A Woodland woman who claims a Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputy dealt “life-threatening” injuries to her during a welfare check in 2016 was convicted Monday of obstructing an officer and resisting arrest in that incident.
The case is unusual because the incident started with a husband calling deputies to check on his wife’s welfare, and she ended up in jail with severe injuries.
Angela Warner had attempted to turn her trial in Cowlitz District Court on its head by alleging severe police abuse. But at the end of a day-long trial a jury unanimously found her guilty of the two misdemeanors.
Sentencing has not been scheduled.
Warner, who appeared in crutches, testified that Cowlitz Sheriff’s Sgt. Corey Huffine intentionally dealt injuries that were “potentially life-threatening,” including fractures to the pelvis and head trauma that required eye surgery. She told The Daily News her medical bills have exceeded $100,000.
Huffine and deputy Alexis Price said they used force when Warner lunged at Price. This led to a struggle during which Warner allegedly grabbed for Huffine’s gun belt, tried to bite Price, and kicked and struggled while the officers brought her through the house and into the patrol vehicle.
Warner claimed the injuries the officers dealt to her were so debilitating, she was barely able to move at all while being detained.
The prosecution sought to portray Warner as intoxicated on afternoon of the encounter. And its questioning was often tense.
“You remained calm (during the arrest)?” deputy prosecuting attorney Jacob Lervold asked Warner.
“As much as I could, yeah,” Warner replied, “considering I had potentially life-threatening injuries. … I was in physical shock. Do you have any idea what that’s like?”
The incident allegedly began when Warner’s husband, David Warner, called 911 at about 1 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2016, to report that his wife was threatening to use a shotgun to shoot a smoke alarm that had been going off for hours.
“I didn’t believe she would do it, but I was concerned,” David Warner said. He assumed his wife had been drinking and told the children at home to leave because he was fearful, he said.
Nevertheless, both Warners testified she was not intoxicated at the time of the incident. (He was not home at the time, however, and he acknowledged that he’d seen his wife drink before noon on other occasions.)
“My state of mind was very clear,” said Angela Warner, who was 47 at the time.
Deputy Price testified that she was dispatched about a person who was “intoxicated (and) trying to shoot a smoke alarm.” She said she spoke to Warner on the phone on the drive over and Warner’s speech was slurred.
Both officers and Warner agreed that Warner invited Price in and showed her the bedroom where the shotgun and smoke alarm were. But officers say Warner was acting confused and erratic.
“She became extremely accusatory,” Price said. “(She) wanted to know who called the cops on her.”
Price said she discreetly unloaded the shotgun shells into a drawer prior to Huffine’s arrival. Warner, however, testified that Huffine was present when Price unloaded the gun, and that she had given Price permission to unload it.
Price and Huffine said asked Warner to call her husband to ask if there was a friend they could leave the shotgun and two other guns in the house with. He provided a number for a friend and the code to the safe, Price said, but the person didn’t answer.
After asking her to call her husband again, Price said, Warner became “extremely hostile” and “lunged” towards her when she went to remove other guns from the bedroom closet.
Warner, however, said she showed officers where the guns were located and gave them the codes to unlock them. After the officers took three guns out of the house, she said, they re-entered the house to search the closet again.
“Without saying a word to me, (they) turned around went into my bedroom,” Warner said.
“At this point, the deputies were not going about their official duties,” said Patricia VanRollins, Warner’s attorney. “They were intruders.”
Huffine said he moved in front of Warner when she moved towards Price. Warner tried to get past him by grabbing at his hands, Huffine testified, and he took her to the ground to restrain her.
Warner vehemently denied that she lunged at Huffine, or that she would ever attack a police officer.
“I was raised with more values and integrity than most people have in their pinky finger,” she said.
Warner claimed Huffine intentionally dislocated her left shoulder while taking her to the ground, and that she lost consciousness.
Warner was detained briefly in jail and the guns were later returned to her husband. Lervold, the prosecutor, asked David Warner why he subsequently requested a protection order against this wife.
“I was concerned,” he replied, “because I was told (at the time) she had just assaulted a deputy.”
VanRollins said she intends to appeal the guilty verdict if District Court Judge David Koss upholds it on Thursday.