James Roy Holmes, 37, was linked to the 2007 incident through genetic tests on a blue latex glove that was left behind by one of the gunmen who burst inside the Silver Lake-area home and demanded cash. Prosecutors say the home was targeted because the bandits knew that one of the people there operated a bar in Eastern Washington and sometimes kept bank bags filled with cash.
Holmes' DNA was matched to the crime scene in 2009. At the time he was locked up in Texas, where he'd served time for theft and drug convictions.
A Snohomish County jury early this month found Holmes guilty of multiple counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault.
"I don't know what's going on. I don't know," Holmes said before Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair announced his sentence.
It was the top punishment allowed under state sentencing guidelines, and reflected the "extremely violent" nature of the crime in which four people were victimized, the judge said.
The robbery crew tied up and held the victims gunpoint. The homeowner was smacked with a pistol. There were threats to burn everyone alive.
The robbers left with the money they'd expected to find. The victims were able to provide detectives with sufficient descriptions for police sketches.
The case went into hibernation until the DNA found on the glove was linked to Holmes. His genetic profile was in a national offender database.
Holmes had been in Snohomish County around the time of the robbery, including a brief stay in the county jail. He wasn't locked up when the robbery occurred.
Holmes' attorney, veteran public defender Neal Friedman, said there was no denying the jury's verdict, but he didn't believe it was supported by the evidence. He convinced the judge that the law required her not to string together prison time linked to the assault convictions as deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler requested.
The assaults were part of the underlying robbery, and the defendant could not be punished twice for the same offense, Friedman argued. If everything had been stacked together, including deadly weapons enhancements attached to the assaults, Holmes could have been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison.
Friedman told Fair that prior to trial, he'd asked Holmes to consider a plea agreement that likely would have resulted in far less time behind bars. His client refused.
Since the detectives showed up in Texas asking to talk about the robbery, Holmes has insisted he has no idea how his DNA wound up on the glove, Friedman said.
Scott North: 425-339-3431, email@example.com
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