Saturday, September 18, 2021
Sept. 18, 2021

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Stabbing suspect appears in court

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Brush Prairie man who allegedly stabbed another man at a party in rural Clark County made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Zachary J. Fenn, 23, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault stemming from the Feb. 7 incident near the trailhead to the Tarbell Trail, about 6 miles southeast of Yacolt.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded to the stabbing shortly after midnight. A 911 caller said someone stabbed his friend at a large, outdoor gathering. The victim, identified in court records as Brayden McVae, was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for multiple stab wounds.

At the hospital, McVae told a deputy that he had been at the party with 40 to 50 people when a fight broke out. He said he was trying to protect a friend, Roberto Arellano-Barajas, when he was punched multiple times by an unknown male. McVae said it felt like the wind had been knocked out of him, but then noticed his shirt was wet with blood, the affidavit said.

McVae suffered three cuts to his torso and underwent multiple surgeries, according to court records.

Arellano-Barajas told deputies that the fight erupted between two groups at the party. He said he saw a male holding a large knife, and believed the male’s name was Zach, court documents said. The assailant threw the knife into a clear-cut area of the woods, he said.

Law enforcement officers were unable to locate the knife, the affidavit said.

Another friend of McVae’s, Gustavo Allen, said he did not know the name of the suspect but knew one of his friends. Detectives tracked down that friend’s home and learned the suspect they were searching for was Fenn, according to court records. They then located Fenn at his residence.

Fenn told detectives he had been to a party in the woods with a bonfire that night. His parents then interrupted and said he needed a lawyer, court records said. Fenn was arrested on an outstanding District Court warrant.

Both McVae and Arellano-Barajas identified Fenn as the assailant during a photo lineup, according to the affidavit.

Judge Gregory Gonzales appointed Sean Downs to represent Fenn on Wednesday. However, another Vancouver attorney, Craig Kennedy, apparently was retained by Fenn’s family and came forward. Kennedy argued the incident was self-defense.

Gonzales set Fenn’s bail at $100,000. He will be arraigned March 2.