ONTARIO — An Ontario man pleaded guilty Thursday morning to robbery in the second degree for robbing Washington Federal bank in Ontario on Feb. 21. He entered his plea before Judge Erin Landis at Malheur County Circuit Court.
The crime is a class B felony that carries a Measure 11 sentence in Oregon. However, if during sentencing, the judge accepts a plea agreement for 63-year-old David Michael Johnson, he may not serve the full 70 months that crime usually carries.
Oregon voters approved Measure 11 in 1994 to apply mandatory minimum prison sentences to certain crimes against persons, with no possibility for any reduction in sentence, such as for good behavior, according to information found on the state’s Website.
Despite this, the plea petition, according to a Malheur County Circuit Court documents, stipulates a lesser sentence of 51 to 55 months in prison, that Johnson would serve consecutive jail time imposed on another criminal case, a misdemeanor; three years post-prison supervision and restitution for bank funds not recovered.
The reason Johnson could serve less time, according to Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe, is because of certain exception to Measure 11.
There is an exception statute for all second-degree crimes, including robbery in the second degree, he explained.
Johnson meets three of the allotted exceptions specific to robbery in the second degree, Goldthorpe said. Those exceptions are that “the victim did not suffer any significant physical injury; the defendant presented that he was armed even though he was not; and he does not have a conviction of previous Measure 11 crimes,” according to the district attorney.
Johnson, when robbing the bank, threatened an employee while demanding money, then fled on foot.
Johnson was arrested the following day, when an alert citizen tipped off police, who pulled him over and arrested him during that traffic stop.
Johnson was indicted by a grand jury March 1 and has remained lodged in the Malheur County jail since his arrest.
His sentencing is set for April 17, and will likely be in front of Landis again, Goldthorpe said, as he is the one who accepted the plea.