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News / Clark County News

Camas-Washougal Fire battalion chief accused of killing wife had yearslong affair, according to court documents

Kevin W. West makes first court appearance on suspicion of first-degree murder

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 25, 2024, 6:15pm

A Camas-Washougal Fire Department battalion chief suspected of strangling his wife in January was apparently having an on-and-off affair for 20 years, and he planned to leave his wife on the day of her slaying, court documents show.

Kevin W. West, 49, of Washougal appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree murder in the Jan. 8 death of Marcelle “Marcy” West, 48.

Judge David Gregerson set his bail at $1.5 million and scheduled his arraignment for April 9.

Kevin West appeared via Zoom from the Clark County Jail and wore a suicide-prevention smock, given to inmates who may try to harm themselves with standard jail clothing.

He was arrested Friday on the allegation following a monthslong investigation, according to a Clark County Sheriff’s Office statement.

Investigators discovered Kevin West had been having an affair with a woman he met in the early 2000s when she was a volunteer with the fire department. The affair apparently began in 2004, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Kevin West initially told investigators his wife suffered a seizure the night she died, the sheriff’s office said. But the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined the cause of death to be asphyxia with blunt trauma to the neck and the manner of death as homicide. Court records state the couple were the only ones home at the time of Marcy West’s death.

Investigators first interviewed Kevin West on Jan. 23, shortly after the medical examiner’s office determined Marcy West suffered injuries consistent with strangulation. While he told investigators about his relationship with his wife, his lover was in the garage. They had been having drinks together before investigators arrived, according to the affidavit.

Detectives later discovered two love letters written by Kevin West addressed to his lover in the garage.

“2024 will be our year,” he wrote, according to the affidavit. “We will be together celebrating everyday with love and understanding of what it means for you and I to be together. Our story will ring in the New Year loud for all to hear!”


The Camas-Washougal Fire Department and Washougal Police Department responded at 4:27 a.m. to a medical emergency at the Wests’ residence at 2573 34th St.

Kevin West told first responders his wife was having a seizure, and she had stopped breathing. Medics unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate her; she was declared dead at 5:11 a.m., according to court records.

He told first responders his wife had a headache and vomited before they went to bed together, but it was an otherwise “normal night” of watching movies and eating Chinese takeout, the affidavit states.

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He said he awoke to his wife seizing in bed and that he initiated CPR, and he noted his wife did not have a history of seizures or other significant medical history, court records show.

Detectives and the death investigator noted obvious signs of trauma to Marcy West, the affidavit states.

Several people contacted authorities with concerns about the Wests’ relationship and worries that Marcy West’s death may not have been from natural causes, according to the sheriff’s office.

A man who was acquainted with Kevin West’s lover reported the affair to authorities, and he described the circumstances surrounding Marcy West’s death as “extremely weird and suspicious,” court records state.

A criminal investigation was initiated and handed off to the sheriff’s office to avoid a conflict of interest because of Kevin West’s employment with the fire department. (Kevin West has been employed by the fire department for 22 years. A city spokesman said Monday he is currently on unpaid leave.)

Kevin West told investigators his marriage experienced occasional “bumps” due to financial woes and referenced a rough patch in 2015. Financial statements later seized during the investigation showed the couple had more than $100,000 in consumer debt, according to the affidavit.

On Jan. 31, Kevin West acknowledged to investigators he was having an affair. He said his wife did not know about the affair, and he deleted all communications with his lover in case his wife looked through his phone, court records show.

He also said there were “no future plans” between him and his lover. “There’s no way I could ever leave Marcy,” he told investigators, according to the affidavit. “There’s no way I could ever go through with it.”

When investigators asked Kevin West if he would be surprised to learn Marcy West suffered injuries before her death, he said “yes.”

“I spent my whole life helping people and saving people,” he said, according to the affidavit. “I never laid hands on my wife.”

The Wests’ phones were seized for evidence. Hundreds of recovered deleted messages revealed Kevin West had plans to leave his wife for his lover Jan. 8, the day Marcy West died, the affidavit states.

Kevin West had texted his lover’s mother Jan. 3, saying: “I’m meeting my attorney on the 9th and I will have options to decide from and I’m very excited. I will also be moving out on the 8th. Next week will be a big week for … (us) to celebrate.”

Additionally, notes from November and December on Marcy West’s phone document relationship issues.

“You get angry frequently, makes me uncomfortable,” she wrote, according to the affidavit. “Sweet then very angry and I don’t know why.”