Walla Walla woman sentenced in stabbing

Vanessa M. Drake was ordered to serve 15 months in prison for attacking a man outside her home.

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WALLA WALLA -- A local woman has been ordered to serve a year and three months in prison for stabbing a man in a domestic attack outside her residence in April.

Vanessa M. Drake, 30, of 261 Newtown Road, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 15 months, which is the midpoint of the 13- 17-month standard range she faced based on her criminal history.

In handing down the sentence, Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a joint recommendation by the defense and prosecution.

Schacht gave Drake credit for the 197 days she's already served and placed her on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, after her release.

Before the sentence was imposed, Drake tearfully told Schacht she was "truly sorry" for what happened to the victim, Reuben J. Wentz, and that she is determined to turn her life around.

"Life is what we make it and this time I'm going to make it right," she said.

Her attorney, Julie Brown, told Schacht she believes Drake is starting to make correct decisions. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern added that Drake has suffered "substantial abuse during her life" and has mental issues that need to be addressed.

But the stabbing was unprovoked, Mulhern said.

Drake pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to second-degree assault -- domestic violence.

Officials said she stabbed 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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