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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Four may be charged in assault at WSU

Misdemeanor urged for victim’s friend

Pullman police are recommending felony charges against four people connected to an assault on Washington State University instructor David Warner.

Police also want prosecutors to charge the instructor’s friend, Lawrence J. McDonald, with a misdemeanor for his part in the March 30 melee.

McDonald, who told police he was too drunk to remember what happened in the parking lot of WSU-owned Adams Mall, is accused of harassing people and challenging passers-by to fights. He had been drinking with Warner at two bars earlier that night, police said.

They were at the parking lot waiting for a friend.

Surveillance video shows Warner acting the part of peacemaker – arms outstretched as he positions himself between McDonald and a group of college-age people in the area near Stubblefields bar.

Warner tried to calm his friend, but he was tackled as McDonald advanced toward the group.

“The one person that did not do anything to escalate the situation was Warner,” police Chief Gary Jenkins said.

Surveillance footage shows Warner falling to the ground out of view of security cameras, behind a parked white car.

Police earlier arrested Joshua W. Nantz, John “Matt” Cabanos-Soriano and Robert D. Bean after they were identified by a girl shown in surveillance footage, Madeline A. Fouts. The men were released but could now face felony assault charges.

Nantz is a WSU student. Cabanos-Soriano and Bean do not attent WSU and live near Seattle.

Fouts, who faces possible felony charges of helping the assault suspects and making false statements to police, is a WSU student who eventually cooperated with authorities.

Jenkins said the suspects confirmed their involvement in text messages to each other, collaborating on their stories in case they were identified, according to phone records obtained by detectives. The assault left Warner, who teaches in WSU’s Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies, hospitalized in critical condition for two weeks with serious head trauma.

He is now undergoing therapy at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane.

Detectives continue to await medical reports to learn if Warner’s injuries were caused by falling to the ground, from punches to the head, or both. Detectives spoke to Warner, but he had no recollection of the assault and his communication was impaired, Jenkins said.

Detectives interviewed McDonald again earlier this month and arrested him on suspicion of two misdemeanors – attempted fourth-degree assault against Bean and disorderly conduct. He has been released.

Formal charges have not been filed, 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 as he is out of the office for military leave, he said.

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