Trial date set for man in attempted robbery

Joseph W. Noblitt is charged with trying to rob Carniceria La Barata in January.

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WALLA WALLA -- A trial has been scheduled for a man accused of trying to rob a local grocery early this year.

Joseph W. Noblitt, 27, is set for trial Oct. 14 and 15 in Superior Court on charges of second-degree attempted robbery, felony harassment and fourth-degree assault. He pleaded innocent to the charges this morning.

Officials said Noblitt entered Carniceria La Barata, 22 N. Fifth Ave., about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 20, cut in front of the customer line and demanded the manager, Roman Orozco, give him money from the cash register.

Noblitt said the store "owed him 10 percent of the sales" and threatened to kill Orozco if he didn't pay him, according to a police report filed in court.

Orozco pressed the panic button and delayed Noblitt, who appeared to become frustrated and went outside. When Orozco followed to get Noblitt's license plate number, Noblitt allegedly continued to threaten him and tried to punch him.

Police arrived and Noblitt was arrested.

Orozco told authorities that Noblitt had confronted him previously regarding a Spanish radio station Noblitt was upset about. Noblitt told police "he was upset over the Mexicans and the Spanish radio station following him and talking about him and starting rumors," according to the police report.

Noblitt underwent a mental evaluation by experts from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake who found him competent to stand trial. Judge Donald W. Schacht signed the order of competency this morning.

Schacht also allowed Noblitt to be released to live at his parents' residence in Bellevue, Wash., pending his trial. His attorney, Janelle Carman, said in court this morning that Noblitt suffers from schizophrenia. He will be required to participate in mental health treatment and monitoring during his release.

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

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