Danny Wing pleads guilty while Brenda Wing pursues trial

Stephen Floyd

Vader resident Danny Wing has pleaded guilty to causing the Oct. 5, 2014, death of 3-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner, while his wife, Brenda Wing, continues to pursue a trial in response to similar charges.

Danny Wing, 26, stated during a hearing held March 19 in Lewis County Superior Court he had caused Henderling-Warner's death by "failing to get him medical care for the injuries he sustained while a member of my household," according to court documents. Henderling-Warner's death is believed to have been caused by prolonged physical abuse suffered under the Wings' care, based on findings of the Lewis County Coroner's Office.

Danny Wing's statement also included a description of an incident in late August of last year during which he "open‑palm hit Jasper in the mouth," causing the child's lip to swell as well as "substantial pain extending for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering."

"I am truly sorry," concluded his statement, which satisfied the conditions of a plea to first-degree manslaughter and third-degree assault of a child.

Henderling-Warner had been living with the Wings since last July after his mother, Nikki Warner, of Vancouver, assigned them legal guardianship, stating she was expecting to be without permanent residence for the time being.

On Oct. 5, 2014, Brenda Wing, 27, called 911 to report Henderling-Warner had stopped breathing and an investigation into the child's death began, resulting in the Wings being arrested Nov. 7, 2014, for homicide by abuse.

While the charges against Danny Wing have been resolved, pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 7, Brenda Wing chose to continue pursuing a trial during an omnibus hearing held today, which is currently scheduled for May 18.

Neither Brenda Wing nor her attorney, John Crowley, offered any response to Danny Wing's plea during the hearing, except to ask for the trial to be pushed back one week from May 11 so they may prepare in light of this new development.

Prosecuting Attorney Will Halstead indicated, if Brenda Wing wishes to entertain a plea bargain between now and the trial, his office would not be opposed to such discussions.

"We're always working to resolve our cases," he said, adding he feels "fairly confident" in the case his office is preparing to present against Brenda Wing.

Halstead also stated he expects the trial, under these new conditions, may last roughly two to three weeks, rather than four to six weeks as previously estimated. He said he expects Danny Wing to testify at Brenda Wing's trial, if it is to proceed, as well as Warner and Henderling-Warner's father, Casey Henderling, and Zach Kidder, an 18-year-old man living with the Wings at the time of Henderling-Warner's death.

Until the trial, Brenda Wing remains in the custody of the Lewis County Jail on $200,000 bail, while Danny Wing remains in custody on $500,000 bail, pending sentencing. According to court documents, prosecutors anticipate asking the court to impose a maximum sentence on Danny Wing of life in prison, while statutes allow the judge to impose a minimum range of 14 to 18-and-a-half years for both charges, given Danny Wing's previous felony convictions of hit-and-run, violation of a no-contact order and attempting to elude, all originating in 2008 in Clark County.

A related Family Court case remains pending as the Wings' three children, reported to be between the ages of infancy and 6 years old, were taken into the custody of the Lewis County Child Protective Services Office after their arrest. Court documents indicate both Danny and Brenda Wing remain in discussions as to the future of their children, with the results of their criminal cases expected to impact the decisions of Family Court.