Two insanity pleas issued by man accused in three assaults

Riley Edge White, 59, changed two not-guilty pleas to not guilty by reason of insanity on a bus-attack charge and in an alleged Aug. 27 attack on a renter at his Port Angeles home.

Riley E. White

Riley E. White

PORT ANGELES — Two pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity have been entered by a Port Angeles man charged in three assault cases, including an alleged attack May 28 on a Clallam County Transit bus.

In Clallam County Superior Court on Friday, Riley Edge White, 59, changed two not-guilty pleas to not guilty by reason of insanity on the bus-attack charge and in an alleged Aug. 27 attack on a renter at his Port Angeles home.

His not-guilty plea remains on a custodial assault charge for allegedly punching a Clallam County jail corrections officer July 11.

In the same court hearing Friday, Judge Christopher Melly increased White’s bail from $150,000 to $200,000.

Although in jail for weeks, White “does have the ability, perhaps” to secure bond, Melly said.

Because of that, and White’s alleged firearms possession, Melly said he was increasing White’s bail.

White had allegedly mailed three letters to an assault victim in violation of a protection order and had a firearm at his home that he was not supposed to have by order of the court.

“He was writing letters to a victim that he beat to a bloody pulp,” Michele Devlin, Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, told Melly.

In an interview after the hearing, Devlin said, “I would not say [the letters] were threatening, per se, but he was still violating a protection order.”

A status hearing on the charges was set for Oct. 14.

It was also decided Friday that White will undergo a second mental evaluation at Devlin’s request.

White already has received a mental evaluation at the request of his attorney, Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender.

The 16-page report by neuropsychologist Kenneth Muscatel of Seattle is not public but will be when it is admitted as evidence at trial or becomes part of a motion, Gasnick said Saturday.

According to an affidavit for probable cause, White said he has seizures during which he loses his memory due to a brain injury caused when he was assaulted several years ago.

Devlin said White may be tried on the assault cases by the end of the year.

Devlin also told Melly during the hearing that White had violated his original May 31 conditions of release by possessing a deadly weapon a roommate found at the Port Angeles home that White owns on South I Street and where he rents out rooms.

White has been incarcerated since Aug. 27, according to jail records.

He had been able to make bail after initially being charged in the bus attack.

Devlin told Melly that White “somehow” had found the ability to keep posting bond.

Gasnick did not oppose the increase.

“He’s got a big chunk of bail in District Court, too,” Gasnick said.

One room at White’s home was rented to a woman he allegedly assaulted Aug. 27 while she was getting a drink of water at the kitchen sink.

She was treated at Olympic Medical Center for a broken nose and released.

He also allegedly attacked an 80-year-0ld woman on the bus May 28.

A finding of not guilty by reason of insanity could result in a prison sentence or involuntary commitment at a psychiatric hospital.

“We’ll see you back here on the 14th of October, Mr. White,” Melly said in bringing Friday’s hearing to a close.

White kept silent and slightly nodded his head before being led out of the courtroom and back to jail.

Devlin said later she did not know when White would be tried.

“It depends on when we get the evaluation and what they say,” she said.

Gasnick said Saturday he expected White’s second evaluation to be conducted at the jail by Western State Hospital personnel.

Western State also will review Muscatel’s report before issuing a report.

“I would think if there is a trial it will probably take place by the end of the year,” Gasnick said.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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