Shooter gets 15 years in drug-related robbery

Man pleaded guilty; he will probably be deported after serving sentence

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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The shooter involved in a robbery over drug money at a Vancouver apartment complex was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.

Armando Castillo Munoz was the last of three defendants to resolve his case in connection to a shooting at the Red Haven Apartments, 1304 N.E. 88th St., on the night of Jan. 21.

The confrontation started with Castillo Munoz and two other men confronting the 34-year-old victim about a drug debt. It escalated when Castillo Munoz pistol-whipped the man and then shot him in the hand, prosecutors said. After the assailants fled, the victim was rushed to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center for treatment of lacerations to his head and a wounded finger.

Castillo Munoz, 29, pleaded guilty June 17 to first-degree assault with a firearm and possession of heroin with intent to deliver.

Even with time off for good behavior, Castillo Munoz will serve a 14-year sentence. The five-year sentencing enhancement for using a firearm doesn’t allow time off for good behavior and the assault charge allows only up to 10 percent off for good time, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey.

Also, Castillo Munoz is an illegal alien who has already been deported to Mexico once, attorneys said. He’s expected to be deported again upon his release.

 “I think it is an appropriate resolution to the case,” defense attorney Tony Lowe told the judge.

Still, prior to sentencing, Castillo Munoz appeared to have a change of heart.

Through a Spanish interpreter, he said: “I want to apologize for what I said Friday” at the guilty plea hearing. “I want to go to trial.”

Clark County Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson explained to him that he had already pleaded guilty, giving up his right to trial. She then imposed the sentence.

Castillo Munoz’s co-defendants, Andrew Wright and Nathan Gadberry, saw varying outcomes when their cases went to trial. Gadberry was acquitted May 12 of being an accomplice in the robbery and assault. Wright, with a different jury, was convicted June 9 of the same charges.

While attorneys for Wright and Gadberry presented similar defenses of them as men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, prosecutors at Wright’s trial were able to introduce taped jail conversations in which Wright implicated himself.

With an extensive criminal history that boosted his sentencing range, Wright received 23 years in prison for first-degree robbery and first-degree assault.

Johnson explained the discrepancy in the two sentences by pointing out that Castillo Munoz had a far less substantial criminal history. He has a previous drug conviction, but no violent criminal offenses, she said.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516, laura.mcvicker@columbian.com or twitter.com/col_courts.