A convicted killer accused of trashing a Spokane Valley motel while celebrating he and his wife's anniversary was released from prison just 15 months ago.
Danial Caleb Peters, 38, murdered Melissa Mae Wageman, 40, on Dec. 22, 1995, after smoking crack cocaine. He told police he didn't member beating the woman to death with 4-foot pipe but awoke to find her bloody body nearby.
The circumstances are similar to what Peters' public defender, Mike Elston, said apparently happened Tuesday night at the Pheasant Hill Inn, 12415 E. Mission Ave., in Spokane Valley.
Peters “claims a drug-educed paranoid episode” led to him destroying the room he and his wife, Danielle Lea Wozniak, 27, returned to celebrate their one-year anniversary, Elston said Thursday at Peters' appearance in Spokane County Superior Court.
Wozniak told police Peters destroyed the room after they used methamphetamine.
“I want everybody to know that I'm very sorry for the drug use that I did,” Wozniak said in court Thursday.
Peters told police “that he felt people were after him” and broke a water sprinkler in an attempt to get help, according to court documents.
He said Wozniak destroyed other items like a mirrors, lamps, air conditioner and phone, but Wozniak said it was Peters. Police responded about 6 a.m. and say the duo caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the hotel, which had recently been renovated.
Water damage from the sprinklers means only 28 of the hotel’s 104 rooms usable. Peters and Wozniak were booked into jail on a felony charge of first-degree malicious mischief. They married in March, Wozniak said.
Wozniak's criminal history includes a single misdemeanor conviction two years ago. Judge Annette Plese ordered her to stay in jail unless she posts $2,500 bond.
Plese set Peters' bond at $5,000 and told him she had “really serious concerns about your criminal history.”
Peters said he has a “very good job” at a construction company that was set up through a church.
The couple was staying with Peters' mother, according to court testimony, but she told court officials they are no longer allowed there.
Peters was sentenced to 17 years in prison in February 1996, but his conviction and scores of others were overturned in 2004 because the Washington Supreme Court ruled the second-degree murder law was defective. He was re-sentenced in 2005.
Wageman met up with Peters while celebrating her 40th birthday at the Happy Time Tavern, 3506 N. Division St. She was killed at a nearby home where Peters had been staying with his his older gay lover after smoking marijuana and crack cocaine. Peters then used his lover's truck to take Wageman’s body to a friend’s house in Stevens County. Upon arrival, the friend handed Peters a phone so he could turn himself in.
Peters didn't deny killing Wageman but said he didn't remember doing so. Wageman was a single mother who was raising a son who, at the time, was an honor student and musician at Shadle Park High School.
Peters finished his sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in January 2011 and still is completing his two-year probation term, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.