Man in College Place home invasions pleads guilty

Adam A. Hermanns faces more than 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of two home invasions in College Place last spring will be sentenced to prison for more than 11 years after pleading guilty this morning to committing one of the crimes.

Adam A. Hermanns, 23, entered the guilty plea in Superior Court to first-degree robbery while armed with a firearm.

He admitted stealing items from an occupied residence on Southeast Fourth Street in early April by using or threatening to use force and having a handgun.

Hermanns also pleaded guilty to an unrelated residential burglary Jan. 24 on Mill Creek Road in which a revolver was stolen.

But charges in the other home invasion in College Place -- which occurred in late March at an apartment on Puff Lane -- were dropped, according to terms of a plea agreement.

The standard-range prison term Hermanns faces is about 111/2 to 131/2 years when he's sentenced later by Judge Donald W. Schacht. The prosecution and defense are recommending the low end of the sentencing range.

The robbery that Hermanns admitted participating in took place about 10:55 p.m. April 3, officials said. He and a co-defendant, Antonio S. Contreras -- wearing masks over their faces -- went into the apartment of Dorothy Schneider of 204 S.E. Fourth St. while she was asleep on the couch and confronted her.

Her daughter, Cally Schneider, also was in the home and Contreras told her to sit down and not move or he would kill her, according to a police report filed in court.

Contreras, who displayed a knife, took Schneider's purse from her bedroom, while Hermanns went into the bathroom and stole medication.

They then fled.

Law enforcement officials later interviewed Contreras as a possible suspect and he admitted committing the home invasion with Hermanns. Contreras reportedly told authorities it was Hermanns' plan and that Hermanns was carrying a handgun in his waistband when the robbery occurred.

Contreras also said Hermanns had admitted to him he burglarized the apartment on Puff Lane a few days earlier.

In that crime, police believe that Hermanns donned a black ski mask, armed himself with a knife and entered the residence of Andy Porter at 1027 Puff Lane, Apt. H, about 9:45 p.m. March 29.

The burglar held the knife pointing down as he approached Porter at his dining room table, police said. Porter grabbed for the burglar's hand and suffered wounds to his own hand in the process. The burglar walked out of the apartment after Porter drew a loaded revolver from his right pants pocket and pointed it at the intruder's chest.

Porter is a reporter for the Union-Bulletin.

Hermanns initially was charged with a multitude of crimes in the cases, including first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, theft of a firearm and three counts of first-degree burglary.

His criminal history includes burglary and possessing stolen property convictions.

Contreras, 25, of 922 W. Alder St., pleaded guilty in June to reduced charges of third-degree assault and second-degree theft for participating in the home invasion on Fourth Street.

He faces the possibility of about four or five years in prison when he's sentenced later. However, the prosecution is recommending an exceptionally short jail term of 11 months because he came forward, cooperated and agreed to testify against Hermanns.

In an interview this morning, Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle credited College Place police and the county Sheriff's Office for solving the crimes to which Hermanns and Contreras pleaded guilty.

"(The agencies) were very, very persistent in working on this," Nagle said.

"I think it was through their persistence that we made this work."

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

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