Thursday, October 14, 2010

Can someone put this guy in his own cell?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM

When Michael West stabbed his girlfriend in the face, chest, back and arms and raped her back in 2004, it wasn’t the first time he’d been to jail. Before that, he had smashed a laundromat employee’s face into a washing machine, breaking her jaw and knocking her unconscious. Another time, he beat someone with a broom.

When West landed back in the overcrowded Spokane County Jail for the rape charge in 2004, he found himself with Chris Rentz — a 21-year-old in jail for stealing a tank of gas — as a cellmate. After Rentz pleaded to guards and his family to be moved from his cell, West strangled him to death with a bed sheet. We covered that story in detail in June of 2005.

Last night, at the medium-security Airway Heights Corrections Center, West struck again — gouging out his cellmate’s eyeball with his bare hands (see the Spokesman’s story) and damaging the other eye so badly the inmate likely won’t see again. But West didn’t stop there. When the guards came in to stop the fracas, West was — surprise, surprise —attempting to strangle his cellmate (whose eye was hanging out of his head) with a bed sheet.

So what will it take to get this guy his own room?

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Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is a former senior writer for The Inlander and a respected local theater critic. He also covers literature, jazz and classical music, and art, among other things.