Camas man in fire hydrant case commits suicide on day of sentencing

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Camas man committed suicide Friday, the same day he was scheduled to be sentenced for threatening a Camas employee with a gun after the employee notified him he had painted a city fire hydrant the wrong color.

Steven W. Timmons, 55, who had been out on $50,000 bond since June, hanged himself at his home and died of asphyxiation, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was found at 12:45 p.m. Friday, about 45 minutes before his 1:30 p.m. sentencing hearing in front of Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke.

Timmons pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to second-degree assault in exchange for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office dismissing more serious charges of first-degree assault and harassment death threats.

At about 1:32 p.m. Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Randy St. Clair requested that the sentencing hearing be stricken but didn’t give a reason. Meanwhile, Timmons’ attorney, W. Todd Pascoe, put on his coat and scarf and left the courtroom.

Had he been convicted of the original charges, Timmons would have faced 162 to 196 months in prison. Under the plea bargain, however, he faced 15 to 21 months. Pascoe and Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein had agreed to make a joint recommendation to the judge for a sentence of 18 months, Klein said.

Violation notice

In the June 17 incident, Tobin Reed Sr., a lead utility maintenance worker for the city, noticed a yellow city fire hydrant in front of Timmons’ house had been covered with red paint, court documents say. He left Timmons a note about the violation, with directions about how to repaint the hydrant.

When Timmons came home and found the note, he decided to confront Reed, Camas police said. He went to Reed’s house in the 1300 block of Dallas Street, argued with Reed and then brandished a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, police said.

Timmons, who allegedly was intoxicated at the time, put the weapon in Reed’s face and threatened to kill Reed, court documents say.

Reed wrestled the gun away from Timmons and pushed it into the street. He held Timmons to the ground until Camas police officers arrived around 6:30 p.m. and placed Timmons under arrest.

No one fired the gun, and there were no injuries.

Fire hydrants are painted yellow in Camas to indicate to firefighters and other city employees that the hydrant is owned and maintained by the city.