By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The case involving four men charged after a woman was shot in the shoulder outside an apartment complex on Ash Street in Centralia is coming to a close.
All have pleaded guilty in what police called a gang-related dispute that came to a head at the end of December, and possibly had its roots in a drive-by shooting almost two years ago in Chehalis.
Ulises Carrillo-Cruz, 20, was sentenced to 13 months in prison today, after admitting he fired the shot that that struck 28-year-old Genevieve Purser.
Carrillo-Cruz pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, a charge that didn’t exactly match the situation but was close enough when lawyers came up with a plea agreement, according to defense attorney J. P. Enbody.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said both attorneys agreed the two groups involved had a dispute that included past violence.
Hayes said both sides faced some risks if going to trial as to whether self defense may have come into play, as he described to a judge today the reason for the deal.
Carrillo-Cruz was originally charged with first-degree assault as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.
He, his older brother Rolando Carrillo-Cruz, 25, and two 18-year-olds, all Centralia residents, were arrested on Dec. 27 after a mid-day confrontation at the Edison Terrace Apartments.
The two brothers were at their mother’s house in Chehalis in August 2010 when someone drove by and fired a round that struck a parked vehicle, according to Enbody.
“After that, and we’re still trying to figure out why, the bad blood continued,” Enbody told the judge.
Enbody said they think it had to do with the brothers having contact with the estranged wife of one of the men alleged to have been responsible for the drive-by shooting.
Just weeks before December’s incident, Enbody said, some of those involved who he said were part of the so-called LVL gang went to his client’s apartment on Ash Street with baseball bats breaking windows.
“And the last thing they said, is we’ll be back,” Enbody said.
Enbody told Judge James Lawler he was giving background for the judge to consider when he handed down the sentence.
His client had a broken leg in a cast when he sees the same group, including one individual flashing a gun arrive in vehicles and start coming their way, yelling and flashing gang signs, he said.
The brothers had bought a gun to protect themselves, he said.
Enbody said his client fired a warning shot, that hit the ground less than halfway toward those arriving.
He hired a firearms expert who met with Centralia police detective Pat Beall at the site to try and figure how the second shot occurred, he said.
“Beall mentions a limp wrist or something, and the recoil,” he said. “The second shot goes off.”
Enbody said his client took two polygraph tests that supported his version of what occurred.
In the defendant’s written statement, he admitted to recklessly inflicting substantial bodily harm upon the victim. There was no statement from the victim mentioned aloud during today’s proceedings in Lewis County Superior Court.
Ulises Carrillo-Cruz’ answered simply “Yes sir” to each of the judge’s questions.
The standard sentencing range for his conviction was 12 to 14 months, according to the judge.
Lawler called the attorneys’ recommendation of 13 months in prison a fair resolution, which he would abide by.
Rolando Carrillo-Cruz has already been sentenced to six months in prison. He pleaded guilty in early February to rendering criminal assistance, in order to take advantage of a plea offer, according to his court file.
Both Carrillo-Cruz’s are facing possible deportation. Enbody said he didn’t know the details, only that his client said he’d lived in Lewis County since he was six months old.
Francisco J. Robles, 18, admitted in late January to hiding the gun when he pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30
Javier E. Martinez, 18, admitted in mid-January to rendering criminal assistance; he stated he flushed some shell casings down a toilet. His sentencing is set for June 7.
For background, read “Centralia men charged after apartment complex shooting” from Thursday December 29, 2011, here