Chumstick Standoff Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
Chelan County prosecutors are moving forward with their case against a man accused of leading a SWAT team on an 18-hour standoff on Chumstick Highway near Leavenworth.
A week after the court ruled Abel Wilkes competent to understand the charges against him, he pleaded not guilty yesterday (5/4).
A judge set his trial date for June 20th on charges of second-degree assault and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Last month, Judge Robert Jourdan signed an order for a competency evaluation due to claims by Wilke's defense attorney that his client was unable to participate in conversations in a meaningful way.
A licensed psychologist determined that Wilkes is competent to stand trial, stating that there is no evidence that he lacks the mental capacity to understand the case.
Jourdan also disqualified the attorney representing Wilkes due to a breakdown in communication. New counsel was appointed during yesterday's (5/4) hearing.
Wilkes is accused of threatening his landlord with a rifle and barricading himself inside his residence when the SWAT team arrived.
Officers used a number of methods to coax Wilkes to surrender including tear gas and pepper spray. They say Wilkes fired a shot inside his trailer home during the overnight standoff.
Detectives say a Wenatchee Police officer also fired a shot from outside the residence. An investigation into Sergeant Cory Bernaiche's actions is ongoing.
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