A Richland man remains locked up on $500,000 bail on allegations he threatened to kill his wife and himself after kidnapping the woman and holding her at gunpoint for seven hours in a church parking lot.
Dennis Wayne Blahak, 43, pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to numerous charges for two different incidents involving his estranged wife in less than a week.
Prosecutors allege that on the weekend of June 2 and 3, Blahak strangled Carol Blahak so she had difficulty breathing and hit her across the cheek with a phone book. Then, after she left their Duportail Street home, Dennis Blahak destroyed the furniture and electronics with a knife and cut up his wife's clothes, court documents said.
Six days later, he allegedly hid in his wife's vehicle outside her workplace and surprised her when she got inside by putting a .45-caliber pistol to her head and claiming she would die if she tried anything or made any mistakes.
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It wasn't until later that morning, at his wife's insistence, that he walked into a mental health crisis center to get help. But prosecutors said Blahak reportedly was "acting very agitated and aggressive," and walked out as staff tried to talk to him.
Blahak was arrested Saturday morning after police, responding to the wife's 911 call, saw him drive away from the facility. He reportedly tried to ditch his car in a nearby parking lot, but cooperated after police drew their guns.
Relatives of the suspect and his wife have told police they're concerned for her safety if Blahak is released from custody because he has madestatements that he will kill her, no matter how long he is behind bars, according to documents.
Blahak has a July 23 trial date for first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and felony harassment, all with domestic violence and gun allegations.
He also is charged in the earlier incident with second-degree assault and second-degree malicious mischief, both with a domestic violence allegation.
Blahak will return to court Thursday.
Richland police were called to the home June 3 after Carol returned to find it "destroyed," documents said.
A knife had been used to damage many items in the home.
Carol Blahak told police that she and her husband had been arguing the night before when she slapped a cigarette out of his mouth. Dennis Blahak reacted by shoving her onto the bed and grabbing her neck with enough force that she had trouble breathing, documents said.
Blahak reportedly said he was going to call the police and they would both go to jail so, as she sat on the couch waiting for officers, her husband took a phone book and swung it at her like a bat, court documents said. Carol then left.
Blahak was arrested on suspicion of malicious mischief and fourth-degree assault, and released June 6 when the 72-hour hold expired. In the meantime, Carol got a protection order.
Carol finished work at 12:45 a.m. Saturday and got into her car in Kennewick's Safeway parking lot. Blahak was hiding inside between the seats and quickly moved to point a gun at her, saying "it was the only way he could get her to talk to him," documents said.
Blahak allegedly made his wife drive to a church parking lot and get into his parked car. He smoked prescribed marijuana while yelling at his wife and accusing her of taking everything from him, then threatened to "blow her (expletive) head off" when she tried to get out of the car, court documents said.
At some point in the middle of the night, Blahak allowed them to get back into her car because she was cold. He told her to drop the protection order and argued with her about custody of their son, documents said.
Blahak allegedly said he would go to treatment for his mental health issues, and Carol said if he got immediate help she wouldn't call police. They drove to a crisis center but found it closed, so returned to the church lot.
While Carol was driving around town, her husband no longer had the pistol pointed at her but continued to hold it, documents said. Once the mental health facility opened, Blahak reportedly drove himself there and she followed. She called 911 after seeing Blahak walk inside.
Court documents state that Blahak previously was in a car crash and suffered head injuries, and since then his behavior has been "aggressive and erratic."
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org