An Olympia man who lured a Longview couple through an auto sales ad, then robbed the woman and stabbed her husband just before Christmas, was sentenced to 18 years prison Wednesday.
Anthony Gerardo Woods, 20, was sentenced immediately after pleading guilty to first-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree robbery and was sentenced by Cowlitz Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning.
Woods was arrested in December three days after Adam Ward and his wife responded to an advertisement for a vehicle Woods was selling on OfferUp.com. According to court records and police documents, the Wards met Woods in the parking lot of the Seventh Avenue Walmart on Dec. 15. After Ward went for a test drive in the vehicle, Woods reportedly became anxious and started asking, “Who has the money?”
Ward then said he felt like he had been “punched” and realized only after he saw a knife in Woods’s hand that he had been stabbed: once in the neck, once in the back, and once in the armpit. Woods then threatened Brenda Ward with the same knife and took $400 cash and a cell phone from her before speeding away, according to court records.
According to a probable cause statement, Woods immediately drove to meet his friend, Drake Chisholm in Tumwater, Wash., and told him about the incident.
During a police investigation, Longview Police Detective Brian Durbin realized that the posting for the vehicle Woods had advertised online was still visible. He contacted the phone number that accompanied the ad from Woods, posing as a potential buyer, and suggested that they meet.
The following day, Dec. 18, Woods and Chisholm met Durbin at Lowe’s while Longview police detectives conducted surveillance. Woods and Chisholm were both arrested and taken to the Longview Police Department. Chisholm later told officers Woods’s plan was to ‘stab the buyer in the neck, take him down to the ground, and cover his mouth until he stopped breathing.’ “
Both Woods’s attorney, Katherine Gulmert, and state prosecutor Thomas Ladouceur asked for a sentence of 221.25 months in prison, or a little over 18 years, and three years’ probation.
Both sides took Woods’s youth and lack of a serious criminal history into account in their sentencing recommendation. Woods’ previous convictions include gross misdemeanors for reckless driving and reckless endangerment as well as third-degree driving with a suspended license.
“My client is very young. ... He recently suffered two injuries to the head over the last year, and his family explained to me that he has shown some personality changes that weren’t evident before,” Gulmert told Judge Warning Wednesday.
Gulmert also told Warning that Woods was employed “responsibly in a position of trust” before he was laid off. Shortly after, she said, Woods’s biological father died.
“And then he came back into contact with the co-defendant, who is not of a similar unblemished history,” Gulmert said. “And together they came up with this idea, which was completely out of his character from his past experience. And it’s my understanding that he was very much encouraged and coached on what to do on these occasions.”
Adam Ward and his wife, Brendan, were present in court Wednesday for the sentencing. Given the opportunity to make a statement, Adam Ward shrugged and said, “I mean the guy stabbed me three times, I almost died,” Ward said.
Finally, Woods read a prepared statement as he stood handcuffed in the courtroom.
“I want you to know that I’m sorry, I can’t say how sorry I am,” Woods said. “I hope that you are doing alright and are recovering well. ... I regret this and I wish I never did it. I am hoping the best for you and your family and I’m sorry about what happened.”
Following the sentencing, Ward said he’s recovering, but his doctor told him that he’ll never be able to raise his left arm above his head again.
“Doctor said it’s going to be for the rest of my life, so can’t do nothing about it,” Ward said. “I’m never going to be fully recovered after this.”
The Wards have tried to get their lives back to normal, he said, and have gone back to working at their thrift store on 15th Avenue in Longview, “Brenda’s Gifts and More.”
Ward chuckled lightly: “At least we’ve got each other.”