On Dec. 20, Brent DeWalt of Klickitat -- charged in May with second-degree assault and harassment in a case related to the Klickitat Rail-Trail -- pleaded guilty in Klickitat County Superior Court to the lesser charge of unlawful display of a firearm.
DeWalt's May 16 arrest and subsequent release on $10,000 bail resulted from a call made to the Sheriff's office by two juveniles, who said DeWalt threatened them while they were photographing cows for a school project.
DeWalt's land adjoins the Klickitat Trail, long a subject of controversy between advocates and public managers of the trail on the one hand, and local landowners on the other, some of whom object to the public access the trail affords.
The case involved disagreement over whether the juveniles did or did not trespass on DeWalt's land.
In his plea agreement, court records show, DeWalt admitted that he had a "heated conversation" with one of the juveniles, through the window of the vehicle in which the juvenile was sitting. While he "did not brandish' a shotgun he was carrying but kept it pointed at the ground, DeWalt said in his written statement that it was "understandable that [the other party] would have taken alarm for his safety."
The original charges were felonies; the lesser charge DeWalt pleaded guilty to is a gross misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
DeWalt is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 7, 2005.