WALLA WALLA -- A man who took part in a home invasion on Southeast Fourth Street in College Place last spring was sentenced Monday afternoon to 11 months in the County Jail.
Antonio S. Contreras, 25, pleaded guilty in June to reduced charges of third-degree assault and second-degree theft.
He faced a standard-range prison term of about four to five years because of his extensive criminal history. But in exchange for his cooperation in the case, the prosecution and defense jointly recommended the exceptionally short 11-month jail sentence, which Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht agreed to impose.
During the investigation of the robbery that occurred in April, Contreras, of 922 W. Alder St. in Walla Walla, was forthcoming, officials said. He admitted involvement and agreed to testify against his co-defendant, Adam A. Hermanns, who was sentenced early this month to 13 1/2 years in prison.
Contreras confessed in an initial interview with law enforcement authorities and implicated Hermanns. Contreras maintains the robbery was Hermanns' idea. Contreras also claims that after they entered the home, he tried to leave, but Hermanns pointed a gun at him.
Schacht ruled Monday that Contreras was induced and coerced into participating in the home invasion, and cited Contreras' cooperation in bringing Hermanns to justice.
To some people, Schacht said, it may appear Contreras was "getting a pretty sweet deal."
But "your cooperation warrants some consideration," he told the defendant.
Before the sentence was imposed, Contreras told Schacht he knows what he did was wrong and that's why he confessed.
"I am a good person when I'm sober," Contreras said, adding that the biggest problem in his life is his addictive personality.
"I have several addictions," he said. "The most, worst and damaging is meth."
As required by law, Schacht gave him credit for the 78 days he's already served in jail related to the case. Schacht also placed him on a year of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.
Contreras initially was accused of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree kidnapping, convictions of which could have netted him decades in prison.
In pleading guilty June 7 to the reduced charges, Contreras formally admitted involvement in the home invasion April 3 at 204 S.E. Fourth St.
College Place police said he and Hermanns -- wearing masks over their faces -- entered the residence of Dorothy Schneider about 10:55 p.m. 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 Dorothy Schneider's purse from her bedroom, officials said. Hermanns went into the bathroom and stole medication.
The men then fled.
Hermanns, 23, pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to first-degree robbery while armed with a firearm and received his prison sentence the following day.
Contreras also had told authorities Hermanns admitted to him that a few days before committing the robbery, he entered an occupied apartment on Puff Lane. But charges against Hermanns related to that burglary ultimately were dropped.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.