A Kennewick man who had a sexual relationship with his girlfriend before she was 16 took a plea deal that will let him serve a six-month jail sentence on work release.
Armando Solano, 22, will still have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to second-degree assault and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. He's expected to be sentenced Sept. 27.
Solano was originally charged in Benton County Superior Court with third-degree rape of a child and first-degree rape with domestic violence.
Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor agreed to amend the charges because the victim was in agreement and Solano had no prior felonies, court documents said.
He also said the victim said Solano threatened her with a gun and reported that he forced her to have sex with her, but Solano denied it and there was no independent evidence to support either claim, documents said.
Solano and the victim also were in a dating relationship before she was 16, but the relationship was never disclosed until after police received information about the possible assaults, documents said.
In his plea, Solano admitted that he always carried a gun and that he sent text messages to his girlfriend during an argument.
He also said he communicated with her in a sexual manner through words or conduct, but all conduct was consensual.
According to court documents, the victim reported she had been dating Solano since January 2011, but they broke up this April.
The couple reportedly had sexual intercourse before she turned 16 last December and she had him saved in her contacts under the name "babydaddy" because she thought she was pregnant at one time, documents said.
On April 6, the victim reported she went to the movies with friends and saw him by her car when she came out. He reportedly displayed a gun and threatened her, documents said.
She said he left, but then began texting her, saying she needed to come to his home or she would not like what happened next.
Police confirmed through text messages that Solano referenced "bigbertha," which apparently is a reference to his gun, and said he had an itchy trigger finger, documents said.
Solano did not give a statement to police when he was arrested.
2 men accused of trying to sell stolen custom bike
A 33-year-old Kennewick man and a 22-year-old Pasco man are accused of trying to sell a custom bike that was stolen from a Richland man in July after the victim found an ad for his bicycle posted on Craigslist.
Ted Teichmer pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to trafficking stolen property and faces a Nov. 19 trial.
Heriberto Valencia Jr. appeared in court, but waived speedy arraignment and is expected back in court Oct. 4.
Mark Christiansen reported his 2010 FSR XC Expert bike, valued at $2,000, stolen to Richland police on July 2, then called officers July 17 when he spotted it for sale on Craigslist, court documents said.
Officers responded to the ad as potential buyers and agreed to meet the buyer, who was later identified as Valencia. Valencia said he bought the bike from a friend about a month earlier for $1,200 and was selling it for $1,000, documents said.
After officers confirmed it was Christiansen's bike, they identified themselves.
Valencia reportedly said he got the bike from his uncle, Ismael Buenostro, who bought the bike from "Ted," documents said.
Both admitted they believed the bike was stolen because of the price, documents said.
Buenostro said they went to Teichmer's home in Kennewick and bought the bike for $350, but figured it was stolen because it was a fancy bike, documents said.
Teichmer said he traded the bike to Buenostro to pay off a debt, and claimed he purchased it from another man for $250, documents said.
Teichmer initially denied knowing anything about a wireless bike computer that was on the bike when it was stolen, but he reportedly later told police he had the computer and would return it to them. He did not follow up with police as promised, documents said.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org