KENNEWICK — A former seasonal worker for the city of Kennewick admitted that while in a counseling session, he made threats about harming two city employees.
Norman Eugene Shankle, 60, pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of harassment, both gross misdemeanors.
He was sentenced to five days in jail with 360 days suspended and was given credit for already doing the time.
In his plea documents, Shankle acknowledged that he made statements "that were taken as threats by my counselor. Although I did not intend to or take any action, (Gary Deardorff and Phil Bleazard) could be placed in reasonable fear that my statements would be carried out."
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Shankle originally was charged with two counts of felony harassment, but prosecutors agreed to the reduction because he "suffers from mental illness which he was seeking treatment for at the time of this offense."
The agreed sentence requires Shankle to continue getting treatment and to regularly appear before the court and provide proof that he is complying with the treatment.
Shankle had been meeting with a Richland psychologist Sept. 22 for a state Department of Social and Health Services psychological evaluation when he made the statements.
Shankle "stated that when he is deemed terminal he will deliver Phil Bleazard and Gary Deardorff to hell for calling him a liar and hurting him on purpose," Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire wrote in court documents. "Norman wanted to take his revenge by shooting them at their place of work, and then shooting himself."
Shankle is an ex-seasonal parks employee who had not been hired back.
Deardorff is Kennewick's director of parks, streets and facilities. Bleazard is an accountant in the city's finance department, according to a city roster.
The psychologist immediately notified the Kennewick Police Department and the Crisis Response Unit about the alleged threats.
Crisis Response met with Shankle on Sept. 22 and involuntarily committed him to Lourdes Counseling Center, court documents said. He was released Oct. 7.
As a part of his sentence, Shankle was ordered not to possess a gun during his two-year supervision period. He also cannot have any contact with Deardorff and Bleazard for that time.
Man cannot enter stores unsupervised
KENNEWICK — A 34-year-old man is not allowed to enter supermarkets or convenience stores without supervision after hitting a clerk over several packages of cigarettes.
Aaron Matthew Meola pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to four months on jail work crew. He must report in by Wednesday morning.
According to court documents, Meola walked into Parks Edge Food Mart in Richland on Jan. 31, 2010, just as the store was closing. The clerk, Dannelle Meyers, told Meola she could not sell him anything, but he ignored her and walked behind the counter for the cigarettes, documents showed.
Meyers, 24, told Meola to put the packages back and ran to block the front door, repeating that he couldn't leave until he returned the merchandise. Meola then pushed Meyers, struck her across her neck and shoulder and shoved her out of the way.
Richland police who responded to the store that night found Meyers crying and holding her sore left arm, court documents said. Officers were able to identify Meola from video surveillance footage, which showed him walking out of the store with the stolen cigarette packages, documents said.
Prosecutors originally charged him with second-degree robbery, but agreed to the amendment because immediately after the theft, Meola was civilly committed at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. He is under the care of Lourdes Counseling Center, is closely monitored by his treatment providers on a weekly basis and is on psychiatric medication, Deputy Prosecutor Julie Long wrote in court documents.
Meola is banned from entering grocery or convenience stores while unsupervised as a condition of his counseling treatment.
He has no prior assaultive history and is continuing mental health counseling which, along with the jail term, should hold him accountable for his actions, Long wrote.
Meola was ordered to have no contact with Dannelle Meyers for 10 years.