A Pasco murder suspect pleaded innocent Tuesday to allegations he fatally stabbed his roommate.
Joseph William Hart, 27, faces a May 9 trial in Franklin County Superior Court for second-degree murder.
Hart is accused of killing Rodger A. Lincoln, 53, outside their east Pasco mobile home just before 7 p.m. March 6.
Defense attorney Scott Johnson told Judge Craig Matheson that he is not requesting an evaluation of his client's competency, but did note that "there are clearly mental health issues in this case."
Hart and Lincoln shared a home in the Sundance Mobile Home Park, 925 N. Elm Ave. space 72. The mobile home is one of several owned by Lourdes Health Network and is used as housing for people with mental illnesses.
An autopsy done Sunday showed Lincoln died of multiple stab wounds to his head and torso, and Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel said the wounds were caused by a hunting-type knife.
In court Tuesday, Prosecutor Shawn Sant asked that Lincoln's body be released to his family for burial, and Johnson said the defense had no objections.
Hart is being held in jail on $750,000 bail.
If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison under the state's "three strikes" law. Hart has two previous strikes for convictions of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, Sant has said.
The assault conviction was picked up while Hart was at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla serving time on the robbery conviction.
Man sentenced for threatening police officer after traffic stop
A 38-year-old who threatened a Pasco police officer after being arrested for DUI was told he needed to change his ways or risk getting lengthy prison sentences.
Joseph George Snider pleaded guilty earlier this year to intimidating a public servant and was sentenced Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to just over three years in prison.
"Mr. Snider, I hope this is your last time with the police," Judge Craig Matheson said. "I don't think you want to spend the rest of your life in prison, which happens when you get nine felonies -- the judge can throw the book at you."
Snider was arrested Nov. 22 by Pasco police Officer Chad Pettijohn, who saw him driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone, court documents said.
When Pettijohn stopped Snider, he said, he noticed Snider had bloodshot, watery eyes and he could smell alcohol on his breath, documents said.
Snider, who admitted he had been drinking, was taken to the Franklin County jail and repeatedly threatened Pettijohn while a warrant was being obtained to get a blood sample.
Snider made several threats to kill the officer, said he liked to carry weapons and that Pettijohn had made an enemy who would never forget him, documents said.
"He said, 'I will do everything in my power, everything, to make sure everyone I know ... will know you're my enemy to make sure you are done for. I'll make sure you are done for,' " Pettijohn wrote in court documents.
He said Snider said he was "done for like the candy on Pac Man."
Pettijohn also Snider made it obvious that he should be sorry for arresting him, and the officer said he felt like Snider would try to kill him in retaliation, documents said.
"He told me that he might be in the next car that I pull over and then I would know that gang members needed to be taken seriously," the officer wrote.
Snider also told Pettijohn that he would not make it to the trial because Snider would make sure he was done for, and that it didn't matter if he got out of jail, he could take care of Pettijohn with a phone call, documents said.
Snider pleaded guilty Jan. 17, but had filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. On Tuesday, he decided to withdraw his motion and be sentenced.
Defense attorney Karla Kane said her client was going through a personal issue at the time and "made a bad decision that kind of took a turn for the worse as the night went on."
Snider, who has prior convictions for custodial assault, attempted robbery, robbery, escape, burglary and unlawful possession of a gun, could have been sentenced to up to three years and seven months in prison.
Matheson agreed to follow the recommendation of three years and three months, but warned Snider that if he gets nine or more felonies, judges won't have to follow the standard sentencing ranges. Snider's offender score is seven.
"I hope you're able to stay out of trouble when you get back out," the judge said.
Man faces trial for sex assault
A 33-year-old Pasco man faces a May 23 trial for allegedly making a young girl touch him inappropriately.
Benjamin Robert Gabriel pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to one count of indecent liberties.
The alleged child sex assault was reported to Pasco police Feb. 23, and the grade-school age girl was interviewed at Kids Haven March 3.
Pasco detectives watched the interview and heard the girl describe how he made her touch him, documents said. Gabriel was ordered to have no contact with the girl.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org