Investigation ongoing in manslaughter case

Prosecutor: No charges yet after speaking with investigators; conditions of release cleared

PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Townsend woman under investigation for second-degree manslaughter has had her conditions of release exonerated in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Charges have not yet been filed against Celinda Kaitlyn Marie Ladue, 23, who appeared in front of Judge Jeffrey Bassett of Kitsap County on Monday. An investigation is still ongoing.

Bassett swapped places for a trial with Judge Keith Harper, who had released Ladue on her own recognizance Friday.

Ladue was detained by Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies last Wednesday night following the death of her boyfriend.

John Rowland, 29, of Port Townsend died in the home he shared with Ladue in the 200 block of Johnson Avenue in Cape George after he was stabbed in the torso, Undersheriff Andy Pernsteiner said.

Chris Ashcraft, the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, said Monday the underlying circumstances are serious, but he chose not yet to file charges after he spoke with investigators throughout the weekend.

Ashcraft left open the possibility of charges being filed once the full investigation is complete.

No additional court dates were set.

Ladue called 9-1-1 at about 10:18 p.m. Wednesday after the stabbing took place. Sheriff’s deputies responded along with units from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue. Attempts were unsuccessful to revive Rowland, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ashcraft said what wasn’t immediately clear was whether Ladue acted in self-defense.

“There is no doubt he is dead, and she is responsible,” Ashcraft said during Ladue’s initial court appearance Friday.

Defense attorney Richard Davies said Ladue is a victim of domestic violence.

Both Ladue and Rowland had been drinking and were above the legal limit to drive when the incident occurred, Davies said.

At the time, Harper denied the prosecution’s request for a $50,000 bail. He ordered Ladue to be released from the county jail and to stay at her father’s known address in Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County.

Davies said Ladue cooperated with investigators as she was questioned for three hours and that she has no criminal history.

“Clearly she felt great remorse over what happened and was desperate to keep him alive,” Ashcraft said Friday.

Port Townsend police detectives assisted the sheriff’s office with the investigation along with the State Patrol crime lab, Pernsteiner said.


Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at