Second-degree murder charged filed against Sequim man

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A charge of second-degree murder was filed this afternoon against a Sequim man accused in the death of a Marysville man after a fight in Port Angeles two weeks ago.

Donald G. Knechtel, 48, died June 10 of injuries sustained during an altercation outside the Front Street Alibi bar June 1.

Casey Joseph Balch, 21, pleaded not guilty last Friday to first- and second-degree assault charges at his arraignment in Clallam County Superior Court.

He will be arraigned on the new charge at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday before Judge Brooke Taylor at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood had set a trial date of Oct. 1. That could be postponed in light of the additional charge.

Witnesses told police that when Knechtel, 48, of Marysville, attempted to break up a fight between Balch, 21, of Sequim, and another man, Balch punched Knechtel, knocking him to the ground, where he hit his head.

Knechtel was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

According to a Port Angeles Police report, Dr. Brian Mazrim, King County associate medical examiner, determined that Knechtel died of cerebral hemorrhaging resulting from blunt force trauma to the back of the head, which caused multiple skull fractures.

Mazrim classified the manner of death as “homicidal violence,” based on injuries, witness observations and statements.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg said earlier this week that he would decide whether to file new charges against Balchby today, and was awaiting further information from a Port Angeles Police Department investigation into the case.

Balch was released on $50,000 bond after his first arraignment, with the stipulation that he wear a bracelet equipped with a locating device that detects the presence of alcohol, Troberg said.
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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 15. 2012 5:39PM
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