Charges in robbery dismissed

Joseph W. Noblitt had agreed to mental health treatment in a deal with prosecutors.

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WALLA WALLA -- A criminal case against a man accused of trying to rob a local grocery early last year has been dismissed in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Joseph W. Noblitt -- who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia -- had been charged with second-degree attempted robbery, felony harassment and fourth-degree assault. But the charges were dismissed Friday by Judge Donald W. Schacht because Noblitt had complied with provisions of an agreement he entered into with the county Prosecuting Attorney's Office last fall.

Terms of the agreement included requirements that Noblitt maintain a mental health treatment program and not violate any laws.

His attorney, Janelle Carman, wrote in a recently filed court document that "Mr. Noblitt has gone above and beyond in his compliance with all the requirements."

After his arrest in January 2010, Noblitt, now 28, underwent a mental evaluation by experts from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake who found him competent to stand trial. He then was released to live at his parents' residence in Bellevue, Wash., pending further court proceedings.

Carman said in court at the time that Noblitt suffers from schizophrenia.

Officials said Noblitt entered Carniceria La Barata, 22 N. Fifth Ave., about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 20, 2010, cut in front of the customer line and demanded the manager, Roman Orozco, give him money from the cash register.

Noblitt said the store "owed him 10 percent of the sales" and threatened to kill Orozco if he didn't pay him, according to a police report filed in court.

Orozco pressed the panic button and delayed Noblitt, who appeared to become frustrated and went outside. When Orozco followed to get Noblitt's license plate number, Noblitt allegedly continued to threaten him and tried to punch him.

Police arrived and Noblitt was arrested.

Orozco told authorities that Noblitt had confronted him previously regarding a Spanish radio station Noblitt was upset about. Noblitt told police "he was upset over the Mexicans and the Spanish radio station following him and talking about him and starting rumors," according to the police report.

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

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