Prosecutor to decide on charges in beating of WSU prof

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Pullman police on Tuesday recommended that charges be filed against five people in a case in which a Washington State University instructor was left gravely injured following a fight.

The late-night fight occurred March 30 near the Adams Mall on the WSU campus.

Police recommended that Lawrence McDonald, 31, be charged with attempted assault, a misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct. McDonald is a friend of the injured instructor, David Warner. The Whitman County prosecutor's office will decide if any charges are filed.

Police said their investigation revealed that McDonald instigated the conflict.

"Witnesses reported that McDonald was verbally harassing random individuals in the parking lot and was characterized as challenging others to fight him," according to a news release from Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins.

Four people who had been drinking together in a bar at the mall walked past, and McDonald hurled insults at them, police said.

Warner tried to calm McDonald down and hold him from advancing on the others, police said. But more words were exchanged between McDonald and the four people, and a scuffle ensued.

Warner ended up on the ground with a severe head injury.

Police were awaiting medical reports to determine if Warner was punched or was injured when his head hit the ground, or both.

Police recommended that charges of felony assault be filed against Joshua W. Nantz, 23, of Pullman; Matt Cabanos-Soriano, 22, of Everett; and Robert Bean, 22, of Mukilteo. They recommended that Madeline Fouts, 21, of Pullman, be charged with felony rendering criminal assistance for lying to investigators about her knowledge of the assaults and the other suspects during an initial interview with police.

Police also recommended that all four be charged with failing to summon assistance, a misdemeanor.

"Fouts, Nantz, Soriano and Bean never called, or ensured someone called, for assistance for Warner," Jenkins said.

Nantz and Fouts are students at WSU and are friends with the other two people involved.

All four previously turned themselves in to police and were released on their own recognizance.

Warner, 41, was released from the hospital last week. Warner is Native American and teaches in the WSU Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies.