KENNEWICK — A 59-year-old Kennewick man was sentenced to home detention for taking two young girls into his house so he could make a police report about them making too much noise.
Tommy Newton McMillan entered a modified guilty plea Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to a reduced charge of attempted unlawful imprisonment.
The Alford plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
He was given a 30-day jail sentence. He received credit for eight days already served and is being allowed to serve the remaining time on electronic home-monitoring.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
McMillan was charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment in the April 21 incident at his apartment at 1804 W. 21st Ave.
McMillan confronted two girls, ages 10 and 11, after he heard something hit the side of his house.
The kids were jumping on a board that was hitting McMillan's home, but defense attorney John Jensen said McMillan thought the kids were throwing rocks at his house.
He ordered the girls to go inside his home and write down their parents' names and numbers as he called police.
The girls followed his orders and told police they didn't leave his home because they were afraid.
"He had absolutely no intent of harming these girls," Jensen told Judge Robert Swisher. "He now knows it was not a good thing to do."
Deputy Prosecutor Julie Long said the girls were "upset and traumatized" by what happened, but said she agreed to reduce the charge to a gross misdemeanor because McMillan had no criminal history, "not even a traffic ticket."
"I don't believe the defendant intended to harm these girls," she said. "I just hope he understands his actions were inappropriate and how much he hurt these girls."
Long said the parents of one girl said her daughter is in counseling and agreed with the deal because they thought going through a trial would set her progress back.
However, the grandmother of the other girl did not agree with the reduced charge and told Swisher the system was wrong.
"These were two little girls who were petrified ..." Carolyn Sky said. "He took these girls in his home and shut the door and locked the door behind him."
Sky said some neighborhood kids saw what happened and ran to her home to get her. She said when she got there she saw her granddaughter sitting on the loveseat and told her to get up, but she was frozen in fear.
Sky also said she went into McMillan's apartment to make the girls leave and McMillan grabbed her by the hair and threw her around. She said the father of the other girl was also hit.
She questioned why McMillan wasn't charged with two counts of assault and two counts of unlawful imprisonment.
"All he would have had to say is, 'Don't play around here again,' " Sky said, adding that McMillan kind of corralled the girls into the apartment. "He's a scary, creepy-looking guy for 10- and 11-year-old girls."
Jensen said his client might have put his hand up to stop the girl's father from coming into his home but also noted that the father punched McMillan and knocked him unconscious.
McMillan walked slowly in court, had to sit down midway through the sentencing hearing and often had to have Jensen repeat what Swisher asked before he understood.
Jensen said it now takes McMillan a while to grasp things and attributes that to the injury he received when he was knocked out.
Jensen also said McMillan thought he was dealing with the issue by having the kids go inside and wait while their parents and police were called.
"That's how it would have happened when he was young," Jensen said.
"No, it wouldn't have," Swisher replied. "They wouldn't have been invited into the house by an old man."
Jensen disagreed and noted that McMillan immediately called police while the girls were writing down their parents' names and numbers.
"He didn't have any malice intent," Jensen said.
He also pointed out that somehow his client spent eight days in jail after his arrest when he was on a 72-hour hold.
Swisher agreed to follow the sentencing recommendation and said McMillan could complete the time on electronic home-monitoring at his own expense. McMillan has until Dec. 15 to arrange it.