Man must wait a week to hear his fate

A man accused of participating in a home-invasion robbery over a NASCAR racing jacket will have to wait a week to find out if he will serve up to 20 years in prison or get a new trial and a chance to prove his innocence.

Eric F. Christensen, 38, of Everett went before a Snohomish County Superior Court judge on Thursday with a new lawyer, hoping to convince the judge that he didn’t get a fair shake when he was convicted of several burglary and robbery charges in the July 27, 2004, terrorizing of a Marysville family.

Christiansen stands to serve more than 20 years in prison if the convictions stand, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said.

Lawyer Edward Gibson of Seattle argued that Christensen was not a willing participant in the robbery and was not well represented by another lawyer in a trial decided by Judge Anita Farris. Three other men have been charged with robbery and kidnapping counts in the same incident.

On Thursday, Farris was asked to reconsider her decision, partly because the previous attorney should have followed a different strategy during a pretrial hearing, Gibson said.

“In this case, substantial justice was not done,” Gibson said.

He also said Farris’ findings in convicting Christensen of burglary and robbery were not supported by the evidence in a December trial.

Farris said she will review some more material and decide Christensen’s fate next Friday.

Prosecutors said Christensen was one of four men recruited by a woman to rob the Marysville home in search of a NASCAR racing jacket she wanted. The jacket belonged to her ex-husband.

Christensen remained in a car outside while three others went into the home, held two adults and two children at gunpoint, pistol-whipped a boy who came to the aid of his mother and kidnapped the man of the house.

The plot was foiled when two of the kidnappers drove a white van stolen from the family toward Granite Falls and a Washington State Patrol trooper attempted to stop it for having a headlight out. The homeowner was found bound in the van.

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