SOUTH BEND - Court documents reveal additional details about the alleged facts of a second-degree murder case against Glenn DeHart in the stabbing death of Ronald Burt on Oct. 24 in Ocean Park.
A trial is set for February after prosecutors asked for a delay due to unavailability until then of a key witness, Washington state's forensic pathologist. The pathologist, Dr. Clifford Nelson, will testify on DNA blood evidence.
Documents also delve into a dispute between prosecutors and defense attorneys over permitting DeHart to have face-to-face contact with family members including his mother who will be called as witnesses in the case. Mail privileges are also in dispute.
"The state needs to monitor the Defendant's correspondence [and restrict personal visits] to ensure that there aren't any conspiracies afoot to jeopardize the State's ability to call all of the relevant witnesses, to preserve the integrity of the State's case, to prevent witness tampering, and to thwart any potential escape plans," according to trial memo.
Defense attorney Michael Turner states in his motion that DeHart's visitation, telephone and mail contacts are protected by the U.S. and state constututions, and that there are no written jail policies allowing him to be held without these rights.
If convicted, DeHart faces a sentencing range of 134 to 234 months in prison. He has one prior felony assault and several prior gross misdemeanor assault convictions that would affect his sentence in this case, as would the fact that he is alleged to have used a knife in the current case. He is being held in county jail in lieu of a $750,000 bond.
In current court documents, there is no indication of a final court ruling on the contact issue.
The "Officer's Declaration of Probable Cause," filed with the Superior Court on Oct. 27, lays out detailed facts and allegations surrounding the case. It is reprinted below, but please be aware that includes graphic descriptions of the crime:
KENDALL BIGGS, Deputy for the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, declares under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the following is true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and that the following events occurred in Pacific County, Washington:
On Oct. 24, 2003, at approximately 12:20 a.m., deputies responded to a report of a dead body along the edge of the road on 251st between Vernon and Ridge. On my arrival the deceased was identified to me as Ronald Burt by Ronald's landlord, Tim Wiggins. Wiggins discovered Burt's body while out looking for Burt. Wiggins had been told that Ronald Burt had been involved in an altercation with three males earlier in the evening at Doc's Tavern.
Deputies interviewed patrons and employees of Doc's Tavern. Deputy Ray told me that one patron, Debra Cook, had called the bar and stated that Ronald Burt had assaulted her. According to Cook, Mark Johansen, Joe Whiteman, and a male named Glenn (later identified as Glenn A. DeHart) came to Cook's residence. Ronald Burt had already left, and the three headed to Ronald Burt's house.
Joe Whiteman filled out a written statement. Joe tried to get to Ronald Burt's house first to try and stop a problem. Mark Johansen and Glenn DeHart left in Mark's vehicle and went to Ronald Burt's house. After a few passes, Ronald Burt came out and walked down the street. Burt asked what was going on and Mark's temper snapped. Joe said it was very dark out and hard to see. Joe could make out that Ronald Burt was on top of Mark. Joe then saw Glenn come into the picture. Joe thought Glenn was going to "jump" Burt. Instead, it appeared that Glenn was making a lot of "fast movements around the back area" of Ronald Burt, who was on top of Mark. Joe said it appeared Glenn was trying to grab at Burt's side. Joe said that Ronald Burt got up, and Mark and Glenn took off. Ronald Burt was staggering around, and Joe thought Ron was acting like he was drunk and beat up "good." Joe said Ronald Burt fell down a couple of times. Joe said he told Ronald Burt to get up and go home. Joe said Ron was making funny sounds. Joe left after Ronald Burt said he was going home.
According to Joe's written statement, Joe went back to the tavern. Mark and Glenn arrived about an hour later. Mark kept asking Joe if he knew what happened. Mark said that Burt got "stuck." Joe assumed that Mr. Burt had been stabbed, and Joe made Mark go back with him and check on Ronald Burt.
When Joe and Mark returned to the scene of the fight, Deputy Ruder and Deputy Mike Ray of the Pacific County Sheriff's Office were present. No statements were made that morning to deputies. Mark Johansen later told the deputies when interviewed that he went to Ronald Burt's residence with Glenn to kick Ronald Burt's ass for messing with a lady. Mark stated that Ronald Burt then came down the road and the two started fighting. Mark heard Ronald Burt say "oh oh," and Ronald Burt got off of Mark. Mark left right away with Glenn DeHart.
Mark Johansen stated he that he has known Glenn for about 15 years and identified "Glenn" as Glenn DeHart. According to Mark, Glenn took Mark to Glenn's house. Mark also stated that during the course of the fight, Glenn had accidentally stabbed Mark on the inside of Mark's left elbow. Mark stated that Glenn's mom helped clean and bandage his wound. Mark stripped out of his pants and shirt, which had soaked up blood from Ronald Burt, and Mark was given some of Glenn's clothes to wear.
Mark Johansen subsequently filled out a written statement. According to Mark Johansen's statement, when the fight started between him and Ronald Burt, Ronald Burt took a swing with his left hand and Mark took a step backwards to avoid being hit. Mark stumbled and fell to the ground. When Mark hit the ground, Ronald Burt was "instantly on top of him." Joe Whiteman was standing about four feet behind Mark when Mark started to get free. Then Mark heard a noise "he had never heard before." Mark noticed that instead of Ronald Burt attacking him or being the aggressor, it felt like he was holding on for life. Mark didn't know what had happened. While Mark was trying to get up something squirted him in the face and went down the left side of his body. Even though Mark never once saw what Glenn had done, Mark guessed that Glenn had just stabbed Ronald Burt in the back. Mark had no idea of how many times Ronald Burt had been stabbed, but he knew what had happened.
According to Mark Johansen's written statement, after Glenn stabbed Ronald Burt, Burt stood up - he did not know what happened. Ronald Burt said, "What's happening? What's going on?" as he backed down the roadway about fifteen yards. Mark said twice, "Joe let's go, Joe let's go." Glenn and Mark left the scene first. Joe was right behind them. Mark stated that he became furious with Glenn for the position that he had put him and Joe in.
An examination of the body of Mr. Burt at the crime scene revealed multiple stab wounds and the loss of a significant quantity of blood. All of the stab wounds appeared to be of approximately the same size.
Glenn DeHart was located at his residence. Glenn DeHart's mother, who lives at the residence, gave consent to search. Three knives were seized from the residence. DeHart's mother said those were the three knives DeHart had removed from his person last night. Two knives were left above the washing machine and a third was located on the hall table. I was directed to all three knives. One knife was in a black sheath. A fourth knife was tucked behind the first knife in the black sheath. The first knife resembled a hunting-style knife. I noted what appeared to be dried blood on the top and toward the hilt of the blade. This is the same knife described by Johansen as being the knife used by DeHart. Glenn DeHart's mother stated that she helped bandage and clean a wound to Mark's left elbow.
I booked Glenn DeHart into the Pacific County jail for first degree murder.
-Report by Officer Ken Biggs