Bloody trail leads to vandalism culprit

A trail of blood led to a conviction in the vandalism of an elementary school in Oak Harbor.

Corey Steward, a 19-year-old resident of Maple Valley, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Sept. 24 to third-degree malicious mischief as part of a plea bargain.

Steward apologized in court and took responsibility for his actions. Judge Alan Hancock concurred with the joint sentencing recommendation agreed upon by the defense and prosecution. He sentenced Steward to 90 days in jail, with 90 days suspended. Steward also has to pay $1,117 in fines and fees.

Oak Harbor Police Officer Jennifer Porter wrote in her report that a custodian at Crescent Harbor Elementary reported May 23 that someone had broken two windows at the school.

In addition to the broken glass, Porter noticed a spray of blood along the wall of the school. She and two other officers followed a blood drop trail that led through a grass field and into Navy housing, “in and out of people’s front yards,” Porter wrote.

Finally, the bloody trail ended at the front door of a home on Hemlock Circle. One of the people inside the house was Steward, who was visiting the residents with his brother. His hands were wrapped in white gauze and he had dried blood on his clothing, so the police questioned him.

Steward admitted to punching the windows at the school after he got into an argument with his brother. He went to the hospital and received 33 stitches on both hands.

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