Insanity plea expected in multiple Port Angeles assaults

Riley E. White has said he suffered a brain injury when he was assaulted in Mexico several years ago.

Riley E. White

Riley E. White

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man charged in three assault cases, including one on a Clallam Transit bus, is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity next week, his attorney said Tuesday.

Riley Edge White, 59, of Port Angeles is charged for alleged attacks in a Clallam Transit bus, the Clallam County jail and his South I Street residence.

White has said he suffered a brain injury when he was assaulted in Mexico several years ago. He told Port Angeles Police Officer David Dombrowski that he has seizures and does not remember his actions during his seizures, according to an affidavit for probable cause.

Defense attorney Harry Gasnick said he received a 16-page report from Dr. Kenneth Muscatel, a Seattle psychiatrist who evaluated White, late Thursday.

Gasnick said he expected his client to enter pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity at his next court hearing, set Sept. 30.

A finding of not guilty by reason of insanity could result in prison time or an involuntary stay at a psychiatric hospital.

“The real variable to me is what the prosecution is going to do,” Gasnick said in a Tuesday interview.

The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office could agree with Muscatel’s assessment or hire its own mental health expert to evaluate White, Gasnick said.

County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Muscatel’s evaluations have been used in state prosecutions in the past, Gasnick said.

“He’s an individual that has some credibility,” Gasnick said.

White is being held in the Clallam County jail on $150,000 bail.

He has pleaded not guilty in the alleged assaults of a Clallam Transit bus driver, an 80-year-old passenger, a Clallam County jail officer and a woman who rented a room in his house.

He was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and single counts of first-degree attempted kidnapping and first-degree attempted robbery for the May 28 bus attack. Police said White tried to kidnap the driver and take command of the bus after the assaults.

White was charged with custodial assault for allegedly punching a corrections officer July 11.

Most recently, White was charged with second-degree intentional assault for an alleged unprovoked attack on a housemate Aug. 27.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula