South Whidbey Record, February 08, 2014
February 08, 2014 edition of the South Whidbey Record
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2014 | Vol. 90, No. 12 | WWW.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.COM | 75¢ Record South Whidbey Flash mob practice See...A12 INSIDE Gallion gives up the gavel Angler and fishing legend sets sights on new fishing grounds SW parks ranger finds body on beach By JESSIE STENSLAND South Whidbey Record An employee with State Parks discovered a body on the beach outside of his state-owned housing near Possession Point State Park on South Whidbey Thursday afternoon. The body was tentatively identified as 35-year-old Brandon Smith of Clinton, according to Island County Coroner Robert Bishop. Bishop said the autopsy is set for Saturday. He expects to positively identify the body and possibly identify the manner of the man’s death, though any toxicology testing will take more time. Bishop said there were no obvious signs on the body that would indicate a cause of death. The Island County Sheriff’s Office is working with Bishop to investigate the death. “Foul play is not suspected at this time,” Detective Rick Felici said. Smith was last seen Tuesday morning as he was going to work, Bishop said. The senior park aide reported finding the body at 2:31 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. “We’ve got some huge holes to fill in,” Bishop said. “This could turn out to be just about anything.” Bishop said the body, which was fully clothed, came in with the tide. Smith’s vehicle was found at the nearby park. According to Smith’s Facebook page, he was in the class of 1997 at Carlisle County High School in Bardwell, Ky., and the class of 2000 at Paducah Technical College in Paducah, Ky. He listed his professional skills as “carpentry, landscaping and painting.” Ben Watanabe / The Record Mike Gallion has stepped aside from running The Fishin’ Club, a group of anglers that discuss fishing techniques, gear and stories every month on South Whidbey. He founded the club and ran it as the president for 25 years. By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record These days, lifelong leisure angler Mike Gallion is off the hook. After founding and running The Fishin’ Club for 25 years, the 69-year-old Bayview man has stepped down from the position of president, saying it was time to let somebody else run the show. “The best thing I could do for the club is stay out of their way,” he laughed. In his stead, Kevin Lungren was nominated as president, and Mike Price as vice president of the fishing fellowship. On Thursday, Feb. 6, they celebrated Gallion’s last night as the official president. Lungren said the club, with an official membership of about 90 — each membership is for a family, so the numbers can reach up to 200 — plans to present Gallion with a custom-built rod at a later meeting. It’s not like Gallion, who SEE GALLION, A13 State court turns down SW murderer’s appeal By JESSIE STENSLAND South Whidbey Record A judge did not err in giving a South Whidbey High School graduate and convicted murderer more than double the standard-range sentence because his victim was wearing a seatbelt and had “an unsuspecting mindset” when he was shot, the Washington State Appeals Court ruled this week. James Huden is in his second year of an 80-year sentence for shooting and killing Russel Douglas in a secluded area of South Whidbey Dec. 27, 2003. A jury found Huden guilty in 2012 of first-degree murder with a firearms enhancement as well as an aggravating factor. Douglas was “particularly vulnerable,” or more vulnerable than a typical victim of first-degree murder, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks explained. Vulnerability of the victim is one of several “aggravating factors” that allows a judge to sentence a defendant outside the standard sentencing range. Douglas was particularly vulnerable, Banks argued, because he was wearing a seatbelt inside his car, was lured to and ambushed in a remote SEE HUDEN, A16 Record file James Huden sits in court during his 2013 murder trial. He lost an appeal this week.