Trial for man accused of fatally stabbing Casey Heath starts Wednesday

OlympianNovember 5, 2013 

Jury selection in the murder trial of David Henkleman, accused of fatally stabbing 32-year-old Casey Heath on the smoking patio of McCoy’s Tavern in downtown Olympia Dec. 4, begins on Wednesday morning in Thurston County Superior Court.

Henkleman, 35, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Heath’s death, in addition to first-degree assault and second-degree assault for allegedly stabbing two men who came to Heath’s aid that night.

During a court hearing last year, a prosecutor called Heath’s homicide “a senseless act of violence,” and said there was no apparent motive to the attack that killed him. According to court papers, during an interview with Olympia police six hours after Heath’s homicide, Henkleman said “he had no recollection of the events in question.”

Olympia police were dispatched to McCoy’s in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue E. downtown about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 4 on a report of a stabbing. Several bar patrons chased Henkleman out the door for several blocks after he fled with a knife. Responding police intercepted Henkelman several blocks from McCoy’s.

Henkleman held a knife to his own throat when police contacted him at Pear Street and State Avenue. Officers then used a Taser to apprehend Henkleman after he refused to drop the knife, which was later recovered by police.

According to court papers, bar patrons who chased Henkleman outside of McCoy’s told a detective that they did not lose sight of the suspect from the time he left the bar, up until he was placed under arrest.

There was an outpouring of grief in the Olympia community after Heath’s homicide. He was remembered as an expert skateboarder who competed at both local and national events. There were numerous benefit concerts to help Heath’s family with expenses after his death.

A crowd of about 400 people, from fellow skateboarders who marvelled at Heath’s tricks at Yauger Park, to family and friends, packed the Olympia Ballroom for a memorial in mid-December.

Court records state that Henkleman “has suffered from mental health problems since he was a teenager,” and he was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has a criminal history that includes juvenile convictions for arson, malicious mischief and residential burglary. He has an adult conviction for fourth-degree misdemeanor domestic violence.

Senior Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers will prosecute Henkleman during the jury trial, which is expected to last approximately two weeks. Tacoma attorney Sunni Ko is representing Henkleman at trial.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

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