Battle Ground man accused in stabbing pleads not guilty

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A Battle Ground man who allegedly stabbed a man and slashed his dog during an argument made a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court.

William E. Nelson, 39, entered not-guilty pleas Wednesday to first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, first-degree animal cruelty, second-degree malicious mischief and third-degree theft.

Vancouver police responded shortly after 7 p.m. Aug. 24 to a disturbance at a residence in the 3500 block of Harney Street, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court.

A man at the residence, David Schwartz, said that Nelson came to the home and they began to argue over some items belonging to Nelson that had been stored there. Schwartz did not allow Nelson to retrieve his belongings so Nelson climbed over a low fence and approached him. Nelson took out a “buck knife” with a 6- to 9-inch blade and attempted to stab Schwartz six or seven times, the affidavit states.

Schwartz, who suffered a cut to the left side of his stomach, retreated to the yard, but Nelson followed him. Nelson then allegedly slashed at Schwartz’s dog that was tethered to a tree. The dog sustained cuts to the face and neck, court records said.

The homeowner, James Clark, told police that Nelson used to live at the residence but moved out weeks ago. He said that during the altercation Nelson drove his vehicle in reverse into his garage, damaging the door and a vehicle inside. He estimated the cost of the damage to be about $2,000, according to court documents. Nelson also allegedly stole a gas can and damaged Clark’s vehicle, which was parked on the street. He estimated an additional $1,000 worth of damage, the affidavit said.

Court records indicate that the incident was captured on security cameras.

During his hearing, Judge Robert Lewis appointed Vancouver attorney Gerry Wear to represent Nelson and set his bail at $80,000.

His trial is scheduled to start Dec. 5.