Walla Walla burglar to spend decade in prison, then drug treatment

The judge opted for the special drug offender sentencing alternative.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who earlier pleaded guilty to six burglary and weapons charges was ordered Monday to serve about a decade in prison.

The sentence imposed on Mathew B. Weise was lower than the usual penalty for his crimes considering his criminal history. Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a defense request to allow Weise to serve 123 months in prison, with a like amount of time on community custody, a form of probation when he's released.

The standard range for the crimes -- considering Weise's six previous felony convictions -- is about 17-and-a-half to 23-and-a-third years. The prosecution was recommending a 20-year sentence.

But Schacht opted for the special drug offender sentencing alternative, which requires a defendant to serve half the midpoint of the standard range in prison and undergo treatment when he's released.

In a statement before the sentence was imposed, Weise was contrite, apologized and blamed his addiction to drugs for his crimes.

His attorney, Richard Wernette, told Schacht, "Mr. Weise undeniably has an overwhelming heroin addiction."

Schacht agreed, pointing out that a veteran evaluator determined Weise has the highest addiction score the evaluator has seen in his career.

If Weise fails to comply with treatment after his release, Schacht could order him back to prison for the remainder of the probationary period.

Weise was given credit for 71 days he's served in the County Jail.

Weise, 32, of 428 S.W. 12th St., pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to six crimes -- three counts of residential burglary, two counts of firearm theft and one count of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He initially faced 20 charges, including five burglaries, eight thefts -- including firearms, four counts of possessing guns as a convicted felon, one count of possessing burglary tools and two drug charges. But the prosecution agreed to reduce the case against him in exchange for his guilty pleas.

If Weise had been convicted of all charges, he potentially could have received a life prison sentence.

Most of the charges stemmed from break-ins dating back to May. Weise was arrested Aug. 16 after Walla Walla County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant at his residence, which has a postal address of College Place, but actually is outside the city limits.

Officials said Weise burglarized residences on Summit Place, the Old Milton Highway, Valley Street and Mojonnier Road. During the search of his residence, officials found stolen property, tools similar to those used in at least one of the burglaries and drug paraphernalia.

Two suspected marijuana plants in pots also were found on the property, officials said.

Weise will have to pay at least $18,671 in restitution. But one victim told Schacht some items Weise stole can never be replaced, such as family heirlooms passed on for generations.

"He took our history," the man said.

Schacht lectured Weise on the emotional impacts inflicted by burglars.

"We shouldn't have to tolerate that," Schacht said.

He added he believes the sentence is the fairest he could impose. "You are one lucky individual," Schacht told Weise, saying the drug treatment alternative sentence "gives you a glimmer of hope."

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