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Warrants issued for suspects' DNA in deadly burglary

KENNEWICK — A judge has given Kennewick detectives permission to take DNA samples and palm prints from two men suspected of taking part in a deadly Kennewick burglary last month.

Judge Craig Matheson signed the search warrants Thursday in Benton County Superior Court for Dwight Norwood and Armando Rodriguez-Willis.

A third suspect, Jorge Hernandez, isn't scheduled for court until this Thursday.

Norwood, 38, and Rodriguez-Willis, 20, are charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree burglary. The Kennewick men have trial dates of March 7.

Hernandez, 20, of Pasco, also is set for trial March 7 for attempted first-degree robbery with a firearm. The three are accused of going to 206 N. Buntin St. early Jan. 11 to rob a resident of $70,000 in cash.

The intended target, Ramon Madrigal, ended up fatally shooting Tyler Stock, 20, when he forced his way in through Madrigal's front door, according to police and court documents. Madrigal and his girlfriend have told police he feared for his life and opened fire when he saw the intruder was wearing a bandanna and cap and holding a gun.

Prosecutor Andy Miller is reviewing police reports but has not filed any charges in Stock's death.

Police and prosecutors have said Rodriguez-Willis drove Stock, Hernandez and Norwood to the home.

Norwood has posted bail, while Hernandez remains in the Benton County jail on $250,000 bail, and Rodriguez-Willis on $100,000 bail.

Sal Mendoza Jr., the lawyer appointed to Rodriguez-Willis, asked Matheson to consider lowering that amount. Mendoza said his client has no felony criminal or "assaultive history" and has extensive family in the Tri-Cities, so he isn't a flight risk.

Rodriguez-Willis also has scoliosis and other medical issues that prevent him from working, Mendoza said.

He said Rodriguez-Willis struggles to walk and is sincere in trying to deal with the problems by seeing a Portland physical therapist.

However, Miller noted Rodriguez-Willis has failed to appear in court three times on previous cases, has a fourth-degree assault on his record and is suffering from a gunshot injury he received in Portland.

Miller, citing police reports from Portland, said that a hospital there called officers when a gunshot victim showed up needing treatment. Rodriguez-Willis was not cooperative and claimed "other people came up to him and just shot him," Miller told the court.

Rodriguez-Willis' account of the events that resulted in his gunshot wound are not credible, which concerns prosecutors, because "the allegations here are very serious," Miller added.

Matheson denied the request to drop his bail but said he might consider a furlough if a jail nurse informs the court Rodriguez-Willis has an emergency medical problem.

Also Thursday, Miller told the court that in the early days of the investigation before any charges were filed, the state handled numerous search warrants and had the documents temporarily sealed at request of Kennewick police. Those documents contained details and numerous statements from the co-defendants that investigators were concerned about being made public, he said.

Miller said the court needs to review the search warrants and attached affidavits to determine if they should remain sealed, be redacted or be opened in the court file.

He said defense attorneys for all three men need more time to look into the issue and asked to delay a decision to Thursday.

Ken Robertson, the Herald's executive editor, was in court for the hearing and told Matheson the Herald is opposed to permanently sealing the documents. Robertson told the judge the newspaper wants to be heard when the court considers whether to keep the records secret.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

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