Latrell Washington hearing

Latrell Washington appears at the Rabinowitz Courthouse March 13 for the first day of his sentencing hearing. Dorothy Chomicz/News-Miner

A 21-year-old Fairbanks man charged with multiple felonies in a November 2017 home invasion case was sentenced Wednesday to serve nine years in prison and pay a $3,000 fine.

Latrell Washington, 21, was charged with felony first-degree burglary, felony first-degree robbery, two counts of felony third-degree assault, felony tampering with physical evidence, misdemeanor fifth-degree weapons misconduct and misdemeanor violating conditions of release for the incident.

According to a criminal complaint, Washington and several accomplices knocked on the door of a Wilson Street apartment, held a husband and wife at gunpoint and demanded money and marijuana. The woman retreated to a bedroom and pleaded for the lives of the couple’s small children. Washington and the others ignored her, forced their way into the children’s bedrooms, and left in a blue Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck once they realized there were actually children in the room, according to the complaint.

Fairbanks police noticed the truck idling at the 1300 block of 29th Avenue with a person inside who appeared to be texting. A records check showed the pickup truck’s license plates belonged to a different vehicle and the officer drove around the block to get another look. The driver fled and ran two stop signs before colliding with a front-end loader on South Cushman Street.

The collision disabled the truck, and the driver, later identified as Montes De Oca, and the passenger, later identified as Washington, fled on foot. Two others jumped out of the bed of the truck during the chase, according to the complaint.

Montes De Oca was found in a parking lot and Washington was found walking on Rickert Street a short time later, covered in snow and not properly dressed for the weather. A bag and a facemask were found inside the truck.

Washington told police that he and his accomplices had forced their way into the apartment to rob the occupants. Police found a Colt 1911 pistol in the snow near Club Manchu and a ballistic vest and other items of clothing near an open garage on 28th Avenue. Washington told police the gun was his and the vest belonged to his father, who was currently deployed with the military.

A records check showed Washington was on conditions of release for a Sept. 1, 2017, felony first-degree theft case in which he and two others allegedly stole several guns from Alaska Guns and Ammo.

Washington pleaded guilty last September to one count of second-degree burglary for the September 2017 gun store robbery. He was sentenced in that case to 18 months with all time suspended, the most significant sentence he could receive under existing statute at that time.

Washington was scheduled to go to trial on the home invasion case Feb. 11, 2019, but changed his plea the day a jury was to be selected for trial. He pleaded guilty to the felony robbery, burglary, evidence tampering and failure to stop charges, as well as the

misdemeanor violating conditions of release charge. The weapons misconduct charge was dismissed.

Washington was sentenced at the end of a two-part hearing that began March 13 and conclude Wednesday morning. Superior Court Judge Thomas Temple heard testimony from a psychologist who examined Washington and a victim statement from the man whose home he invaded.

The victim asked Temple to sentence Washington to the “highest penalty” for what he put his family through.

“You barged through our front door, pushed me to ground, held a gun to my head and pointed a gun at my wife,” the man said. “We thought our two kids were not affected because they were asleep but we were wrong,” the man said, noting his children have bad dreams and are often frightened.

Anchorage psychologist Dr. Bruce Smith, acting as an expert witness for the defense, said that Washington was addicted to marijuana, obsessed with gang culture and had a strong need for peer approval at the time of the home invasion. In addition, Smith said, Washington was pressured into committing the home invasion and did not give it any forethought.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Baldock questioned Smith’s conclusions about Washington’s actions.

“You’re aware they did it with four people, which means he would have had to get into the vehicle, get his gun and put on his bullet proof vest and mask before going into apartment?” Baldock said. “Then he would have had to go to the apartment with others and go to door? Doesn’t that sound premeditated?”

Baldock asked Temple to impose a composite sentence of 15 years with five years suspended, leaving a total of 10 years of active incarceration. Defense attorney Michael Rhodes said his client, who was 18 years old at the time of the home invasion, was a youthful offender whose conduct was substantially influenced by a more mature person. Rhodes asked for a composite sentence of three years and 125 days of active incarceration, with an additional 92 months of suspended time.

Temple rejected Rhode’s argument and sentenced Washington to a composite sentence of 16 years in prison with seven suspended, leaving nine years of active incarceration. Temple also fined Washington $10,000 with $7,000 suspended. Washington must serve five years of probation after his release.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.