Richland woman sentenced in assault, theft case

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WALLA WALLA — A Richland woman has been ordered to provide 224 hours of community service for assaulting an acquaintance and stealing her cellphone in April near Lyons Park in College Place.

Breanne N. Rutherford, 20, faced up to three months in jail for the assault and up to a year for the theft.

But in sentencing Rutherford on Monday afternoon, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann went along with a prosecution recommendation of 30 days and converted 28 of them to the community service hours.

He then gave her credit for the two days she previously served in the County Jail before being released with conditions pending the outcome of her case.

Lohrmann placed Rutherford on a year of probationary conditions and ordered her to pay $1,662 in various court costs and fees plus an amount of restitution to be determined.

Rutherford pleaded guilty July 22 to third-degree assault and third-degree theft. She initially was charged with second-degree robbery, but the prosecution agreed to reduce the case in exchange for her guilty pleas.

According to a College Place police report filed in court, Rutherford got into the car of Tasha M. Knopf before 11 p.m. April 16, started hitting her, then took Knopf’s cellphone from the center console and said, “This is mine now.”

The report adds that Knopf and Rutherford have had “previous incidents.”

Rutherford told Lohrmann before he imposed the sentence Monday that she is sorry and is taking steps to change, including enrolling in cosmetology school.

Lohrmann responded that he doesn’t understand what motivated the crimes, prompting defense attorney Richard Wernette to say “there’s probably a bigger story than we know.”

Wernette added that Rutherford is making plans for her life and urged no additional jail time for his client since she had no criminal history.

“I just don’t think Breanne has to be kicked in the teeth to learn her lesson,” he said. “I think she’s already learned it.”

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

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