Updated: Suspect in Assault of Man Found After Stroke Released Pending Further Investigation

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

Police have arrested a suspect, but charges have not yet been filed as an investigation continues into a report that a Centralia man suffered a massive stroke after being assaulted Sunday.

Mark W. Powell, 46, of Centralia, was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree assault and made his first appearance in Lewis County Superior Court in the case Tuesday afternoon.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead asked Superior Court Judge Joely O’Rourke for permission to hold Powell for an additional day on no bail before filing charges.

O’Rourke granted the request. However on Wednesday, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher asked Superior Court Judge James Lawler to release Powell, saying the state’s charging deadline with a suspect in custody has expired.

“We’re out of time on our 72 hours,” he said. “Given the information I have on my desk right now I’m uncomfortable charging Mr. Powell with a crime.”

Lawler agreed to release Powell but cautioned him that he could be asked to return to court in the case later.

According to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office a probable cause report filed with the court, deputies responded Monday to a report of an assault the previous night occurring in the 3500 block of Harrison Avenue.

A woman reported her step-brother, a 63-year-old Centralia man had been assaulted the previous night and then had a stroke, and was currently in intensive care.

The victim “was suffering from a broken nose, a bruised eye, and he had a massive stroke on the right side of his brain,” according to court documents.

The woman told police doctors were not optimistic about the victim surviving.

Deputies followed up with the victim’s roommate and a neighbor, who reported the victim came home Sunday night with Powell and a woman. The roommate reported He heard talking, then a “thud.”

Powell and the woman left and the roommate told police he checked on the victim and found him unconscious on the floor. The roommate told police he thought the man was drunk and left him on the floor.

He found the man still on the floor the next morning and asked another person to call 911, according to court documents.

Another neighbor reported hearing screaming and yelling before seeing two people get in a taxi and leave.

Detectives tracked down the taxi driver, who reported that two men came out of the house and the younger one got in the taxi.

When detectives interviewed Powell, he reported that the victim made an advance on Powell’s wife, according to the sheriff’s office.

Powell told police the older man put him in a headlock but that he got loose and punched back.

He reported the victim fell to the floor after the punch, and was still there when he left.

As of Tuesday, the victim was on life support. On Wednesday, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen with the sheriff’s office said his condition had not changed.