Guilty plea in BB gun case

Jail term suspended in Harney Heights assault incident

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Vancouver man received a suspended jail sentence Thursday for shooting his girlfriend's father five times July 23 with a BB gun following an altercation in the Harney Heights neighborhood.

Neal Panther Stillwell, 25, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault domestic violence in exchange for prosecutors reducing his charge from third-degree assault. Clark County Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark sentenced him to 364 days in jail with credit for 16 days that he's already served and 348 days suspended. He's also required to be on probation for two years.

Vancouver police responded to the Harney Heights neighborhood around 4 p.m. July 23 on a report of a weapons disturbance possibly involving a black handgun.

Stillwell and his girlfriend's father, James Riddell, got into an altercation inside Riddell's home over an issue related to the victim's daughter, Shannon Riddell, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court. Stillwell, who has been unemployed for about six years, had been living with Shannon Riddell and James Riddell for about two weeks, the affidavit says.

The affidavit says Stillwell told police that Riddell entered his bedroom and began arguing with him. When Riddell punched him in the face, Stillwell grabbed a CO2 air BB gun from his closet to defend himself because Riddell was bigger than him, said Stillwell's attorney, Susan Stauffer.

Riddell said he didn't punch Stillwell until he saw Stillwell was armed, at which time he punched Stillwell in self-defense, the affidavit says.

The altercation spilled into the streets of Harney Heights. A neighbor who saw them called 911 with a report of a man with long black hair throwing a gun into the bushes outside 3816 E. 14th St. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

Stillwell had bruises all over his face at the time of his arrest.

Riddell was treated at a local hospital for injuries to his stomach, arms and neck. None of the injuries was life-threatening.