Island County cops arrest three for felony domestic violence

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office investigated three allegations of felony-level domestic assaults on South Whidbey in a three-week period.

In the first case, a South Whidbey man is accused of stomping on his girlfriend and fracturing her spine. He recently appeared in Island County Superior Court.

In that case, prosecutors charged 44-year-old Kenneth E. Short, Jr., of Freeland in Island County Superior Court Dec. 19 with assault in the second degree.

A judge issued a $5,000 warrant for Short’s arrest after he failed to appear at a Jan. 5 hearing, but he appeared in court three days later, according to court documents.

A deputy responded to a report of a domestic assault on Fish Road Oct. 30.

The alleged victim reported that she and her boyfriend, Short, were in a mobile home and he attacked her for no apparent reason when she was looking for a movie to watch, the report states.

The woman said he threw her to the ground and “stomped her” with his boots on; she was in great pain and had trouble moving, the report states.

Doctors at Whidbey General Hospital reported that she suffered a “right L3 transverse fracture,” the report states.

In another case, deputies were called to a domestic assault at an apartment in Clinton Jan. 1. A woman reported that her boyfriend, Michael Dirlam, choked her until she couldn’t breathe and punched her in the eye and ribs, according to the deputy’s report.

During the assault, the woman yelled for her friend to take her son to safety and call the cops, the report indicates.

Prosecutors charged Dirlam in Island County Superior Court Jan. 9 with assault in the second degree, domestic violence.

A judge set his bail at $10,000 Jan. 8.

Then on Jan. 7, deputies responded to a report of a domestic assault outside a home in Freeland.

The alleged victim reported that her fiancé, Russell Berenda, attacked her inside his truck when they were parked in the driveway. They had been at the Freehand Cafe and had an altercation, according to the police report.

She claimed Berenda choked her and she couldn’t breathe, so she kicked the windshield out of his truck. After she locked herself in the truck and refused to leave, he broke the windshield of her BMW, the report states.

The alleged victim then opened the door. Berenda allegedly dragged her out by the hair, pushed her down so that her face was in the gravel and stole the diamond engagement ring he had given her nine months prior, the report states.

During the investigation, Berenda admitted that he had kicked out the window of her car because she had kicked out his truck’s window, the report claims.

The deputy wrote that he found the $6,000 ring in Berenda’s front pocket and released it to the woman.

Prosecutors charged Berenda in Island County Superior Court Jan. 12 with assault in the second, theft in the first degree and malicious mischief in the second degree.