Man gets 7 years in shooting of estranged wife, male friend

Defendant notes his alcoholism; victims’ injuries have healed

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A Vancouver man said Thursday that he was highly intoxicated and doesn’t remember breaking into his estranged wife’s house and ambushing her and a male friend as they slept.

Both victims, Amy Blancas and Zakarius Gillis, were shot in their extremities but have since physically recovered from the May 21, 2016 incident at Blancas’ Five Corners home.

Ruben Prado Blancas, 43, told Judge David Gregerson that he didn’t intend to harm his now-former wife. He described feeling “ashamed, disgusted and deeply disappointed” in himself and said that he hit rock bottom because of his alcoholism.

“I have an illness but no excuse,” Blancas said, later adding, “I know I’m going to prison. I deserve that.”

Gregerson sentenced Blancas to more than seven years in prison and 18 months of community custody after Blancas pleaded guilty to second-degree domestic violence assault and second-degree assault, both of which carried firearms enhancements, as part of a plea deal.

The sentence was presented as a joint recommendation from Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic and Blancas’ attorney, Jeff Staples. Blancas was originally facing attempted first-degree domestic violence murder and attempted first-degree murder, both involving a firearm, as well as first-degree domestic violence burglary and felony harassment.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the Blancases had been separated for more than a year at the time of the shooting. Still, Staples told the court that his client feared his estranged wife was being unfaithful.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance and gunshots at about 1:30 a.m. at a home in the 9700 block of Northeast 115th Court. Deputies found Amy Blancas and Gillis suffering from gunshot wounds to their arms, the affidavit states.

The Blancases’ then-11-year-old son told officers that Gillis, a close friend of his mother, spent the night at their house. All of the doors to the house were locked when they went to bed. Ruben Blancas reportedly forced his way in through a door to the garage. The doorknob was loose, and the door had pry marks on it, according to court documents.

The boy said he awoke when his father opened his bedroom door slightly and looked into his room, court records said. Minutes later, he said he heard his mother scream, followed by a gunshot. He ran to her bedroom and saw his father in there with a rifle. His mother and Gillis were bleeding. The boy tackled his father to the floor, and with Gillis’ help, held him down until officers arrived, the affidavit states.

Amy Blancas told deputies that she awoke to the sound of her bedroom door opening and a fan falling over, and saw her estranged husband standing next to her side of the bed. He pointed a rifle at her face. She knocked the rifle away and it discharged, striking her in the left arm, court documents said.

Vitasovic said Thursday that the bullet went through Amy Blancas’ arm and lodged in Gillis’ elbow.

As part of his sentence, Ruben Blancas will have to register as a firearm offender and undergo domestic violence and substance abuse treatment. He was given credit for 509 days in custody.