WALLA WALLA -- A man was sentenced this morning to nearly nine years in prison for leading police officers on a chase along city streets in August and then breaking into an unoccupied house resulting in an hours-long standoff.Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.
Christopher S. Robling, 30, of Nampa, Idaho, apologized before the sentence was imposed, saying, "If I could take it back I would."
He faced a standard-range prison term of about seven-and-a-half to nine years, and told Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann, "Any consideration of mercy you can have on me, I would appreciate it."
But Lohrmann responded that residents shouldn't have to live in fear, worrying about the types of crimes Robling committed. Therefore, Lohrmann opted for a sentence of eight years and eight months, which is toward the high end of the standard range.
"In Walla Walla, our expectation for safety in the community is high. Tolerance for violence is low," Lohrmann said.
As required by law, Lohrmann gave Robling credit for the 133 days he's served in the County Jail.
Lohrmann also ordered Robling to pay $32,550 in restitution, including about $20,000 in reimbursement for damage caused to the house Robling broke into.
Robling pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to four charges: attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle while armed with a firearm, possessing a stolen motor vehicle while armed, residential burglary and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because he has a felony record.
Officials said the Aug. 25 chase began shortly after 12:30 p.m. following a report that Robling was changing license plates on a pickup in the 600 block of Newell Street.
He sped away from officers and traveled through intersections at a high rate of speed before stranding the vehicle in Garrison Creek at the end of Bryant Avenue, according to authorities.
Robling fled and ran to the backyard of 803 S. Second Ave. where he broke into the basement of the residence. He then held officers at bay for 3 1/2 hours until he was arrested about 4:20 p.m. after running from the rear of the residence.
Officials said the license plates Robling installed on the vehicle were stolen in La Grande, and the pickup and numerous items inside had been stolen from Caldwell, Idaho. The vehicle also contained stolen guns and ammunition, however Robling wasn't armed when he was arrested, according to police.
In addition to the charges to which Robling pleaded guilty, he had been accused of first-degree possessing stolen property, first-degree malicious mischief and two additional counts of unlawful firearm possession. But those charges were dismissed in exchange for his guilty pleas.