College Place teen pleads guilty to robbing truck driver

Robert L. DeLeon faces 103-129 weeks in confinement after his guilty plea to a first-degree robbery charge.

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WALLA WALLA -- A 16-year-old youth pleaded guilty this morning to robbing a delivery truck driver in February behind Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts in Eastgate.

Robert L. DeLeon entered the guilty plea in the Juvenile Department of Walla Walla County Superior Court to a charge first-degree robbery. He also had been charged with second-degree assault and second-degree vehicle prowl, but they will be dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Also, he was charged in an unrelated case with second-degree malicious mischief for allegedly spray painting gang graffiti, but that also will be dismissed.

DeLeon faces a term of 103-129 weeks in a state juvenile institution when he's sentenced later for the robbery.

Police said DeLeon is one of two male teenagers involved in a confrontation with Jonathan Dickson of Portland near the back door of Jo-Ann's, 481 N. Wilbur Ave., about 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

Dickson had been in the cab of his truck when he heard noises and came upon DeLeon and the other teen who had broken into the semi's trailer, according to a police report filed in court. Officials said DeLeon struck Dickson with a decorative lantern that had been taken from the trailer and both teens fled through a yard.

DeLeon, of 525 S.E. Sixth St., College Place, later was identified as a suspect and arrested Feb. 10. In an interview with police before he was arrested, he admitted entering the trailer and assaulting Dickson, according to the police report.

Dickson was treated at a local hospital for facial lacerations following the attack.

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

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