Tina Stiles was delivering a litter of French bulldog puppies when Brian Gorder broke into her Airway Heights home waving a pistol and demanding money from her safe.
She believed he was only there for the money, not to hurt her or her husband.
“I figured as long as I stayed calm and did as he asked, then I wouldn’t get hurt,” Stiles said.
Gorder also invaded another home that morning, and last month the 30-time felon was sentenced to almost 17 years in prison for the home invasions north of Airway Heights.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in November. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Dean Chuang then sentenced Gorder to 200 months in prison, a term recommended by the prosecution and defense, according to court documents.
Gorder’s plea constitutes a second “most serious offense,” or “strike.” A third strike carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Gorder declined to be interviewed at the Spokane County Jail.
Stiles said Gorder, now 45, entered her unlocked back door to her home at West Prairie Village Mobile Home Park the morning of Oct. 6, 2022. Stiles, 57, said she didn’t know Gorder, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs. She said Gorder came into the kitchen with his arm raised trying to cover his face and waving a gun yelling he wanted the money in the safe.
She said she yelled, “He’s got a gun,” to her husband, who was sitting in a chair.
Gorder grabbed Stiles by the hair, forced her out of the large dog crate and made her lay down on the floor in the living room.
She said she felt he wasn’t going to hurt her because he would have yanked on her hair and shoved her on the floor, but he didn’t.
“When he grabbed my hair to pull me out of the dog crate, he was very gentle about it,” Stiles said.
She said Gorder asked where her safe was and demanded the combination to open it. She said she didn’t have money in it.
She led him to the safe under his command, opened it and he saw there was, in fact, no cash inside. Gorder made her lay down in the bedroom, tied her hands up with her bathrobe belt and went through the drawers in her dresser.
Stiles said Gorder returned to the living room after not finding money or valuables in the bedroom. He took her home phone and cellphone and fled out the back door.
She had a second cellphone that she used to call 911.
A maintenance worker at the mobile home park found a cordless phone and cellphone near the northwest end of the park, according to court documents. He returned them to Stiles.
“He didn’t hurt me, and that’s what I’m thankful for, because a lot of those go wrong and people get hurt,” Stiles said.
About 40 minutes later, Gorder burglarized a home on North Garfield Road.
A resident of the home told the sheriff’s office she noticed her car door open in her garage. She saw Gorder, who she did not know, run across her back deck and heard him smash something upstairs to enter her home.
She said she ran out the back and left in her vehicle to wait for help. She noticed items strewn about in her vehicle, indicating Gorder had entered her car.
A deputy who arrested Gorder at a neighboring property said Gorder refused to stop when ordered and ignored commands after being told he was under arrest, according to documents.
The deputy said Gorder had a house key and vehicle keys he stole from the woman’s house.
The deputy observed a broken window in the living room of the home, and a dresser and desk appeared to have been rummaged through. Blood drops on the tile floor in the home and blood smears on the homeowner’s truck were also found.
Another deputy said Gorder told him he was sorry for what he had done. Gorder was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for injuries, court records show.
While waiting for treatment at the hospital, Gorder said he had tied someone up, broke into houses and tried to steal a car, documents say. He said he would plead guilty to everything.
Meanwhile, Stiles said she started locking her doors after the incident and was concerned someone else might invade her house.
Stiles delivered a victim impact statement at Gorder’s sentencing Jan. 12.
She said she asked that Gorder reimburse her for two puppies who died during birth and the cost of the C-section that resulted because of the robbery. Stiles breeds French bulldogs for a living.
Restitution in the case is to be determined.
Stiles said she’s not angry with Gorder because all he did was disrupt her day and convinced her to lock her doors at night. She said she was satisfied with Gorder’s sentence, saying that’s a long time to be sober and think about what he did.
“I’m over it,” Stiles said of the robbery. “If I let that bother me, then I’d live a miserable life.”
Gorder will receive credit for time served and serve 18 months of community custody when he’s released from prison.
Documents indicated Gorder must undergo a treatment evaluation for substance use disorder and comply with all recommended treatment.
Gorder told The Spokesman-Review in a 2004 jail interview he needed help for his drug addiction.
He was incarcerated at the time after he stole a truck and fled from police, resulting in a Spokane Valley police officer firing shots at the truck Gorder was driving. Gorder was arrested and ultimately sentenced to prison.
“I’m not a bad person,” he said at the time. “The issue is I have a drug problem. Once I get going on this stuff, I do things I normally wouldn’t do.”
Gorder was sentenced in 2010 to over 14 years in prison for using a gun in a carjacking and bank robbery after escaping from a work release center.
He was serving time for a police chase shown on the TV show “Cops” when he left the work release center and went on the crime spree.