- [S84] E-Mail, Laurie Collins [firstname.lastname@example.org], 15 Nov 2006.
- [S142] Newspaper Article, Tri-City Herald [Kennewick, WA], 3 Nov 2007.
Benton City death under investigation
Published Saturday, November 3rd, 2007
KRISTIN M. KRAEMER AND PRATIK JOSHI HERALD STAFF WRITERS
It started last Saturday evening when one Benton City man accused another of stealing a necklace.
Word spread in the small town and Johnathen Lee Harmon, 26, was quick to confront Jarrin K. Collins about his allegations.
What happened next is the focus of a homicide investigation by Benton County sheriff's detectives, who have released few details on the incident.
Harmon punched Collins, but claims his 60-year-old accuser took the first swing, according to court documents. A friend who went with Harmon to Collins' home reportedly had to pull Harmon off the older man.
The Hanford construction worker died 31/2 days later at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland.
Harmon remains in the Benton County jail on $50,000 bail, after pleading innocent to first-degree burglary.
The felony is being handled in Benton County District Court while investigators sort out the facts. Prosecutors have until the end of November to move the case up to Superior Court.
"We'll just keep it as burglary one for now and, pending the outcome of further investigation, there may be additional charges," said Deputy Prosecutor Scott Johnson.
Under the state's felony murder rule, a person can be charged with murder or manslaughter if a victim dies during a felony crime, such as an assault or burglary, even if the death was unintentional.
Sheriff Larry Taylor and other sheriff's department officials could not be reached Friday afternoon about the case.
Court documents show Harmon was with friends at The Palm Tavern in downtown Benton City last Saturday night when he learned of Collins' accusations. He allegedly decided to confront Collins and went to the man's 908 Chris Ave. home.
Collins was home with his girlfriend, Ladonna Musselman.
Harmon went inside without permission at 5:45 p.m. and "beat Collins numerous times," court documents said. He allegedly punched Collins in the face and head.
Steven Colgrove, Harmon's friend, reportedly told police that he "saw (Harmon) beating Collins and thought that (Harmon) had killed Collins." He pulled Harmon away and the two friends left.
Harmon was arrested a short time later.
On Friday, employees and patrons at The Palm, none of whom wanted to be identified, said Harmon is a nice guy but has an anger problem, particularly when he's been drinking.
Court records show he has a history of misdemeanor convictions, including for driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and malicious mischief.
An autopsy was performed Thursday by Dr. Daniel Selove, a forensic pathologist from Everett.
Coroner Rick Corson said because it is an active investigation, "I really can't release anything until I get it cleared through both the sheriff's office and the prosecutor's."
Corson explained that there are three phases to the autopsy, the first being the actual exam. The rest involve a state lab analysis of samples from Collins.
Collins had lived on Chris Avenue for just under a year with Musselman, but the couple had plans to soon move to another state.
"It's rough on her," said Collins' cousin Gary Clark of Yakima.
Collins was a construction worker who would go wherever there was work, including Montana, Oklahoma and Alaska, said his cousin. He was working at Hanford's vitrification plant.
He was known as a private guy who loved mountains and solitude. He also played guitar and had a passion for talking about country music.
Collins was a kind-hearted man who "gave you anything you asked for," Clark said. However, he never had a lot and could fit all this personal belongings in his van, he said.
Fellow construction worker Dan Deckert of Benton City said he'd worked with Collins on another Hanford project. "He's a hell of a nice guy," Deckert said.
Relatives plan to have a private service for Collins today in Selah.
- [S142] Newspaper Article, 3 Nov 2007.
Jarrin K. Collins, 60, of Benton City died Wednesday in Richland.
Mr. Collins moved to the area from Oklahoma. He worked at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
Survivors include three sons, Jerry Collins of Columbia Falls, Mont., Jesse Currier of Selah and James Currier of Fort Lewis, Wash.; a daughter, Angel Slater of Kalispell, Mont.; a brother, Albert Collins of Tacoma; three sisters, Linda Collins, Laurie Collins and Tammy Walters, all of Naches; and five grandchildren.
A family gathering to celebrate his life will be at 3 p.m. today at Jesse Currier's home.
Valley Hills Funeral Home and Crematory is handling arrangements.