EVERETT — The bleeding woman collapsed on the sidewalk and good Samaritans stopped to help her.
Roland Cole kept driving, leaving behind the woman he had stabbed in the back.
An observant motorist noticed the “Got Jesus?” sticker on the back window of the fleeing Chevy Blazer.
Mukilteo police detectives caught up with Cole after scouring video footage from neighboring businesses and cross-referencing men who matched the suspect’s description with those who owned Blazers.
A judge Thursday sentenced Cole to nearly two years in prison for the April 7, 2016, assault.
The defendant propositioned a prostitute, the deal went bad and he stabbed her, Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas said.
“I’m not sure how your therapy is going, but it’s important not to minimize” those facts, the judge told Cole.
The defendant had demanded all of his $80 back when the woman refused to have unprotected sex with him. She wanted to keep some money for her time. The woman became afraid when she noticed Cole reaching in his pocket. Cole pulled the pocketknife as the woman tried to escape the Blazer. The defendant slashed her in the back.
Prosecutors charged the defendant with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon a short time after his arrest. He faced up to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors reduced the charge to second-degree assault with a weapon. Cole pleaded guilty earlier this month.
The charge was reduced in large part because it became difficult to contact the victim, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf said. He was reluctant to have her arrested to secure her presence at trial.
“The plea to the reduced charge appeared to be a reasonable alternative when compared to jailing the victim just so she could testify,” he added.
The defense also had provided prosecutors with Cole’s medical records, which detailed a traumatic brain injury he received during an assault in 1995. His attorney Michael Sheehy told the judge that Cole has issues with impulse control because of his injuries.
“It’s not an excuse for his behavior but it’s a partial explanation,” the Lynnwood defense attorney said.
Cole, 41, showed up in court in a wheelchair borrowed from the county just before Thursday’s hearing. The judge was told that he wasn’t able to walk because of gout. He’s in a lot of pain, his mother told the marshals.
Lucas also was provided a packet of letters in support of Cole, mainly written by fellow church members.
They lauded his volunteer work at the Everett Gospel Mission and his regular attendance at worship services.
“I was very disappointed when I heard the news of his incident with the prostitute. Making no excuse for his actions, I still pray for him and now have ramped up my attempts to be involved in his life,” wrote Curtis Peifer, who identified himself as a retired pastor and business owner, who attends Northlake Christian Church in Bothell.
Dale Menzies, the church’s pastor of discipleship and care, wrote that Cole is “a friendly, faithful and loyal man.”
The defendant offered no apology Thursday. Instead, he told the judge he “would like to put this behind me and move ahead.”
Cole didn’t have any previous criminal history. The judge told the defendant that it was lucky the victim wasn’t more severely injured. She suffered a cut just above her kidney. Lucas sentenced Cole to the maximum term under the law.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.