Posted October 12, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in News
 
 

Couple Arrested for Attempting to Bribe Stabbing Victim

Defendants Believed to be Neo-Nazis



By Felix Chrome

On October 5 at around 5:20 a.m. police raided two houses, which sit on the same property and share the same address, on the westside of Olympia. Two residents Cassie Hickam and Robert Fechtner were arrested on suspicion of attempting to bribe the victim of a stabbing in downtown Olympia so he would not testify against the perpetrator.

The victim, a black man, was stabbed outside The Clipper on 4th Ave and Adams in downtown Olympia on August 16. The man and his girlfriend were both injured in the attack but recovered. Their assailant, later identified as Daniel B. Rowe, was injured in the altercation and he was still on the scene when police arrived. Rowe was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

These original charges have been added to since Hickam and Fechtner’s arrest. Rowe now faces five felony charges: two counts of second degree assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of malicious harassment, and one count of bribing a witness.

Rowe has multiple tattoos that indicate he is a white supremacist, including ones that say “skinhead” and “white power.” The police believed that this racial prejudice was the motivation for the assault. Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler told the Olympian the incident “has all the hallmarks of a hate crime.”

After the stabbing, KOMO 4 news reported, “[Rowe] told police he was part of a white supremacy group and had come to downtown Olympia because he had heard that the Black Lives Matter movement had left anti-police graffiti downtown.”

In the course of the ongoing investigation into this incident, police looked into Rowe’s friends and associates which lead to evidence of the alleged conspiracy to prevent Rowe’s victim from testify. Hickam and Fechtner allegedly attempted to give the victim $2000 in exchange for refusing to cooperate with police or to appear in court.

Police monitored phone conversations as well as mail correspondence Rowe had with Hickam and Fechtner while in jail, which lead to the couple’s arrest. A judge found probable cause to charge them both with bribing a witness. Fechtner and Hickam’s bail was set at $75,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Police also believe that there that Fechtner and Hickam share Rowe’s racist beliefs. Wheeler told the Olympian “The indication we have is that Mr. Fechtner is a member of a white supremacist group.”

Hickam and Fechtner both have extensive criminal histories, and Fechtner was previously convicted of an attempted first degree murder in 1999. Wheeler continued, saying, “He is a very violent individual.”

Hickam has since been released from jail. Residents in the area told the CPJ Hickam returned home, then spoke to an Evergreen student asserting her innocence and claiming charges against her were dropped.

We contacted the prosecutor’s office to verify this claim, but they did not respond to our request for comment by the time this article went to print. However, neither Hickam now Fechtner are listed as currently being in custody on the Thurston County Sherrif Office database.

Since May, Hickam and Fechtner have been living directly behind a house where a group of Greeners live, on the west side near the Olympia Food Co-op. The residents of the other house which shares the same property spoke with the CPJ but did not wish to be identified due to privacy and safety concerns. One of these residents told us, “It makes me really paranoid because all [Fechtner’s] friends know where we live.”

These residents said they were completely unaware of the couple’s alleged involvement with neo-nazi activities. While they has spoken with Hickam and Fetchner a few times, they did not know them well and were shocked by their arrest and the following revelations. One resident of the house summed it up, saying, “It’s just scary we were interacting with these people.”

When police arrived to arrest Hickam and Cassie they stated they had a search warrant for both houses. State police forced everyone outside, zip-tying their hands and making them wait in the yard, while they searched the premises and arrested Hickam and Fechtner.

The residents were held outside for about twenty minutes then were allowed to re-enter their home and were questioned by a detective investigating the case. One resident told the CPJ, “as far as [police] knew any of us could have been connected to them.” However, it quickly became clear to the police that these students were unaware of the activities of the couple living behind their house.

Other community members, however, had been aware of Hickam and Fechtner’s white supremacist alliances for at least a few months, since a confrontation at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in July of 2016 when they confronted protesters, harassing them and yelling “white power” among other racist statements.

During this incident a protester asked if Fechtner was a white supremacist, a label which he proudly accepted, taking off his shirt to reveal several visible tattoos of white supremacist symbols, including a portrait of Adolf Hitler. When demonstrators tried to force them to leave the premises Hickam spit on one white participant, calling her a race traitor, and attempted to punch a person of color before finally leaving the scene.

Looking at Fechtner’s social media quickly reveal further evidence of participation in white supremacist groups. For example, his facebook cover photo at the time of writing this article is a banner for the “Pacific Northwest Wolf Pack” which features a version of a wolfsangel, or wolf’s hook rune. This symbol was an insignia for the 2nd SS Panzer “Das Reich” Division of the Nazi Waffen-SS during World War II, and later became a neo-nazi favorite, most famously being used by the Idaho based “Aryan Nations” group.

We attempted to reach out to police multiple times about ongoing investigations into white supremacist groups and activities, but they did not return our request for comment.