Centralian Charged With Assault, Robbery for Allegedly Twice Attacking Woman

Charged: Elmer Jose Hernandez Accused of Using Knife in Both Attacks


A Centralia man is facing assault and robbery charges after he allegedly attacked a former roommate with a knife and then allegedly broke into her house two months later, holding a knife to her throat and demanding money.

A Lewis County Superior Court judge issued a $50,000 warrant for the arrest of Elmer Jose Hernandez Zepeda on Jan. 7 on assault charges stemming from a Jan. 1 incident at a Centralia residence.

Centralia police had responded to reports of a dispute and spoke with the alleged victim, who said that after she had asked Hernandez Zepeda to “turn down his loud music,” he “became angry, and then grabbed her by the hair, dragging her across the room and onto his bed,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in Lewis County Superior Court.

Hernandez Zepeda then allegedly grabbed her throat and “held her down to where she could not breathe” and sliced her leg with a knife. When another person attempted to pull Hernandez Zepeda off of the victim, he allegedly grabbed her by the hair as well before fleeing the residence.

On Feb. 28, Centralia police responded to another report of a physical dispute at a Centralia address. The victim reported that Hernandez Zepeda had entered her house without her knowledge, shown up at her bedside, “grabbed the back of her head and whispered to her that he wanted money so he could go to Miami,” according to the affidavit.

She reportedly told him that she did not have any money and attempted to wake another person in the room to call 911, but Hernandez Zepeda allegedly told her to “shush,” bit her cheek, and told her it would be “really bad for her family” if the police came.

Hernandez Zepeda then allegedly “lifted her head from the bed,” and she noticed she was holding an 8 to 10-inch knife to her throat. He then reportedly went into the bathroom with the knife, at which point the victim was able to wake the other person in the room and have them call 911.

Hernandez was booked into the Lewis County Jail just after noon on Feb. 28 and has been charged with one count of second-degree assault from the January incident and one count each of second-degree assault and first-degree attempted robbery from the February incident.  All charges are considered Class B felonies, and each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. 

During Hernandez Zepeda’s March 1 preliminary hearing, Judge Joely A. O’Rourke approved a domestic violence protection order for the victim and set Hernandez Zepeda’s bail at $50,000 cash or bond for each assault charge.

“The allegations of this case are both serious and involve the same victim,” O’Rourke said. “So I’m very concerned about community safety — especially the safety of this alleged victim.”

Hernandez Zepeda is currently serving a nine-day sentence from a separate warrant out of Centralia Municipal Court and will not be allowed to post bail for the other charges until that sentence is complete.