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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Purse snatchers get below-standard sentences

Two 19-year-old men who helped snatch a $1,200 purse got below-standard sentences Thursday to compensate for what a judge said was “some real unfairness” caused by “the right hand not knowing what the left was doing.”

Daniel M. Morita and Brandan J. Nye, both 18 when the crime was committed last December, were charged with first-degree robbery. A jury convicted them on Aug. 24, and they faced standard-range sentences of 2 1/2 to nearly 3 1/2 years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly said Thursday that the sentencing range was “clearly excessive” in view of the fact that Julian Desean Morrison and Billy B. Moore were charged only with second-degree robbery in juvenile court, and were allowed to plead to reduced charges in January.

Morrison and Moore were sentenced to tiny fractions of the incarceration their adult accomplices were facing.

So Rielly sentenced Nye and Morita to a year in jail. With credit for time already served and credit for good behavior, Nye was expected to be released immediately. Morita has served most of his sentence.

Morrison, 17 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and third-degree assault, and was sentenced to two months of detention and 40 hours of community service.Moore, 16 at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty to first-degree theft. He was sentenced to a month of detention and 96 hours of community service.

The four defendants’ cases were handled by two different deputy prosecutors.

Rielly said he has “always been troubled by bullies” and dismissed arguments designed to lift blame from Nye and Morita. He said they “knew what they were doing” when they corralled 21-year-old Inna Ryakhovskaya and her 13-year-old sister, Olga, while Moore and Morrison ripped Inna Ryakhovskaya’s Louis Vuitton designer purse away from her outside the Walgreen’s store at 2105 E. Wellesley.

Ryakhovskaya’s arm was injured, and her sister, who clung to her waist in fear, was knocked to the ground.

Nye sought permission to serve his probation in Virginia, where his father lives, but Rielly balked because the four defendants have not yet paid $895 in restitution – which includes about $750 as the depreciated value of Ryakhovskaya’s purse. The purse was scuffed, and its strap was broken during the robbery.

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