WALLA WALLA -- A man who shot guns inside his home and assaulted his girlfriend during an argument in late February was sentenced Monday afternoon to nearly three years in prison.
Eric D. Hight, 43, of 104 Fire Station Lane, was ordered to serve the low end of the 33- to 43-month standard-range term he faced. In handing down the sentence, Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a prosecution recommendation.
Before the sentence was imposed, Hight paused and blinked back tears as he took responsibility for his crimes.
"I put myself here," Hight said. "I think the best way to make it right is not to come back."
An electrician, Hight added that his potential "far exceeds" criminal activity and vowed to improve. "I'm actually a pretty good guy when I'm sober. It's not the life I want," Hight said.
Schacht later told Hight he said the right things. "Obviously you've put some thought into this."
Schacht gave him credit for the 170 days he'd served in the County Jail and placed him on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released from prison.
Hight pleaded guilty Aug. 3 to second-degree assault and harassment -- both involving domestic violence, in addition to two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Officials said Hight had been drinking on Feb. 28, got into a fight with his girlfriend, Myrna Notturno, and fired several rounds from a handgun into a living room wall while she was present.
At some point, Notturno was able to hide the gun, but Hight threw a metal paper towel holder at her, opening a gash on her head.
The argument progressed into the bedroom where Hight choked Notturno twice, threatened to kill her and armed himself with a rifle, reportedly firing about 10 inches above her head.
Hight then threw the rifle on the bed and began to destroy the wall, throwing pieces of it at Notturno, according to officials. He then reportedly started to cry and said he hated everyone and his life.
Notturno left and called police from a friend's house. Hight was arrested outside his residence that evening.
Hight had a felony history at the time, prohibiting him from possessing the firearms.
Notturno will be able to visit Hight in prison because she asked Schacht not to impose a restraining order. However, Schacht said he would impose a no-contact restriction later if Hight engages in threatening or other inappropriate behavior.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.