Hatchet defendant pleads guilty to burglary

Prosecutors drop charge of first-degree attempted murder relating to attack

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

One of two men accused of attacking a man in northern Clark County with a hatchet pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree burglary.

Mathew M. Michaelson, 28, will be sentenced June 3. Prosecutors intend to recommend a sentence of about seven years in prison, according paperwork filed in Clark County Superior Court.

As part of a Newton plea — a type of guilty plea that admits only that the state has enough evidence to prove its case — Michaelson also resolved two other pending criminal cases. They are: a September case alleging second-degree assault and attempt to elude an officer and a case in December alleging he stole two ATM machines.

His sentencing before Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle on June 3 will be for all three cases.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a first-degree attempted murder charge against Michaelson relating to the Dec. 14 hatchet attack.

Michaelson and a co-defendant, Andre D. Kennedy, 35, went to the trailer home of a witness in one of Michaelson’s criminal cases and allegedly beat him nearly senseless before fleeing.

Michaelson was convicted of burglary because he had unlawfully entered the trailer “with intent to commit a crime,” according to court paperwork.

After sheriff’s deputies were alerted, the victim, Gary Mathis, who lives in the 2500 block of Northeast 199th Street, was rushed to a local hospital for treatment of a concussion and lacerations.

Defense attorney Lou Byrd said Friday the injuries weren’t as significant as initially feared from using a hatchet. They were similar to injuries you would find in a simple assault, he said.

Mathis told investigators that he thought the men were out to get him because he implicated Michaelson in a crime; Michaelson was released from jail on bail on Nov. 24 relating to the assault case.

Detectives also uncovered a taped jail telephone conversation on Oct. 16 in which Michaelson called Mathis a “rat,” according to court records.

Co-defendant Kennedy, charged with first-degree attempted murder, is scheduled to go to trial June 6.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.