A convicted thief who took a plea deal last summer with the goal of avoiding jail was ordered Thursday to a three-year, seven-month prison term after failing to complete drug treatment.
Noe Vallejo Jr., 35, was told in August that he wouldn't do any more time in jail if he completed an inpatient program.
That's when he entered an Alford plea in Benton County Superior Court to a reduced charge of first-degree theft. The Alford plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
Prosecutors reduced the original charge from first-degree robbery partly because they were unsure whether the victim could be found in time for the trial. The victim had a warrant at the time andcouldn't be found, and another witness was not cooperating with authorities, court documents said.
Never miss a local story.
The plea deal made it clear that if Vallejo didn't follow through with treatment, he would face a 43-month sentence to hold him accountable, documents said. However, if he did complete treatment then it would benefit society, Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor wrote at the time.
On Thursday, Judge Craig Matheson ordered Vallejo to prison because he didn't finish the conditions of his plea.
The Pasco man was with Zackary Cordova and another man April 7 when they robbed Rafael Gonzalez at Richland's Economy Inn.
Gonzalez apparently made arrangements to meet Cordova to buy a laptop from him, court documents said. When he got to the room, he said he was robbed of $500 cash and his cellphone, and the three men took off.
Cordova was arrested April 25 and, when detectives listened to his jailhouse phone calls, they heard him tell another person to relay a message to "Noe" to get out of the area, documents said.
Vallejo matched the description given by the victim, and information from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab showed Vallejo's fingerprints were on a beer bottle left in the motel room, documents said.
In August, defense attorney Dan Arnold told the judge that the defense didn't agree with the facts but Vallejo wanted the prison term hanging over his head to help him follow through with treatment.
Vallejo's criminal history includes three convictions for forgery, in addition to unlawful possession of payment instruments, possession of stolen property, burglary, identity theft, possession of a gun and possession of a controlled substance.
Man to get counseling for urging boys to leave car
A Kennewick man will receive counseling for talking two boys out of their locked car, intending to take them into a store to find their mother.
Christopher Stanley Olson did not know the boys, ages 13 and 7, and didn't have permission to get them out of the car.
He was sentenced to 31 days in jail with 333 days suspended. He has credit for doing the time after his July 21 arrest.
Olson pleaded guilty last week to attempted unlawful imprisonment.
Prosecutor Andy Miller agreed to the reduce charge as part of a plea agreement because there was no evidence to show Olson intended to permanently take the boys or to harm them, court documents said.
Miller said it's important that Olson continues with counseling to understand why his actions were wrong. Olson "showed bad judgment and caused fear to the children and their mother," documents said.
The boys were locked inside the car with the air conditioning on while their mother and younger sister shopped inside the Kennewick Walmart. The mother -- whose parents were parked about four spots down from her car for the first 15 minutes -- had been inside the store for about 20 minutes when the incident occurred.
She was preparing to check out when her oldest son called her from a cellphone, so she met them near the store entrance. The children were not hurt.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraeme