PASCO -- A 27-year-old man with a long rap sheet will spend nine years in prison for using a baseball bat to beat a transient outside the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission.
Christopher Michael Love was one of three suspects sentenced in Franklin County Superior Court for the March 26 incident in Pasco.
Love, a transient, received the long sentence because of his criminal past. He had pleaded guilty May 22 to first-degree robbery.
Co-defendants Robert James Day and Jason Donald Flowers each got a three-month jail sentence for their guilty pleas to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery.
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A fourth suspect, Kenneth Michael Krause, has a July 18 trial date. However, he is expected to change his plea Tuesday when he returns to court.
Police were called at 1 a.m. March 26 about an attack at 112 N. Second Ave. Officers arrived to find Lester Lee Warriner lying in a pool of blood in an alley behind the mission.
Warriner suffered severe head injuries and at the time could tell police only that he had been beaten with a baseball bat by four men, court documents said. Warriner said the suspects also stole his backpack.
The victim, now 43, is a transient but was not staying at the mission when he was attacked.
A week later, Warriner started to speak and told Pasco Detective Justin Greenhalgh that he could identify the assailants. He said the suspects were staying in a trailer behind a home in the 1100 block of West Hopkins Street, documents said.
Greenhalgh came up with some names and presented a lineup to Warriner. The photo montage included Krause’s picture.
Warriner confirmed that Krause was the man he claims ripped his backpack from him before he was repeatedly hit with a bat by one of the other men.
Officers showed more photo lineups to Warriner four days later that included pictures of Love and Day. Warriner reportedly told police that Love was the one who wielded the bat, and identified Day as being with the group.
Love and Day apparently have a family connection.
Love, in his plea statement, admitted to taking the backpack while he was armed with a bat, a deadly weapon.
He was ordered to have no contact with Warriner for 50 years.
Flowers, 21, and Day, 41, both of Kennewick, were given 10-year no-contact orders each for Warriner. Court documents said they do not have any felony criminal history that could be applied to their sentencing ranges.
In addition to the robbery, Love pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.
Love was registered as a Level 3 sex offender -- meaning he’s considered highly likely to reoffend -- and had given the Tahitian Motel on West Lewis Street as his address.
However, Greenhalgh learned Feb. 29 that Love was no longer living at the motel. The manager told Greenhalgh that he was kicked out Feb. 24 and was not welcome back, court documents said.
Greenhalgh wrote in documents that he tried the phone numbers he had on file for Love, but they no longer were valid. Then, while attending the regional sex offender meeting in March, the Franklin County official in charge of the offender registry told Greenhalgh that Love had not come in to update his address in the allotted time per state law.
Love got a four-year, nine-month sentence on that conviction. The sentence will be served at the same time as his robbery term.
His criminal history includes another failure to register as a sex offender, second-degree assault, first-degree robbery, indecent exposure, second-degree theft, first-degree rape of a child and two counts of indecent liberties.