A man who allegedly beat another man to death with a baseball bat Saturday night in Battle Ground made a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on Monday.
Stephen M. Reichow, 33, of Battle Ground appeared on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the incident.
The man who died is identified in court documents as Brandon David Maulding, 36, of Battle Ground.
Police were dispatched about 11:50 p.m. Saturday to an assault near Southeast Grace Avenue and Second Street in Battle Ground. A witness, Jacqueline Olson, said she saw a man choking another man on the ground. The alleged aggressor then walked away north toward a skate park, but the other man remained on the ground and was not moving, she said. Olson said there was blood everywhere, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court.
Olson provided police with a description of the man and the direction he had headed, the affidavit said.
Officers soon found a suspect, identified by police as Reichow. He was wearing the same clothing Olson had described and was covered in blood, according to court documents. Reichow told police he was unharmed, that he had killed Maulding and that Maulding’s body was by a storage building, court records said.
Officers found Maulding lying on the ground on the north side of Southeast Second Street by a storage facility. He was unconscious but breathing, so he was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, the affidavit stated.
Maulding was pronounced dead at 12:44 a.m. at the hospital. He had sustained several blunt-force injuries to his head, face and body. Police found a baseball bat, covered in blood, less than a foot from Maulding’s head at the scene, court records said.
Reichow told police he had been hanging out with Maulding earlier in the day. They had been picked up by another friend, Anne Tanninen, from Maulding’s house and went to a storage unit that Tanninen rented. He said they were inside the storage space when Tanninen received a “strange” phone call from someone talking about a drug deal, court documents said. Reichow said Tanninen told them she was being “gang stalked,” the affidavit stated. Gang stalking can include being harassed by an organized group of people.
The trio began to leave the storage facility. Reichow said Maulding was in some “kind of altered state” and had been drinking alcohol, according to court documents. Maulding, who had been playing with a baseball bat, started saying, “What’s up boy,” and he and Tanninen “cornered” Reichow, he said. They then accused him of being involved with the people who were stalking Tanninen, court records said.
Reichow told police he was concerned Maulding was going to harm him with the baseball bat, so he ran around the building and hid under an RV on the south side of the storage facility. He said he waited for a couple of minutes. Maulding and Tanninen then came around the corner in her white Ford Expedition. Reichow said Maulding left the vehicle and approached him with the baseball bat in hand, according to court documents.
Maulding reportedly grabbed Reichow and ripped his shirt. Reichow told police he grabbed the bat out of Maulding’s hands and knocked him down. He then said, “at this point forward, I’ll need an attorney,” the affidavit stated.
In an interview with police, Tanninen said the trio had gone to the storage space to drop off a few of her belongings. While there, she said she received a phone call from someone demanding $5,000. She said she believed Reichow was somehow associated with the call and that she and Maulding confronted him, court records said.
At the time, Maulding had been playing with an aluminum bat, in a nonthreatening manner, that he had found in the unit, Tanninen said. She then told both of the men to leave and said they left at the same time, according to court documents.
Tanninen left the storage unit, got into her vehicle and began to drive away from the area, when she heard the sound of the bat hitting gravel, she said. She abandoned her vehicle in the parking lot and went to a nearby bar to contact the owner, the affidavit stated.
During his Monday hearing, Judge Daniel Stahnke appointed defense attorney Sean Downs to represent Reichow.
Reichow is being held at the Clark County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail. He has no known prior criminal history, according to the prosecution.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 13.