A getaway driver for a group of serial burglars who broke into a Camas residence where a 10-year-old girl was home alone was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, one of the burglars received a sentence of 14 months.
Jacob Mattila, 19, of Amboy will serve 10 years for participating in three residential burglaries by driving a stolen getaway car. His accomplice, Mykel Bru, 25 of Vancouver will serve 14 months after being convicted of a single count of burglary.
“To have such a stark difference in sentencing doesn’t really feel fair … to Mr. Mattila,” said Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier. Collier sentenced Mattila and Bru based on a state sentencing formula, which provides a range the judge may sentence a convict to for a particular crime. He sentenced Mattila to the low end and Bru to the high end of their respective ranges.
Mattila’s parents and nine siblings, some who are still small children, sat in the courtroom. His mother and some of his siblings wept when Collier announced the sentence.
“I noticed you have had family here throughout the trial,” Collier said. “I wouldn’t want to be in your position. The key is to make this the last time … because I recognize this is also a sentence for them.”
Mattila confessed to the crimes and identified his accomplices. But when he was offered a plea bargain, he couldn’t accept a condition that he testify against his accomplices, said his attorney, Megan Peyton. Instead, he decided to be tried on the charges. He did not take the stand during his joint trial with Bru.
On Thursday, a Clark County jury found Mattila guilty of the Oct. 16 Camas residential burglary. He was also convicted of first-degree burglary of a Washougal home on the same night, plus a Sept. 19 burglary of a Vancouver home, two counts of theft of a firearm, first-degree theft and unlawful possession of a firearm. He was acquitted of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. No evidence was presented that he knew the vehicle was stolen when his accomplices asked him to drive it.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein only had evidence to convict Bru of the Camas burglary where the girl was home alone. However, Klein said she has DNA evidence that will likely tie Bru to the Washougal burglary.
Bru was acquitted of first-degree burglary of a retired police officer’s home in Battle Ground and theft of the man’s 13 firearms.
A third suspect implicated in one or more of the burglaries, Samuel A. Scory, 23, of Vancouver, is undergoing a competency review to ensure he can help in his defense, Klein said.
Mattila and Bru both apologized for their actions.
Mattila smiled affectionately at his little brothers and sisters as he was about to be escorted out of the courtroom, while many of the siblings hugged and cried.
His mother, Elizabeth Mattila, said he has acknowledged his wrongdoing and trusted the judge to sentence him fairly.
“I thought the judge was fair,” she said. “It’s sad, it’s awfully hard to go through. I hate it, but he will go through and serve his time.”
Jennifer Mock, mother of the 10-year-old victim in the Camas burglary, also attended the sentencing.
“I felt bad for the kid who lost 10 years of his life, but ... somebody could have gotten hurt, like my daughter.”
She said her daughter, Paityn, wouldn’t sleep alone for nearly three weeks after the burglary and still refuses to be left home alone.
The burglary made national news last year because of Paityn’s quick-thinking response. She was home sick with a fever when her mother left home for a few minutes to buy her a sandwich at a local store. She was watching “Zoey 101” on the couch in her living room around 1:30 p.m. when an intruder cut a screen in an open window and multiple burglars entered.
Paityn hid from the burglars in the pantry and called 911. She started to sneak out of the pantry but saw another intruder in the living room. She darted back to her hiding place. When the coast was clear, she left the house through the garage and hid behind a tree in the family’s yard until police arrived.
Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; email@example.com.