West pleads not guilty to strangling wife; court documents detail affair

CWFD fire battalion chief Kevin West faces first-degree murder charges in connection to Jan. 8 death of 48-year-old Marcy West

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Murder suspect Kevin West, of Washougal, speaks during his arraignment hearing on April 9, 2024. (Screenshot by Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

Kevin West, the Camas-Washougal Fire Department (CWFD) battalion chief accused of strangling his wife to death earlier this year, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.

West entered a not-guilty plea April 9, in Clark County Superior Court on April 9.

West, 49, of Washougal, was arrested March 22 and charged with first-degree murder related to the Jan. 8 death of 48-year-old Marcy West. Clark County Superior Court judge David Gregersen granted bail in the amount of $1.5 million on March 25.

West posted bail and has been released from Clark County Jail, according to his attorney, Brian Walker. Under the terms of a release agreement, West is barred from his residence and possessing firearms. West will next appear in court on Thursday, May 2, for an omnibus hearing.

This week, Walker told The Post-Record his client “did not contribute in any way to the death of his wife.”

“Her passing was an unexpected, tragic event in the lives of the West family, and the lives of Mrs. West’s extended family as well,” Walker, a Vancouver-based criminal defense attorney, said of Marcy West’s death. “(Kevin) West only tried to help her.”

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), first-responders from the Washougal Police Department and CWFD responded to the Wests’ home on 34th Street in Washougal at 4:27 a.m. Jan. 8, after Kevin West told emergency dispatchers that Marcy West was having a seizure.

“Within minutes, he advised the dispatcher that she had stopped breathing and that he was initiating CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation),” according to a CCSO news release. “Medics arrived and attempted life-saving measures, but resuscitation efforts were not successful.”

Marcy West was pronounced dead 44 minutes after first responders arrived at the Wests’ home.

Kevin West told first responders his wife had a headache and vomited before they went to bed together, but otherwise experienced a “normal night” of watching movies and eating Chinese takeout, the affidavit states.

“Kevin awoke to their dog whining and Marcy seizing in bed,” CCSO detective Dean Telecsan wrote in the probable cause affidavit. “He moved Marcy to the floor and … initiated CPR. He continued administering CPR until medics arrived. Kevin said Marcy did not have a history of seizures or other significant medical history.”

Washougal detectives and the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office began to investigate Marcy West’s death, after police began fielding calls from people concerned that Kevin West may have had something to do with his wife’s death. When an autopsy showed Marcy West had suffered neck trauma, police began a criminal investigation on Jan. 11.

On March 20, Clark County’s medical examiner declared Marcy West had died by asphyxia with blunt trauma to the neck and ruled her death the result of a homicide.

“I know through my training and other asphyxiation investigations that intentional asphyxiation by means of strangulation or suffocation reportedly takes approximately seven to 10 seconds to cause unconsciousness, and death can be caused in a matter of minutes,” Telecsan noted in court documents. “Intentional asphyxiation is frequently highly violent and takes more than a moment in point of time for the event to lead to death, suggesting the offender repeatedly chooses to continue the assault over a period of time, failing to stop until the victim loses consciousness and dies. There does not appear to be any other plausible explanation for the injuries to her neck aside from intentional and direct bilateral pressure being applied, which is consistent with the medical examiner’s findings regarding the injuries in Marcy’s neck.”

According to the city of Camas, Kevin West has worked for the City for 22 years, was promoted from fire captain to fire battalion chief in 2020, and earns an annual salary of $162,600. Kevin and Marcy West have two children — Ted, 20, who was staying at his parents’ home in January, but was reportedly at work at the time of his mother’s death, and Megan, 18, who attends the University of Washington.

Walker said his client is “committed to fighting these charges,” and urged community members to “keep an open mind and remember that (Kevin) West has spent nearly his entire adult life as a firefighter and paramedic, helping others and serving his community,” Walker said.

“The press narrative so far, through no fault of its own, has been drawn mostly from the probable cause statement the police filed with the court,” Walker continued. “Bear in mind that the probable cause statement represents only a very selective sampling of information gathered by police and presented through a narrow and biased filter. The sole purpose of the probable cause statement is to present the investigating officer’s theory in a ‘compelling’ fashion, and serves no other purpose than to support a theory of criminal activity. It does not include any mitigating or contradictory facts whatsoever.”

Court documents show Kevin West was having affair

Court documents show Kevin West had been having an affair for 20 years and planned to leave his wife on the day of her death.

On Jan. 11, Telecsan received a call from a man who said he “met West while he was with another woman, Cynthia Ward, at Big Al’s … in Vancouver.”

The man told Telecsan he knew Kevin was married, but that he was also dating Ward.

“(Ward) was also in a long-term dating relationship with another man,” according to the court documents, and the man believed Kevin West and Ward were both cheating on their significant others. The man told police he had heard Kevin West was “planning on leaving his wife and subsequently heard that she was deceased. Based on this information, he thought the circumstances were extremely weird and suspicious,” Telecsan noted in the probable cause affidavit.

Later, Telecsan spoke with Dr. Martha Burt, who had performed Marcy West’s primary autopsy the day before.

“Dr. Burt advised me there were some injuries noted during the evaluations … consistent with strangulation,” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “There did not appear to be evidence of a natural cause or disease attributable to her death.”

On Jan. 23, Telecsan went to West residence for a follow-up interview on behalf of the medical examiner’s office and noted that an Audi Q5, later discovered to be registered to Ward, was in the driveway.

“When asked to describe his relationship with Marcy, Kevin told us the better part of their lives had been busy,” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “Kevin said they had ‘bumps’ in their marriage, and specifically mentioned 2015 as a bump. He indicated it had to do with their financial situation and said he ‘just wanted her to save’ (money). He stated he stayed at a coworker’s property in his trailer for about 20 days at that time. Kevin said they later went to the beach and reconnected. More recently, Kevin told us Megan was at the University of Washington and (he and Marcy had) been able to ‘rediscover what (they) have.’”

