1 of 5 teens pleads guilty in south Everett drug killing

The 17-year-old faces decades in prison for shooting a woman who was protecting her son during a robbery.

Bryan Rodriguez-Hernandez (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Bryan Rodriguez-Hernandez (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

EVERETT — A 17-year-old boy admitted Friday to shooting and killing a woman who was protecting her son during a drug robbery.

Bryan Rodriguez-Hernandez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Julie Knechtel, 54. She and her son, 17, both were shot outside their home just south of Everett during the December melee.

Three other teenage co-defendants are charged with murder in adult court. They all are scheduled for trial in October. Another boy, who was 15 when he was arrested, is awaiting a judge’s decision on whether he should be tried in the juvenile or adult system.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Rodriguez-Hernandez, of south Everett, faces up to 35 years in prison.

As part of Friday’s plea in Snohomish County Superior Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to seek a sentence of 25 years. That includes five years for the use of a deadly weapon.

The resolution followed “extensive discussions,” and it was supported by Knechtel’s family, deputy prosecutor Edirin Okoloko told the judge.

“We have spent a great deal of time coming to the agreement,” defense attorney Pete Mazzone said.

There are “very good reasons” for the recommended sentence, he said.

Both attorneys referred to additional details being described in the plea paperwork, which was not immediately available Friday.

One of the other defendants, Larry Dontese Dorrough, now 17, is accused of shooting Knechtel’s son in the back. The son survived the wound.

Police were told that the boy’s mother came to his defense wielding a chair after the teens descended on the shed where he was staying. Some in the group had robbed him before for his stash, he said.

The others charged in adult court are Gladyz Valencia-Anguiano, now 17, and Mondrell Maurice Robertson, now 18. The Daily Herald generally does not identify defendants in juvenile court.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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