the victim at 10:54 p.m. after she called 911 while walking south on 10th Avenue away from Dickerson's home.

Dickerson initially was charged in the case but prosecutors dismissed it without prejudice, meaning they could later file if more evidence came up.

Dickerson has prior convictions for second-degree murder, second-degree assault and drug possession.

Prosecutor Shawn Sant told the Herald there are a number of reasons for the one-year, four-month delay in the kidnapping and assault case.

The complaining witness was unavailable, which hindered how investigators proceeded. Dickerson also was in custody on another case and, when he finished serving that time, prosecutors knew everything wouldn't be completed in time for trial on this case so they dismissed it.

"The last thing we want is a case like this getting dismissed with prejudice," Sant said of their decision to drop it and wait until the investigation was done.

Sant said some evidence was submitted to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for additional DNA testing, but it wasn't a priority because there wasn't an approaching trial date.

That eventually came back and confirmed the victim's DNA on the evidence, which bolstered refiling the charges and moving forward, he said.

Dickerson responded to a summons to appear in court.

Prosecutors did not ask for bail because, even though the case originally was dismissed, the trial clock didn't start over, so this gives them up to 60 days before going before a jury.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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