WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of breaking out of the Walla Walla County Jail in what officials say was a short-lived bid for freedom last February pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to one of the charges filed against him.
Warren D. Summers, 56, entered the guilty plea in Superior Court to first-degree malicious mischief. A companion charge of first-degree escape will be dismissed, according to a plea agreement with the prosecution.
Summers currently is serving a seven-year prison term imposed in mid-February for crimes including residential burglary, theft, malicious mischief and possession of oxycodone that occurred in August 2009. His attorney, Gail Siemers, said in an interview Thursday that avoiding a new escape conviction will allow Summers to participate in education and substance abuse programs in prison.
Summers faces an additional prison term of 43-57 months as the result of his guilty plea Thursday. The prosecution is recommending the low end of that sentencing range. The defense will ask that the sentence be allowed to be served at the same time as his current prison term. Sentencing will be held later.
While awaiting his sentencing on those previous charges, Summers was attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting inside the jail Feb. 2. Officials said he left the meeting room about 7:30 p.m. and followed exiting visitors through a metal security door into the lobby area where he tried to force his way past a glass security door allowing access to the outside.
At first he wasn't able to do so, but then threw shower tiles toward the glass door, cracked it and dove through. Police apprehended him about eight minutes later near Third and Stahl avenues following a brief chase on foot.
Authorities believe Summers had planned the escape for a few weeks. Deputies reportedly located damage to a shower area of the jail where inmates had been removing tiles.
Summers now is serving time at the Washington State Penitentiary. He has an extensive previous record of felonies dating back to 1972, including two escapes in Yakima County in the 1980s.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.