Woodland man pleads not guilty to fatal stabbing

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Neal Cedric Kelly of Woodland pleaded not guilty Wednesday to fatally stabbing a Vancouver woman early Saturday, stabbing and critically injuring a Woodland man and assaulting three other people.

Jennie L. Brill, 43, of Vancouver died during the incident. Sterling Robin-Scott Shaver, 34, of Woodland remains in the intensive care unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where he is being treated for multiple stab wounds. His condition was recently upgraded from critical to satisfactory, said Michelle Halfhill, a hospital spokeswoman. The other three victims were not injured or had minor injuries.

Kelly knew only one of the five victims, said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino.

Kelly, who has a hearing impairment, pleaded not guilty Wednesday through a sign language interpreter to first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and third-degree assault.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier held Kelly on $2 million bail.

Kelly's need for an interpreter delayed court proceedings earlier in the week and created a communication challenge for Kelly's court-appointed attorney, Jeff Barrar of Vancouver.

The incident occurred at about 4 a.m. Saturday at a home at 8707 N.E. 89th Ave. in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Kelly told investigators that he was high on methamphetamine at the time, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.