Man who beat skier sentenced to 57 more months

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: January 12, 2012, 6:49 PM

 

— Michael D. Collins left no doubt how he felt about his sentence Thursday.

“I am appealing, by the way,” Collins said, after a Skamania County judge sentenced him to an additional 57 months in prison.

The convict’s sentencing in Stevenson related to a recently filed charge of failure to register as a sex offender in Skamania County just before the 2009 beating of a cross-country skier.

Collins is already serving a 14-year sentence for the high-profile robbery and beating of Kevin Tracey of Washougal at Dougan Falls, and another two-year sentence for a failing to register as a sex offender in Clark County.

The new 57-month sentence must be served consecutive to the other sentences, meaning he is currently slated to spend more than 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors in Skamania County filed the charge in October, and Collins went to trial Monday. A jury deliberated for an hour Tuesday before deciding its verdict.

On Thursday, the judge had to decide whether to impose the new sentence to be served consecutive to the other sentences or concurrently — at the same time. Judge Brian Altman also decided on the high end of the sentencing range of 43 to 57 months.

Collins’ attorney, Michael Thompson, argued for a concurrent sentence, calling the trial “extremely unnecessary.”

He criticized the Skamania County Prosecutor’s Office for filing the failure to register charge and said the office was guilty of overzealous prosecution.

“There was a lot of littering up in Dougan Falls,” Thompson said. “I think they could bring him back on a littering charge, and he’d get a year.”

In denying the allegations, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Yarden Weidenfeld said this was a serious case because “Mr. Collins has repeatedly failed to register as a sex offender.” This was his fifth conviction of that type of charge, he said.

And “had he registered, (the Dougan Falls attack) likely wouldn’t have occurred” because Collins was wanted on a warrant and would have likely been arrested, Weidenfeld said.

Concerning the defense ­attorney questioning the possibility of a littering charge, Weidenfeld said that would never happen; the statute of limitations for misdemeanors had elapsed.

Collins, 36, has spent a lot of time in the Skamania County Courthouse.

On Feb. 9, 2009, Collins and his teen son accosted, robbed and brutally beat 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.

A jury found him guilty in February 2010 of felony attempted murder and first-degree robbery.

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.

He is serving his sentences at Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.