Two caregivers plead not guilty to manslaughter, theft, in death of Marrowstone Island woman, 77

PORT TOWNSEND — Two Port Townsend residents have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and theft charges stemming from the death of a 77-year-old Marrowstone Island woman who police said was in their care.

Richard M. Huber, 56, and Betty June Haley, 70, are accused of neglecting Huber’s mother, Kathleen Johnson, and contributing to her April 18 death.

They also are accused of taking some $20,000 from Johnson’s bank accounts.

Trial is set for Nov. 4-5 in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Arrested Aug. 9 in Port Townsend, each has posted the $10,000 set by Superior Court Judge Keith Harper on Aug. 12, when each was charged with first-degree manslaughter and first-degree theft.

Charges of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal mistreatment-domestic violence were added at their Friday arraignment by Jefferson County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft.

The defendants can be convicted of either of the manslaughter charges but not both, court documents say.

The two are scheduled for an omnibus hearing Sept. 20, a readiness hearing Oct. 11 and a pretrial hearing Oct. 25.

According to a probable-cause statement filed with the court, Huber and Haley had moved in with Johnson in October 2012 after Johnson’s husband died.

On April 14, Huber brought Johnson into the emergency room at Jefferson Healthcare hospital.

Hospital personnel contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, saying Johnson wore soiled clothing, her hair was matted, and her knees were stained with dried blood.

The next day, the Sheriff’s Office learned that Johnson was severely dehydrated and in renal failure, with a fractured kneecap and multi-organ failure, the report said.

She died April 18.

During a subsequent investigation, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Barb Garrett said she found that Huber had removed $20,000 from Johnson’s bank accounts shortly after Johnson’s huband, Ray, had died.

Garrett said Kathleen Johnson had suffered “a rapid decline into dementia” after her husband died and that Haley, who would “push and yell at” Johnson, was executing control over Huber.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or

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