Judge questions reduced charge for career criminal

EVERETT — A Snohomish County Superior Court judge wasn’t pleased about giving a career criminal a break Thursday and grilled attorneys about how a potential life sentence got reduced to a two-year stint behind bars.

William Darrell Goddard, 40, faced a mandatory life sentence for a violent robbery in Everett.

Goddard already had more than 10 felonies on his rap sheet, including assault and robbery, both strike offenses.

Prosecutors in November charged Goddard with first-degree robbery after he clobbered a man with a wooden cribbage board and a wrench, while a lady friend grabbed the man’s guitar. The beating left the victim bloodied and battered.

A robbery conviction would have been the Marysville man’s third strike under the state’s persistent offender law.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson at a sentencing hearing Thursday told Judge Bruce Weiss that he was forced to reduce the charge to second-degree theft after the victim died just before trial.

The man’s death was not related to the robbery, Dickinson said.

Without the victim, the case fell apart, the prosecutor said. The other witnesses, Dickinson said, are a bunch of “unsavory characters,” with drug addictions and long criminal histories.

Goddard denied taking part in the heist.

Weiss told the attorneys that the resolution was “problematic” for him. Goddard is a significant risk to the community and the facts of the case are disturbing, the judge said.

Weiss said he was contemplating a sentence above the standard range. He questioned why Dickinson didn’t push for that option.

“We didn’t feel we had much of a bargaining chip,” Dickinson said. “The case wasn’t particularly strong once we lost the victim.”

It was highly likely that Goddard would have been acquitted after a costly trial, the judge was told.

Weiss sentenced Goddard to two years and five months in prison, the maximum set by the state’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

Before Goddard was led back to jail, Weiss advised him to change his path or it’ll only be a matter of time before he is sentenced to life behind bars.

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

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