Centralia Man Accused of Charging at Man With ‘Machete-Like’ Knife During Dispute


Bail has been set at $10,000 for a Centralia man accused of taking out “a large machete-like knife” and running toward a man during a dispute on Tuesday. 

A witness reported that the victim had arrived at a property in the 2200 block of North Pearl Street to pick up tools and was approached by the defendant, Juan Espinoza Martinez, 55, of Centralia, who spoke to the victim before he allegedly “pulled a knife and ran at (the victim).” 

The victim reportedly ran and “grabbed a pipe to try and defend himself,” according to the witness quoted in the affidavit of probable cause. The affidavit was  filed in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday. 

The victim later stated “he thought Mr. Espinoza Martinez was going to stab him.” 

Officers with the Centralia Police Department responded to a call from the witness at approximately 5 p.m. and “saw two males in a field holding objects in their hands in what appeared to be a standoff,” according to court documents. 

One officer reportedly identified the object in Espinoza Martinez’ hand as a knife, prompting the officers to order Espinoza Martinez to get on the ground. He complied and was detained. 

Upon detaining Espinoza Martinez, the officers  reportedly “observed a butcher-type knife holder with knives in it as well as a knife laying near where Mr. Espinoza Martinez was,” according to the affidavit of probable cause. 

Espinoza Martinez was booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 5:50 p.m. on Jan. 31, according to jail records. He was charged Wednesday with one count of second-degree assault, which is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

The witness reportedly told law enforcement she has known Espinoza Martinez for 15 years “and he has never done anything like this,” but referenced some circumstances that may explain his behavior. 

Defense attorney Rachael Tiller confirmed Espinoza Martinez has no assault convictions on his record and his most recent criminal history is 29 years old. 

“I do believe he has mitigating circumstances that will be explained at a later time,” Tiller said at Espinoza Martinez’ preliminary hearing on Wednesday. 

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9.