Jury convicts Washougal woman of stabbing

Panel acquits on attempted murder charge

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A Clark County jury on Friday found a Washougal woman guilty of stabbing her boyfriend in 2010, but decided there wasn’t enough proof that she intended to kill him.

After deliberating more than four hours, the seven-woman, five-man jury unanimously voted to convict Tanya N. Quinata, 38, of first-degree assault. But jurors voted to acquit her of second-degree attempted murder.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 13.

There is little difference in punishment between first-degree assault and second-degree attempted murder; it’s less than a year, said defense attorney Charles Buckley.

First-degree assault, a Class A felony, carries a minimum sentence of just under eight years in prison. Jurors returned a special finding that the crime was committed with a deadly weapon, which tacked on an additional two years.

Quinata did not show emotion as the jury rendered its verdict. But as she was handcuffed by custody officers, she began to cry.

She has not prior felony criminal history.

When she took the stand Thursday, Quinata did not deny she was the person responsible for her boyfriend’s injuries on Oct. 14, 2010. But she explained it as an accident, saying he had unintentionally walked into her knife as she was preparing a sandwich.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield, in her closing argument, pointed out how that story was not possible. Quinata stands 5 feet 1 inch, while her 41-year-old boyfriend, Samuel Kama, is 5 feet 7 inches, meaning the defendant would have had to raise her arm to stab him in the chest, Banfield said.

Also, Quinata had the motive, the deputy prosecutor argued: She was upset at Kama because he was still married, and the night of the stabbing, the two had been arguing.

Defense attorney Buckley pointed out a lack of evidence of intent: The victim did not testify, nor were there any eyewitnesses. The only evidence in the case were the injuries and Quinata’s account, he said.

The jury sided with Banfield, who argued that Quinata was not credible. The defendant admitted on the stand that she initially lied to police following the stabbing, saying Kama’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.