PULLMAN, Wash. - Pullman Police have concluded their investigation into the beating of WSU instructor David Warner and have forwarded their investigation on to prosecutors with a recommendation to charge five people in connection with the March 30 incident.
"Based on all the information we have, we believe there is enough to show the suspects were involved in an assault that resulted in a serious injury," Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said Tuesday.
The police investigation revealed that Lawrence McDonald had been drinking with David Warner and an unidentified third person, and as they were walking through Adams Mall McDonald was verbally harassing others in the parking lot and challenging people to fight him.Pullman police charging recommendation in WSU beating case
Meanwhile the four suspects in Warner's beating, Madeline Fouts, Joshua Nantz, John Cabanos-Soriano and Robert Bean, had all been drinking at Stubblefield's in Adams Mall. As Fouts left the bar, she passed McDonald, who allegedly made an "insulting comment" at her. When Nantz, Cabanos-Soriano and Bean left the bar moments later, McDonald made a similar comment to Bean. Warner tried to calm him down but McDonald got into a heated exchange with Fouts, Nantz, Cabanos-Soriano, and Bean. The group suggested to Warner that they take McDonald home while walking towards them and essentially surrounded them.
Warner attempted to restrain McDonald, who advanced on Bean and Fouts and threw a punch at Bean.
Warner tried to intervene by moving between McDonald and the others and fell to the ground. Investigators are still waiting for a medical report to determine whether or not he suffered his injuries as a result of falling to the ground and hitting his head or from a blow to the head from one of the suspects.
Madeline Fouts then grabbed Robert Bean and pulled him from the fight and the four suspects fled the scene. Later she lied to investigators about her knowledge of the fight during an interview.
The police department recommended that she face charges for rendering criminal assistance, making a false or misleading statement and failing to summon assistance. In Washington it's a crime to not call for help for someone who has suffered bodily harm as the result of a crime.
Police also recommended that Nantz, Cabanos-Soriano and Bean face charges of first degree assault for the assault on Warner, fourth degree assault for the assault on McDonald and failing to summon assistance.
As for McDonald, police arrested him on May 9 and charged him with attempted fourth degree assault and disorderly conduct. Since both charges are misdemeanors he was subsequently released from custody.
Jenkins said surveillance video, witness accounts and incriminating text messages between the suspects in the days after the altercation will back the charges.
He said though the investigation took a month and a half to complete, while the community waited it will provide a more thorough case for prosecutors.
"A case with this amount of complexity, with a number of different moving parts, it's not unusual to take this long to investigate," he said.
The case has been forwarded to the prosecutor's office to determine what charges all five suspects in the case will face.
As for Warner, he continues to recuperate at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane. He still can't speak but is conscious. A friend of his said she's happy police conducted such a thorough investigation for a fair trial.