Man who beat skier found guilty of unrelated charge

Michael Collins convicted of failing to register as a sex offender

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: January 10, 2012, 7:00 PM

 

A familiar defendant was on trial Tuesday in Skamania County Superior Court.

Michael D. Collins, whose high-profile 2010 sentence for beating a cross-country skier was significantly reduced because of a legal error, appeared before a jury again — this time on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

After deliberating an hour Tuesday, the jury found 36-year-old Collins guilty of the charge.

Sentencing is set for Thursday. The crime carries a sentencing range of between about 43 months, and 57 months in prison. A judge will decide whether the new punishment will be served in addition to Collins’ current 14-year sentence or at the same time.

Adam Kick, who took office as Skamania County’s prosecutor last year, said he filed the charge in October “because we thought it was necessary to protect the public. Mr. Collins is a very dangerous individual.”

The previous prosecutor, Peter Banks, did not pursue the sex offender charge in 2010 because he believed court rules would prohibit him from trying it at the same time as the beating case, Kick said. That’s because the charge has to do with Collins’ sex offense history — information normally kept away from jurors because it could create a bias toward the defendant.

The new conviction relates to a February 2009 incident in which Collins and his son, Teven Collins, camped at Dougan Falls for six days, just before they attacked the skier. In 1992, Collins was convicted of second-degree child molestation and in 1999, he was convicted of second-degree assault with sexual motivation. Both convictions require him to register with the county sheriff as a sex offender, according to court documents.

On Feb. 9, 2009, Collins and his teen son accosted, robbed and brutally beat skier Kevin Tracey before fleeing in Tracey’s car. After being featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” they were later arrested in Ensenada, Mexico.

The Court of Appeals in July tossed out Collins’ original 25-year sentence because the court found prosecutors made a legal error in charging Collins with felony attempted murder, a nonexistent crime. Collins was resentenced in September on the other conviction, first-degree robbery.

In addition to the 14 years he received from a Skamania County judge, Collins received another two-year sentence in July 2010 for a separate failure to register as a sex offender charge.

He is serving his sentence at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

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