EVERETT — An Everett teen was sentenced Monday to three years behind bars for robbing and threatening to kill a pharmacist.
Mohamed Dukuly, 17, was charged as an adult because of the serious nature of the crime. He denied any involvement in the March 1, 2016, holdup at a Walgreens in south Everett, but a Snohomish County Superior Court jury found sufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree robbery.
Dukuly and another person — somebody who has never been identified — were accused of hopping the counter at the pharmacy and demanding at gunpoint that the pharmacist give them cough syrup containing codeine.
The robbers also wanted the powerful painkiller OxyContin, but were thwarted by a time-lock safe. Jurors heard that Dukuly at one point threatened to kill the pharmacist if he didn’t comply.
On Monday, the teen told Superior Court Judge Michael Downes that he never uttered those words. The young man’s attorney, public defender Donald Wackerman, said his client continued to insist on his innocence.
“He has been adamant that he did not do this,” the attorney said.
Downes said he’d heard the evidence at trial and he was convinced of guilt. Among other things, Dukuly was arrested after a pharmacy customer said she saw him running out of the store after the holdup. She said she recognized him from the high school where she worked.
Dukuly faced up to 3.5 years in prison under state sentencing guidelines. Deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter suggested three years. It’s true that Dukuly was young, just a few months past his 16th birthday, when the robbery occurred, but that was one of the few factors that could support leniency, the prosecutor said.
Downes noted that Dukuly has had repeated brushes with the law since October 2014, and that juvenile court officials had been trying to help the teen change his ways. Prior to the robbery and his graduation into adult court, Dukuly had racked up convictions for felony and misdemeanor assaults, bringing a handgun to school and multiple thefts, court papers show.
Wackerman urged Downes to give his client another chance. He cited differences in teen brains, particularly the ability to control impulsive behavior and weigh consequences. He also cited Dukuly’s life.
Dukuly was born in Liberia and emigrated to the U.S. at age 8 after essentially being abandoned by his birth father, Wackerman said. While qualified for citizenship through his mother’s naturalized status, the teen’s immigration status is now uncertain because appropriate paperwork was not filed earlier, the judge was told.
Downes said he would support Dukuly serving his sentence in a lockup for juveniles instead of being sent to an adult prison.
He made clear, though, that he held the young man responsible for his crime troubles.
“I suggest to you, with every fiber of my being, that you straighten up,” the judge said.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; email@example.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.