A grand jury hearing is scheduled this Wednesday, November 14, to decide whether Eric Nash—a former inmate at the Multnomah County Detention Center on SW 3rd—should be criminally indicted for allegedly stabbing his cellmate, Michael Evans, in the eye with a pencil last month.
Nash, a 21-year-old from Dallas, Oregon, has four felony convictions and a total of 22 months of prison on his record, dating back to 2004. He was in jail awaiting sentencing for an Assault 3 charge—a felony—on the night he is alleged to have assaulted Evans.
Evans, who is already suing the sheriff's office for $60,000 for beating him in the booking area of the jail ["Summary Injustice," News, July 19], claims Nash was ordered to assault him by a sheriff's deputy, Brian Flanagan, who allegedly took Nash out and yelled at him in front of other inmates in the cell block: "I thought I told you to take care of that child molester, [meaning Evans, who has never been convicted of molesting a child]. If you don't, I'll have to do it myself." Flanagan has declined comment.
The sheriff's investigations division is still looking into those allegations, according to spokesman Travis Gullberg, but meanwhile, it appears a complaint by Evans to the Oregon State Bar (OSBAR) against the district attorney's office, for maliciously charging him with "assaulting a police officer" following his earlier beating, has been fudged.
Evans complained to OSBAR in July that prosecuting District Attorney Traci Anderson "engaged in collusion with the deputies" that beat him by "perpetuating the lie that I had assaulted Officer Hathaway," in order to justify the beating.
Responding to Evans' complaint, OSBAR investigator Cynthia Easterday wrote to Evans on October 26 that the "assaulting a police officer" charge had been dropped the day after it was filed, on September 12, 2006. In fact, however it was only dropped when Sheriff's Deputy Richard Hathaway—shown on the jail's video beating Evans—did not show up in court to testify on April 16, 2007.
"My best explanation is that Cynthia may have read the wrong date on the computer," Anderson told the Mercury on Friday, November 9. Easterday admitted to the Mercury she had "made a mistake," on Tuesday, November 13, but that she had written a subsequent letter to Evans on Tuesday, November 6, saying there was "insufficient evidence" to discipline Anderson.
Easterday declined further comment when asked how she could reach such a conclusion based on the facts in this case—offering to fax the Mercury a copy of her verdict instead, which Evans is now appealing.