A career criminal was sentenced Tuesday to 24 years in prison for stabbing a man over a fight over cigarettes.
Paul A. McVay’s attorney said a sentence of 20 years at the bottom of the standard range was more appropriate since his client believes he was acting in self-defense.
However, Deputy Prosecutor Dave Corkrum pointed out McVay’s lack of remorse for what he did to the 21-year-old victim.
Judge Robert Swisher agreed with Corkrum and ordered a sentence in the middle of the range.
A Franklin County Superior Court jury took a little more than three hours last month to convict McVay of first-degree assault.
On Tuesday, defense attorney Gary Metro said they already have filed a notice of appeal.
McVay, 42, and Keyton R. Sykes were both staying at the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission in October 2013 when they got into an argument at 6:30 a.m. in front of the 215 N. Second Ave. building.
Witnesses said McVay use a pocket knife to stab Sykes in his left arm and chest. Sykes needed emergency surgery at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland to control the bleeding.
Corkrum said McVay “inflicted grievious bodily harm on the victim, and then left (Sykes) without any thought” as to whether he needed medical assistance.
Corkrum said he could have sought an exceptional sentence under Washington’s three-strikes law because of McVay’s criminal history, but said the 24 years was fair.
Metro said his client had “an extraordinarily difficult childhood” and ended up being removed from his family home and placed in foster care for many years. McVay has been in and out of prison for most of his adult life, he said.
Metro said they respect the jury’s work and opinion, but added that McVay felt threatened that morning and responded in a way he thought was appropriate.
Sykes, now 23, was not at the hearing. McVay has been ordered to have no contact with him for 50 years.
Court documents show that before the assault, McVay had 18 felony convictions. The majority of the cases are from Snohomish County and Oregon’s Tillamook County, and include identity theft, forgery, possession and delivery of drugs, gun possession and unauthorized use of vehicles.
McVay objected to being ordered to pay $650 in medical costs for Sykes, along with more than $2,500 in court costs and fees. He said with a lengthy prison term, he won’t have money to pay even if he gets a job behind bars.
Metro said it puts his client in an “horrible position” to have that amount hanging over him when he gets out of prison. The attorney said he and McVay want to be present if a restitution hearing is scheduled on the medical costs.