Bail doubled after obscene gesture

Sequim man accused of hate crime, arson

PORT ANGELES — Bail has been set at $100,000 for a Sequim man accused of a hate crime, arson and fleeing from police.

Samuel Elliot Ketchum, 39, repeatedly used the F-word and raised his middle finger at the court Thursday, prompting Superior Court Judge Brent Basden to double the requested bail amount.

“Mr. Ketchum’s extraordinary disrespect and contempt for the court and this process creates in the court’s mind an extraordinary risk of what he might do when he gets out,” Basden said after muting Ketchum’s microphone.

“I believe he is a substantial risk to commit a violent crime.”

Deputy Prosecuting attorney Sarah Woolman had requested a $50,000 bail for Ketchum based on the nature of the allegations.

The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will consider filing formal charges against Ketchum at his next court appearance at 1 p.m. Monday.

Ketchum was accused of stating that he was “going to kill me an (N-word)” before attempting to ram a car occupied by a Black man on Ediz Hook at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Port Angeles police alleged that Ketchum also set fire to the entrance sign at Coast Guard Group Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles and destroyed a light that illuminates the sign.

A woman who was in the car with the man who Ketchum allegedly threatened with racial slurs said she had to veer out of the way to avoid the pickup that Ketchum was driving.

“I don’t know if he is drunk or crazy,” the woman told dispatchers.

Ketchum drove with his head out of the window of the pickup while holding a bottle of vodka and directing his middle finger at pursuing police, Officer Tyler Mueller wrote in the arrest narrative.

Police used spike strips to stop the Toyota pickup on Marine Drive.

Mueller said he deployed a stun gun to stop a fleeing Ketchum, who threatened to kill the officer and repeatedly used the F-word while he was being handcuffed, court papers said.

Police found in the pickup what appeared to be two Molotov cocktails and a gallon of accelerant, Port Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Jason Viada said in a Wednesday interview.

“The state’s concerned by the facts here,” Woolman said at Ketchum’s bail hearing.

Defense attorney Harry Gasnick requested that Basden release Ketchum on his personal recognizance, noting that he had family in the area who had raised concerns about his mental health in civil court pleadings.

“My understating is he is a gentleman of very limited financial resources,” Gasnick said.

“Because you guys extorted me, A—holes,” Ketchum said, interrupting his attorney. “F— you.”

Basden muted Ketchum’s microphone a second time before imposing a $100,000 bail.

The judge also signed an order for Ketchum to have a competency evaluation.

“It may be that some of Mr. Ketchum’s behavior in the courtroom today is a result of mental health issues,” Basden said.

“For that reason, I’m not finding him in contempt (of court) and just imposing jail time in the hopes that perhaps we can sort that out.”


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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