Walla Walla man pleads guilty to assaulting teen

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who pleaded guilty this morning to assaulting a teenager in July faces at least four-and-a-half years in prison when he is sentenced later.

John A. Phillips, 27, of 410 N. Third Ave., entered the guilty plea in Superior Court to second-degree assault.

Based on his criminal history, he faces a standard-range prison term of 53-70 months. The prosecution is recommending the low end of the range.

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

Officials said Phillips "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.

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