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Extended sentence sought for teen, 14, for sword attack

FRIDAY, FEB. 28, 2014

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the relationship of the teen being sentenced to the victim, due to a reporter’s error.

Prosecutors are asking for an extended sentence for one of two teenage boys involved in an apparent drug-fueled sword attack in Spokane Valley in September.

The 14-year-old, who was 13 at the time of the crime, was found guilty of second-degree assault and other charges earlier this month. The standard sentencing range, based on his lack of criminal history, would keep him confined for up to 36 weeks on the assault charge, according to court records, and other sanctions for taking a vehicle without permission, burglary and malicious mischief. Prosecutors say the roughly nine-month sentence is not enough for the severity of his crimes.

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a burglary in the 13300 block of East Mission Avenue in the early morning hours of Sept. 17. They found a bloodied woman in her bed, surrounded by two butcher knives and a “Pakistan-forged” sword with a bent handle, according to court documents. Investigators eventually tracked the boys, who used a stolen vehicle for transport, to a nearby residence. They entered that home through a pet door and haphazardly heaved hammers at the walls, according to court documents.

In subsequent interviews, the other boy told investigators his friend had persuaded him to attack the woman with the sword after taking “blue pills” and that the boys intended to cut out and eat her liver. The woman survived the attack.

The codefendant eventually pleaded guilty to assault and malicious mischief charges. Neither boy is being named by The Spokesman-Review because they are minors tried in juvenile court.

Spokane Superior Court Judge Salvatore Cozza will announce next week whether he accepts the prosecution’s motion for an extended sentence. Defense attorneys argue the boy, who is being held in detention, has shown exceptional progress in his studies and social skills and should receive a sentence that reflects his good behavior.

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