A jury convicted David Henkleman of second-degree murder and two counts of assault Thursday in connection with Casey Heath’s stabbing on the smoking patio of McCoy’s Tavern last year.
Now, Henkleman faces a prison sentence of up to 35 years for the crimes. His sentencing date has not been set.
“It won’t bring him back, but I guess we got the best,” Heath’s father, David Heath, said after the verdict was read.
Heath’s girlfriend, Katie Meyer, said she is still mourning her loss.
“I’m satisfied that he was found guilty on all counts,” Meyer said. “But I’m still heartbroken every day. Not a day goes by without thinking of him.”
Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers presented evidence at trial that Henkleman, 35, stabbed Heath 13 times in an unprovoked attack about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 4. The two did not know each other, said Olympia Police Detective Chris Johnstone.
Henkleman’s attorney, Sunni Ko, conceded at trial that her client committed second-degree murder, but argued that Henkleman should not be convicted of first-degree assault and second-degree assault for stabbing two of Heath’s friends who came to his aid.
Ko contended at trial that Henkleman acted in self-defense in stabbing Heath’s friends. The two friends suffered superficial stab wounds after coming to Heath’s aid.
Outside court Heath’s family thanked Detective Johnstone for his work on the case.
Still, Johnstone said he was unable to determine any motive for Heath’s homicide. Ko said at trial that Henkleman was highly intoxicated the night of Heath’s death and remembered nothing of what happened.
Heath, who was 32 when he died, was an expert skateboarder, and will be remembered by his hundreds of friends in Olympia, his father said.
“He got along with everybody,” David Heath said.
John Poole, a friend who came to Heath’s aid at McCoy’s and was stabbed in the arm, said Heath “was one of the nicest guys in Olympia.”
“I miss him so much,” Poole said. “He didn’t even fight because he’s a peaceful dude. He was an incredible guy.”
Henkleman’s sister, Jenny von Henkelman, who uses a different spelling of the last name, said outside court that her brother suffers from mental illness and was trying to get psychiatric help shortly before Heath’s homicide.
“I can’t say I’m sorry enough,” she said. “He was seeking help.”
She said the day after the incident, she got a letter about a psychiatric appointment for her brother.
“All I could do was sob,” she said. “Two lives have been ruined.”
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org