PORT ORCHARD — Moses Wesley MacDonald, a 37-year-old man from Olalla sought by law enforcement after allegedly attempting to assault his girlfriend July 4 with the intent to kill her, was arrested July 6, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said.
MacDonald was being sought by authorities on a warrant for second-degree attempted murder July 5 after he allegedly tried to kill Hope Marie Canto, 40, at the 15400 block of Bandex Road SE in South Kitsap. Bail was set at $100,000.
Wilson said sheriff’s detectives requested officers from the Tacoma Police Department check on a residence in their jurisdiction for MacDonald. The suspect was then located at the residence in the Ruston area at about 9:30 a.m. and taken into custody without incident, he said. Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies took him into custody and was booked into Kitsap County Jail on the arrest warrant.
MacDonald and the victim had been dating for three or four weeks and were sharing a bedroom at the Bandex Road Southeast home. According to a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office certificate of probable cause, the couple had been asked to find other living arrangements when a family member of the homeowner made plans to move home.
His girlfriend subsequently used her 2004 Ford Expedition to tow a 21-foot camper trailer to the property. Her plan was to park it on the property and relocate with MacDonald into the trailer.
As the victim attempted to move the trailer into position on the narrow driveway, MacDonald “became frustrated” when his girlfriend failed to correctly maneuver the trailer, according to the report. Taking control of the truck, he was able to position the trailer onto the property. Afterward, a heated verbal argument ensued between the couple, which lasted nearly an hour.
When the couple entered the trailer, MacDonald reportedly pushed the victim to the floor, then grabbed her and threw her out the trailer door. She reportedly hit the door frame and fell to the ground outside. Using his body weight to pin the woman to the trailer, the suspect grabbed her hair and began pulling her head back.
As she screamed for help, MacDonald was reported to have covered her mouth and nose with his other hand. Then using both hands, the suspect “began violently twisting Hope’s head around to the side. Hope was able to free herself from Moses’s grip and ran into the house, where she locked the door behind her.”
According to the report by detectives, the woman suffered injuries to her neck from the twisting motion. She also received bruises and abrasions to her back and arms.
She was aided by a nearby woman armed with a 9mm handgun. The woman confronted MacDonald, who refused to leave the property until she fired a round into the ground.
It wasn’t immediately known where MacDonald fled. Sometime later — between 10:30 and 11 p.m., the victim borrowed a vehicle to drive to Shelton, where she said she would be safe. She told detectives that as she left, she noticed all the windows in her Expedition had been broken out.
At about 4:30 a.m., South Kitsap Fire and Rescue units arrived on a 911 call and found the trailer and truck almost completely consumed in flames. The county fire marshal determined the fire had been intentionally set with a metal blowtorch attached to a propane tank that MacDonald had used two days earlier to burn a brush pile in the backyard.
Sheriff’s detectives reported the victim saying that MacDonald had twisted her neck so severely that she heard it crack twice, fearing he was going to break it. “He was about to snap my [expletive] neck. I can’t stop thinking about that. I was scared I was about to die. My neck hurt so bad … I was about to die in a split second.”
The woman told detectives she used “the last fight in me to get the strength” to maneuver away from MacDonald. She stated that he didn’t say anything while assaulting her, but had a “psycho evil” look on his face that was “terrifying.”
The property owner told detectives someone had let rabbits and donkeys out of their pens on the property. She also discovered someone had killed one of her chickens by ripping its head from its body. A tent owned by the victim set up in the backyard had also been cut up.