Killer of child here in 2009 dies in Walla Walla prison

An autopsy is planned for James Douglas Fryberg, 29, of Tulalip, who was convicted of manslaughter.

WALLA WALLA — A Snohomish County man convicted of manslaughter in the death of a child has died at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

James Douglas Fryberg, 29, of Tulalip, was found disoriented in his cell and taken to the sick bay Friday night, said Jeremy Barclay, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

Fryberg became unresponsive, and staff tried life-saving procedures, Barclay said.

Fryberg began serving an 11-year sentence in July 2010 after being convicted of manslaughter and robbery in Snohomish County. His expected release date had been July 10, 2021. An autopsy and an internal review have been requested by the corrections department, Barclay said.

Fryberg pleaded guilty in the May 2009 death of Damoniko Ashby, a toddler. He also admitted to robbing a pharmacy for prescription painkillers before he was captured by police who were hunting for him when he didn’t show up for a court hearing.

As part of a plea agreement, Fryberg described how on May 14, 2009, he rapped Damoniko on the head with his knuckles and jabbed the child in the stomach with his outstretched fingers.

Damoniko was under Fryberg’s care while the boy’s mother was at work. The toddler died a few hours later. Fryberg initially told the mother and investigators that Damoniko had fallen down stairs inside the apartment. An autopsy determined the toddler suffered multiple blows to the head and had severe hemorrhaging in the abdomen.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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