Lack of interpreter again delays stabbing case

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A first court appearance for a Woodland man suspected of stabbing a Vancouver woman to death Saturday was delayed Tuesday for a second time because Clark County Superior Court couldn’t find a qualified court-certified sign language interpreter who was available.

Neal Cedric Kelly, 26, is accused of stabbing Jennie L. Brill, 43, of Vancouver to death and stabbing and critically injuring Sterling Robin-Scott Shaver, 34, of Woodland at about 4 a.m. Saturday at a home at 8707 N.E. 89th Ave. in the Sunnyside neighborhood. He told investigators that he was high on methamphetamine at the time of the attacks, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

Kelly’s first court appearance on the allegations has been reset for today. He is scheduled to be arraigned at the same time on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and third-degree assault.

Court authorities have had a difficult time finding an interpreter for Kelly, who has a hearing impairment. Kelly’s court-appointed attorney, Jeff Barrar of Vancouver, demanded an explanation Tuesday after the court failed to find an interpreter on both Monday and Tuesday. He said as a result, he has been unable to discuss the allegations with his client.

Cindy Nosko, the court’s interpreter coordinator, said there are eight court-certified American Sign Language interpreters in the Portland metro area, which includes Clark County. However, most are not eligible to interpret for Kelly because they know him in some way and hence, have a conflict of interest, Nosko said. Others had scheduling conflicts. Clark County sheriff’s detectives had to summon an interpreter from Seattle in order to interrogate Kelly during the weekend. Nosko said she would be able to confirm a court interpreter for this morning, and another interpreter was expected to assist Barrar during a meeting with his client in jail on Tuesday afternoon.

Kelly continues to be held without bail.