Transient man charged after alleged machete incident in wooded area


Kelli Ameling


A man was arrested after a woman was reportedly assaulted with a type of machete at a local transient camp in the woods.

According to a probable cause statement form the PTPD, officers from the Port Townsend Police Department was dispatched 8:50 p.m. July 31 for suspicious circumstances after a female had reportedly been cut on her finger, which “could have possibly been intentional.”

“Fellow officers and I devised a plan of action on how to enter the wooded area where their transient camp was located to render it safe for investigation,” the report stated.

Through the officers’ investigation, it was alleged Brandon Smith, 40, intentionally assaulted the female victim.

“It was found that Smith and (reporting party Edwin) Wisbey had gotten into an argument prior to this event for an unknown reason,” the report stated. “Wisbey stated that Smith came out of his tent with a Kukri in his hand, which is a type of machete. Smith went over to the tent where (Cassandra) Aldrich and Wisbey were and stated that he was going to kill both Wisbey and Aldrich.”

The report stated Smith began to advance on Wisbey with the blade toward him, when Aldrich stood in the way of Smith and Wisbey and “took a defensive stance with a baseball bat that she had.”

Aldrich allegedly took the bat and swung it in their direction. 

“Smith struck Aldrich on her finger with the Kukri causing a substantial laceration,” the report stated. “Aldrich stated that while Smith was advancing on them and after he struck her, he stated that he was going to kill her. Both parties stated that they believed that Smith was going to Kill them and were fearful.”

Wisbey reportedly grabbed a knife and fended off the attack.

“... It can be inferred that Smith had full intention of acting on his threats toward Wisbey and Aldrich,” the report stated. 

The Kukri was retrieved from Smith’s tent, which reportedly had blood in it, according to the document. 

The document stated Smith was initially arrested for two counts of attempted murder. However, the prosecuting attorney filed one count of assault in the second degree for a deadly weapon and two counts of harassment for threats to kill.

Public defender Ben Critchlow was appointed as Smith’s attorney, with bond set at $50,000 cash or bond. Smith is tentatively set to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10.


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