Crime

Former Connell prisoner to get mental evaluation in assault on corrections officer

A 46-year-old former Connell prisoner accused of assaulting a corrections officer was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation after he repeatedly interrupted a judge in court Tuesday and refused to answer to the names listed on court documents.

Allah Allah, who also uses the alias Edwin Randal Coston and Divine Allah, is charged in Franklin County Superior Court with second-degree assault. He's accused of hitting Corrections Officer John Poynor at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center on Oct. 31, 2010, and dislocating his shoulder.

Allah, who is in custody of the state Department of Corrections at the Monroe Corrections Complex, was in the Pasco courtroom Tuesday to enter a plea to the charge.

When Judge Craig Matheson called his name, however, Allah said it wasn't him. Franklin County corrections officers started to escort him out of the courtroom, but Matheson called him back in after being told that Allah apparently refused to be identified by the names officials had.

Matheson attempted to explain his rights, but Allah kept interrupting him and asked who he was talking to.

"I'm talking to you. Whatever you go by," Matheson said.

"My question is, which one is me?" Allah asked.

Matheson said it didn't matter and tried to continue with the hearing. After repeated interruptions, Allah eventually let Matheson read the information in the charge against him.

Allah said he would like to represent himself but asked to have an attorney appointed to help him.

"I've been falsely imprisoned and kidnapped," Allah claimed. "I've been bankrupted by the United States."

Shelley Ajax was appointed to represent Allah. She requested a competency evaluation before any pleas were entered.

Matheson agreed to stay the proceedings and send Allah to Eastern State Hospital for an evaluation. A status hearing was set for Sept. 4.

Allah was also ordered back into DOC custody.

Othello woman in car crash faces trial

An Othello woman faces a Sept. 5 trial for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol when she crashed her car last year, killing a passenger.

Alejandra Cardona, 26, pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to one count of vehicular homicide.

Cardona was the driver of a gray 2002 Ford Explorer that rolled over in a crash on Highway 395 about 10 miles north of Pasco last Sept. 25, court documents said.

Cardona was going north on the highway at 3:30 a.m. when she went off the road, overcorrected and caused the SUV to roll over, documents said. The vehicle then hit a light pole, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Her passenger, Aurora Del Pilar Bazan, was thrown from the vehicle. The 27-year-old Othello woman, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.

The state patrol identified the passenger as Pilar A. Bazan at the time of the crash.

Cardona also was hurt and was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Hirz went to the hospital to talk to Cardona and detected an obvious odor of intoxicants, documents said.

Cardona's blood was drawn at the hospital about 21/2 hours after the wreck. Test results from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab showed Cardona's blood-alcohol level was 0.078 percent at the time of the blood draw, documents said. The legal limit in Washington is 0.08 percent.

Cardona was charged in May and was arrested during the weekend and extradited to Franklin County. She is being held in the Franklin County jail on $25,000 bail.

Pasco man held in stabbing case

A 25-year-old Pasco man is being held in the Franklin County jail on $200,00 bail for allegedly being involved in a gang fight last year that left two men with stab wounds.

Michael Angel Esparza-Aguirre pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to one count of first-degree assault. His trial is set for Sept. 19.

Esparza-Aguirre is accused of being with two other suspected gang members on Aug. 2, 2011, when two men were stabbed in Pasco, court documents said.

Pasco police were called around 10 p.m. after witnesses reported the gang fight in the area of North 14th Street and West Hassalo Street.

When officers arrived, they found Damian Arreguin-Ochoa and Mercedes Avilas-Contreras had been stabbed. Arreguin-Ochoa had a stab wound to the lower left side of his neck, and Avilas-Contreras was stabbed on the back of his upper left arm and upper left side of his back, documents said.

Minutes later, Officer Chad Pettijohn saw a man later identified as Liberato Sanchez-Gomez running away on West Nixon Street toward North 10 Street. Sanchez-Gomez also was seen throwing a knife under a vehicle, documents said.

Sanchez-Gomez was detained and later identified by witnesses as having been involved in the fight, documents said.

A second man, Juan P. Aguirre, was also found at North 15th and West Hassalo streets. Aguirre reportedly admitted being with Sanchez-Gomez and a second suspect, identified as Esparza-Aguirre, documents said.

The three men reportedly approached the two victims and started punching them. Moments later, Esparza-Aguirre allegedly stabbed the two victims.

Sanchez-Gomez was arrested for riot and Aguirre was taken to the juvenile detention center, documents said. Officers then learned Esparza-Aguirre was trying to leave the area.

Esparza-Aguirre was arrested on the assault warrant over the weekend and made his first appearance Monday in Franklin County Superior Court.

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