A Pasco man will do 14 years and three months in prison for the 2008 robbery of a Safeway gas station clerk.
Justin Hoyt, 34, pleaded guilty this week in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon and first-degree burglary.
He had been scheduled to face a jury -- his second trial in the case -- when he changed his plea.
The case had been overturned by the Washington state Court of Appeals because Hoyt's rights were violated during the investigation.
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After his arrest in April 2008, Hoyt broke down crying and said he was "going to do life," then told a Kennewick police detective that he wouldn't talk anymore without an attorney present. But the detective continued to question the suspect, with Hoyt allegedly trying to bargain by saying he would give information about methamphetamine labs in Oregon if the new charges would disappear.
The Court of Appeals ruled that any statements Hoyt made after invoking his right to counsel were involuntary and inadmissible at trial.
The three-judge panel said it was wrong for the detective to testify before jurors in Hoyt's first trial about the interview and for the deputy prosecutor to exploit Hoyt's decision to exercise his right to silence by mentioning it in closing arguments.
Hoyt's robbery and burglary convictions were invalidated as a result, but a conviction for second-degree theft was left intact.
According to court documents and trial testimony, Hoyt was armed with a knife early April 21, 2008, when he forced his way into Safeway's gas station kiosk on Kennewick Avenue. He ordered the clerk to give him the money in the cash register, then left with a friend who was waiting in a nearby car.
The station clerk reportedly first noticed Hoyt watching him as the employee left the main store and headed toward the kiosk.
The next day, Hoyt took MP3 players and other electronic items from the Kennewick Target store, documents said. He was caught with the stolen goods hidden under his clothes.
In addition to the 14-year Washington sentence, Hoyt must serve five years, 10 months in Oregon for Umatilla County convictions for first- and second-degree robbery. Those crimes at a Safeway gas station in Pendleton and a Walmart Supercenter in Hermiston occurred just days before the Kennewick crimes.
A Benton Court judge ordered that the Washington sentence be served consecutive to the Oregon time.
Hoyt has at least 14 prior felony convictions, including possession of drugs, kidnapping, escape, criminal conspiracy, burglary and theft.