[12/16/21] Trial In Hotel Strangulation Attempt

Posted in Law Enforcement

You remember back in May we told you about a man from Michigan arrested for trying to strangle a Wenatchee hotel worker. Well, trial has begun  in that case, 33-year-old James Lawrence Jackson-Smith is charged with attempted murder, first degree assault and kidnapping.

Wenatchee police say while visiting Wenatchee for a relative’s funeral in Leavenworth, Jackson-Smith lured the hotel staffer to his room May 20th with a complaint of a broken toilet, then attacked her from behind and tried to choke her until she was able to break free.

He then left in a vehicle and was caught by East Wenatchee police on Highway 28, about 90 minutes after the incident was reported.

In opening arguments, Jackson-Smith’s lawyer told jurors his client was defending himself from an attack by the alleged victim.

But Chelan County deputy prosecutor Ryan Valaas said Jackson-Smith spent the night prior to the attack attempting to lure a different female hotel worker to his room.

Valaas said Jackson-Smith attempted three times the night of May 19 to have the female staffer working overnight visit his room — to bring a plunger, to repair his toilet, and to let him into his room after he reported being locked out — and she denied him each time, saying she was the only person on staff and offering alternative solutions. The woman said she was disturbed by Jackson-Smith’s behavior during those interactions.

That hotel worker went off shift at 7 a.m. and was replaced by the alleged victim. The first staffer told police she intended to warn the woman who followed her about Jackson-Smith’s alleged behavior, but ultimately was distracted by other work duties.

Jurors were told to expect testimony from police, as well as the victim and Jackson-Smith himself. The trial before Judge Kristin Ferrera is set to continue through this week.