Last Tuesday, Richard Hawley entered a plea to Attempted First Degree Murder and was sentenced before Superior Court Judge Jessica Reeves. The charge arose out of an incident that occurred on September 27 of 2017 when Stevens County Deputy Mike Swim saw Hawley driving and attempted to arrest him on a warrant.
Hawley refused to stop and lead Swim on a brief chase through the streets of Colville not far from the courthouse. At one point, Hawley abandoned his car and ran down an alley. Swim was in a Sheriff’s pick up and went down the alley after him. Hawley ducked behind a garage and when Swim came into view, opened fire on him. As Swim tried to avoid the gunfire, Hawley ran off down the alley and disappeared. Fortunately, Swim was not injured in the gun battle.
A few hours after the incident, while deputies from Stevens County and other agencies were searching for Hawley, he appeared on the scene and was taken into custody without incident. He gave a statement to a Spokane County Deputy who questioned him and admitted to shooting at Swim to stop him and to get away.
Hawley was charged with a variety of charges and attorney Mike Golden was appointed to represent him in the cases. There were several issues that were worked through as the case progressed. (One was the claim that Hawley suffered from some diminished mental capacity as a result of his drug use.) An expert was appointed who concluded Hawley’s mind was affected by his voluntary intoxication from drugs, but his entire opinion was only based on what Hawley told him.
Just before the trial, Hawley pleaded guilty to several related drug charges. (This is commonly done by defendants so that jurors in the more serious case will not hear about the other charges.) Finally, after lengthy negotiations, Hawley agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of Attempted First-Degree Murder and agree with the state that a sentence of 400 months be imposed. The recommendation was designed such that he would have to serve 30 years with credit for the time he has been in custody up to now. (This is standard practice.)
By entering a plea, Hawley gave up nearly all possibility that he could appeal the sentence. About the only way for him to get a new trial is if the law changes in such a way that would allow him to file a Personal Restraint Petition.
Judge Reeves listened to the evidence at the sentencing hearing and then followed the recommendation and sentenced Mr. Hawley to the agreed 400 months. Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Lech Radzimski handled this case for the state.