A 60-year-old man apologized Friday for taking a gun to the Tri-Cities Cancer Center to threaten a doctor when distraught about his wife's terminal cancer diagnosis.
The Kennewick facility was closed at the time and no one was injured by Troy Dale Stolz's actions, but a worker inside thought he was going to be killed as Stolz pointed the gun at the glass front doors.
Stolz pleaded guilty in an emotional Benton County Superior Court hearing to unlawful display of a weapon, a misdemeanor.
He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but can do the time on work crew or work release, if eligible. The sentence includes a suspended term of 335 days.
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Stolz has credit for serving six days following his arrest April 23, 2010.
He also must continue with anger management treatment and mental health counseling, and agreed to forfeit his gun that was seized by police and no longer possess firearms.
"Your honor, I scared the heck out of myself that day. I wanted to know why, that's why I went to counseling," Stolz told Judge Vic VanderSchoor on Friday.
He said he now has a wealth of resources and people he can call when upset, and added that he thinks this is "a very square deal."
Stolz originally was charged with second-degree assault.
As a result of the charges against Stolz, his wife no longer could receive treatment at the Cancer Center and she had to move to Bend, Ore., for care. She died last week without her husband by her side because Stolz's conditions of release prevented him from traveling out of the area.
"The facts of this case are tragic all the way around," said a tearful Deputy Prosecutor Julie Long. "There are lots of people that go through this Cancer Center that are receiving this news ... that handle it in a different way."
Stolz should not have done what he did that evening, Long said. She added that she was "sorry for his loss," and said the reduced sentence is appropriate given the circumstances.
Stolz is now in a wheelchair and reportedly has his own medical problems.
According to court documents, Long and defense lawyer Sam Swanberg, an upset Stolz drove to his Hermiston home that day after getting the news about his wife's prognosis and retrieved his .357 Magnum revolver. He returned to the Cancer Center at 5:10 p.m. only to find the doors locked to the 7350 W. Deschutes Ave. building.
A female employee in the parking lot told Stolz the center was closed. He then said, "I guess I will have to get my master key," and grabbed the gun from his car, the witness said.
Stolz pointed the gun at the front doors and "contemplated shooting the lock, but thank goodness he did not," Swanberg said.
Stolz couldn't see past the doors because the sun created a glare on the glass. However, Hartzell Craig, who was working in the lobby, believed the gun was being pointed directly at him and feared he was going to be killed.
"As a result of being distraught over my wife's terminal cancer, I went to the Tri-City Cancer Center after it was closed and pointed a gun at the front door," Stolz wrote in his plea statement. "There was someone inside who thought I pointed the gun at them, but I couldn't see inside and never saw them."
Stolz reportedly was angry at a doctor about his treatment of Stolz's wife and "went there with the intent to threaten (the doctor), but not harm him," documents said. He returned to his car and drove across the street to the Hole in the Wall, a shop that sells guns.
A Hole in the Wall employee noticed that two tires on the car were flat and offered to help. Stolz told that employee "that he just wanted to be left alone because, 'I just tried to kill a doctor,'" court documents said.
Kennewick police then arrived and Stolz got out of his car on his own.
Swanberg told the court there is no excuse for Stolz's actions because "lots of people get heart-wrenching news," but said he can assure that Stolz never saw Craig inside the Cancer Center. He thanked prosecutors for giving his client the benefit of the doubt.
"I think this is a fair resolution. My client did not deal with this news and his feelings very well," Swanberg said, noting that Stolz had no criminal history before this case. "Thanks to the grace of God nothing more happened, nobody got hurt, or he'd be looking at more severe penalties."
Stolz "scared himself senseless" and on his own opted to seek counseling, he added. It was out of character for Stolz, who also was concerned at the time about harming himself.
Swanberg said the court doesn't need to worry about his client being "a continued danger to our community."
"He has to be held accountable for what he did. ... This, I think, fits the bill for what happened," he said.
At the end of the hearing, Stolz thanked the judge.
"Good luck," VanderSchoor replied.
Stolz has until Wednesday morning to checking into the Benton County jail. A status hearing is scheduled Aug. 3.