The Chehalis man accused of attempting to strangle a female bartender at the Market Street Pub last month has pleaded not guilty to felony charges stemming from the incident.
Jason A.K. Burnside, 49, of Chehalis, faces one count of second-degree assault, strangulation, and one count of obtaining hotel, restaurant or other accommodations by fraud. Each charge is considered a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
Burnside allegedly “grabbed the bartender by her throat to push his way past her” after refusing to pay his $140.50 tab, according to court documents.
To the shock of witnesses and those who watched security footage of the incident on social media, responding police did not take Burnside into custody. Officials later said that decision was due to jail and hospital restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Police did refer charges against Burnside to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, and the prosecutor sent Burnside a summons notice for a July 13 court date on June 21.
Because Burnside responded to the court summons and was present in court for his preliminary hearing, Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer recommended that Judge J. Andrew Toynbee allow Burnside to remain released on a $25,000 unsecured bail — but requested anti-harassment orders protecting both Market Street Pub and the bartender.
“The victim is obviously worried for her safety, as is the state,” Meyer said.
Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke requested that a condition of release prohibiting Burnside from consuming alcohol be revoked.
“Alcohol was not the entire factor in this,” O’Rourke said.
He also asked Toynbee not to grant Meyer’s request for a separate anti-harassment order protecting the bartender, claiming it would be redundant given the order prohibiting him from entering Market Street Pub.
“I don’t even think he knows this person or where she lives,” O’Rourke said.
“If he doesn’t know the victim, then it shouldn’t be an issue,” Meyer said in response.
Toynbee ultimately granted all of Meyer’s requests. He did, however, grant Burnside permission to travel to Portland on a specific date to visit his daughter.
Burnside’s next scheduled court appearance is a trial confirmation on Sept. 16, in preparation for trial on Sept. 20.