Remorseful assailant pleads guilty in Greenbank assault
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
February 1, 2010 · Updated 10:30 AM
Kevin Porter came home extremely drunk to a travel trailer parked in a Greenbank woods and started beating his sleeping girlfriend last Saturday night.
The 38-year-old man didn’t stop until the woman’s body was covered with bruises, her vertebra was cracked and she suffered life-threatening hemorrhaging in the space between her brain and the tissue that surrounds it.
Porter, who only remembers bits and pieces of the assault, felt so remorseful about what he did that he insisted on pleading guilty to an assault charge as soon as possible and refused to have an attorney represent him.
It was an unusual turn of events when Porter pleaded guilty Thursday to assault in the second degree, domestic violence, with aggravating circumstances. People charged with a felony rarely plead guilty so quickly or without an attorney. Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said he will recommend a three-year sentence at the Feb. 8 sentencing hearing.
“In a case like this, I would prefer to have a defense attorney to deal with, but Mr. Porter was insistent,” Banks said in a press release. After spending an hour with him, Banks concluded Porter was genuinely remorseful and understood what he was doing.
The assault made regional news because Island County Deputy Robert Mirabal was credited with possibly saving the victim’s life in his last week of work. Mirabal is being laid off due to budget cuts in the county.
At about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 24, Mirabal was patrolling on Highway 525 in Greenbank and saw the 51-year-old woman walking on the side of the road. He stopped to speak with her and noticed injuries to her face. He persuaded her to get into the car and go to the hospital.
At Whidbey General Hospital, doctors soon discovered the extent of the woman’s injuries and decided to airlift her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. She was listed in satisfactory condition Monday and released from the hospital Wednesday. She is staying at an undisclosed, safe location.
In an interview earlier this week, Detective Sgt. Mike Beech described the woman’s injuries, which also included bite marks, as “horrific.” He said both Porter and the woman were basically homeless and living in the travel trailer.
In an interview Friday, Banks said be believes Porter has deep regrets for what he did. Porter confessed to a detective and sobbed during the court hearing Thursday. Porter’s memory was spotty about the assault — likely because of the alcohol — but he knew what he did, Banks indicated.
Porter said he assaulted the woman because they had a “running argument over who would do certain things and pay for certain things,” Banks said.
The prosecutor, the detective and Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock all took pains to advise Porter of his rights and urged him to speak with an attorney, but he refused.
Porter was originally charged with first-degree assault. Banks said he allowed Porter to plead to the reduced charge because of his remorse, his desire to accept full responsibility and his lack of a criminal history, which only includes a recent DUI conviction. But in his plea, Porter agreed to an “aggravating circumstance” of cruelty and to an exceptional sentence beyond the standard range.
Banks said he didn’t get to discuss the plea deal with the victim because he felt he needed to move quickly on Porter’s demand to plead guilty. The sentencing hearing was set over to Feb. 8 to give the woman a chance to speak, if she desires.
While Banks will recommend a three-year sentence, the judge can impose up to 10 years.
Porter is a former Oak Harbor resident and a graduate of Oak Harbor High School, according to the prosecutor’s office.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.