Port Angeles man accused of police assault also charged with witness tampering
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Authorities said Jacob Kendall Backman, 35, allegedly told a woman with him that day to lie about what happened.
Backman was charged Wednesday with one count of tampering with a witness, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The new charge comes in addition to one count each of first-degree assault and second-degree assault, both with a deadly weapon.
The assault charges were filed after Backman allegedly drove a pickup truck directly at Port Angeles Police Officer Bruce Fernie at about 6:40 p.m. May 13 in the 300 block of East Second Street after Fernie told him to stop several times.
Fernie had to use his hands to push off the front of the truck to avoid being run over, according to police accounts.
The woman in the truck with Backman when he allegedly tried to run down Fernie told investigators she recently had received a letter from Backman telling her how to testify regarding the incident.
The woman said Backman had instructed her to say that Fernie was farther away from the truck than she initially had told police and asked her to say Backman drove “slowly” past the officer.
Backman also told the woman to say Fernie hit the truck with his hand twice while saying “stop,” which she said she did not remember happening, and that Backman had the hood of his dark brown sweatshirt up the whole time, which the woman said he did not.
“Backman also wrote to [the woman], 'Please read this a few times before court and do not tell anyone about me writing this,'” Officer Thomas Kuch wrote in a probable-cause statement filed in the case.
Backman has pleaded not guilty to all three charges and is set to appear in Clallam County Superior Court on Friday for a case status hearing.
Backman remained Saturday in the Clallam County jail on $155,000 bail.
Police arrested Backman on May 24 after receiving a tip through North Olympic Crime Stoppers that he was near a home in the 1000 block of West 15th Street.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 14. 2013 6:57PM