Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

WSR Guard Convicted of Soliciting Assault

On June 3, 1994, Washington State Reformatory (WSR) guard Roger Wallace, 28, was arrested at the Monroe, Washington, prison on charges of soliciting a prisoner, Samuel McNeal, to assault Gerald "J.D." Enquist, another prisoner. On June 9, 1994, Wallace was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with solicitation to commit second degree assault.

The Affidavit of Probable Cause filed by Deputy Prosecutor James Townsend in Case No. 94-1-00760-7, states: "On 6/3/94, Mr. McNeal agreed to wear a wire and record a conversation with the defendant during the defendants work shift at the Washington State Reformatory. The recording was authorized by Judge Kathryn Trumbull. During the recorded conversation the defendant indicated the other guard wanted Mr. Enquist to be killed but that he did not think homicide would be such a good idea. The defendant finally indicated he wanted Mr. Enquist to suffer a broken bone or bones. The defendant indicated he would pay a sum of $200 in exchange for Mr. Enquists suffering a broken arm." "Department of Corrections have confirmed long term disputes have existed between Mr. Enquist and the other guard."

According to Townsends affidavit, the offer was first made in May, 1994, when Wallace approached WSR prisoner Samuel "J-Bonee" McNeal and offered him $200 to break the arm of Gerald "J. D." Enquist. McNeal immediately reported this offer to prison officials who called in the Snohomish County Sheriffs Department on May 25, 1994.

The plot apparently arose out of a desire by Wallace to retaliate against Enquist for the numerous grievances and complaints that Enquist, a prison law library clerk, had filed or assisted other prisoners in filing against Wallaces girlfriend Cheryl Swanberg, who is also a guard at WSR. The complaints include Swanberg making false claims that prisoners were informants, smoking in no smoking areas, losing control of herself by screaming at prisoners, interfering with prisoners access to the law library and legal interpreters and more. For years the DOC refused to act on complaints regarding Swanbergs unprofessional and troublesome behavior.

The charging information filed by the prosecutor in the case alleges: "Criminal Solicitation in the second degree, committed as follows: That the above named defendant, with i<%-2>ntent to promote the crime of second degree assault, did offer money to another person, to wit: Samuel McNeal, to engage in conduct which would constitute the crime of Second Degree Assault, contrary to RCW 9A.28.030 and RCW 9A.36.021(1)(a), a felony."

When Wallace was arrested at WSR he was placed into an orange jail jumpsuit. WSR Superintendent Ken Ducharme was quoted by the Seattle Times saying: "I didnt want our uniform to go to jail. It would have been problematic for him (Wallace) to go to a cell like that."

Swanberg bailed Wallace out of the Snohomish County jail the same day he was arrested. Unconfirmed reports state that Swanberg was also arrested by county Sheriffs officers at Wallaces court arraignment. Both Swanberg and Wallace were placed on paid administrative leave while DOC officials and the Sheriff s office investigated further. McNeal was moved to the McNeil Island prison.

When interviewed by Seattle Times reporter Christy Scattarella, Wallace is quoted in the June 15, 1994, edition as saying that he was the real victim in the alleged plot and that Enquist and McNeal set him up "and they did a damn good job of it." So good in fact that Wallace is recorded making the solicitation to commit the assault. In the same interview, Wallace claimed that Enquist supposedly enjoys "special privileges" at the Reformatory and is "untouchable" by staff allegedly because he is an informant. Ducharme was quoted denying that Enquist is an informant or that he has any special privileges. What Enquist does have, according to Ducharme, is brains. "Hes a very bright guy. Youd better follow your policies and rules or hell call attention to it." Deputy Prosecutor Townsend also dismissed Wallaces claims, of which he had no knowledge, as irrelevant. "Thats still no reason to try and break someones arm."

Wallaces claims of innocence didnt prevent him from pleading guilty to the charge of second degree assault. On November 2, 1994, he was sentenced in Snohomish County Superior Court by judge James Allendorfer to one year in jail, with all but 30 days suspended. Both the prosecution and defense had requested that the entire sentence be suspended. He was also required to pay $625 in attorney fees for his public defender. In exchange for not being charged with any felony, Swanberg had agreed to testify against him. So much for honor among thieves. It is not known whether either will continue their careers as prison guards in Washington.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login