Man pleads guilty to charges in assault at Walla Walla Safeway

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has pleaded guilty in Superior Court to a variety of charges stemming from a confrontation at the Plaza Safeway store in March.

Chet T. Volkman, 20, entered the guilty pleas Monday afternoon to charges of third-degree assault, intimidating a public servant, resisting arrest, third-degree theft and minor in possession or consumption of liquor.

He also had been charged with second-degree robbery, but that will be dismissed, according to terms of a plea agreement. Also, the third-degree assault charge is a reduction from an initial charge of second-degree assault.

Volkman will be sentenced later. He faces up to a year in the County Jail. But in the plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending 90 days.

Officials said Volkman entered Safeway at 1600 Plaza Way about 1 a.m. March 26 and attempted to leave with two packs of beer. He tried to hit and punch an employee when confronted at the exterior doors, which had been locked, then head-butted another employee as he was being subdued, according to authorities.

Volkman was able to flee when staff unlocked the doors for law enforcement, but was struck by a Taser in the parking lot. He also threatened to shoot officers who were at the scene.

He later underwent a mental evaluation by Eastern State Hospital personnel, who determined he was competent to stand trial. Judge John Lohrmann signed the order of competency Monday.

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