Man sentenced in violent Wy'east robbery

Attacker blames drugs, says months in jail will help him to get clean

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to nine months in jail for violently robbing an 18-year-old man on Vancouver's Wy'east Middle School campus early Feb. 28.

In a deal with prosecutors, Brian C. Mickel, 24, pleaded guilty Friday in Clark County Superior Court to second-degree robbery. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Michael Vaughn dropped a charge of first-degree robbery.

"I did everything I did because of a drug-fueled rage," Mickel told Judge Suzan Clark on Friday. "I had a fight with my girlfriend. This time in jail will be a great time away from drugs."

Mickel said he was taking both heroin and methamphetamine at the time of the incident.

His admission to taking drugs prompted Clark to require substance abuse treatment as part of his sentence. She also sentenced him to 12 months' probation after he serves his sentence.

Vancouver police were called at 1:22 a.m. Feb. 28 to the Wy'east campus, 1112 S.E. 136th Ave., where they found the 18-year-old bleeding from the nose and mouth, according to a court affidavit.

The victim told Vancouver police that he was with four other people at the middle school campus when a man attacked him from behind, Vancouver police Officer Colton Price wrote in the affidavit.

"He put a rag or something over my mouth, and I could not breathe," the victim said, according to Price. "I almost passed out, but then he started punching me in the face."

Mickel allegedly stole the young man's wallet, containing $700, during the attack. A witness identified the attacker as Mickel, as did the 18-year-old when he was presented with a photo array at a local hospital emergency room, Price said.

Vaughn said Mickel and the victim may have been acquaintances or associates. He said he agreed to reduce the charge against Mickel because of some evidence complications.

"It was an assault robbery by a group of people, and the real proof issue was identifying this defendant versus the other individuals," Vaughn said.

Mickel had one previous felony conviction — possession of a controlled substance, Vaughn said.

Vancouver lawyer Gregg Schile represented Mickel in the plea negotiations.