Mineral Murder Suspect Jailed Pending Charges 


This story has been updated here: https://www.chronline.com/stories/two-suspects-in-unrelated-homicides-released-wednesday-pending-charges-in-lewis-county,307953

A Mineral woman suspected of killing a man in Mineral Sunday night will be held at the Lewis County Jail through Thursday morning as detectives finish their investigation into the incident, a Lewis County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday. 

The suspect, Michelle Le Anne Steffens, 52, of Mineral, is suspected of shooting her husband, identified in court documents as Michael Johnson, with a pistol at their residence in the 100 block of Washington Street in Mineral on Sunday. 

The Lewis County Emergency Dispatch Center dispatched a deputy with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to the residence at approximately 9:39 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22 receiving two calls from the area, according to court documents. 

On the first call, the dispatcher reportedly heard “a woman in distress calling ‘Teri, wake up, Oh God.’” 

The second call was from the suspect’s sister, Teri, who reportedly told the dispatcher Steffens had shot Johnson. 

The deputy reportedly arrived at the residence to find Johnson dead in the bathroom with multiple gunshot wounds, according to court documents.  

When questioned by the deputy, Steffens allegedly “said she shot her husband,” according to court documents. 

Steffens’ sister reportedly filled in the rest of the story with information Steffens had told her prior to the deputy’s arrival. According to Steffens’ sister, Steffens shot Johnson after Johnson assaulted Steffens with a shotgun.

Steffens reportedly sustained significant bruises during the incident, according to her defense attorney. 

Steffens’ sister reportedly gave the deputy the five-shot revolver Steffens allegedly shot Johnson with. “All five shell casings were still in the cylinder. All five cartridges had been fired,” noted the deputy. 

A detective’s investigation of the scene revealed a double-barrelled shotgun on the floor just inside the entrance to the bedroom, pointed at the bed. The holster to Steffens’ gun was on the other side of the bed. The bedroom is right around the corner from the bathroom where Johnson’s body was found, per court documents. 

On the other side of the house, directly in line with the bedroom of the doorway and the corner of the room where the pistol was allegedly fired from, the detective reportedly found a bullet hole in a glass front window. 

Steffens was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail at 6:55 a.m. on Monday, according to jail records. 

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office filed an affidavit in Lewis County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon requesting a 72-hour no-bail hold so detectives can complete follow-up interviews and the prosecutor’s office can review autopsy results from the Lewis County Coroner’s Office and forensics from the Washington State Patrol’s firearms lab before filing charges, according to court documents. 

A judge granted that request on Tuesday, though the clock on the 72-hour hold began when Steffens was booked into the Lewis County Jail on Monday, meaning it expires Thursday morning. 

Steffens is scheduled to reappear in Lewis County Superior Court at 4 p.m. on Wednesday so a judge can re-evaluate the status of her case. 

Stated the Lewis County Sheriff's Office in a news release about the incident Monday afternoon, "there is not believed to be any outstanding suspects, or ongoing concern for public safety as a result of the investigation. "

An autopsy will be scheduled and more information about the victim will be released by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office “when appropriate,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office encourages anyone with information on the incident to call the office at 360-748-9286 or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.