Battle Ground man's head plate may have deflected bullet

Girlfriend pleads guilty in 2011 shooting

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: September 26, 2012, 6:23 PM

 

It could have been much worse.

Rick Stanfill was shot in the face by his girlfriend, Michele R. Gramckow, during a drunken argument at their Battle Ground home in 2011.

But for a metal plate in his head because of an earlier motorcycle accident, the shot might have killed him. The plate might have deflected the bullet, said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino.

“He got lucky,” Gasperino said.

So did Gramckow, who would have faced between 12½ and 15 years in prison had she gone to trial on a first-degree assault charge. Prosecutors offered her a deal to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

The 42-year-old Battle Ground woman agreed to plead guilty to second-degree assault with a firearm enhancement. She was sentenced Wednesday by Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard to 3½ years in prison.

The prosecution considered that Gramckow had a potential defense at trial: She claimed Stanfill started hitting her in the face and side as she was lying in bed on the night of Sept. 20, 2011. That’s when Gramckow told investigators that she grabbed a .22-caliber revolver from a nightstand drawer and shot him.

“She says she didn’t intend to pull it,” just scare him, when it suddenly went off, said defense attorney Robert Vukanovich.

Stanfill, 53, suffered some nerve damage but was recovering, Gasperino said.

Alcohol was a factor in the shooting, the deputy prosecutor said. Prior to the shooting, the couple had gone out drinking, then came home, where they started arguing.

When it was her turn to speak, Gramckow started crying.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” she said after apologizing.

The judge decided on the 42-month term, which was a recommendation agreed upon by the prosecution and the defense. The standard range for second-degree assault for someone with no criminal history, like Gramckow, is three to nine months in jail. The charge comes with a three-year firearm enhancement.

Gramckow, who was a certified nursing assistant, has 370 days credit for time served in the Clark County Jail.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.