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Man shot by deputy appears in court on assault allegations

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
4 Photos
James Matthew Kelly makes a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of second-degree assault Tuesday morning, June 19, 2018.
James Matthew Kelly makes a first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of second-degree assault Tuesday morning, June 19, 2018. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A homeless man who was shot after allegedly attacking a Clark County sheriff’s deputy responding to a disturbance call appeared in court Tuesday on assault allegations.

James Matthew Kelly, 35, is facing two counts of second-degree assault in the June 13 incident outside a Brush Prairie home. He is accused of repeatedly punching 41-year-old Philip Henry, a resident of the home, and attacking Deputy Chris Story, prompting him to fire his weapon at Kelly, according to the prosecution.

Details of Kelly’s injuries have not been released. He had been receiving treatment at an area hospital before being brought to court.

Story was placed on critical incident leave, standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting. He was hired by the sheriff’s office in November 2016 and was most recently assigned as a day-shift patrol deputy in the Orchards and Brush Prairie area, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Tuesday, corrections deputies wheeled Kelly into Clark County Superior Court in a restraint chair. He also wore a suicide-prevention smock, given to inmates who may try to harm themselves with standard jail clothing.

Kelly quietly answered the court’s questions when asked his name, birth date and whether he wanted a court-appointed attorney. Judge Robert Lewis appointed Tony Lowe to represent Kelly.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeannie Bryant requested that Kelly be held on $500,000 bail, citing a lengthy criminal history.

According to Superior Court records, Kelly has convictions for domestic violence harassment, a gross misdemeanor, in 2018; criminal mischief with a deadly weapon in 2016; rioting with a deadly weapon in 2006; rioting with a deadly weapon and fourth-degree assault in 2004; third-degree assault in 2003; felony harassment-death threats in 2001; failing to register as a sex offender in 2008, 2005 and 1999; and first-degree rape of a child and two counts of first-degree child molestation in 1997. He also has a slew of convictions in District Court.

Bryant said the prosecution believes Kelly will commit more violent offenses if he’s released.

Lewis set bail at $150,000. Kelly will be arraigned June 29.

As he was wheeled out of the courtroom, Kelly turned and flipped off the media’s cameras with both hands restrained in his lap.

Deputies were called shortly before 2 p.m. June 13 to a rural home at 11518 N.E. 126th Ave., after a man, later identified as Kelly, was seen jumping on vehicles parked near the home and acting strangely, the sheriff’s office said.

People at the Brush Prairie home told The Columbian that Kelly formerly lived there but had been kicked out of the residence for drug use. One resident, Kitty Mapes, said she believes Kelly likely came back because he holds a grudge.

Henry told investigators that he went outside to talk with Kelly, whom he had never met or seen before, and Kelly demanded to see two other residents of the house. Kelly then began repeatedly striking Henry in the face and chest, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Henry tripped over a garbage can during the altercation and fell, he said, but Kelly continued to punch him and squeezed his neck until he nearly lost consciousness. Henry said he kicked Kelly away and ran back inside, where he called 911. He suffered bruises and abrasions to his neck, face, chest and back, the affidavit states.

Home surveillance video captured the attack in front of the garage.

Additional home surveillance video released to Portland TV stations captured the subsequent fight between Story and Kelly, who stayed on the property after allegedly assaulting Henry.

The video shows the deputy approach a man lying on the hood of a car. The man turns left to look at the officer, slides off the car and then grabs and strikes him.

A struggle ensues and both men go to the ground. The suspect puts the deputy in a headlock before being flipped on his back. The deputy gains his footing and appears to draw his weapon and fire.

Henry told investigators he witnessed the attack on the deputy.

He said Kelly, unprovoked, began punching and pushing the deputy as soon as he approached him. Kelly and Story fell to the ground, and Kelly put the deputy in a “chokehold.” From his vantage point, Henry said it appeared the deputy was losing the fight. He then heard two “pops” and saw the deputy get up from the ground, according to the affidavit.

Story suffered minor injuries to his neck, court records say.

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