Not guilty plea set in slaying/Home blaze was accident/Phonathon is on next week/WSF wants your input

Not guilty plea set in slaying

Garrett J. McKinstry pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder charges in the stabbing death of his father, Ordway Elementary counselor Jeffrey McKinstry, last month.

Garrett McKinstry, 21, entered his plea in Kitsap Superior Court after a psychological evaluation at Western State Hospital in Tacoma found him competent to stand trial. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 31.

Jeffrey McKinstry, 53, was found dead at his Kingston home Oct. 11 when Kitsap Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call. Garrett McKinstry allegedly admitted to deputies at the scene that he had stabbed his father after an argument.

McKinstry faces charges of second degree murder, and remains in Kitsap County Jail on $1 million bail.

Kitsap County prosecutor Kevin Hull said evidence was still being analyzed by the crime lab.

“They’re going to examine the physical evidence found at the scene and put that together to give us a clearer picture of what happened,” Hull said.

- Tad Sooter

Home blaze was accident

Investigators believe a propane heater or “smoking materials” left unattended on a covered porch may have sparked the fire that leveled a south-island home on Nov. 3.

The fire is so far being ruled accidental by the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, which released the preliminary results of its investigation Friday morning.

Owner James Wallace was at work in Port Angeles when neighbors reported his three-story home at 4165 Mattson Place near Pleasant Beach Drive engulfed in flames at 6:30 a.m.

Firefighters succeeded in containing the blaze and extinguished the fire by 8:15 a.m. The house was a total loss and property damage is expected to exceed $1 million.

– Tad Sooter

Phonathon is on next week

About 120 volunteers will work the phones next week to raise money for Bainbridge public school programs not covered by state funding.

The 19th annual Bainbridge Schools Foundation Phonathon will run Nov. 13, 14 and 15 with the goal of raising $100 per each of the 4,600 students enrolled in Bainbridge schools.

Parents, teachers and community members will call families of island students and send out 2,700 letters asking for donations. Funds are distributed among all seven district schools.

“It’s important for the foundation because the school district literally relies on us to support staff and curriculum,” Schools Foundation development associate Kari Wright said.

The Phonathon is also about community outreach and volunteers will have fact sheets on hand to tell individual callers how their student’s school benefited from Foundation money over the last year.

For example, at the high school alone foundation funds helped pay for an additional teacher, extra counseling hours, a free lunch program for teachers, a micron microscope as well as well many other programs and classroom materials.

In 2006 the foundation raised $370,000 for the district.

The first Phonathon, organized by the Bainbridge Education Support Team which joined with the Public Schools Trust two years ago to become the Foundation, raised $62,000 from roughly 500 donors in 1989.

For more information contact the Bainbridge Schools Foundation at 855-0530 or visit

– Tad Sooter

WSF wants your input

The Washington State Transportation Commission and Opinion Research Northwest are seeking ferry riders’ opinions about future service on the Seattle-Bainbridge route.

Those interested in helping can call (866) 461-0700 or email to learn how to participate in one of several small group discussions or online forums.

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