KENNEWICK — A 24-year-old career criminal who was released from prison in February is back behind bars on allegations he crashed a stolen Ford Focus when the owner was chasing him down a dead-end road.
Mark Andrew Barnett of Kennewick pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to possessing a stolen car, second-degree assault, hit-and-run with property damage and first-degree possession of stolen property.
The charges include the aggravating circumstances that he recently was released from jail and that he committed three felonies while on community custody.
Court documents claim Barnett has an offender score in excess of nine -- based on seven prior felony convictions as an adult and six felonies as a juvenile. So if he is convicted, he would face a long sentence.
He was released from prison Feb. 24 and taken to the Benton County jail, where they let him go March 24.
Then on April 27, Devin Schmelzer was driving his Honda Civic in town when he saw Barnett behind the wheel of his stolen Ford, documents said.
The Ford, along with jewelry and other property, had been taken in a home burglary the day before while Schmelzer was out running.
Schmelzer followed the Ford on a private road, but when Barnett allegedly hit the dead end, he backed up into Schmelzer's Honda and took off at a high rate of speed, court documents said.
Barnett then allegedly came up to a truck and trailer blocking the roadway. The car rammed into the trailer, backed up and rammed it again, Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts wrote in documents.
Barnett then allegedly backed into the Honda Civic a second time, caused the airbags to inflate on Schmelzer.
Both cars were totaled and the trailer was damaged, McRoberts said.
Barnett got out of the Ford Focus and ran. Schmelzer, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled out his handgun and fired one round into the ground in an attempt to get Barnett to stop, but he kept running, court documents said.
Schmelzer then ran after him. When he caught up to Barnett, he "discarded his gun" before tackling him, documents said.
As he was restraining Barnett until officers arrived, Barnett allegedly bit Schmelzer's finger.
Benton County sheriff's deputies searched Barnett before taking him to jail and found a diamond wedding ring in his pocket, documents said. The ring, valued at more than $6,000, also was taken in the burglary.
Barnett's bail is set at $100,000. His trial is scheduled for June 27.
Man heads to drug court for drug, theft charges
KENNEWICK — A Kennewick man accused of taking change from newspaper dispensers and automated car washes has been accepted into adult drug court.
Tracy J.E. Manis, 47, is charged in two separate cases for possessing methamphetamine, first-degree theft and five counts each of third-degree malicious mischief and third-degree theft.
His lawyer, Michelle McMillen, told the judge that both matters are being transferred to drug court, a program geared for people who commit a crime to support substance-abuse problems.
Criminal charges are suspended once the person is admitted into the program, then dropped after graduation, which can take at least a year.
Manis' first appearance in drug court is Wednesday.
He was arrested Feb. 18 after a monthlong investigation into the theft of 10 Tri-City Herald newspaper racks from several Kennewick locations, according to police and court documents. Some of the dispensers later were found with their coin boxes broken, police said.
The Herald incurred overall costs of around $9,500 from damaged or stolen dispensers.
Officers were able to use video surveillance from several businesses to identify a truck with a hydraulic lift that reportedly was used to haul the heavy newspaper boxes.
Manis was released from the Benton County jail on March 1 while awaiting trial. Then on March 15, he was arrested for several attempts to break into coin boxes at two car washes on Washington Street.
Trial delayed for man accused of sex abuse
KENNEWICK — The trial for a 35-year-old man accused of offering girls money to perform sex acts has been delayed more than three months.
Lawyer Nicholas Jones told a judge that he still has "a lot of work to do" in the case of Ryan Graichen before taking the case to a jury.
Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra added that she has a preplanned vacation in July, so they tried to pick a "realistic date" in setting it for Aug. 29.
Graichen, a former Portland police officer, is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation and three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
He is accused of approaching teenage girls in Columbia Park on two occasions last summer and offering them money, alcohol and marijuana if they would go back to his house and be filmed while he performed a sex act, according to police and court documents.
Graichen was arrested in December by Kennewick police after four girls reportedly identified him.
He is out on bond for $250,000 bail and is living with his parents in Klickitat County.