Former House candidate sentenced to work crew

20 year old pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in crime ring

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: November 1, 2012, 6:35 PM

 

A 20-year-old former candidate for the state Legislature was sentenced Thursday to 45 days on work release for his role in an organized crime ring.

Clark County Superior Court Barbara Johnson credited Anthony Bittner for time already served in jail. He will need to spend 41, eight-hour days on work release in the next 60 days or go to jail to finish his sentence. He was also ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution.

Bittner pleaded guilty to attempted residential burglary and second-degree possession of stolen property in July 2011. He was initially charged with six crimes, including possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) and trafficking stolen property. Those charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain that required him to cooperate with prosecutors’ case against Jorgan Cattin, the leader of the crime ring. He avoided jail time because of that agreement, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey said.

Harvey said he sought the harshest penalty for Cattin because he was the ringleader and planned all the property crimes. Harvey plans to seek a four-year prison sentence for Cattin later this month. Cattin pleaded guilty last month to seven charges related to the crime ring.

“The key was to get Jorgan Cattin,” he said. “That’s what we cared about.”

Steven Meyers, Bittner’s attorney, said his client over the past two years “walked the walk of rehabilitation,” by entering a drug treatment program for a year, working with nonprofit organizations and going to Clark College full time.

Bittner apologized to victims, the judge and his family.

“I can assure the court that you’ll never see me again,” he said.

Johnson gave Bittner credit for going to school and seeking treatment for drug addiction — adding that she hopes he doesn’t come back.

“It seems to be out of character, and I sincerely hope that is the case,” she said.

Bittner, Cattin and several others conspired to burglarize a home in Battle Ground on Sept. 14, 2010. According to court documents, a victim reported seeing several males wearing masks in her home. The intruders fled when they were confronted. Deputies traced the license plate number of the getaway car to the mother of Bittner’s roommate, Natham Combs.

Deputies served a search warrant at Bittner’s apartment in the 13700 block of Northwest Second Avenue and found six counterfeit $100 bills, drug paraphernalia and stolen items, court documents said. In 2011, Bittner also confessed to “knowingly” possessing a stolen trailer from a Ridgefield Boy Scout troop.

Combs, Joel Barker, Samuel Poitras, Jeff Garlington and Andrew Preinesberger, the other defendants involved in the crime ring, were also sentenced Thursday. They also all received work crew sentences.

Bittner ran as a Republican in the August 2010 primary election for now-Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler’s open 18th District House seat. He finished last in a seven-way primary race, attracting 575 votes.

Laura McVicker contributed to this report.