Fearing he might be sent to adult prison for up to eight years, a 16-year-old boy agreed Tuesday to be locked in a juvenile jail until he turns 21 for his role in a violent three-day crime spree on the Colville Indian Reservation.
The boy accepted the deal and pleaded guilty even though a standard sentence in juvenile court would be only about two years. Sentencing is scheduled July 25.
The teen and two other boys, both 13, were charged in an April rampage at Inchelium, Wash., that included shooting at two Colville tribal law officers.
Ferry County Prosecutor Al Nielson reduced two counts of first-degree assault to spare the boy from a state law that would have sent him automatically to adult court. Instead, the boy pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of reckless endangerment.
The 16-year-old also pleaded guilty to stealing a vehicle, stealing a gun and attempting to elude police.
One of the 13-year-old boys fired the shots at tribal officers, but all three boys were charged. One shot hit the passenger-side mirror of Sgt. Darrel Gordon’s patrol car.
The gunplay allegedly occurred when Gordon and tribal game officer Larry Finley gave chase after the boys stole a pickup truck and shot at its owner.
The boys also were charged with attempted kidnapping with a deadly weapon for allegedly attempting to force a school bus driver to put one of her passengers off the bus. But Nielson dropped that charge against the 16-year-old, and may drop it against the others as well.
“They just wanted their friend to go with them, so the kidnapping part of it didn’t hold together,” Nielson said.
Also, he said the 16-year-old and one of the 13-year-olds walked away when the other 13-year-old pointed a BB gun at school bus driver Rose Rankin. Although she thought the weapon was a .45-caliber pistol, Rankin refused to obey the suspect and he fled.
Nielson said the boy accused of threatening the driver will face a second-degree assault charge even if the kidnapping charges against him and the other 13-year-old are dropped. Both 13-year-olds face juvenile court trials in mid-July.