Criminal cases are pending, heading to trial

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

The wheels of justice continue to spin for those involved - or alleged to be involved - in a number of Plateau-area crimes.

Receiving the most media attention was the March 19 traffic accident near Buckley that took the life of Enumclaw resident Shane Wyrsch, a veteran U.S. Forest Service law enforcement agent.

The 35-year-old husband and father of two young boys was killed in a late-night crash on state Route 410 when, according to Washington State Patrol reports, a Tacoma man crossed the center line and smashed head-on into Wyrsch's pickup. Both men were taken to Tacoma General Hospital, where Wyrsch died.

Kenneth E. Clark, 43, has been charged with vehicular homicide. He was arrested after being released from the hospital and is still being held in the Pierce County jail.

His jury trial is slated to begin Oct. 1.

€ Also sitting in Pierce County jail is Paula Marshall, accused of the Feb. 1 murder of Buckley resident Chris Smith, 32. She is being held in lieu of $1 million bail on a charge of first-degree murder.

According to reports, the two had an on-again, off-again relationship and were separated at the time of the incident. They also were parents of a 4-year-old son. Police reports allege Smith was walking from a Buckley tavern when Marshall stepped from behind a vehicle and shot him multiple times.

Associated with the incident, she faces charges of second-degree assault and possession of stolen property.

She has a tentative jury trial date of July 9.

€ Nathan Kirkpatrick, accused of robbing two Enumclaw espresso stands and conspiring with his teenage girlfriend to steal money from a fast-food restaurant, has been scheduled to go to trial July 10. There's no guarantee that date won't be pushed back, however.

€ Enumclaw resident Ryan Torrey remains behind bars, charged with three counts of first-degree assault and one count of possession of stolen property. He has been arraigned and a case-setting hearing was to have taken place Tuesday.

According to reports, he was the driver of a stolen car that was first spotted by Buckley police during the early-morning hours of April 15. He was followed to Enumclaw, where officers from both departments stopped the car along 244th Street. It is alleged Torrey slammed the stolen car into the Buckley rig, collided with an Enumclaw squad car and attempted to run over an Enumclaw officer.

The officer, fearing for his life, fired several shots into the stolen car, but neither Torrey nor his passenger were hurt.

€ Also behind bars is former White River High teacher Rebekah Todd, who had been accused of having sexual contact with a student.

Her case was unusual in that both the prosecutor's office and defense attorney had agreed to a series of steps that would include Todd surrendering her teaching certificate in exchange for a sentence that would not include jail time.

A Pierce County judge shocked everyone when he ignored the agreed-upon settlement, which he had the right to do, and instead imposed a four-month sentence. Todd was instantly taken from the courtroom to jail.

According to the prosecutor's Web site, she has an official release date of July 8.

€ One case not yet solved is the arson that claimed a portable building at Collins High School in Buckley. Chief Jim Arsanto said leads are still being investigated.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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