Man sentenced after plea in fatal confrontation

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WALLA WALLA — A man who earlier pleaded guilty to felony riot for participating in a fatal gang confrontation in 2011 was sentenced Monday afternoon to 33 days, which he’d already served in the County Jail before he was released on bond last fall.

Andres Solis, 20, also will be monitored for a year on community custody, a form of probation, assured by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann’s decision to sentence him as a first-time offender.

Solis, who has no countable criminal history, could have been ordered to serve up to 90 days in jail under that sentencing alternative. But Lohrmann went along with a prosecution recommendation of time served, which was included in a plea agreement.

Solis and Benito Gomez — the one who pulled out a gun, and shot and killed rival gang member Julio Cesar Martinez in the May 2011 confrontation — each will be responsible for about $6,700 in restitution, plus court costs and fees. Solis also will not be allowed to participate in any further gang activity.

The deal the prosecution and defense struck in his case spared him from what could have been decades in prison. He initially was charged with second-degree murder and also faced charges of felony riot and three counts of first-degree assault.

Although Solis didn’t fire any shots, he was believed to have been the primary instigator of the confrontation.

But Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle said after Solis pleaded guilty to the riot charge Feb. 15 that to pursue the other charges against him, the prosecution would have had to prove he knew or would have been expected to know Gomez was armed with a deadly weapon.

In pleading guilty to riot, Solis admitted acting with three or more people in gang-related, threatened use of force against Martinez. But Solis’s attorney, Robin Olson, said in court Monday the tragedy was basically caused by Gomez, and police gathered no evidence proving anyone else knew he had a gun at the time.

“This is a fair plea agreement” that convicts Solis of the crime he actually committed, Olson said.

He added this is a wake-up call for Solis, who now wants to regain a management position he lost at a local fast-food restaurant and continue his education.

Gomez, 20, killed Martinez after Gomez, Solis and two fellow gang members arrived in the alley off the 300 block of Myrtle Street about 6 p.m. on May 17, 2011, to fight Martinez and two of his fellow members, officials said.

During the confrontation, Gomez shot Martinez, 20, twice in the head. Martinez died later that night at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

Gomez also shot at Martinez’s fellow members as they fled from the alley into their apartment building at 331 Myrtle. No one but Martinez was hit.

At a trial last June, a jury convicted Gomez of second-degree murder for causing Martinez’s death and six counts of first-degree assault for shooting at others in the alley and into the adjacent apartment building. Gomez later was sentenced to nearly 115 years in prison.

Solis was arrested Oct. 14 of last year, but was released about a month later after a bail bond was posted.

Comments

mytwocents 1 year, 1 month ago

Good god 33 days??? That's a real clear message to the gangs.. And he expects to get a management position back?!! I hope the franchise owner isn't that dumb.. I mean who really wants a known gang thug running their store.. Put him back on the lot and lobby detail. Shoulda shipped him back to Mexico

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