Clallam jail inmate pleads guilty to intimidating witness, felony harassment

PORT ANGELES — Marshall Jay Lewis will soon lose the distinction of being the longest-serving inmate at the Clallam County jail.

The 40-year-old Sedro-Woolley man had been scheduled for a Superior Court trial Monday on two felony counts.

Instead, Lewis pleaded guilty to intimidating a witness and felony harassment of a former girlfriend whose Beaver-area home he was convicted of trying to burn down early New Year’s Day 2016.

Lewis’ attorney, Charlie Commeree of Clallam Public Defender, notified the court Friday that Lewis would be changing his not-guilty plea.

Lewis, in the jail since Jan. 22, 2016, will be sentenced Oct. 9 to a recommended 5½ to 7½ years for intimidating and 3½ to more than 4½ years for harassment based on what Judge Erik Rohrer said was Lewis’ “fairly hefty” offender score of 8.

He did not explain his change of plea to Rohrer.

Commeree said it is likely Lewis will serve the sentences concurrently rather than consecutively.

It will be added to the 10½ years Lewis was sentenced to May 18 after a jury convicted him of first-degree arson, residential burglary, cyberstalking and telephone harassment — all, like the charges he pleaded guilty to Monday, with domestic violence enhancements.

He also can be sentenced to 12 months of community custody on the intimidation conviction.

According to court records, after a woman broke up with Lewis, the former executive chef sent her dozens of threatening text messages and voicemails on his way from Sedro-Woolley to her house, which he tried to set ablaze after finding she was not there.

He set two fires, including one on her bed, according to court records.

In her statement to the court, the woman said Lewis deserves maximum sentences for his crimes.

“You robbed my children and me of our home, our belongings and at times my peace of mind and happiness,” she said.

Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender said at the May 8 sentencing hearing that Lewis was abandoned by his mother when he was 2, was a victim of sexual abuse and was “grossly intoxicated” when he set fire to the house.

Commeree said the arson, residential burglary, cyberstalking and telephone harassment convictions have been appealed to the state Court of Appeals.

The harassment and intimidating charges were connected to a threatening letter Lewis wrote from the county jail to the woman, which was intercepted April 23, three weeks after the jury convicted him.

It contained threats of physical violence toward the woman and her family.

Lewis had signed it “John Doe,” according to court documents. It also was signed by what appeared to be the “SS” symbol associated with neo-Nazi groups.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@ peninsuladailynews.com.