Fugitive found in tree is sentenced for 7 felonies

EVERETT — Vincent Nutter finally couldn’t outrun the cops as he clung to a tree branch 40 feet in the air and faced the business end of a powerful fire hose.

Nutter had been on the lam for months: a one-man crime wave that included illegal gun possession, drug slinging and dodging the cops. He had vowed to “shoot it out with police and exercise his Second Amendment rights” rather than be sent back to prison.

There was nowhere for Nutter to run on Tuesday as he was sentenced to nearly 6 1/2 years in prison for seven new felony convictions. At 22, Nutter has been in trouble with the law more than half his life. He racked up his first felony at age 14. While Nutter has spent some time in prison, this will be by far the longest stretch.

On Tuesday the young man blamed his troubles on a drug addiction.

He also apologized “for wasting everyone’s time.”

Nutter said he planned to get a legitimate job once he’s released from prison. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel pressed the defendant for a more definitive plan. Nutter said he’s really never held down a job, except for a short stint helping his dad build boats. He might try to go back to doing that, he said.

Nutter was the focus of a daylong manhunt in May that included dozens of police officers from at least five different departments, two helicopters, police dogs and later some help from firefighters with Snohomish County Fire District 7.

Roads were blocked off, schools were locked down and people were warned to stay inside their homes as police scoured the Clearview area for Nutter. The sheriff’s office released Nutter’s photograph to media, calling the fugitive armed and dangerous.

The Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force had been hunting for the Shoreline man for months after he skipped out on a court hearing related to drug and gun charges.

On May 17, cops got word where Nutter was staying and later saw him get into a stolen car. He sped away from police, ditched the car and ran.

Sheriff’s deputies swarmed the area. The cops came up empty-handed until they received a call from someone who had spotted Nutter walking along a road in the area. He was gone by the time deputies arrived, but he didn’t get far.

Police found him in Douglas fir tree in the neighbor’s yard. Nutter shouted at the cops to shoot him and refused to come down. He changed his mind after firefighters sprayed him with a few blasts of water from a fire hose.

A scratched and soggy Nutter clambered down. He was arrested without any further drama.

Nutter pleaded guilty last month to a slew of charges connected to the May incident along with other crimes dating back to 2012. In one instance Nutter had been stopped by police for driving without a license. Police found a handgun, body armor and a stolen laptop in the car. They also found 22 grams of methamphetamine in a safe in the back seat of the car.

Nutter admitted he was selling meth.

Appel warned Nutter that he better find another line of work.

“You’ll have to make (a living) the old-fashioned way, working with your hands,” Appel said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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