YAKIMA, Wash. — A 21-year-old Yakima man is being held in the Monday night death of another man who witnesses say was stomped on and kicked several times.
Gage M. Rogers made his first court appearance Tuesday and was ordered held on $1 million bail in the death of 45-year-old Eric A. Taylor while prosecutors consider charges in the case.
They have until Thursday to file.
Police said Taylor was beaten to death during a fight at his home in the 1100 block of Cherry Avenue.
Alcohol abuse “seems to be a factor in this,” said Capt. Rod Light, a spokesman for Yakima Police Department, explaining the men had been drinking for nearly six hours before the fight. Initial reports indicated the dead man was the suspect’s uncle. But Light said the familial relationship between the two men has not been conclusively established.
According to an arrest affidavit, officers found Taylor unconscious in the basement of the home and were told that Rogers had assaulted the man.
Witnesses said Rogers beat and kicked Taylor even after the stricken man was unconscious, stomping him several times in the face and at least once in the chest, according to the affidavit.
The witnesses said they tried to intervene and that Rogers at one point slugged a witness named Justin Jackson, who nevertheless subdued Rogers until police arrived, the affidavit said.
“We later learned that Taylor had passed away at the hospital due to his injuries,” Detective Kasey Hampton reported. “We attempted to speak with Rogers, but post Miranda he did not want to talk to us.”
An autopsy is tentatively scheduled for today.
Court records show Rogers was convicted a year ago in Ferry County of second-degree assault (strangulation), assault on law enforcement, second-degree malicious mischief and second-degree animal cruelty.
He was sentenced to serve just over a year.
Further details were not immediately available.
Taylor also had a record, including at least seven convictions for driving under the influence, two for negligent driving and a 1987 felony conviction in Grant County for second-degree burglary and first-degree theft.
The homicide was the sixth of the year in Yakima County and the second within the Yakima city limits.
In March, 70-year-old David Childs was found beaten to death in a downtown parking lot. A 34-year-old Wapato man was later arrested and now faces murder charges.
This report has been updated to reflect uncertainty by authorities about the familial relationship between the suspect and victim.
• Chris Bristol can be reached at 509-577-7748 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ChrisJBristol.