Mental evaluation ordered in Walla Walla assault case

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WALLA WALLA - A man accused of shooting guns inside his home and assaulting his girlfriend during an argument late last month will undergo a mental evaluation by experts from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake.

Eric D. Hight, 43, of 104 Fire Station Lane, is charged in Superior Court with first-degree assault and harassment - both involving domestic violence, and two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern asked for the evaluation to determine Hight's sanity and competency to stand trial. The evaluation order was signed Friday by Judge Donald W. Schacht.

Hight allegedly got into a fight with his girlfriend, Myrna Notturno, on Feb. 28 and fired several rounds from a handgun into a living room wall while she was present.

At some point, Notturno was able to hide the gun, but Hight threw a metal paper towel holder at her, opening a gash on her head, according to a police report filed in court.

The argument progressed into the bedroom where Hight allegedly choked Notturno twice, threatened to kill her and armed himself with a rifle.

"Notturno stated Hight raised the rifle about 10 inches above her head and fired the gun inside the bedroom," the police report says.

Hight - who had been drinking - then threw the rifle on the bed and began to destroy the wall, throwing pieces of it at Notturno, according to officials. He then reportedly started to cry and said he hated everyone and his life.

Notturno left and called police from a friend's house. Hight was arrested outside his residence that evening.

Officials said Hight is a convicted felon, therefore prohibited from possessing the firearms.

Bail was set at $150,000.

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