Man who attacked Oak Harbor Walmart guard jailed
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
June 19, 2012 · 2:43 PM
A 22-year-old transient man whose attack on a Walmart security guard was thwarted by a retired deputy has been sentenced to jail.
Addison Vernon pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court June 11 to assault in the second degree.
Vernon pleaded to the charge in exchange for a middle-of-the-road sentencing recommendation of six months in jail. Deputy Prosecutor David Carman said the sentence balances the fact that Vernon has no criminal history with the seriousness of the crime.
Vernon’s attorney, Peter Simpson of Coupeville, requested that his client be able to spend 30 days of the sentence in an in-patient drug treatment program. He said Vernon had left his home in New Jersey to get out of a “bad place,” but then got involved with the wrong people in Washington.
“First and foremost, he wants to make sure he deals with his drug problem,” Simpson said.
Carman, however, pointed out logistical problems with the in-patient proposal.
Vernon spoke briefly at the hearing.
“I want to apologize to the people at Walmart and the people here for having to see me at one of my lowest points,” he said.
In the end, Judge Alan Hancock sentenced him to six months in jail.
The assault occurred at Walmart in Oak Harbor on April 12. Vernon attempted to shoplift clothing and a bottle of wine, but was stopped by a security guard.
The two men struggled in the foyer. The wine bottle fell to the ground and broke. Vernon grabbed the broken bottle and tried to stab the guard in the face. When that didn’t work, Vernon pulled out a knife and threatened the man.
Retired Island County Deputy Sheriff Wayne Lewis, who had witnessed the incident, entered the foyer. After realizing that Vernon had a knife, Lewis pulled his handgun and Vernon ran off.
Vernon returned a short time later and demanded his backpack, but left again after Lewis described himself as a retired deputy.
Police officers arrested Vernon and found a knife with a 4-inch blade on him.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.