Two Kennewick men accused of trying to rip off a suspected drug dealer face Nov. 19 trials in Benton County Superior Court.
Joshua James Senn, 23, and Austin Thomas Sullivan, 20, pleaded innocent Thursday to first-degree robbery. Senn's charge includes the allegation that he was armed with a deadly weapon.
Senn and Sullivan were arrested Sept. 22 by Kennewick police after they were called about two men beating another man in the parking lot at the apartments at 3131 Hood Ave.
When officers arrived, they contacted the victim, Erik Hubbard, 22, of Richland.
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Hubbard said he was picked up by Stacee Younger in her car and driven to her apartment, court documents said. Once there, he said he was immediately confronted by Senn and Sullivan.
Senn reportedly was armed with a knife as he approached the car, while Sullivan got into the back seat behind Hubbard, documents said.
Senn then ordered Hubbard to empty his pockets and place his hands on the dashboard. Senn allegedly took Hubbard's wallet and cellphone, then assaulted Hubbard until he lost consciousness.
Several people in the apartment complex saw what happened, documents said.
When officers contacted Senn and Sullivan, they reportedly admitted having Younger drive Hubbard to the apartments so they could confront him about a drug deal.
They allegedly said they had a knife and did assault Hubbard, but claimed it was because Hubbard reached for a gun, court document said.
The knife believed to have been used by Senn and Hubbard was found in Younger's home, documents said.
Pasco woman get s5 months in jail for theft
A 35-year-old Pasco woman was sentenced to five months in jail after admitting to stealing more than $1,600 in merchandise from the Kennewick Walmart store in December.
Jessica Jane Orozco pleaded guilty Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree theft. She admitted stealing $888 worth of items from the store on Dec. 20 and more than $750 on Dec. 27.
She was given a five-month sentence in both cases, but the terms will run at the same time. Orozco can complete the sentences on work crew or work release.
Orozco was arrested Dec. 27 after she was stopped by loss prevention officers at Walmart. Orozco was with Maria Verdusco and Fernando Galeana at the time, court documents said.
Verdusco and Galeana also are charged with second-degree theft. They're expected to appear in court next week.
According to court documents, Orozco and Verdusco were seen at the Walmart store Dec. 27 selecting a large number of shirts while looking around suspiciously. They put items in two separate carts that contained other merchandise, including numerous DVDs.
At some point, Galeana approached the women and handed over a number of video games to them. They then went to the shoe department where the women reportedly were seen concealing the video games, DVD, cosmetics and health and beauty items into two bags while Galeana acted as a lookout, documents said.
Galeana took a cart with groceries in it, paid for some of the items in the cart and pushed the cart out of the store with one of the bags in the bottom of the cart, documents said.
Orozco and Verdusco then reportedly pushed their cart out of the store, making no attempt to pay for the items. After they were stopped by loss prevention officers, one of the women called Galeana back to the store, where he was identified and arrested, documents said.
Kennewick woman admits to food stamp violations
A Kennewick woman spent her 40th birthday Thursday in Benton County Superior Court admitting that she unlawfully collected more than $10,600 in food stamps from the state that she wasn't qualified to get.
Maria P. Banuelos pleaded guilty to two felony counts of trafficking food stamps. She previously was charged with first-degree theft and forgery.
Banuelos admitted that she failed to tell the state about additional income and a new job her husband had and as a result she received more benefits than she should have.
She was given the maximum sentence of three months in jail, but Judge Craig Matheson agreed to allow her to complete the time through the state Department of Correction's work crew program.
Banuelos also agreed to pay back at least $3,000, but the exact amount has not yet been determined by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
"These food stamps and welfare fraud crimes are particularly difficult because a lot of people get up and go to work everyday and pay taxes with the understanding that these would go to people in need," Matheson said. "Essentially, it's stealing from people who are trying to do good from people who are in need. That makes is particularly egregious. It's a serious crime that people should think twice about committing. It's just wrong, and I want her to understand that."
Defense attorney John Jensen explained that Banuelos was eligible to receive food stamps, she just got more than she should have. Banuelos told the judge that she understood.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org