Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Crime report for the week of March 2

Former Valley Vision optometrist charged for indecent liberties former Valley Vision optometrist Kelly J. Cochrane, 50, faces criminal charges for allegedly sexually touching two of his female assistants. Cochrane was charged Monday by the Walla Walla County Superior Court with two counts of indecent liberties.

Cochrane, who lives in Kahlotus, allegedly placed his hands inside the women’s pants and fondled their breasts. According to the police report, one of the women, who assisted Cochrane at Valley Vision for seven years, said the abuse “began in earnest about two years ago for her.” The women filed the report last September when they discovered that Cochrane had victimized them both.

Cochrane will appear in court March 17 for the charges.

Walla Walla resident charged with murder for stabbing brother
A Walla Walla resident who allegedly stabbed his brother to death during a fight last month is being pleaded innocent Monday to a charge of second-degree murder.

Johnny Angel Leal, 27, of 162 Maple St., will appear in the Walla Walla County Superior Court on April 7-10.

Leal is accused of killing his brother, Pedro J. Ramirez, in the living room of their residence after 1 a.m. on Feb. 21. The official cause of death was a single stab wound to an artery below Ramirez’s clavicle bone.

Leal was allegedly pinned to the floor by Ramirez, who punched him unrelentingly. Leal told authorities that he stabbed his brother in self-defense; however, according to Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle, the defendant gave differing testimonies.

If Leal is convicted as charged he will serve the standard-range prison term of 11-19 1/2 years for his crime.

Walla Walla man convicted for possession of child pornography Michael N. Belford, 19, of 1414 Monroe St. was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Monday for the possession of child pornography on computer hard drives, which were found in his residence last year.

His 17 year sentence is twice as long as the longest typical standard-range prison term because, according to Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht, Belford has been convicted of a total of 16 child pornography charges in three separate instances. “The public needs protection,” said Schacht.

According to Belford’s former foster mother, Lucy Linker, he had a “horrible” life, and suffers from a developmental disorder that enables him to function at an emotional level no greater than that of a 14 or 15-year-old.

Walla Walla police Detective Mike Boettcher said that the images are some of the most disturbing he has encountered.

“We don’t have answers in this world for a problem like this,” said Schacht.

Walla Walla man sentenced for marijuana Christopher Lee Corn, 23, who pleaded guilty to being in connection with what police have described as a “major marijuana-selling operation” at his residence, was sentenced on Monday to 60 serve 60 days in the Walla Walla County Jail.

Corn will be serving his term on the Department of Corrections work crew. Additionally, he was placed on a year of community custody and charged $3,237 in fines.

Corn was arrested with co-defendant Veronica Rosa Bentley, 29, on Jan. 24 after the Emergency Services Unit raided their home at 726 Ninth Ave. A gallon-sized bag of suspected marijuana as well as digital scales were allegedly found.

-Information with help from union-bulletin.com

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