Port Townsend woman under investigation of manslaughter released

Defense says she’s a victim of domestic violence

PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Townsend woman under investigation for second-degree manslaughter has been released on her own recognizance following a preliminary appearance in Jefferson County Superior Court.

No charges had been filed against Celinda Kaitlyn Marie Ladue, 23, as of Friday afternoon. Judge Keith Harper gave the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s office until Tuesday to do so.

Ladue is scheduled to appear in court at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Harper deemed Ladue to not be a flight risk during the Friday hearing.

He also accepted an argument from defense attorney Richard Davies that Ladue had been evaluated by a mental health specialist and found to not be a threat to herself or others.

Ladue had been held at the Jefferson County Jail since Thursday in connection with the death of her boyfriend, John Rowland, 29, of Port Townsend.

Rowland died of a stab wound to his torso Wednesday night at the home the couple shared in the 200 block of Johnson Avenue in Cape George, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Harper declined the prosecution’s request for a $50,000 bail.

“This is a difficult case based on the seriousness of the issue,” said Chris Ashcraft, the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney. “There is no doubt he is dead, and she is responsible.”

Ashcraft said what’s not as clear is whether or not Ladue acted in self-defense.

Ladue called 9-1-1 about 10:18 p.m. Wednesday after the stabbing allegedly took place.

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

Davies said both Ladue and Rowland had been drinking — “both above the legal limit to drive” — that night.

Davies said Ladue is a victim of domestic violence and was defending herself.

“She called 9-1-1 and fully cooperated with the questioning that took place over three hours,” Davies said. “She also has no criminal history.”

Davies told the court that Ladue has family in the area but moved that the court have Ladue stay with her father in Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County.

Ashcraft didn’t object.

“I actually think it would be better for her to be outside the community,” Ashcraft said. “We all know how small this community is.”

Upon her release, Harper ordered Ladue to remain at her father’s known address and appear in court when required. He waived the 72-hour hold at the jail.

“In my opinion, now is not the time a person is held in jail for punishment,” Harper told Ladue.

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

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