A defense lawyer expressed concerns about a client's mental health just two days before the Franklin County inmate allegedly attacked a corrections officer with a cell door key.
Antonio Davis, 24, reportedly has said he is an employee with the FBI and after the jail incident acted like he did not know he'd done anything wrong.
During a Tuesday hearing in Franklin County Superior Court, Davis said, "I don't understand why I was arrested."
Defense attorney Craig Stilwill stepped in on the assault case, since it was one week earlier on another pending matter that he questioned Davis' competency.
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Stilwill, who has represented Davis since his July 4 arrest on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, suggested in court July 23 that his client be evaluated in the Franklin County jail by a psychiatrist from Eastern State Hospital. That case is on hold until it is determined if Davis is competent to stand trial.
In the meantime, Davis faces a new charge of second-degree assault for stabbing jail employee Justin Husom with the large key after another officer opened Davis' cell door to question why the inmate had removed his suicide smock and was naked. Davis was on suicide watch at the time.
Court documents in both cases list his last name as Davis-Ramos, but he corrected the judge Tuesday to say it's just Davis.
Judge M. Scott Wolfram of Walla Walla County Superior Court presided over the brief hearing by telephone.
Davis first appeared in a Pasco courtroom on Monday but, after Judge Bruce Spanner shared that he works with the victim's wife, Davis objected to him hearing the matter. Court administration then got a judge from outside the area to avoid any conflict with the bicounty system's six judges.
Tiffany Husom is Benton-Franklin Superior Court's longtime assistant administrator. Her job includes assigning the judges to certain cases and coordinating their daily schedules.
Davis, of Pasco, has not yet entered a plea to the assault. Another hearing will be scheduled.
According to court documents, a corrections officer opened Davis' cell door about 4:20 p.m. on July 25 to ask why he wasn't wearing the smock, only to have the inmate push his way out of the cell without authorization. Because the officer was unable to keep Davis in, Justin Husom rushed over and used pepper spray on Davis, but "the incident quickly escalated and turned into a physical struggle."
Sheriff's Deputy Terry Brown, who was assigned to look into the assault, wrote in court documents the fact that Davis was completely naked during the struggle "also complicated matters."
A key -- four inches long, used to unlock holding cells -- came loose from an officer at some point and Davis grabbed it, holding it like a knife as he tried to gouge Husom in the upper chest and rib area, documents said. Davis also allegedly tried to use the key to get out a door which leads to an eventual exit from the facility, but that door only can be opened remotely by an officer in master control.
It reportedly took five corrections officers to place handcuffs and leg shackles on Davis and get him back in his cell.
Husom suffered two broken ribs, cuts to his elbows and multiple bruises and scrapes. He was treated at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and released later that evening.
Husom told Brown for his report that in the middle of the struggle it seemed like the inmate was coming after him, instead of trying to get away from the officer. Husom also said "that at one point he was in fear for his life and thought that inmate Davis was trying to kill him with the large key," Brown wrote.
Video footage inside the jail reportedly shows the attack from multiple angles.
In an interview with Brown, Davis said he wasn't supposed to be in the county jail, had no charges and works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and "they" are coming for him, documents said.
Brown noted that Davis said he had no intention of doing anything when he grabbed the key and that the inmate appeared sane during their interview, but added that Davis was acting like he is having mental issues.
Davis appeared in court Tuesday in the long, green smock that is designed so it can't be torn or used in a manner to harm a person, like being knotted for a noose. He refused to sign a form saying he'd been advised of his rights in this case.
Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny recommended $50,000 bail, saying Davis has a state Department of Corrections classification of "high violence."
In addition to a pending stolen vehicle charge, Davis' convictions include third- and fourth-degree assault, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, obstructing and multiple cases for driving with a suspended license.
Davis is on active Department of Corrections supervision, Jenny said. The state previously had placed a hold on him in jail, aside from the $15,000 bail from the stolen vehicle. Judge Wolfram agreed to the $50,000 request for the assault charge.
w Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer