Orcas man faces felony vandalism charges
June 17, 2008 · Updated 5:16 PM
An Orcas Island man who allegedly tore apart the guest house he was renting in a fit of rage after a late night altercation with the property owners' son will stand trial on charges of felony vandalism.
On Sept. 19, Eric Suffal, 24, pleaded innocent in San Juan County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree malicious mischief and one count of misdemeanor assault. He faces maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both, if convicted of either malicious mischief offense, a Class B felony. He has been in Island County Jail on $10,000 bail since his arrest on Sept. 10 and is slated to stand trial Nov. 15.
According to court documents, the son of a Deer Harbor couple that had rented their guesthouse to Suffal and hired him as a caretaker got into a fight at the couple's home after Suffal began poking the other man in the chest with a knife. The two reportedly had been drinking at an Eastsound bar before the altercation occurred.
In charging documents, prosecutors claim Suffal -- in a fit or rage -- caused more than $1,500 damage to the guesthouse after the couple's son, a Seattle resident temporarily staying at their Cayou Valley Road home, escaped the altercation and locked himself in a bedroom. The guesthouse walls, doors, stereo, telephone wires and computer sustained an estimated $20,000 damage as a result of the alleged vandalism.
Suffal was taken into custody inside the guesthouse at about 4 a.m. He reportedly kicked out the window of an officer's patrol car during the arrest. He reportedly told the arresting officer that he moved to Orcas Island five months ago because of a checkered past and to stay out trouble. He has been convicted of 15 crimes in Thurston County dating back to 1992, according to court records.