Puyallup man walks out of courthouse after sentencing, remains missing

Jul 3, 2024, 7:13 AM

walks out courthouse...

Exterior of Pierce County Justice Center. (Photo courtesy of Pierce County)

(Photo courtesy of Pierce County)

A man sentenced to four years in prison by a Pierce County judge simply walked out of the courthouse more than a month ago, and remains missing.

Police are still looking for the 36-year-old man from Puyallup — who’s not been publicly identified — after he exited the Justice Center on May 31 through a second-floor screening station, according to The News Tribune. From there, he simply crossed South 11th Street, allegedly got into a black sedan and drove away.

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The suspect was attempting to receive an alternative sentence with reduced prison time for three felony cases he previously pled guilty to. His felony charges include possession of stolen cars and unlawfully possessing a rifle. Despite the attempt, Superior Court Judge Karena Kirkendoll decided to give him a sentence of more than four years.

New charges against the suspect, including counts of contempt of court and first-degree escape, were officially filed June 21.

Two sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Kirkendoll’s courtroom about four minutes after the defendant left the courtroom, according to the probable cause document obtained by The News Tribune. There is some confusion on how it was so simple for him to escape the premises, but a spokesperson for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office relayed to the Tribune that security isn’t always present for hearings where the defendant is out of custody.

The suspect was arrested for being caught driving a stolen Chevrolet in Cle Elum in October 2022, and then was caught again driving another stolen car — a Kia — six months later. He was arrested once more a year later after police found him sitting in a stolen pickup truck.

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In June 2023, he was arrested for carrying a rifle under a towel while walking walking on Pacific Highway.

Records obtained by The News Tribune showed his criminal history includes six prior nonviolent felony convictions and more than two dozen prior misdemeanor convictions.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Contributing: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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