Man sentenced in robbery

John A. Phillips' criminal past played a role in the length of the term for a July robbery.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was sentenced Monday to more than five years in prison for assaulting a teenager in July.

John A. Phillips was ordered to serve the low end of the 63- to 84-month standard-range term he faced based on his extensive criminal history.

In handing down the sentence, Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation.

Schacht gave Phillips credit for the 91 days he'd served in the County Jail. Schacht also placed him on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.

Before sentencing was imposed, Phillips said, "I'd just like to apologize to the courts and the victim in this case."

His attorney, Julie Carlson, told Schacht that Phillips, 27, is intelligent, but has a long-standing drug problem and has spent "a lot of his adult life in the criminal justice system."

"He's tired of that," Carlson said, adding that Phillips plans to avail himself of drug treatment.

Phillips, of 410 N. Third Ave., pleaded guilty Oct. 27 to second-degree assault.

Officials said he "blindsided" Chance Wilder, 17, about 10:30 p.m. July 20 when Wilder went to Phillips' residence to retrieve a bicycle he had left there.

Wilder told police Phillips punched him in the face with a closed fist and the blow knocked him out. Wilder's jaw was broken in the attack.

Wilder said he woke up a few minutes later and found items from his pockets strewn on the ground. Phillips reportedly helped pick up some of the items and handed them to Wilder.

Wilder later noticed that a $100 bill he had in his wallet was missing. He said he later received a phone call from Phillips, who apologized.

When Phillips was arrested July 21, he had $83 in cash with him, and his hand was swollen and bruised, officials said.

Phillips also was accused of first-degree robbery, but that charge was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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