By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Monroe man who survived being shot by a Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant in March is off to prison.
Gerald Aney, 49, told a judge Wednesday that he doesn’t remember what happened the night he was shot, but figured a jury likely would convict him of assaulting sheriff’s Sgt. Leslie VanderWel if he went to trial.
Aney pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne sentenced Aney to 13 months in prison — a month shy of the maximum term allowed under the law. Wynne also advised Aney that the assault conviction was his second strike. Aney has a 1991 conviction for child molestation. If he is convicted of another serious offense, he faces life behind bars.
Wynne on Wednesday also ordered that Aney undergo a mental health evaluation. Aney will be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections once he’s released from prison.
Prosecutors alleged that Aney assaulted VanderWel on March 26 as she was investigating reports of a domestic disturbance at the Monroe home where Aney lived with his mother.
The woman called 911, reporting that her adult son had “gone crazy,” court papers said. Aney broke a lamp and threw a bowl of food against a wall before his run-in with police.
Three deputies drove to the woman’s home. As they were walking to the door, the woman came outside. Clearly upset, she told the deputies that Aney wasn’t inside.
Aney reportedly emerged from a darkened carport and pulled a large knife from the waistband of his pants. The blade measured about 8 ½ inches long. The deputies saw Aney hold the knife out and walk toward VanderWel.
The sergeant was “instantly alarmed and feared for her life,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson wrote in court papers.
She drew her gun and yelled at Aney to drop the weapon. She took a few steps backward but Aney continued toward the sergeant with the knife in his hand. When he was within a few feet, VanderWel fired two shots.
Aney was struck in the stomach area. He slumped to the ground and dropped the knife.
He spent about a week in the hospital before he was booked into the Snohomish County Jail.
Her client continues to have medical problems linked to the gunshot wounds, defense attorney Natalie Tarantino said.
She also told the judge that the events of that night unfolded so quickly that it’s not clear what Aney’s intentions were during his interaction with police.
Wynne said he doesn’t know why Aney was compelled to brandish a knife but the evidence shows that he put the deputy at risk.
Sheriff John Lovick attended Wednesday’s hearing.
VanderWel, a 25-year veteran with the department, was put on paid administrative leave while the Snohomish Multi-Agency Response team investigated the incident. She has since returned to work.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.