WALLA WALLA -- A 17-year old local gang member accused of drug, weapon and burglary charges will be tried as an adult, a judge ruled today.
After a day-long hearing, Ricky J. Palomino of 258 Willard St., was ordered to stand trial in Walla Walla County Superior Court on charges that could imprison him for a decade. Had he been found guilty in juvenile court, he faced less than four years.
Judge John Lorhmann made the determination after listening to testimony from witnesses that included Palomino himself, who was called to the stand by his attorney Irving Rosenberg.
Palomino is charged with delivering marijuana and twice delivering cocaine to a confidential informant on March 4 after the informant went to Palomino's home, which is directly across the street from Garrison Middle School.
He also faces charges of residential burglary and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Those stemmed from a March 9 police chase during which officials said Palomino allegedly fled into a residence in the 400 block of South Eighth Avenue after a van he was in crashed into a parked vehicle while being pursued.
A search of the van afterward found a loaded .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol in plain view on the floor of the vehicle, according to court documents.
The county's Court Services Department recommended transferring Palomino's case to adult court based on his past criminal record.
According to a report by Intake Probation Officer Becky Renwick, Palomino is an admitted gang member, has been detained more than 20 times since June 2005, spent two stints in state juvenile institutions and is likely to re-offend.
"While incarcerated, whether locally or on the state level, Ricky continued to be definant and disruptive," Renwick wrote, adding that "he is a dangerous and potentially violent youth."
Reporter Terry McConn contributed to this story.