Wednesday, October 17, 2001
By CRAIG HOWARD
Gorge News Report
Just over two months after she was arrested for allegedly discussing a murder-for-hire scheme to kill her husband as well as an arson-related insurance scam, Denise Carlene Losey, of Dallesport, had all charges against her dropped.
Jim Hagarty, outgoing Klickitat County prosecuting attorney, filed an order of dismissal in county court on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
"We don't feel like we can move ahead on it," said Hagarty. "We believe that based on the evidence, the circumstances and statements from witnesses that we could not prove her (Losey's) guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
Gwendolyn Grundei, Losey's attorney, expressed relief that her client had been vindicated, but added that she felt a significant amount of damage has already been inflicted.
"The dismissal of the criminal case is a big event, but she (Losey) can't just pick up her life the way that it was," said Grundei from her Goldendale law office. "Her life has been totally ripped apart."
On July 9, Ronald Losey, Denise's husband, contacted police after apparently hearing about his wife's alleged murder plot from the couple's 12-year-old stepson. Denise Losey was arrested later that day.
The stepson later recanted some of his statements concerning Denise's alleged murder plot, according to Hagarty.
Losey, 28, spent 12 days behind bars at the Klickitat County Jail. During her incarceration, Ron Losey was interviewed by investigators concerning his wife's alleged plan to collaborate with him on a plan to burn down their house to collect insurance money. Officials also questioned Ron about discussions between Denise and the stepson in which she allegedly brought up a plan to have him killed.
The stepson and nephew were also interviewed by police following Losey's arrest. According to court records, the nephew said "he thought at first that Denise was just joking until she started to plot it out."
A week after her arrest, Denise Losey pleaded not guilty to felony charges of solicitation to commit murder and solicitation to commit arson.
Losey, who had no prior criminal record before the charges were filed, maintained throughout the investigation that her conversations regarding the arson and murder of her husband were taken out of context and that she never seriously considered following through with the plans.
According to a police affidavit, Losey "laughed" at questions posed by investigators and told police, "everybody says stuff like that."
Grundei, who in late August, told the Sentinel she was "anxious to try the allegations in court," says that, in her opinion, local officials may have made a premature decision when filing charges against her client.
"There is an obligation to act on the side of caution to protect potential victims," said Grundei. "However, where do you cross that line? It's not an easy answer. I feel like another look should have been taken before action was taken against her. I think people overreacted."
Denise Losey is currently living with a relative in Klickitat County. On Friday, Sept. 28, she appeared in a Hood River courtroom attempting to regain custody of her 12-year-old stepson, 10-year-old son, and 5-year-old daughter.
The 12-year-old stepson is currently in the custody of George McClellan, the boy's biological father. Denise's other two children are now living with Ronald Losey.
"She's spending a lot of money on legal fees trying to regain custody," said Grundei. "The real tragedy here is the way the children's' lives have been disrupted...they're the real victims."