Gang member pleads guilty in shooting

Joseph D. Dejesus faces up to about 7 1/2 years in prison for a drive-by shooting in October.


WALLA WALLA -- A man who shot at rival gang members following a confrontation in the 300 block of North Sixth Avenue in October could be ordered to serve up to about 71/2 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to four felonies.

Joseph D. Dejesus, 20, entered guilty pleas in Superior Court to one count of drive-by shooting and three counts of second-degree assault, agreeing the crimes were related to gang activity.

The standard-range prison term he faces is five years and seven months to seven years and five months.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden is recommending Judge John Lohrmann impose a six-year term. But Lohrmann won't be bound by any recommendation when he sentences Dejesus later.

Golden agreed to reduce the case against Dejesus in exchange for his guilty pleas.

Dejesus initially was charged with seven counts of first-degree assault, and one count each of drive-by shooting and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Had he been convicted of those charges, he would have faced a standard range of 70 to 90 years in prison. But Golden said in an interview that reluctant witnesses and conflicting accounts could have been problematic had the case gone to trial.

Police said Dejesus was a passenger in a Nissan Pathfinder that drove by the house at 308 N. Sixth about 3 p.m. Oct. 8. After an argument ensued with a rival gang member and others who came out of the house, Dejesus reportedly fired three or four shots from a .22-caliber handgun.

Birzavit Carmona Hernandez, 19, was shot in the leg and taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

A felony riot charge against Dejesus for his alleged participation in a drive-by shooting at Howard and Tietan streets last summer will be dropped, according to terms of the plea agreement.

Police say in that shooting July 28, Dejesus was with other gang members in the bed of a pickup that was chasing rival members in a Chevy Tahoe. Shots were fired from the pickup's cab while Dejesus and others in the back were throwing rocks, officials said.

Dejesus was apprehended Nov. 30 after a 21-hour standoff with police at a mobile home in the 1800 block of Plaza Way.

Terry McConn can be reached at or 526-8319.


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