Bail set at $1.5M for Camas-Washougal fire battalion chief charged in wife’s murder

Kevin West, of Washougal, is accused of first-degree murder in Jan. 8 killing of Marcy West

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Washougal resident Kevin West appears in Clark County Superior Court, Monday, March 25, 2024. Kevin West, a fire battalion chief at the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, is accused of murdering his wife, Marcy West, in January 2024. (Screenshot by Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

A Clark County Superior Court judge this week granted bail in the amount of $1.5 million for a Camas-Washougal Fire Department (CWFD) fire battalion chief charged with murdering his wife.

Kevin West, 49, of Washougal, was arrested Friday, March 22, and charged with first-degree murder related to the Jan. 8 death of 48-year-old Marcy West.

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 his wife, Marcy, was having a seizure.

“Within minutes, he advised the dispatcher that she had stopped breathing and that he was initiating (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.

Washougal police and the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office began to investigate Marcy West’s death and police began fielding calls from people concerned that Kevin West may have had something to do with his wife’s death.

After an autopsy showed Marcy West had suffered neck trauma, police began a criminal investigation.

On Jan. 11, Washougal police detectives met with CCSO detectives and asked the Sheriff’s Office to take over the investigation to “avoid any possible conflicts of interest” due to Kevin West’s position as a local fire department leader.

“Over the next several weeks, CCSO (detectives from the Major Crimes Unit) began conducting interviews with … witnesses and interviewed Kevin West multiple times,” CCSO stated in the news release.

Detectives reviewed video from the body-worn cameras Washougal police officers had running during their initial response inside the Wests’ home, and reviewed crime-scene photos. They also learned, according to the news release, that Kevin and Marcy West had been alone in the house, Jan. 8.

On Jan. 31, CCSO detectives received search warrants to search the Wests’ home as well as their cell phones and online service provider records.

“Through their investigation, detectives learned that Kevin and Marcy (West) were experiencing marital and financial problems,” CCSO stated in the news release.

The detectives also said they believed Kevin West had provided “contradictory statements.”

On March 20, the 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. Detectives arrested Kevin West two days later, on March 22, and booked him into the county jail on first-degree murder charges.

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.

This week, on Monday, March 25, Clark County Superior Court Judge David Gregersen heard arguments for and against setting bail and releasing Kevin West from jail.

Clark County prosecuting attorney Laurel Smith argued against releasing Kevin West on bail, saying he had “demonstrated a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community or any person, and that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person in the community.”

Smith told Judge Gregersen she believed Kevin West posed a flight risk.

“When considering bail, the risk of flight is obviously heightened due to the nature of the charges and the potential punishments,” Smith said Monday. “There is reason to believe that (Kevin West) may significantly interfere with the administration of justice by the destruction of evidence.”

Smith divulged that prosecutors have reason to believe Kevin West had already started destroying such evidence.

“There are indications that he had deleted inculpatory text messages to a number of people, including the woman with whom he was having an affair, her family members, and his family members, indicating that he was intending to end the end things with the alleged victim or move out of their home on the date that she was killed,” Smith said.

“Fortunately, law enforcement was able to recover at least some of those text messages which had been deleted. The defendant had already deleted all text messages between himself and the alleged victim prior to law enforcement confiscating his phone. In fact, he had deleted her as a contact in his phone.”

Smith said that the vast majority of Marcy West’s belongings had been removed from her home “within weeks” of her death.

“The bed frame mattress and bedding was all removed in the location where her body was originally discovered and where the homicide is very likely to have occurred,” Smith said. “Given all of those considerations, the state feels that a no-bail hold is warranted.”

Kevin West’s defense attorney, Brian Walker, said his client deleted the text messages “because he didn’t want his wife to find (them),” not to cover up evidence of a crime.

Walker argued that Kevin West had deleted the messages before Marcy West’s death.

“This is before anything happened at all,” Walker said Monday, “so there’s a little bit of a misrepresentation as to the timeline here.”

Walker argued that his client poses no flight risk and should be granted bail.

“After he came to see me for the first time in early February, I told him there’s a chance he could be arrested, and that it could very well happen on a Friday morning,” Walker said. “He knew all these things, but he didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t try to hide it and get off work (early). In fact, he was arrested when he came back from his shift. There’s no danger of flight here. He’s got a home. He’s got kids. He has really strong ties to the community.”

Walker added that West “has no criminal history whatsoever.”

“We’re not talking about bail jumping, we’re not talking about warrants, we’re not talking about anything like that,” Walker said. “He doesn’t even have a misdemeanor. His history is squeaky clean.”

The judge agreed to set bail at $1.5 million — an amount between the $500,000 bail requested by Walker and the $5 million bail requested by Smith.

If released on bail, Kevin West will be required to wear an electronic monitor and be barred from his residence, Gregersen ruled.

Kevin West’s arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 9.

Editor Kelly Moyer contributed to this story.