Waitsburg man accused in standoff pleads guilty to harassment

Keith E. Adams originally was charged with assault and unlawful imprisonment, but the victim changed her story, a prosecutor said.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of holding a woman and her two young children against their will at his Waitsburg residence in September entered a guilty plea Monday afternoon to a felony charge.

Keith E. Adams, 24, of 360 Preston Ave., pleaded guilty in Superior Court to felony harassment, admitting he threatened to kill 21-year-old Melissa Sharpe in the domestic dispute.

The standard-range jail term Adams faces is one to three months when he's sentenced later. In a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending time-served.

In addition, initial charges of first-degree assault and three counts of unlawful imprisonment will be dismissed. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden told the Union-Bulletin he had no choice because Sharpe changed her story in an Oct. 12 interview with him and defense attorney Jim Barrett.

Officials said county sheriff's deputies responded to Adams' residence about 1:20 a.m. Sept. 17 regarding the domestic dispute at which he was armed with a small semiautomatic pistol. He reportedly was extremely agitated, intoxicated and allegedly had been pointing the weapon at Sharpe.

After the area's Emergency Services Unit arrived, negotiators made contact with Adams and he allowed Sharpe to leave, according to a Sheriff's Office report filed in court.

But the children -- an infant and a 2-year-old -- remained in the residence during a three-hour standoff until Adams surrendered to officers about 5 a.m., authorities said.

A pistol reportedly was recovered at the scene. There were no injuries.

Adams was arrested and booked into the County Jail.

The Sheriff's Office report says, "Prior to Adams surrendering, Melissa advised officers that Adams did in fact point a firearm at her." But according to Golden, Sharpe said in the interview with him and Barrett that if the gun was pointed at her, it was an accident, and she wasn't held against her will.

"It was different than what she told officers that night," Golden said.

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

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