Benton court roundup: Burbank man sentenced in attack on health care providers

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldDecember 13, 2012 

A Burbank man was sentenced Wednesday to three months in jail for attacking two health care providers during an involuntary stay in Lourdes Counseling Center.

Rocky M. Hensley, 36, said he disagrees with some of the allegations against him but accepted a plea offer to avoid risking a harsher sentence if convicted in trial.

"I do apologize, and I feel badly," Hensley said in Benton County Superior Court.

He entered Alford pleas to one count each of third-degree assault, a felony, and fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor.

The Alford plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

According to court documents, Hensley was ordered by the court to get 14 days of treatment in the Richland facility.

On Oct. 21, Hensley "had been exhibiting aggressive and irrational behavior" and made inappropriate sexual remarks to Garrett J. Fordmeir, a Lourdes medical staff member, documents stated.

Later that day, the patient got angry when his personal radio was taken away from him.

That's when Hensley reportedly punched Fordmeir several times in the chest and face. Heather D. Scott, another staff member, stepped in to help and to restrain Hensley but was shoved against a door frame.

Hensley eventually stopped resisting, "but then spit in Mr. Fordmeir's eye and told him that he hoped Mr. Fordmeir got a disease from his spit," court documents stated.

Hensley reportedly said that next time, he would kill Fordmeir. He also made a crude comment to Scott about her children, documents stated.

Richland police responded to the center that day to deal with Hensley.

The second charge of fourth-degree assault was reduced from third degree for the plea agreement.

"At the time of the offense, (Hensley) was being held on a 14-day involuntary commitment after a court's finding that he was gravely disabled as a result of a mental disease or defect," Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire wrote in court documents. "Consequently, the defendant has a potential defense of diminished capacity."

Whitmire added that Hensley was "willing to forego this defense to take advantage" of a plea offer.

The resolution was discussed with Fordmeir, the victim of the reduced charge, and he agreed to it, she said.

Hensley's criminal history is old and didn't count toward this sentence.

He's been in custody in the Benton County jail since the incident.

Whitmire told the court that with credit for good behavior while behind bars, Hensley has done the three-month term. He won't have to serve any more time.

Man pleads guilty to offering stolen items at garage sale

A 33-year-old man admitted knowing that the merchandise he was offering at a November yard sale was stolen property worth more than $20,000.

Cory David Ray pleaded guilty to first-degree trafficking in stolen property and was sentenced to six months in jail. The Richland man can do the time on work crew and must report to jail by Dec. 19.

The victim, Lisa Schuette, called Richland police Nov. 8 after discovering that items she'd been storing in a Tri-City storage unit were in a stranger's yard sale, court documents stated.

Schuette reported that she'd been contacted by a friend who saw several things with Schuette's name on them.

Schuette went to the sale in the 1500 block of Jones Road to check it out for herself before calling police. She said most of the featured property belonged to her.

Ray told officers he'd organized the sale and "that it all belonged to him," documents stated. Police then talked to the Jones Road homeowner, who said Ray had told her that the merchandise belonged to his aunt.

Officers then secured the scene so nothing else could be sold while they got a search warrant. They arrested Ray after confirming Schuette's property was in the yard sale.

In an interview after his arrest, Ray said he bought the property from someone he didn't know for $500, documents stated.

He had a prior felony conviction for drug possession.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service