Man sentenced for home invasion

Adam A. Hermanns was ordered to serve more than 13 years for crimes committed in the spring.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who armed himself with a gun, barged into an occupied College Place residence and stole medication last spring was sentenced this morning to 13 1/2 years in prison.

The prison term for Adam A. Hermanns, 23, was the longest Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht could impose under state sentencing laws.

Schacht also handed Hermanns a three-year seven-month sentence for an unrelated burglary, but the prison terms will be served at the same time.

Afterward, Hermanns will be placed on three years of community custody, a form of probation.

He was contrite and apologetic at the hearing, but couldn't resist making obscene gestures as he left the County Courthouse courtroom.

Hermanns pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree robbery while armed with a firearm related to the College Place home invasion in April. He also entered a guilty plea to the residential burglary on Mill Creek Road in January.

In a plea agreement, the prosecution and defense were recommending 11 years and five months for Hermanns, the low end of the standard range he faced under state law.

But in imposing the maximum sentence today, Schacht cited Hermanns' criminal history -- which includes burglary and possessing stolen property crimes -- and the fact that a weapon was used in the home invasion.

Before the sentence was imposed, Hermanns choked back tears as he said, "My actions have been severe. I would just like to take responsibility for them."

His attorney, Julie Brown, encouraged Schacht to follow the plea agreement. She told him Hermanns doesn't want to be a criminal and that his crimes were largely related to substance abuse issues.

"He went down the path that very quickly became very serious," Brown said.

She claimed Hermanns wants to take advantage of treatment and finish his high school education while in prison.

Brown added that Hermanns always had been respectful to her. And Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden said he believes Hermanns has potential.

But Schacht wasn't swayed by the comments.

He said he had read victim impact statements and specifically mentioned Dorothy Schneider, whose residence was invaded.

"For the rest of her life, she will never feel secure in her own home," Schacht said.

Hermanns and a co-defendant, Antonio S. Contreras, went into the residence of Schneider and her daughter, Cally Schneider, at 204 S.E. Fourth St. about 10:55 p.m. April 3. Contreras was armed with a knife, Hermanns had a gun in his waistband and both wore masks over their faces, officials said.

Contreras took a purse, Hermanns grabbed medication from the bathroom and the men fled.

Law enforcement officials later interviewed Contreras as a possible suspect and he admitted invading the home with Hermanns.

Contreras, 25, of 922 W. Alder St., pleaded guilty in June to reduced charges of third-degree assault and second-degree theft, but has yet to be sentenced. He could be ordered to serve about five years in prison, but the prosecution is recommending 11 months in jail in exchange for his cooperation in the case.

Hermanns also initially was charged with entering a home on Puff Lane on March 29 while armed with a knife. But charges relating to that burglary were dropped in the plea agreement.

As he left the courtroom, Hermanns made obscene gestures to Imbert Matthee, publisher of the weekly Times of Waitsburg/Touchet Valley, who was taking photos in the hallway.

"Take a picture of this!" Hermanns said.

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

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