By Don Nelson
James Ryan Jones of Twisp has been charged in Okanogan County Superior Court with first-degree assault and first-degree robbery in connection with the severe beating of a Twisp man on June 6.
Both charges are Class A felonies in Washington state, punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Jones, 29, is being held in the Okanogan County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail. He is accused of beating Thomas Miller, who lives near the intersection of Magers Street and Twisp Avenue, in Miller’s home, and of taking marijuana plants that Miller cultivates for medicinal purposes.
Twisp police had earlier identified a second man as possibly connected with the incident, but that person — who is also in the Okanogan County Jail on another, unrelated charge — hasn’t been arrested or charged in the assault on Miller. Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow said the investigation continues.
Budrow said earlier that relatives of Thomas Miller who checked in to see how he was on June 6 found the man severely beaten, with a swollen eye, possibly broken nose, and bleeding from his nose, eyes, ears and scalp. It was later determined that Miller had suffered a concussion.
Miller was first taken to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was out of intensive care and listed in satisfactory condition this week, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Miller initially didn’t remember what had happened to him, Budrow said. A couple of days after the attack, Miller’s memory began to return and he was interviewed at Harborview by officers from the Seattle Police Department. Budrow said that Miller identified a possible attacker during that interview.
The chief said that Miller is approved to grow and harvest marijuana at his home for medical purposes. Budrow said that during his investigation of the house and yard, he determined that several of Miller’s marijuana plants had been dug up and apparently stolen.
Jones was arrested at his Twisp home on June 9.