A transient accused of fatally stabbing 32-year-old Casey Heath on the smoking patio of McCoy’s Tavern in downtown Olympia early Tuesday morning was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail during a court hearing Wednesday.
In his request to the court for $1 million bail, deputy prosecuting attorney Joseph Jackson noted that the suspect, David M. Henkleman, is accused of committing a “senseless act of violence” in stabbing Heath repeatedly, for no reason that investigators could ascertain.
One witness on the smoking patio at McCoy’s when the stabbing occurred about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday told police that “it appeared the suspect made some weak punches to the upper body of the victim” after the suspect followed Heath toward the inside door of McCoy’s, court papers state. Heath never made it to the door, the witness told police. “She said that after the subjects separated, she saw that the suspect had a knife that was bloody or rusted.”
After Henkleman then fled McCoy’s, at least two McCoy’s customers gave chase. They told a detective they did not lose sight of Henkleman from the time he left the bar until he was apprehended by Olympia police officers, court papers state. Henkleman had a knife held to his own throat when police made contact with the group in the area of Pear Street and State Avenue. When Henkleman would not drop the knife, an officer used a Taser to subdue him and take him into custody, according to court papers.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor found probable cause to order Henkleman, 34, held on suspicion of a count of second-degree murder in connection with Heath’s death, as well as charges of first-degree and second-degree assault for stab wounds two others suffered while trying to come to Heath’s aid, court papers state. One man was stabbed in the forearm, another in the side, but their wounds are not considered life-threatening.
Heath’s friends and family packed Tabor’s courtroom for Henkleman’s bail hearing Wednesday. Heath’s sisters, Kaila Sundvik, 21, and Jill Kimbler, 32, were there, as was Heath’s girlfriend, Katie Meyer. All three wept outside court as they shared memories of Heath, who was “always in a good mood, always happy,” they said. The trio all said they had never heard of Henkleman until after Tuesday’s tragedy, and that it is their belief that Heath did not know him either.
Kimbler added that Heath always avoided confrontation.
Court records state that Henkleman “has suffered from mental health problems since he was a teenager,” and that he was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Henkleman’s sister, Jennifer, confirmed in a phone interview Wednesday that her brother has been unable to get assistance through Behavioral Health Resources. His sister said her brother is “unstable” but does not have a history of violence. She added that she believes her brother had recently gotten mixed up with people who use methamphetamine, and that that could have had a negative impact on his mental health.
Jennifer Henkleman said she knows “for a fact” that her brother did not know Heath. “I think he was in a delusional state,” she said of her brother. “He just snapped.”
David Henkleman has a criminal history that includes juvenile convictions for arson, malicious mischief and residential burglary. He also has an adult conviction for fourth-degree misdemeanor domestic violence, Jackson said in court.
Heath’s sisters confirmed that Heath was an expert skateboarder, and that he worked two jobs, at the Falls Terrace Restaurant and at Olympia Glass. They added that Heath loved to travel, whether for a pizza-making business he took to concerts all over the country, or for the skateboarding tournaments that took him as far as Australia.
Meyer broke into tears as she described when she last saw Heath alive, when he visited her Monday night to bring her food — “a quesadilla and some carrot cake.”
Heath’s father and one of his brothers were also present during the court hearing.
Flowers and homemade memorials were piled up outside McCoy’s to remember Heath on Wednesday. Heath’s sisters said McCoy’s will hold a benefit for Heath on Saturday. A bartender there confirmed the benefit potluck will start at 5 p.m. Saturday, with a number of bands, including the Have At Its, Little Red Car Wreck, Residents Kings, and AKA and the Heart Hurt Goods. The concert will cost $5 and all proceeds will go to the Heath family, the bartender said.
A video compilation of Heath skateboarding was sent to The Olympian by a friend in New York and can be found on YouTube.Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org