Man sentenced to 100 months in Walla Walla Hampton Inn robbery

Gary L. Stevens pleaded guilty today to robbing the Hampton Inn at gunpoint in March.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was sentenced this morning to more than eight years in prison for robbing the Hampton Inn at gunpoint in March.

Gary L. Stevens, 52, was ordered to serve 100 months, which is near the midpoint of the standard range of 87-116 months he faced for first-degree robbery.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden agreed to drop a companion charge of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and recommend the low end of the standard range in exchange for Stevens' guilty plea, which was entered just before he was sentenced by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann.

But in handing down the sentence, Lohrmann pointed to the terror the robbery victim must have felt when confronted with a deadly weapon.

Lohrmann gave Stevens credit for the 66 days he has served in the County Jail, and placed him on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.

This is Stevens' second strike. He was convicted of first-degree burglary in 1998.

Police said Stevens -- who is homeless -- entered the Hampton Inn hotel at 1531 Kelly Place with a handgun about 8:30 p.m. March 6 and demanded cash from the clerk, who gave Stevens $162.

Stevens then reportedly left on foot toward Dalles Military Road near Fort Walla Walla Park.

The following morning, a male relative of Stevens told officers that Stevens came to his house a few hours earlier and said "he robbed a place the previous night," according to a police report filed in court.

Stevens gave the relative eight bullets and a pistol, which the relative later determined actually is his and had been missing from where he normally stores it. Stevens is not permitted to have a gun because he is a convicted felon.

Officers arrested him March 8 in Fort Walla Walla Park on a warrant from Shelton, Wash. In an interview at the police department, Stevens admitted robbing the hotel, but said he intended to get shot by an officer afterward and doesn't want to go on living.

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

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