WALLA WALLA – Extradition papers were signed this morning to transfer a Walla Walla man to Umatilla County to face assault charges in connection with the May 5 stabbing of Benjamin Beliz.
Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann authorized the extradition after Jimmy W. Gore, 51, waived his right to a hearing on whether he should be transferred into the custody of Umatilla County in which the stabbing occurred.
A Umatilla County grand jury indicted Gore on May 7 and District Attorney Dan Primus issued an arrest warrant on Friday.
Primus said Gore faces charges of first- and second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Beliz was hospitalized for several days in Walla Walla.
The assault occurred near the Stateline Road and Highway 339 intersection north of Milton-Freewater and has resulted in several spin-off investigations, according to Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan.
Shortly after the Beliz stabbing, deputies arrested Crystal Velasquez, 28, on investigation of fourth-degree assault for an alleged attack that sent another woman to Walla Walla General Hospital after several people reportedly heard erroneously that Beliz had died from his wounds.
Rowan said deputies also investigated a second reported stabbing Sunday involving many of the same people associated with the first two incidents.
The victim, however, is not cooperating with authorities, according to Rowan.
“The victim said he was putting in a window and hurt himself,” he sheriff said. “Everybody knows better, but he’s sticking to his story.”
Following a report of the stabbing that surfaced on social media, several participants identified themselves on Facebook as involved in the fracas, including accusations that one participant brandished an electric shock weapon.
Rowan said deputies have conducted a thorough investigation, but can’t make an arrest unless someone is willing to press charges.
“We have an unwilling victim,” Rowan said. “A lot of the people we interviewed were the same way.”
In addition to the several assaults, Beliz himself was arrested upon his release from Providence St. Mary Medical Center on two felony fugitive warrants out of Umatilla County for allegedly failing to appear in court on burglary and automobile theft charges.
Luke Hegdal can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8326.