A Vancouver man was sentenced Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court to 10 years in prison for an October 2010 stabbing at an Orchards Chevron station.
Byron K. Chant, 24, entered an Alford plea, acknowledging that a jury could find him guilty, to a charge of second-degree assault. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein agreed to drop a charge of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, which would have carried a sentence of up to 25 years due to Chant's extensive criminal history. He also will be required to pay more than $7,100 in restitution mostly related to the victim's medical bills, Klein said.
According to a court affidavit, the 32-year-old victim, Jason L. Stricker, was involved in a fight with another group of people late Oct. 23, 2010, in the parking lot of a Chevron at 12100 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. A Chevron employee who called 911 broke up the fight.
Stricker had gone to his truck and sat in the passenger seat just before midnight when an unknown person stabbed him in the right side of his torso through an open window, according to the affidavit. The knife punctured the right side of his chest and caused an internal hemorrhage, according to medical records cited in the affidavit. He survived his injuries.
As part of Tuesday's plea deal, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office also agreed not to charge Chant in a drive-by shooting Jan. 22, 2011, on Todd Road. A man and a teenage girl were shot about 9 p.m. Emergency responders found the 18-year-old man on Todd Road. They found the 15-year-old girl nearby in the 2000 block of Brandt Road, where she apparently had walked to seek help. Both victims were hospitalized.
Chant was a suspect in that shooting, but some of the witnesses in the case had credibility problems, Klein said. The witnesses were essentially "jailhouse snitches," Klein told Judge Scott Collier Tuesday.
Chant's attorney, Bob Yoseph, said there also were credibility questions with witnesses in the stabbing case, but Chant was not willing to risk being convicted of first-degree assault at trial.
"Mr. Stricker could never identify the man who stabbed him," Yoseph said Tuesday.
He said Chant didn't match a description of the stabbing suspect, who was reportedly Hispanic, 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. Chant is upwards of 5 foot 7 and weighs about 150 pounds, Yoseph said. Yoseph suggested a male witness, who would have testified against Chant at trial, may have been the stabber. The other witness, a woman, was sleeping with the male witness at the time and received favors of drugs, he said.
"That's why she is covering for (him)," Yoseph said.
The witnesses didn't come forward until human DNA found on a cigarette and a hat led investigators to them in 2013, according to the court affidavit.
Vancouver police investigators in 2011 found a sweatshirt and hat at the stabbing scene. A DNA profile from a cigarette butt found in the sweatshirt matched that of the female witness, according to the affidavit. The woman said the sweatshirt belonged to her and that the hat belonged to the male witness who was involved in the initial altercation, the affidavit says. A DNA profile from the hat matched that of the male witness.
The woman told police that she saw Chant grab a knife from his vehicle, head over to Stricker's car and then return to his vehicle. Later, the woman said, Chant reportedly told her that he had "started stabbing that fool," the affidavit said.
Chant was transported to Clark County in August from the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, where he was serving 38 months for a second-degree robbery in December 2010. He also has convictions of second-degree assault in 2007 and first-degree criminal impersonation and second-degree identity theft in 2010.