Telecsan again talked with Kevin West at the West residence on Jan. 31.

“I asked Kevin if he could tell us more about the relationship ‘bumps’ he had mentioned in our first interview. He said that he and Marcy were spending a lot of money … and did not have a savings account,” Telecsan wrote. “He and Marcy couldn’t come to a resolution in finding a balance financially. Kevin decided to temporarily stay in his travel trailer at another property for about 20 days. He and Marcy later had a ‘couple’s weekend’ where they went to the coast. They had a good weekend together, talked and came to a resolution regarding their financial situation.”

When asked if they had ever talked about divorce or separation, Kevin West said they had talked about those scenarios in 2015. He said his wife “made a big effort when we went to the beach,” and the talks of divorce dissipated afterwards, Telecsan wrote.

When asked if he knew Ward, Kevin West admitted to having an affair with her.

“Prior to this, Kevin had not disclosed anything about the affair with her despite being asked about his marriage and any relationship issues,” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “He told us they met in the early 2000s when (Ward) was a volunteer with the Washougal (fire department). I asked him about the timeline of the affair and he said, ‘Right now.’ Kevin said he talked to her once in July. He then saw her in late August. He’s met with her intermittently, about once a month, since then. He said they had previously had an affair around 2004 …. He said he communicated with (Ward) using his phone, typically using WhatsApp.”

Kevin West acknowledged that the affair is “ongoing,” according to the affidavit.

“I asked him if they had talked about future plans and he responded that ‘there is no plan,’” Telecsan stated in court documents. “Kevin then disclosed that (Ward) had been at his house during our last interview with him. He said they had been in the garage having drinks when we got there. Kevin confirmed he and (Ward) were having a sexual relationship.”

Kevin West told detectives Ward had been “a big comfort for him” in the weeks following Marcy West’s death and denied that his wife had known about his affair with Ward.

According to the affidavit, when Telecsan asked Kevin West to show him his communication with Ward on the day of Marcy West’s death, he told the detective he always deleted his conversations with Ward in case Marcy West “got into his phone.”

Kevin West denied he was going to ask his wife for a divorce, according to court documents.

“He told us, ‘I talked about divorce but. .. there’s no way I could go through with it. … Marcy and I had too much together,’” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “When asked if there were ever talks about if something were to happen to Marcy that he would move forward with (Ward), he told me ‘No.’”

Later, while searching a wooden box in the Wests’ garage, detectives located two Christmas cards from Kevin West to Ward.

According to court documents, Kevin West had written to Ward that “next year, 2024, will be our year. We will be together celebrating every day.”

According to court documents, detectives seized Kevin and Marcy West’ cell phones and found “hundreds of deleted messages” with several showing Kevin West intended to leave his wife to be with Ward.

“Deleted messages between Kevin and (Ward’s) brother-in-law … showed Kevin telling him on Jan. 3, ‘I’m moving out on Monday,’ ‘Paper’s done Tuesday,’ and ‘I know where I sit,’” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “This would appear to reference Kevin having plans to move out of his house on Jan. 8, and that the divorce papers will be finished on Jan. 9.”

Deleted messages from Kevin West to Ward’s mother, Waltaud Ward, also speak to Kevin Ward’s thinking during the early days of 2024.

“On Jan. 3, Kevin tells her, ‘I’m meeting my attorney on (Jan. 9) and I will have options to decide from, and I’m very excited. I will also be moving out on (Jan. 8). Next week will be a big week for Cynthia and I to celebrate. I love you,’” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “The messages Kevin sent to Walfraud and Lorna stand in stark contrast to what Kevin told us during his interview on Jan. 31, (when) he stated he was not planning on leaving Marcy to be with Cynthia. His messages indicate he was imminently moving forward with the separation (or) divorce. Kevin’s statements that he and Marcy had been intimate on Jan. 7 did not make sense given his imminent move out and presumed notification to Marcy of the divorce/papers being finalized.”

According to the affidavit, detectives also found messages on Marcy West’s phone that depict multiple arguments between her and Kevin West regarding their relationship, lack of intimacy, financial situation and their children.

The affidavit states that “some of the noteworthy texts” sent from Kevin West to Marcy West included texts stating:

• “You have made yourself clear that I have made you unhappy for 23 years.”

• “Get your paperwork ready because that’s what you want.”

• “You create my anger.”

• “You need to know that I’m extremely stressed about money, I’m overwhelmed at work”

According to the court documents, Marcy West had asked her husband to “give (her) two weeks to find somewhere to go.”

On March 20, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office told Telecsan that Marcy West’s death had been ruled as a homicide caused by asphyxia due to blunt neck trauma.

“Based on a comparison of our interviews with Kevin and the evidence found at the house (and) contained in Kevin and Marcy’s cell phones, it appears that Kevin was telling us contradictory statements and was intentionally being deceitful through lies and omissions regarding his relationship and intent with Cynthia,” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “Based on Marcy’s significant injuries discovered during the autopsy, combined with information learned during our interviews (and) cell phone extractions pertaining to the affairs, Kevin’s impending separation and divorce, and their long history of relationship issues, it appears that Marcy’s death was caused by injuries to her neck.”

Telecsan said Kevin West’s account of Marcy’s death — that she had suffered from a seizure — “had no explanation for why she would have injuries.”

“Kevin stated he was the only person present at the time of her loss of consciousness and no evidence has been discovered to indicate any third-party was present,” Telecsan stated in the affidavit. “His account of the incident involving Marcy having a seizure does not produce any reasonable explanation for why she would have her noted injuries.”