WALLA WALLA -- A Superior Court judge set bail today at $250,000 for the suspect in the stabbing death of a Walla Walla woman early Tuesday that reportedly stemmed from a relationship triangle.
Angela Dawn Effinger, of 320 N. Seventh Ave., made her first appearance in court this morning. Shackled and wearing stripes, the 29-year-old mother of four also was informed of her constitutional rights and local attorney Jim Barrett was appointed to represent her.
Effinger sat silently at the counsel table awaiting the brief hearing in Judge John Lohrmann's courtroom at the County Courthouse. Her head positioned downward, she periodically sniffed and wiped tears from her eyes.
Then, as Lohrmann advised her of her rights, Effinger looked forward and occasionally nodded her head in acknowledgement.
Effinger is being held on investigation of first-degree murder. A formal charge hadn't been filed as of this morning.
Police said Effinger was taken into custody at her apartment shortly after she allegedly stabbed Audrey Brewer, 18, in the torso during a fight in the former Blue Mountain Mall parking lot about 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday. The altercation reportedly occurred at the first entrance off Rose Street near a planting strip.
Brewer suffered a single stab wound that pierced the aorta just above her heart, according to Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood. The young woman bled to death, likely in less than two minutes, he said this morning. Brewer was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, where every effort was made to save her life, Greenwood said. She was pronounced dead at 2:12 a.m., according to a police report.
An autopsy was scheduled for today, where a pathologist and law enforcement officials will confirm Brewer's fatal injury and match the shape and depth of the wound to the weapon, Greenwood added.
The knife allegedly used by Effinger was recovered in a search of her apartment, said Officer Tim Bennett, city police spokesman. Police are not yet releasing details about the knife.
Officials believe Effinger was upset because her former boyfriend, Andrae T. Jackson, 24, had started a relationship with Brewer. Effinger and Jackson reportedly have two children together.
According to a police report presented in court today, Effinger, Brewer, Jackson and Chazma D. Muir, 23, agreed to meet in the parking lot of the Sears store at the former mall.
The arrangement was made to afford Brewer and Effinger a chance to engage in a physical fight, the report says.
Effinger told police Jackson and she had lived together for about two years, with their 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. About a month ago, Jackson left her and started to date Brewer.
On Monday night, Effinger drove to the home of Muir and another woman and asked them to come with her. Effinger told the women she needed someone to watch her children while she went to meet Brewer and Jackson, according to the court document.
During the drive to Effinger's residence, Effinger and Jackson reportedly argued back and forth via cell phone, including one text sent by Effinger at 12:36 a.m. that included a threat of physical violence.
According to Effinger's statement to police, she grabbed a knife before leaving her home, and she and Muir went to the parking lot, arriving first. Muir called Jackson to say where they were located, and Jackson and Brewer arrived on foot. Effinger told officers Brewer approached her with a clenched fist, so she began punching first with Brewer following.
Effinger then reached into her pants pocket to grab the knife, which she swung at Brewer's right shoulder. Effinger stated she felt something wet on her right hand and saw Brewer back up and reach up to her neck area.
Effinger left the scene and drove home. Muir remained in the parking lot and applied pressure to Brewer's wound, Bennett said.
When emergency responders arrived, Jackson and Muir gave accounts of the fight to police.
As far as police knew this morning, drugs and alcohol were not contributing factors and Brewer was not armed, Bennett said.
Sheila Hagar can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8322. Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.