CHEHALIS — Brenda Wing pleaded guilty to reduced charges Thursday in the Oct. 5 death of 3-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner, whose mother lives in Vancouver.
Jasper had been in the custody of Wing and her husband, Danny, at their Vader home for several weeks last summer and early fall.
Wing, 27, had previously pleaded not guilty to homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter. In Lewis County Superior Court Thursday, she pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter with a domestic violence enhancement, third-degree assault of a child with a domestic violence enhancement, two counts of heroin possession and two counts of witness tampering.
A sentencing date was not immediately set, but the standard sentencing range for the crime is 12 to 16 years, though the law would permit a life sentence. Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said it would be at least two weeks before the prosecutor’s office recommends a sentence.
In a separate action, the court scheduled Danny Wing’s sentencing for Aug. 14. Danny Wing, 26, pleaded guilty March 19 to charges of first-degree manslaughter (domestic violence) and third-degree assault of a child in connection to Jasper’s death. The prosecutor’s office is recommending he get 16 years in prison.
Jasper’s mother, Nikki Warner of Vancouver, says she left her son in the couple’s care in July while she was trying to find a job and quit using drugs. The case received widespread media attention across Western Washington, including Seattle, because of the horrific nature of the boy’s death.
In a written statement submitted to the court, Brenda Wing said her actions as an accomplice caused Jasper’s death, but she did not express any remorse. She made no statements, and Judge James Lawler read her brief admission of guilt.
So far neither Danny Wing nor Brenda Wing have explained in court how their actions could have caused Jasper’s extensive injuries, including two missing front teeth, skin infections that were a secondary cause of death, trauma to his face, healing fractures and multiple scrapes over his body, reported in court documents.
It was clear from the autopsy that Jasper had been abused for some time before the day of this death, officials said. However, the prosecutor’s office has insisted that no one else will be charged in the case.
As part of his plea agreement, Danny Wing had been expected to testify against his wife at her trial, which was scheduled to start May 18. Her guilty plea eliminates the need for that trial.