Affidavit: Lufkin State-Supported Living Center staffer slapped, pepper sprayed client

Affidavit: Lufkin State-Supported Living Center staffer slapped, pepper sprayed client

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety's Angelina County office arrested a 20-year-old woman on Jan. 6 in connection to allegations that she slapped and pepper-sprayed a client at the Lufkin State Supported Living Center last year.

Wilbnerish Pendland, of Huntsville, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a second-degree felony injury to the disabled charge. No bail amount has been set for her charge yet.

According to the arrest affidavit, the incident occurred on Dec. 6, 2016. An Angelina County Sheriff's Office deputy was dispatched out to the Lufkin State Supported Living Center, where he spoke to the facility's campus coordinator.

The campus coordinator told the ACSO deputy that between 8 and 8:15 p.m., one of Pendland slapped and "maced" a client at the facility, the affidavit stated.

One witness still at the scene told the deputy that Pendland had been in a "bad mood" all day that day. She said that Pendland was at one of the facility's residence buildings with one of the living center's clients when the client asked if she could help Pendland with side work while the employee completed chores.

The witness told the ACSO deputy that Pendland told the client to leave her alone. At that point, Pendland walked away and returned a few minutes later. She allegedly stood by the back door of the room and told the client to come outside.

Pendland and the client went outside together, and then Pendland slapped the client's face twice, the affidavit stated. The two women allegedly then started fighting until the witness and other staff members separated them.

The witness was able to get the client to walk back toward the residence and was trying to calm her down. She told the deputy that Pendland went to her car and started it as if she was about to leave the facility. However Pendland got out of her car and began walking toward them, the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, the witness told the client that she needed to stay calm because Pendland was about to walk up behind them. When Pendland got closer to the other employee and the client, she allegedly pepper-sprayed them.

Pendland then ran to her car and "drove recklessly off the campus grounds," the affidavit stated.

Pendland called the facility while the ACSO deputy was still on scene and asked him if she was going to get arrested for the alleged assault.

An ACSO detective reviewed the statements the deputies got from other witnesses. They backed up the first witness' story, and one witness said she had seen Pendland "antagonizing" the client.

The witness said that Pendland yelled at the client and got into her face, the affidavit stated. She said that the client told the first witness, "Look at her. She wants to hit me." Pendland allegedly hit her at that point, and the fight was on, the witness said.

A third witness told the ACSO detective that she heard Pendland say, "I'll lose my [expletive] job and fight you. I don't care. You're not going to disrespect me, [expletive]," the affidavit stated.

The ACSO detective worked with a sergeant with the state's Office of the Inspector General on the case, who helped him gather all the relevant paperwork and evidence for the arrest warrant, which was signed on Dec. 21. Included in the paperwork were two letters from Pendland.

In her apology letter, Pendland allegedly wrote that "it shouldn't have never gotten that far" and added, "I'm grateful that no one was severely hurt." In the letter, Pendland blamed the incident on the approaching Christmas holiday and said things just "got out of control," the affidavit stated.

The OIG sergeant also interviewed the alleged victim. According to the affidavit, the client told the person that when Pendland spayed her with the pepper spray, it caused pain to her eyes, face, and chest.

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