May 14, 2013 in Region

Pullman police conclude investigation of Warner assault

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Video: Surveillance footage shows WSU instructor assault

Pullman Police investigators are recommending charges against five individuals connected to the assault of a WSU instructor.

A verbal confrontation outside the Adams Mall on Pullman’s College Hill led to the assault of David Warner, an instructor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies. Surveillance footage shows Warner trying to prevent a confrontation between his friend, Lawrence J. McDonald, and a group of college-aged people.

Surveillance footage shows Warner stretching his arms out between two feuding parties before he’s tackled to the ground as McDonald advanced toward the group to throw a punch. The suspects are identified as Madeline A. Fouts, Joshua W. Nantz, John “Matt” Cabanos-Soriano and Robert D. Bean.

Warner was hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center following the assault. He stayed in critical condition for about two weeks before being transferred to a Post Falls facility for serious head trauma. He’s now at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane.

Detectives are waiting on medical reports to learn if Warner was either injured by his fall to the ground, from a punch to the head by the suspects or both. Warner is unable to provide specific details of the assault, according to police.

Warner, McDonald had been drinking with a friend at two bars earlier that night, police said. The friend went to get food while Warner and McDonald waited at the Adams Mall parking lot.

McDonald told police he could not remember the events leading up to the assault because. Police believe he was heavily intoxicated. Witnesses told police he was harassing people, challenging people walking by to a fight him, police said.

McDonald insulted Fouts, she told police. Her friends, Nantz, Soriano and Bean had been drinking at Stubblefields. Warner tried to calm down McDonald after he made similar comments to Bean.

The suspects told Warner to take his friend home, but they surrounded them, police said. Warner tried to separate McDonald, but he advanced toward Bean and threw a punch.

Surveillance footage shows the group tackling Warner to the ground as he intervened in the confrontation – out of a view of security cameras behind a parked white car. Detectives arrested McDonald for disorderly conduct attempted fourth-degree assault against Bean earlier this month after they interviewed him again. He was released because his charges are misdemeanors.

Although Fouts, a WSU student, told police the names of the suspects, her friends, she faces felony charges of rendering criminal assistance for helping her friends leave the scene and lying to investigators about the assault. Nantz, Soriano and Bean were arrested on assault charges, but were released after appearing in Whitman County Superior Court.

Nantz is also a student of WSU and faces felony and misdemeanor assault and failing to notify authorities after Warner was critically injured. Soriano and Bean, both residents of Western Washington, face the same charges.

Surveillance footage shows Warner lying on the ground motionless after the assault as a large crowd of witnesses gathered around him. Bar staff ran up the sidewalk to help Warner and call authorities, cameras show, as others took photos on their phones.

Formal charges have not been filed yet, according to Whitman County prosecutor Bill Druffel. He’s waiting for additional medical reports to be filed before making a decision which could take two weeks while he’s out of the office for military leave, he said.

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