Defendant in WA power substation attacks released to electronic monitoring. Here’s why
March 3, 2023 Updated Fri., March 3, 2023 at 9:26 p.m.
A man accused of attacking power substations on Christmas Day in Pierce County was ordered released to electronic monitoring Friday to pursue outside medical treatment.
Chief Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura told 40-year-old Jeremy Crahan at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Tacoma that he’d be released to his father as soon as he’s processed out of the federal detention facility.
Defense attorney Lance Hester filed a motion for his client’s release Feb. 15. He told the court Friday that Crahan’s medical condition is serious and that he’s faced problems such as deep vein thrombosis, cellulitis and sepsis.
He was hospitalized for five days at the end of January, Hester said, and staff at the hospital asked him to sign a living will.
“He is suffering,” the attorney told the court.
Thousands lost power Dec. 25 following the attacks on substations in South Hill, Elk Plain, Graham and Kapowsin. Matthew Greenwood, 32, also is accused in the attacks. Both Puyallup, Washington, men were arrested Dec. 31 and booked into the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, the News Tribune reported. Both were ordered held without bail. They could face up to 20 years on a charge of conspiracy to damage energy facilities, and Greenwood could face an additional 10 years on a charge of possessing unregistered firearms, the News Tribune reported.
Greenwood allegedly told investigators the attacks were to help cover up burglaries at local businesses, according to court records.
The motion for Crahan’s release said in part: “Mr. Crahan reports that he became septic at a time shortly following our last hearing on this case. He was suffering the bloating and inflamed consequences of blood clotting, and his blood got infected.”
After he returned to the federal detention facility from the hospital, the motion claims: “He has reported that medical staff have taken the liberty to cut his antibiotic dosing in half, and have told him that it is because they have not refilled the prescription.”
Hester told the court that on a recent visit with Crahan at the federal detention facility he noticed discoloration on his client’s legs. He also described trouble with his client’s gait.
“The shuffle was so slow and so deliberate,” he told the court.
Hester told the court he doesn’t believe Crahan is a flight risk.
He said he recognized that Crahan has a significant criminal history. The News Tribune reported the most recent of Crahan’s 12 felony convictions since 2005 was in 2016 in a residential burglary case.
Hester told the court his client’s “main objective” is to manage his medical condition.
“He is doing all he can to report these things” to the medical professionals at the detention facility, Hester said.
His family would be able to help him arrange outside treatment, and he has medical insurance, the attorney said.
“This isn’t some sort of pipe dream of his,” Hester told the court.
Hester also argued that his client has been so preoccupied with his medical condition that it’s been hard to connect with him about the legal issues in the case.
“I think it would bring him some emotional relief,” Hester said about his client’s request for a medical release to electronic monitoring.
Assistant U.S. attorney Todd Greenberg told the court that “it’s important to the government that Mr. Crahan gets appropriate medical care.”
Greenberg also said the records the government has “are not consistent with what we’re hearing.” He said the records suggest Crahan’s condition has been improving with antibiotics and that he’s scheduled for an infectious-disease consultation.
Crahan’s condition has been present for about a year “in various forms” and is “undoubtedly a serious condition,” the prosecutor said.
Greenberg argued nothing before the court showed the care he’s been getting is untimely or inadequate.
“This presents the court with an interesting problem,” Creatura said.
He noted that federal pretrial services initially recommended that Crahan be released to electronic monitoring and has maintained that recommendation.
Creatura said when he previously declined to release Crahan pending a grand jury indictment, he’d been concerned about his prior record, including his failure to show up to court and attempts to elude police. He also said the nature of the alleged offense made him worry that Crahan could be a danger to the community.
His medical situation was stable at the time, Creatura said.
“I do believe that situation has changed,” Creatura said. “I can recognize that the availability of care when someone is in detention may not be at the highest level,” especially when medical insurance allows someone to seek outside care.
He said the pretrial services conditions include electronic monitoring “on the level of home detention,” and that Crahan has to get permission from pretrial services when he needs to go out.
“You need to comply carefully with those conditions,” Creatura told him. “I’m ready to put you back in jail if I need to.”
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