Man sentenced to time served in stabbing

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WALLA WALLA — A man who stabbed his wife with a kitchen knife at their residence in December has been handed a time-served sentence.

Alberto Luna Martinez, 29, was ordered to serve 73 days, then was given credit for that amount he’d spent in the County Jail since his arrest Dec. 28.

He now faces possible deportation to Mexico.

In imposing the sentence Monday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram went along with a prosecution recommendation. The longest term Luna Martinez could have received under standard-range sentencing laws of this state is three months.

Wolfram placed Luna Martinez on a year of community custody, a form of probation. Wolfram also ordered him to pay about $1,760 in financial penalties and — despite Luna Martinez’s objection — prohibited him from contacting his wife, Norma Tapia, for five years.

Luna Martinez pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to the charge of third-degree assault — domestic violence.

Officials said he and Tapia, 42, were involved in an argument at their residence at 20 W. Walnut St., Apt. F, about 9 p.m. on Dec. 27.

When the dispute escalated, Luna Martinez reportedly placed his hand over Tapia’s mouth, then went into the kitchen, got a knife from a drawer and stabbed Tapia after she stood up on a futon couch in the living area.

Tapia went to Walla Walla General Hospital for treatment. “At the hospital, her stab wound consisted of an entrance and exit wound through her left arm and into her chest/side area that cut her left lung,” according to a police report filed in court. She was hospitalized for a few days.

After interviews with Luna Martinez and Tapia, police couldn’t immediately develop probable cause for an assault arrest. But they later learned Tapia’s wound wasn’t the result of an accident, as they had been told.

Luna Martinez initially was charged with second-degree assault — domestic violence. But the charge was reduced to third-degree in exchange for his guilty plea.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern said in court Monday the prosecution may have had difficulty proving the case to a jury had it gone to trial because Tapia at first tried to conceal circumstances surrounding the stabbing.

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

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