Three-strike lifers of Snohomish County

  • Thu Jul 26th, 2012 1:14pm
  • News

Reported by Diana Hefley / Herald Writer

It’s been almost 20 years since Washington voters overwhelmingly passed the Persistent Offender Accountability Act — more commonly known as the “three-strikes” law. In Snohomish County, 32 people have been sentenced to life in prison as persistent offenders. One in five have had sentences overturned. A few beat a life sentence once but later were convicted of another strike and sentenced to life.

Below is a complete list.

Under the law, dozens of violent felony crimes are labeled “most serious offenses” and categorized as “strikes.” If a person racks up three strikes, the law mandates a sentence of life in prison without possibility of release.

Strike crimes include murder, assault, extortion, burglary while armed with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Legislators passed a similar law in 1996, specifically targeting sex offenders. Under that law, anyone who is convicted of two sex crimes on separate occasions also faces a life sentence.

Data show that more than half of Snohomish County persistent offenders were sentenced within the first five years of the law’s enactment in 1994. About a dozen people have been prosecuted as strikers since 2000.

The majority of the third-strike cases in Snohomish County involved first- and second-degree robbery and second-degree assault convictions. There have been a handful of men sentenced to life for sex offenses.

Proponents believed the tougher sentencing law would put away the most dangerous criminals, reduce the number of habitual offenders and bring consistency to sentences.

Opponents say the law stole any discretion that judges had to evaluate the circumstances of each case in a way that is just and fair.

Since the strike laws were passed, statewide there have been 414 people sentenced to life as a striker, according to the state Department of Corrections. Sixty-five of those cases, about 16 percent, have been overturned.

There are 320 offenders serving life sentences under the persistent offender laws. The vast majority are third-strikers. There are 49 sex offenders serving life for a second sex-offense conviction.

Washington’s three-strike law was the first in the country and came on the heels of horrific and highly publicized crimes committed by habitual offenders. Its passage in 1993 made national headlines, as did the first offenders sentenced under the new law. Since then about two dozen other states have enacted similar laws.

Snohomish County’s persistent offenders

NameSentencedOffenseType of life sentenceAge at sentencingGenderRaceAppeal outcome
Larry L. Fisher6/20/1994Robbery 2Three strikes36MWhite
Dwight A. Griffin11/17/1994Robbery 1 (attempted)Three strikes42MBlack
James M. Thorne12/16/1994Kidnapping 1Three strikes52MWhiteOverturned
Sabas E. Cruz1/5/1995Rape of a child 1Three strikes41MWhiteOverturned
Martin J. Morley1/27/1995Child molestation 2Three strikes39MWhite
William B. Greene7/14/1995Kidnapping 1Three strikes41MWhite
William C. Mulholland3/1/1996Assault 2 (deadly weapon)Three strikes32MWhiteOverturned
Flint D. Harris6/4/1996Robbery 2Three strikes40MWhiteOverturned
Jacqueline M. Fletcher7/14/1996Robbery 2Three strikes32FWhite
Eugene Smith10/4/1996Robbery 1 (deadly weapon)Three strikes41MBlack
Lawrence D. Fillion10/16/1996Robbery 2Three strikes25MWhite
James E. Swann10/16/1996Robbery 2Three strikes32MWhite
Herbert A. Blumer III10/21/1996Murder 1 (attempted)Three strikes37MWhite
Edwin L. Fitzgerald10/25/1996Rape of a child 1Three strikes37MWhite
David L. Ball10/28/1996Assault 2Three strikes40MNative Am.
Kurt J. Angelone1/17/1997Murder 1 (attempted)Three strikes43MWhite
Robert J. King III3/26/1997Kidnapping 1 (firearm)Three strikes44MBlack
Richard R. Astrides7/7/1997Robbery 2Three strikes44MWhite
Hubba D. Teal5/15/1998Robbery 1 (firearm)Three strikes22MBlackOverturned
Brian R. Beals2/18/1999Robbery 1 (attempted, deadly weapon)Three strikes43MWhite
Hubba D. Teal8/20/1999Robbery 1Three strikes23MBlackOverturned
Cherease L. Cross3/27/2000Robbery 2Three strikes38FBlack
Anthony D. Snow12/15/2000Rape 2Three strikes33MBlack
Gaylon L. Thiefault8/10/2001Rape 2 (attempted)Sex offenses40MWhiteResentenced
Jamie L. Wallin7/31/2003Rape of a child 1Sex offenses29MWhiteOverturned
Robert L. Vance9/2/2003Child molestation 1Sex offenses51MWhite
Gaylon L. Thiefault10/1/2003Rape 2 (attempted, same case as 8/10/2001 sentencing)Three strikes41MWhite
Tronie J. Young12/1/2003Murder 2Three strikes28MBlack
Matthew J. Fica2/3/2005Rape of a child 2Sex offenses46MWhite
Nelson A. Anselment10/12/2005Robbery 1Three strikes67MWhite
Michael J. Hoover11/14/2006Robbery 1Three strikes34MWhite
Anthony P. Viscussi4/5/2007Assault 2Three strikes27MWhite
Jamie L. Wallin6/27/2007Child molestation 1Sex offenses33MWhite
Jamie L. Wallin3/12/2008Rape of a child 1Sex offenses33MWhite
James M. Thorne4/7/2009Robbery 1Three strikes66MWhite
Jerry A. Perkins3/23/2011Assault 2Three strikes40MWhite
Donald A. Elliott6/9/2011Robbery 2Three strikes45MWhite