News Release

News Release 2002-5
April 9, 2002


Assailant Gets Nine Months in Jail

Oliver C. Christensen, one of two assailants who knocked down a 74-year-old woman and stole her purse in October 2000, has been sentenced to nine months in jail. On April 8, 2002, Judge Alan R. Hancock sentenced Christensen, 19, of Friday Harbor, to a high-end standard sentence and ordered that he pay $1,905.00 in fines and penalties.

A jury found Christensen guilty of robbery in the second degree on December 14, 2001. The delay between the jury verdict and sentencing was caused by the fact that Christensen had discharged his trial attorney, Carla J. Higginson. The Court appointed a new lawyer, Public Defender Joan Pedrick. Since his conviction in December 2001, Christensen has remained in custody at the Island County Jail and will receive credit for the time he has actually served.

Judge Hancock said the nine-months sentence was appropriate given the vulnerability of the victim, the seriousness of the crime, the defendant's past conduct in committing crimes, and the impact the crime has had on the quiet community of Friday Harbor.

Prosecutor Randall K. Gaylord asked Judge Hancock to impose an "exceptional" sentence of fifteen months. Defense Attorney Pedrick asked for a low-end sentence of six months.

"The crime in October 2000 shocked the people of Friday Harbor and a high-end sentence was appropriate," said Gaylord. "This case demonstrated that living on the islands does not isolate us from the crimes that are commonly associated with the use of drugs - in this case, methamphetamine. We are pleased that this case is now resolved."

The co-defendant and second assailant in the case, a juvenile, age 17, plead guilty to the charge of robbery and then testified on behalf of the state. He said that he and the defendant took the purse and kept $40.00 in cash and a camera, which was used to buy a small amount of methamphetamine.

Randall K. Gaylord
San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney
350 Court Street, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 760
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

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