A Pasco man faces almost three years in prison after his guilty plea Tuesday to beating his girlfriend and holding her against her will.
Larry Dean Buck, 40, entered an Alford plea in Franklin County Superior Court to second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, both felonies.
The Alford plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
"While I personally believe I am innocent of the charges, I have reviewed the police reports and defense investigation reports with my attorney, and I also believe that sufficient evidence exists to convict me if I went to trial," Buck wrote in his plea statement. "I want to take advantage of the prosecution's plea offer."
Buck repeatedly has said in previous court appearances that he was innocent.
Pasco officers got a call about a hysterical woman asking for help and arrived at the Shopping Spot Mini Mart on South 28th Avenue to find the 45-year-old woman shaking and crying and trying to catch her breath.
Buck's girlfriend had bruising on her face and chest, a cut on the bridge of her nose, cuts on her left ankle and "a fractured body part," court documents said. Officers said she had "head-to-toe" bruising.
She said she was held against her will by Buck at the Sage N Sun Motel and inside a motor home on West Hopkins Street.
The victim also told police that Buck beat her and tried to drown her. She ran to the store for help after she was able to escape.
Last month, Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny added a charge of second-degree attempted murder, saying it had been expected since Buck had not accepted a plea offer by the deadline. That charge is expected to be dismissed when he is sentenced.
Buck's sentencing is set for Nov. 22. Prosecutors said they will recommend a two-year, 10-month sentence and will not file an additional attempted murder charge.
Woman charged with possession of meth
A 31-year-old woman is accused of having drugs on her and being under the influence when she flipped her car early one morning in Basin City.
Sandra Marie Harris of Richland pleaded innocent to possession of methamphetamine, a felony. Her trial is set for Jan. 25.
According to court documents, Franklin County sheriff's Deputy Marcus Conner was alerted by dispatchers at 5:30 a.m. May 7 to a single-vehicle rollover on Route 170 in Basin City. The car's only occupant was being taken by ambulance to Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco.
Connell police Officer Milkar Gutierrez told Conner he believed Harris was impaired because he had found several pill bottles, smoking pipes with residue and an open bottle of tequila at the scene, documents said.
Gutierrez alleged the pipes were used for smoking narcotics. He also told Conner that Harris was seriously hurt.
A Lourdes nurse handed Conner several items found in Harris' bra, including two lighters, jewelry, a gold coin, small baggies and two metal boxes, one with tobacco and the other with a substance that appeared to be meth, court documents said.
Conner said he asked medical staff if he could speak to her and was told he could try but she had not been answering any questions.
Conner said Harris didn't respond to his questions, and he concluded that she likely was impaired at the time of the crash because of the evidence at the scene and the fact the rollover "occurred on a relatively straight road with a slight grade while approaching a residential neighborhood with a posted speed limit 35 miles per hour," court documents said.
And a sample of her blood was sent for testing.
Later, Conner also learned the tow truck driver who removed Harris' car found a compartment with marijuana attached to her keychain for the ignition key, documents said.
Harris is out of custody on her personal recognizance while the case is pending.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org