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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sentence-skipping felon gets 14 1/2 years in jail

Jeremy A. Arnold got another maximum sentence Wednesday to remind him it’s a good idea to come back when a judge gives him a furlough from jail.

But he also caught a break: His new sentence was folded into others that total about 14½ years.

“I hope it scares you that, even with good time, you’re going to be in for 10 years,” Spokane County Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark told Arnold, noting, however, that he already had a lot of experience behind bars.

Before he ran off while on a one-week furlough to get married, Arnold, 28, had faced a standard-range sentence of 61/3 to 81/2 years in prison for his guilty plea to three counts of intimidating witnesses in two cases.

Clark noted Wednesday that Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla warned Arnold he would seek extra punishment if Arnold absconded from the furlough that Cipolla helped arrange as part of a plea bargain to settle several cases.

Judge Linda Tompkins approved Arnold’s furlough on May 6, which included a written warning that sentences in Arnold’s various cases could be made consecutive instead of concurrent if he absconded. Arnold was supposed to return for sentencing May 13, a day after he was married, but he didn’t surrender until a week later, when police surrounded the home where he was hiding.

Arnold had bargained for sentences totaling eight years, but the deal unraveled two weeks ago. Judge Michael Price gave Arnold 52/3 years for five business burglaries, and Tompkins slapped 83/4 years on top of that for a violent home-invasion robbery in which Arnold pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery.

Assistant Public Defender Jeffrey Leslie said Wednesday that Arnold served as a lookout in the armed robbery of a household with three young children, and “when he noticed there were children in the house, he tried to stop things from occurring further.”

Leslie pointed out that even if Arnold earns the full one-third credit available for good behavior, he’ll still be 10 years older before he tastes freedom again.

Leslie asked Clark to fold Arnold’s additional sentence into those already handed down, and Clark agreed when Cipolla didn’t object.

Before his latest crime spree late last year, Arnold had a dozen juvenile convictions for thefts, burglaries, attempting to elude police and escape. As an adult, he had been convicted in 1995 in federal court for distributing cocaine and carrying a firearm in a drug crime.

Arnold was accused of a rash of Spokane crimes that began almost as soon as he got out of federal prison on Sept. 23, 2004. Among the alleged crimes resolved in Arnold’s March 25 plea agreement were two drive-by shootings in which no one was injured.

One of the drive-by shootings was related indirectly to the witness-intimidation counts for which Arnold was sentenced Wednesday.

Arnold admitted firing at least eight bullets into Danilo Burnet Delacruz’s 1997 Honda Accord, leaving the vehicle a total loss, because Delacruz told authorities he saw Arnold commit a drive-by shooting.

In the same case, Arnold admitted threatening his former girlfriend, Krystle E. Everett, who drove him to Delacruz’s home in November when he riddled Delacruz’s Honda with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. Arnold told Everett to keep quiet about the incident.

He also admitted threatening Everett again in December when she obtained a no-contact order against him in Spokane County District Court. Court Commissioner Robert Seines had to order Arnold to quit staring at Everett in court, and he found Arnold in violation of the protection order before he walked out of the courtroom.

Everett and other witnesses said Arnold silently mouthed a vulgar threat to Everett and said aloud, “I better not get charged with anything, or else.” On other occasions, Everett told authorities, Arnold repeatedly threatened to kill her and her family if she provided evidence against him.

Arnold had been charged with harassment for allegedly beating Everett and making death threats on another occasion. Passers-by told authorities that on Nov. 12, they saw Arnold knock Everett down with a punch in the face and then kick her four times while she was on the ground.

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