Assault, possession of a weapon and prison riot charges filed against Green Hill School inmates last month

May 1—The Lewis County Prosecutor's Office filed charges against several Green Hill School inmates in late March and April for alleged offenses that took place at the Chehalis juvenile detention facility.

Rafael Torres Topete, 18, Jamael A. Barajas-Torres, 19, and Henri Garcia Cruz, 19, were each charged with one count of custodial assault on March 29 for allegedly attacking another inmate on Dec. 8, 2023.

They have each pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and trial is scheduled to begin on June 24.

Topete, Barajas-Torres and Xavier A.I. Vaughn, 18, were each charged with one count of prison riot on April 11 after they allegedly ran into a classroom and began attacking another inmate on Feb. 12. They allegedly "all ignored the directives to stop fighting," according to court documents.

All three co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges.

Trials for Barajas-Torres and Vaugn are scheduled to begin in July, and Torres Topete has a trial setting hearing on June 6.

Rigoberto Sanchez, 19, and Adnel J. Kenjar, 23, each face one count of prison riot for allegedly planning an assault on another inmate that took place on Jan. 7. The juvenile inmate accused of committing the assault was charged in juvenile court in February.

Kenjar was charged on April 5 and Sanchez was charged April 11, according to court documents.

Sanchez's arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 2. Kenjar pleaded not guilty April 18, and he has a trial setting hearing scheduled for May 2.

Rigoberto Sanchez Medina, 19, was charged April 12 with one count of weapon possession by a prisoner after Green Hill School staff reportedly found "a sharpened metal rod" in Sanchez Medina's room on Dec. 11, 2023. He pleaded guilty to the charge on April 17 and was sentenced that same day to 12 months in jail.

Sanchez Medina also pleaded guilty April 17 to an unrelated prison riot charge stemming from a Dec. 10, 2023, incident where he and one other inmate went into another inmate's room and attacked him.

He was sentenced April 17 to 18 months in prison for that charge. The two sentences are set to run concurrently.

Also sentenced April 17 was Leroy Franklin Nickols, who pleaded guilty that same day to a custodial assault charge stemming from a March 18 incident where he kicked a staff member "several times in the knee." According to court documents, "staff members had to gain control of Nickols and use mechanical restraints to stop him."

He was charged with one count of custodial assault on March 26. He was sentenced to four months in jail followed by 12 months on probation.

Green Hill School began reporting all seized contraband and all assaults involving three or more inmates to the Chehalis Police Department in October, according to Green Hill School interim Superintendent Jason Aldana.

In a statement to a Chronicle reporter in March, Aldana said he reached out to Centralia Police Chief Stacy Denham and Chehalis Police Chief Randy Kaut shortly after the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET) executed a search warrant at the facility on Aug. 31, 2023. Unreported evidence and contraband was seized from lockers as the warrant was served.

Aldana said he met with Kaut and Chehalis Deputy Chief Matt McKnight in early September to go over a pilot system for reporting assaults and seized contraband to the Chehalis Police Department.

Kaut confirmed in April that the Chehalis Police Department does regularly recover contraband that has been seized by Green Hill staff. The department also regularly receives reports of incidents within the facility, including found contraband and prison riots, which are defined as a physical altercation involving three or more inmates.