The manager of Kennewick's Sonic Drive-In pleaded innocent Wednesday to allegations he encouraged a teen to rob his restaurant, getting away with about $500.
Christopher Jay Halls, 23, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with second-degree robbery.
Prosecutors claim it was at his suggestion that Dakota Harding hit the fast-food restaurant on Oct. 20. However, Harding also allegedly told police he "went to Sonic to collect money from Halls for a drug debt," according to court documents.
Halls, of Pasco, is scheduled for trial Jan. 30.
Harding is accused of walking up to the drive-through window at the Gage Boulevard restaurant and telling an employee, "Give me the till," while implying he had a weapon.
The employee did not actually see a gun, but still pushed the "panic button" and alerted Halls, the store manager. Halls then handed over the cash to Harding, documents said.
The employee reported watching Harding walk to a parked car at a neighboring business and drive off, court documents said.
Kennewick officers got a description of the robbery suspect and the vehicle from the employee. Halls also said he recognized the robber and identified him as Harding, which was confirmed through video surveillance footage, documents said.
Harding, 17, of Kennewick, was arrested Oct. 24 in Zintel Canyon and told officers that Halls put him up to it. Halls allegedly received no money for his role in the robbery.
Harding pleaded guilty Wednesday in Juvenile Court to second-degree robbery, obstruction and resisting arrest for two separate cases, court records show. His sentencing is set for Nov. 21.
Lawyers discuss moving Richland nanny's trial
A Richland nanny charged in the June death of a 1-year-old she was watching appeared in court for a hearing where attorneys discussed moving her trial.
Kelli Anne Jacobsen, 27, pleaded innocent last month to first-degree manslaughter with aggravating circumstances. Her trial is scheduled for Jan. 9
On Wednesday, lawyer Scott Johnson said he needs more time to prepare for trial, but said he needs to meet with prosecutors to see what new dates work for them. The case returns to court Dec. 1.
Jacobsen is accused of causing a fatal head injury to Ryder Morrison on June 22 while she was watching the baby at his Richland home. She called 911 and told authorities Ryder fellwhen she was in the kitchen getting him a snack, court documents said.
Emergency room doctors at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, however, said Ryder's injuries were not consistent with the nanny's story, documents said.
Ryder died in surgery, the day after his first birthday.
Ryder's mother, Tawney Johnson, had been home for lunch that day and got back to work about 15 minutes before Ryder got hurt and 911 was called, documents said.
Jacobsen was released on her own recognizance after her first court hearingOct. 27.
Her attorney previously told the Herald that Jacobsen has been devastated by Ryder's death, but she has maintained that she had nothing to do with how he died.