KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan judge rejected an initial plea agreement, then sentenced a man to nearly four years in prison for stabbing an 86-year-old World War II veteran during a theft.
James Eddy, 26, was sentenced Friday to three years, nine months in prison by Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens.
District Attorney Stephen West and public defender Sam McQuerry told Stephens that Eddy had agreed to plead guilty to assault and theft in return for dismissal of a robbery charge, with the condition that the judge impose a prison sentence of no more than two years.
West acknowledged that the July assault on Edwin Shelton was particularly serious. Shelton was walking near a store, carrying groceries, when he was attacked from behind. Shelton suffered a broken arm, a cut on his head and a stab wound to his shoulder.
West said that a robbery conviction would carry a prison term of seven to 11 years. He asked for a seven-year sentence with all but two years suspended.
McQuerry said Eddy had a history of deteriorating mental health and was determined to do anything the judge recommended to improve himself.
Stephens said he could not agree to a two-year cap on the sentence. He suggested both lawyers discuss another plea agreement or go to trial.
Both sides agreed to a new deal Friday afternoon - a cap of four years to serve.
Stephens imposed a sentence of six years, with all but three years and six months suspended for the felony assault, plus two years, with all but three months suspended, for the theft charge.
With good time and credit for time already served, Eddy could be released in about two years.