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Sirens & Gavels

DNA on disguise leads to 6-month sentence

A Spokane man arrested after DNA from a fake beard connected him to a grocery store robbery will be in a diversion program for six months after being sentenced this week.

Donald R. Wright, 35, was given six months in jail and 18 months probation, but Superior Court Judge Michael Price allowed the sentenced to be served in partial confinement. Wright was told to contact a diversion program within 48 hours of his sentencing on May 10.

Wright was arrested in February for a June 23 robbery at the Grocery Outlet at 7810 N. Division after the state crime lab matched his DNA to DNA found on the beard.

Police found the beard and a wig in a yard near the store. Wright escaped in car after telling the driver he needed a ride because he was being chase, according to court documents. When the driver learned of the robbery, he told police he may have inadvertently driven the culprit from the scene.

Wright was sentenced based on a criminal history that included just one previous drug felony, despite two robbery and two burglary convictions in Los Angeles in 1994, as well as a conviction for felon in possession of a firearm in Los Angeles in 1995.

Court documents cited the case State v. Ford when stating the out-of-state convictions couldn’t be factored in Wright’s sentence. State v. Ford emphasizes that in order to classify out-of-state convictions, the state must show that the conviction is comparable to Washington crimes.

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: DNA on fake beard nabs suspect

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