Murder suspect's court hearing delayed for interpreter

He allegedly fatally stabbed woman, critically injured man

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Woodland man, out of jail for only three days, was high on methamphetamine and angry about missing $40 when he killed a Vancouver woman Saturday, according to court documents.

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.

He was scheduled to make a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on Monday, but the proceeding was postponed until today because Kelly is hearing-impaired, and authorities couldn’t locate a court-certified sign language interpreter. Kelly is being held in jail without bail.

He faces allegations of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and third-degree assault.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier appointed Vancouver attorney Jeff Barrar to defend him.

Kelly made a brief appearance Monday to reschedule his hearing. He shuffled into the courtroom wearing shackles and a dark green suicide smock and mugged at a photographer who was poised to photograph his arrival. Scratches covered his face, hands and arms.

According to a report filed with the court, the fatal stabbing occurred in front of Brill’s daughter and six other people.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home at 8707 N.E. 89th Ave., in the Sunnyside neighborhood, about 4 a.m. Saturday. Here’s what they believe unfolded:

Kelly argued with Nicholas S. Hammann, whom Kelly suspected of taking the $40. Suddenly, he stabbed Brill for no apparent reason. Shaver reportedly tried to intervene, and Kelly then allegedly stabbed Shaver, causing life-threatening wounds, according to the documents.

Next, Kelly allegedly struck Hammann with a knife he took from a sheath on his leg, according to court documents. He pulled the hair of another woman, Theadora H. Hunsinger, and threw her onto the ground as she tried to flee the violence. Hammann told police that he yelled at Kelly to distract him, so that Hunsinger could escape, court documents say.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, Kelly allegedly threw a bookshelf at Deputy Eric Cramer, injuring the officer’s wrist. Then Kelly dived through the living room window, shattering the glass.

During an interview with detectives conducted with an interpreter, Kelly said he stabbed “a witch” who came at him but didn’t recall harming anyone else.

Neither Kelly nor the two stabbing victims were residents of the home, according to the sheriff’s office.

Shaver remains in critical condition in the intensive car unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where he is on a ventilator. He has multiple stab wounds to his chest and collarbone area near a lung, according to court documents. Clark County sheriff’s detectives said they have been unable to interview him because of his injuries.

Kelly has an extensive criminal history in Clark County, beginning with reckless driving in 2008. Most recently, he was arrested in August on suspicion of burglary, forgery, malicious mischief, theft, assault and bail jumping. He was released from jail on those charges just three days before the stabbing incident.