KENNEWICK -- A fired corrections officer pleaded innocent Thursday to allegations that he had sexual contact with a female inmate on a work crew.
Gregory Andre Brown, 38, now faces a Sept. 27 trial in Benton County Superior Court on one count of second-degree custodial sexual misconduct. He appeared at the hearing with his attorney, Alicia Berry of Kennewick.
Brown, of Kennewick, had been a county employee since 1991. He was placed on administrative leave May 4 after Benton County sheriff's officials first learned of the alleged contact in a letter the female inmate wrote to a friend.
Brown lost his job once the investigation was completed, which led to Prosecutor Andy Miller filing the criminal charge.
The 29-year-old woman, whose name was not released, told sheriff's detectives she was cleaning a rest room at the Toyota Center during a work crew assignment in January 2009 when Brown, the crew supervisor, stepped into the bathroom and made flattering remarks to her, court documents showed.
She claims Brown "had previously made numerous comments" about her body, according to the documents.
Miller has said the sexual activity between the officer and the inmate that followed may have appeared to be consensual, but Washington law presumes an inmate cannot give consent to a sex act with a law enforcement or corrections officer.
The woman was back in the county jail on a different arrest in early May when she revealed the details in a letter. The letter was not delivered, but returned to the sender. Standard procedure is for jail staff to open all inmate mail.
Brown is out of custody on his personal recognizance.
Richland man admits having stolen computer
RICHLAND -- A 39-year-old Richland man admitted to giving his son a stolen computer that ultimately was tracked down through LoJack software.
Marc Anthony Willy pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.
He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 335 days suspended. A judge said he could serve the time on work release.
According to court documents, a woman took her year-old Pavilion DV 9700 laptop into a Kennewick computer repair shop in July 2009 for upgrades. The laptop was worth at least $2,400.
The laptop was stolen while in the shop. The store owner told Kennewick police Willy had been in the store with him when the laptop went missing, and said Willy was unattended while the owner worked in a back room, documents said.
Willy claimed he saw a woman come into the store and leave, but the owner said he never heard the bell ring for the front door.
The laptop owner had installed LoJack software on her computer, which allows a theft recovery service to track down the laptop through "transmitted keystrokes and the user's IP address," court documents said.
The computer was found in Tualatin, Ore. Willy reportedly had given it to his son as a birthday present and told police he and his wife had purchased it from "a man outside a pawnshop that no longer is open for business," court documents said.
However, Willy's wife said she was not with him when he got the laptop.
Willy also reportedly had someone erase the hard drive before giving the laptop to his son.
Prosecutors originally charged Willy with first-degree theft, but reduced it from a felony because "the state may have difficulty at proving this charge beyond a reasonable doubt," court documents said.
Though the statement by Willy's wife to police contradicted his claims, she "would likely be unavailable to testify at trial based on marital privilege," documents said.
Willy's criminal history includes second- and third-degree theft and DUI.
Man gets 30 days in jail on wire theft charge
KENNEWICK -- A Kennewick man was sentenced to 30 days in jail for stealing electrical wire he helped cut from an orchard's pump station.
Randy Lee Muckleroy, 20, pleaded guilty to third-degree malicious mischief, third-degree theft and possession of methamphetamine.
Benton County sheriff's deputies went to Muckleroy's home May 26 looking for a suspect in a burglary investigation when they reportedly saw "a box of cut electrical wire in open view in front of a travel trailer," court documents said.
A sergeant then met with a grower who reported that someone entered his orchard May 23 and vandalized his pump station. The sergeant returned to Muckleroy's home and, after advising him of his rights, asked to look at the wire in the box, documents said.
Muckleroy agreed to the search, which allowed deputies to reportedly connect the wire to that taken from the orchard.
Muckleroy initially said he'd received the wire from a friend, but then admitted he and a friend went to an orchard, cut the wire and divided it between themselves.
After serving a search warrant on his home, deputies found wire cutters and a locked safe. Muckleroy handed over the key to the safe, where deputies found methamphetamine, along with a scale and plastic bags to package drugs, court documents said.
Muckleroy was ordered to pay $536 to the property owner for damages.
* Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; email@example.com