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A second chance
After pleading guilty to first-degree theft for her November 2012 involvement in robbing Kimberly Ciulla, Michelle McNeill received a lenient sentence from Judge Brooke Taylor on March 14.
The Class B felony typically imposes 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine, but Taylor invoked the Washington first-offender waiver to lessen the sentence. He sentenced McNeill to 240 hours of community service, substance abuse evaluation, 12 months of monitoring under the Department of Corrections and payment of $1,300 in court fees.
“I screwed up and now I have to pay for it,” McNeill said outside the courtroom. She plans to start her community service work at the Sequim Food Bank. The felony conviction prohibits her from owning a firearm for the rest of her life, but she will be allowed to appeal the rule 10 years after the sentencing date. Furthermore, McNeill’s voting rights will be restricted until she completes her probationary period.
Deputy Prosecutor Ann Lundwall agreed with the proposed sentencing based on McNeill’s cooperation with law enforcement but did not excuse the crime.
“Holding people up with guns, or even pretend guns, is not acceptable in this community.”
“I’m wondering how you’d get yourself in a situation like this,” Taylor said in his determination. If there wasn’t a drug issue involved, he said, “you’re making some really bad choices on the people you’re hanging around with.”
McNeill was arrested in November for her connection with the convoluted robbery, which used five hours, four people, three attempts, two cars, and one fake gun to steal $84 from Kimberly Ciulla.