Waitsburg man sentenced in threat on woman

Keith E. Adams received a 90-day jail sentence in connection with a standoff in Waitsburg.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man was sentenced Monday afternoon to three months in the County Jail for threatening to kill a woman in a domestic dispute in Waitsburg last September.

It was the longest jail term that could be imposed on Keith E. Adams under the state's one- to three-month standard range for the crime of felony harassment committed by a defendant with no criminal history.

Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht gave Adams, 24, of 360 Preston Ave., Waitsburg, credit for the 67 days he'd already served and placed him on a year of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.

In a plea bargain, the prosecution agreed to dismiss additional charges against Adams and recommend he be sentenced to the time he'd served and be released. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden said in an interview that's because the victim, Melissa Sharpe, recently gave officials a different account of the dispute than what she initially told law enforcement.

But Schacht declined to go along with the sentencing recommendation, pointing out that Adams reportedly was armed with a gun during the domestic encounter, which potentially could have turned deadly.

Schacht also ordered Adams not to have contact with Sharpe or her two young children for five years, even though Sharpe asked Schacht in court if that could be changed. Not for the "foreseeable future," Schacht replied.

Adams pleaded guilty Nov. 8 to the felony harassment charge, admitting he threatened to kill Sharpe, 21, during the domestic dispute.

Officials said county sheriff's deputies responded about 1:20 a.m. Sept. 17 to Adams' residence where he was armed with a small automatic pistol. He reportedly was extremely agitated, intoxicated and allegedly had been pointing the weapon at Sharpe and holding her and the children against their will.

After the area's Emergency Services Unit arrived, negotiators made contact with Adams and he allowed Sharpe to leave. But the children -- an infant and a 2-year-old -- reportedly were asleep and remained in the residence during a three-hour standoff with Adams until he surrendered to officers about 5 a.m., authorities said.

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

Adams was arrested and booked into the County Jail.

Before Adams surrendered, Sharpe reportedly told officers he pointed a gun at her. But Golden told the Union-Bulletin that in an interview Oct. 12 with him and defense attorney Jim Barrett, Sharpe said if Adams pointed the gun at her it was an accident and she wasn't held against her will.

Therefore, Golden said, he had no choice but to drop an initial charge of first-degree assault and three counts of unlawful imprisonment against Adams.

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

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