Kennewick man gets 2-month sentence after arson charge dropped

A Kennewick man who claimed to be the modern-day 2011 Serpico character when he allegedly set fire to a motor home had his case dismissed Wednesday because he suffers from a mental illness.

However, David William Humenik did admit to taking an SUV from a Kennewick tavern and pocketing the owner's debit card and later, while being held in the Benton County jail, throwing toilet water on corrections officers and vandalizing a fire sprinkler.

The plea agreement, negotiated by Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire and defense attorney Kevin Holt, involved three cases. Several charges were dismissed in the resolution,

Humenik, 69, was ordered to serve two months in jail.

The first case stems from an Aug. 22 fire at 4110 W. Kennewick Ave.

Investigators determined that the fire started on a seat in the motor home and was intentionally set. A red gas can was found on the seat, with a green Coleman propane bottle and a torch, court documents said.

In an interview with police, Humenik reportedly said he had been the owner's friend but was mad at him. He claimed to be incognito as Al Pacino's character in the movie Serpico, documents said.

The 1973 movie is a true story about New York cop Frank Serpico, whose comrades turned against him after he blew the whistle on his corrupt fellow officers.

Humenik was charged with first-degree arson. He was ordered for all three cases to be evaluated at Eastern State Hospital, and the report came back saying he is competent to stand trial but suffers from mental health disorders.

Whitmire, in dismissing the arson charge, said the case was based on incriminating statements Humenik made to police.

Whitmire said aside from his "unusual and incriminating statements," there isonly slight evidence linking him to the crime. She agreed to dismiss the case in exchange for his plea to other charges.

Two weeks after the fire, Humenik was arrested for stealing a 1999 Ford Explorer from outside Billy's Bullpen early one morning. Shortly after the bartender reported her SUV missing, it was found a few blocks away with Humenik inside, court documents said. He also had her debit card in his pocket, documents said.

Humenik pleaded guilty to second-degree taking a vehicle without permission and second-degree possessing stolen property.

The third case involves an Oct. 8 incident in the jail, when corrections officers went to Humenik's cell after reports he was throwing water.

Humenik started yelling obscenities and then used a milk carton to throw water from the toilet on them, documents said. The officers were hit on the face and body. Humenik was charged with three counts of custodial assault.

As a part of negotiations, Whitmire agreed to dismiss those charges and amended the vehicle theft to include a fourth-degree assault and third-degree malicious mischief for the jail crime. She said in court documents it appears Humenik's acts were fueled at least in part by his mental health problems.

Humenik must pay $100 in restitution to the jail for vandalizing a fire sprinkler.

His criminal history includes convictions for felony luring of a developmentally disabled person and lewd conduct.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531;