A 23-year-old man is accused of stealing two matching rifles from a Kennewick home when a friend played host to a party while her father was away on a hunting trip.
Hayden Mackenzie Walsh of Benton City pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of theft of a firearm.
His trial is scheduled Jan. 28.
According to court documents, the victim had left his daughter to watch his home and instructed her not to have any friends over. However, the daughter did invite friends, including Walsh, to a gathering at the house.
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When the victim returned from his hunting trip, he discovered three guns were missing. Two of the firearms were matching .256-caliber bolt-action rifles with wood stocks and attached scopes, documents said.
The theft reportedly occurred between Oct. 14 and Nov. 1.
Police contacted the defendant, who agreed to talk after being read his Miranda rights.
Walsh admitted taking the guns, but he denied the victim's daughter knew about it, court documents said.
Walsh also told officers he sold the guns to a third party for $100, documents said.
He is being held in the Benton County jail on $10,000 bail for the two theft charges, in addition to a forgery charge and a failure to comply.
Richland man, 27, to receive treatment instead of prison
A 27-year-old Richland man facing a five-year prison sentence for selling meth to support his drug habit got leniency from a judge who decided to let him get treatment instead of being locked up.
Anthony Terrell Cooper was in Benton County Superior Court to be sentenced on five drug charges after previously pleading guilty to two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, and one count each of delivery of marijuana, possession of meth and possession of marijuana.
Cooper asked Judge Craig Matheson to give him time under the special residential-based Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative, which requires him to complete six months of intensive in-patient drug treatment then be on community supervision for two years.
"I've been looking forward to this DOSA," Cooper said. "I have a 6-year-old girl. I'm just trying to turn my life around and be a better father. I made a couple of mistakes, and I know I will be better in the long run."
Cooper was arrested in April by detectives from the Benton County sheriff's Gang Unit, Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force and Richland police's Street Crime Unit after selling drugs from his home on Richmond Boulevard, across the street from Liberty Christian School.
Defense attorney Sam Swanberg said his client immediately took responsibility for his actions, pleaded guilty as charged and would benefit from the treatment program.
Swanberg said Cooper never sold to anyone underage and knows if he doesn't follow through he will be back in court and off to prison. Also, if Cooper gets help with his drug addiction, gets a handle on the problem and gets his life back on track, it benefits the whole community, Swanberg said.
Deputy Prosecutor Brendan Siefkin, however, was opposed to giving Cooper a chance to get treatment instead of prison. He said if Cooper wanted to get clean, he could take advantage of the prison-based drug treatment option.
"This is simply the basis of greed. He's selling drugs ... and he's selling them from a house across the street from Liberty Christian," Siefkin said. "He sold drugs on three occasions and (officers) found additional drugs in the house. This is not a case where the defendant should be sentenced to three months of community treatment and be given community custody.
"The defendant deserves prison time."
Matheson questioned Coop-er about his work history and how long he had lived in the Tri-Cities. He also said initially that it wasn't clear from the case facts if Cooper was "a drug user or just a drug dealer."
Cooper said he only was selling to be able to purchase drugs for his use.
Matheson said that based on Cooper's somewhat consistent work history and lack of criminal history, he'd give Cooper a chance at treatment instead of prison.
"I want you to commit yourself to this program. ... These are very expensive programs and you're taking someone else's spot when you go in there. I want you to make the most of it," Matheson said. "You need to stay out of trouble 100 percent throughout this whole time or it will be revoked and you'll end up in prison."