Three linked to fake Sequim kidnapping must come back to Clallam court
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Jason Holden leaves the Clalllam County District Court bench Thursday after being charged with disorderly conduct for a staged kidnapping April 13 in Sequim’s Carrie Blake Park. — Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES –– The three people accused of disorderly conduct for staging a kindapping in Sequim on April 13 that sparked national outrage were released to their own recognizance after their arraignment was delayed a week by an inconsistency in the city’s codes.

Cousins Jason and Jesse Holden, both 25, and Shellie Baskins, 34, had their first appearance on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges in Clallam County District Court Thursday.

The 25-year-old Holden cousins generated national controversy when they plucked their Baskins’ son from a bench in the park while wearing ski masks.

They then put the boy in a van and sped off while angered parents at the park chased after them.

One of those parents was Kassandra Groff, who phoned 9-1-1 after the kidnapping.

“You guys are real pieces of shit,” Groff yelled at the Holdens and Baskins yelled at the trio in the corridor of the courthouse’s second floor after their court appearance.

The three were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but discrepancies over the maximum penalty attached to the municipal crime they were charged with led Judge Rick Porter to set arraignment back until next Thursday, June 19.

Sequim City Attorney Craig Ritchie initially said they would not face charges, saying “scaring the hell out of people is not a crime,” but reversed field and filed charges in district court May 30.

Judge Porter said the chapter of the city’s code that makes disorderly conduct a crime refers to state guidelines for the same crime.

Except the state has no such crime, Porter said.

The misdemeanor could carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail under state law, Porter said, but prosecutor Bill Shea said Sequim’s code could carry a one-year prison term.

Shea and the attorneys for the Holdens and Baskins agreed to review the penalty over the next week.

The three were released on their own recogizance after Thursday’s hearing.

They criticized the city for waiting almost two months to file charges.

“Do they even know what they’re charging us with?” Baskins said.

They said after the video appeared in international news outlets that they were trying to make a movie to raise awareness about kidnapping.

The Holdens apologized on national television, saying their intention was to raise awareness and not to perform a prank.

“It was a traumatic thing they put me and my son through,” Theresa Hedgecock, another parent who was in the park that day, said Thursday.

“I think the maximum penalty should definitely be implemented.”

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 12. 2014 2:37PM
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