Musician facing felony charges

Matthew Donald is facing three felony charges, two gross misdemeanors; out on bond

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

A local musician is being charged with assault in the second degree by the Superior Court of Whitman County. He is scheduled to appear at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 7 in court for a preliminary appearance. 

Matthew Donald, 29, is facing a Class B felony for an incident of domestic violence which occurred in mid to late July.

According to a Summary of Facts by Heidi Lambley, Pullman Police Department detective, Donald allegedly cut a Pullman woman with a fabric cutter in July. The victim said the cut was a type of punishment, according to Lambley’s summary. 

The victim said Donald cut her upper leg repeatedly and threatened to make it worse if she screamed, according to the summary.

Steve Martonick, Donald’s defense attorney, said he expects his client will plead not guilty. Martonick refused to answer any other questions.

Pullman PD Cmdr. Jake Opgenorth said Lambley was following up with the victim in October. During the follow up, the victim told Lambley about the incident. Lambley sent her report to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s office in December, he said.

Opgenorth said there is a procedure set in place that requires officers to follow up with domestic violence victims if they “screen in.” This means the victim may be at risk of being in another domestic violence situation, he said. 

“Because we reach out, we develop a certain level of trust with victims of crime,” Opgenorth said. “We’re seeing they more often report things that happened in the past.”

Donald was arrested Oct. 5 on several charges involving the same victim after an incident in September. The charges included residential burglary, unlawful imprisonment, assault in the fourth degree and malicious mischief in the third degree.

Donald was booked into the Whitman County Jail Oct. 6 with bail set at $100,000, according to the Whitman County Jail Inmate Listing website.

According to the Summary of Probable Cause by Pullman PD Officer Ruben Harris, he responded to a welfare check around 6:40 a.m. Sept. 22 at the victim’s residence. Dispatch was sent after a third-party reporter said a woman was screaming “Help me” at the residence. 

The victim was climbing out of the bedroom window and Donald was in the room when Harris arrived, according to the summary.

After Harris arrived, the victim told him that Donald held her in place and would not let her out of bed, according to the summary. This led to a charge of unlawful imprisonment, which is when a person knowingly restrains another person, Opgenorth said.

The victim also said Donald insisted she call her friend and ask him to come to the residence. 

The victim said she called her friend but would not say what Donald wanted her to do, according to Harris’s summary. Donald allegedly stomped on the victim’s phone, which resulted in a warped and shattered screen, according to the summary. This led to a charge of third degree malicious mischief.

Donald told Harris that he only argued with the victim and didn’t damage the phone. 

The victim said she told Donald to leave her residence several times, according to the summary. If a person commits a crime on a residence that they have previously been told to leave, it is seen as residential burglary and trespassing, Opgenorth said.

During the wellness check, the victim told Harris that Donald cut her back with a kitchen knife for talking to other men earlier in September, according to the summary. Officers reported there were four lacerations on the victim’s back as well as cuts on her thigh that looked older than the wounds on her back. 

The victim said Donald made her share her work schedule with him and send him videos of herself at work, according to the summary. The victim told Harris she didn’t have friends anymore. 

A Domestic Violence No-Contact Order was filed against Donald in September. The order prohibits Donald from contacting the victim by any means until September 2020. 

Donald was released from custody Dec. 20 on bail, according to a Scheduling Order. He posted a bond for $50,000, according to Washington Courts Odyssey Portal.

The maximum punishment for a Class B felony is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Overall, Donald is facing three felony charges and two gross misdemeanors for the incidents in July and September.

The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted for comment.

*Additional reporting by Jayce Carral

*Donald’s photo was removed from this article on Jan. 8, 2021 to align with The Daily Evergreen’s crime reporting policies.