Ex-boyfriend charged with leaving WSU student for dead on road

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by Lindsay Chamberlain, KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 1 at 5:10 PM

COLFAX, WA. -- The Whitman County Prosecutors Office filed charges Thursday against the only person of interest ever named in the case of a WSU student found close to death on a rural road.

Last November, a passerby driving on Albion Road near Highway 27 called 911 in the middle of the night to report a woman laying in the road.

The woman was Kristen Grindley, 23, a Washington state University student from the west side of the state. She was found unconscious, barely breathing and bleeding profusely.

Grindley was immediately flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center where she spent months rehabilitating -- all while investigators worked off few clues to piece together what happened to her that night. Investigators were concerned Grindley would never be able to fully remember the events of that night, or even that week. Investigators now say Grindley has large gaps in her memory over the last five years.

Thursday, Whitman County Sheriff's Office investigators recommended charges of Felony Hit and Run against Grindley's ex-boyfriend, Richard Pasma, 24.

Pasma was the only person of interest ever named in the case by the Whitman County Sheriff's Office. During the investigation, Pasma told deputies he and Grindley had been fighting all that day, and that he went on a late-night drive without her.

According to charging documents, Grindley's roommate told investigators that on the night of the incident, Pasma showed up at their Pullman apartment, and Grindley went outside to meet him. The roommate said Pasma later woke her up and said he couldn't find Grindley. The pair of them drove around Pullman in Pasma's truck looking for Grindley.

During that time, the roommate recalled Pasma saying several times that his "biggest fear" was Grindley getting in the back of his truck without his knowledge, and that she may have fallen out while he was four-wheeling. However, investigators say Pasma never expressed that concern to them during interviews.

Pasma admitted to investigators that he drove on Albion Road that night, and even saw emergency lights, but believed it to be a vehicle crash. Pasma did tell investigators that he became concerned when Grindley didn't come home, and drove through the WSU campus looking for her, but said he didn't know how Grindley ended up on Albion Road.

Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers tells KREM 2 News there will be no warrant for Pasma's arrest, just a summons to appear in court. Myers says Pasma is not considered a flight risk, though he is likely working in Alaska this summer. Pasma's last known address is in Pullman.

Prosecutors said they plan to seek an "exceptional sentence" if Pasma is convicted of the Class C Felony. If convicted, Pasma could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In April of 2009, Pasma was arrested for 4th Degree Assault against Grindley. A WSU Police officer witnessed Pasma hit Grindley across the face in front of an apartment building in Pullman. Grindley told officers she had hit Pasma only a few minutes prior. The charges were dismissed.

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