The Olympia Police Department arrested two people Wednesday after they allegedly tried to bribe the victim of a downtown Olympia stabbing — an Aug. 16 incident that might have been racially motivated.
Robert J. Fechtner and Cassie L. Hickam, both 34, appeared before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price on Thursday.
The judge set bail at $75,000 for Fechtner and $10,000 for Hickam. He found probable cause to charge both defendants with bribing a witness.
Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler said both defendants have lengthy criminal histories. According to Washington State Patrol records, Fechtner was convicted in 1999 of first-degree attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
“The indication we have is that Mr. Fechtner is a member of a white supremacist group,” Wheeler said. “He is a very violent individual.”
Fechtner and Hickam are suspected of trying to bribe a man allegedly stabbed by Daniel B. Rowe, 32, on Aug. 16 outside of a downtown Olympia bar. The victim’s girlfriend was allegedly grazed by Rowe’s knife.
Based on Rowe’s white supremacist tattoos — reading “skinhead,” “white power” and “hooligan,” and featuring a Confederate flag — Olympia police officers believe the altercation was racially motivated.
Rowe also allegedly told officers that the attack was in response to anti-police graffiti that had been painted on businesses in downtown Olympia a few days earlier.
Rowe is facing five felony charges: two counts of second degree assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of malicious harassment and one count of bribing a witness.
He remains in the Thurston County jail.
Court documents give the following account:
As officers were investigating the Aug. 16 stabbing, they learned that two unknown people, believed to be associated with Rowe, were attempting to bribe the male victim in the case.
They allegedly offered to pay the man $2,000 to not cooperate with police and fail to show up for court.
One of the suspects was identified as Hickam, and officers learned that she communicated with Rowe via phone calls and mail after the stabbing while he was in jail.
When she and Fechtner, her boyfriend, spoke to Rowe, they commonly talked about Rowe’s “brother” not showing up for court. Police determined that they were using “brother” as a code for the victim.
They found that Rowe provided Hickam with instructions about how to reach the victim, and how the victim needed to communicate with prosecutors in order to receive his bribe.
Officers received a warrant and taped a conversation between Hickam and the victim.
She said that she was a messenger for Rowe and his associates, and that she would give him money in return for his cooperation.