Walla Walla woman pleads guilty in stabbing

Vanessa M. Drake faces more than a year in prison when she's sentenced for attacking Reuben J. Wentz in April.

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WALLA WALLA -- A local woman has pleaded guilty in Superior Court to stabbing a man outside her residence in April.

Vanessa M. Drake, 30, of 261 Newtown Road, entered the guilty plea Monday afternoon to second-degree assault -- domestic violence, as initially charged.

Based on her criminal history, she faces a standard-range prison term of 13-17 months when she's sentenced later. The prosecution is recommending 15 months, the midpoint of the range, in exchange for her guilty plea.

Officials said Drake stabbed Reuben J. Wentz once in the back about 2 a.m. April 10 after he had gone to her home and was loading some of his belongings into a vehicle.

Wentz was treated at Providence St. Mary Medical Center for an inch-long wound in his lower right back.

Drake reportedly denied an assault had taken place, but a county sheriff's deputy at the scene located an empty knife sheath in her purse. She was arrested after an interview with law enforcement.

The assault was the latest in a series of disputes between Drake and Wentz, who lived together in the past and have children in common, a Sheriff's Office report says.

Drake was sentenced earlier in April to 30 days on the Department of Corrections work crew for stealing items from the Macy's store in Walla Walla and assaulting a security officer there the previous summer.

After she was arrested for the stabbing, however, DOC decided to make her serve the time for the Macy's crimes in the County Jail.

Drake recently underwent a mental evaluation to determine her competency and sanity. She subsequently was found competent for her most-recent case to proceed.

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

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