Bail was set at $100,000 in Thurston County Superior Court on Tuesday for a Tumwater man now accused of second-degree murder.
Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax found probable cause to charge Ryan D. Werts, 33, with second-degree murder domestic violence and second-degree assault domestic violence after he allegedly assaulted his father-in-law earlier this year.
Werts was arrested for the assault at the time, but his father-in-law, Bruce Anderson, 60, ultimately died from those injuries months later.
The state on Tuesday sought bail of $250,000, calling Werts a safety risk and flight risk after his charges were upgraded to second-degree murder.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Olympian
Andrew Yi, Werts’ public defender, pointed out that Werts has complied with all previous release conditions, including meeting court dates, meeting dates with pre-trial services and checking in weekly with his attorney.
“There have been no violations this entire time,” Yi said.
Kortokrax countered with bail of $100,000, acknowledging that Werts has been in compliance, but he also raised concerns about the physical and emotional impacts associated with the alleged incidents.
According to charging documents:
Werts was originally arrested on Jan. 17 on suspicion of second-degree assault, with substantial bodily harm/domestic violence after two separate incidents with Anderson.
The first incident allegedly happened on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in 2017, and the second incident allegedly happened on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day 2018.
Anderson at first was reluctant to contact law enforcement because he said was in fear and didn’t want to disrupt the family. Additionally, Anderson said that Werts suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
During the second incident, Anderson believed that Werts thought he was still in combat, according to the charging documents.
In the two incidents, Anderson claimed that Werts punched him in the face and body, and kneed him in the ribs. Anderson was admitted to Providence St. Peter Hospital on Jan. 3 for severe injuries. The health of Anderson declined until the point where he opted for hospice care, according to charging documents.
After Anderson’s death in May, a coroner’s investigation was launched. The results of that investigation were released on Nov. 26, according to Tumwater Police Lt. Jen Kolb.
“Based on a thorough review of medical records, law enforcement reports, autopsy findings and toxicology results, cause of death is attributed to hepatic cirrhosis aggravated by delayed effects of blunt force trauma of head and torso,” the coroner’s report reads.
Werts turned himself into the Tumwater Police Department on Monday.