A Snohomish man was found guilty Wednesday of 16 felony charges connected to his role as a lookout in a home-invasion robbery Dec. 19 in Ridgefield. During the robbery, a victim was tied up and several firearms were stolen.
Jarrod A. Wiebe, 27, was charged in Clark County Superior Court with first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, second-degree extortion, first-degree criminal impersonation, and 10 counts of firearm theft.
His three co-defendants in the robbery, including the ringleader, pleaded guilty Sept. 22 to some of the charges and received sentences ranging from 53 months to 14 years. Wiebe received a similar plea offer but chose to go to trial instead.
Juror Brenda Panage said the jury found him guilty on all counts because the law states that as an accomplice, he has liability for the crimes committed by his cohorts.
“Even though he may not have known exactly what was going on, he chose to do nothing about it,” Panage said. “He was there, and by his own words, he said he was a lookout.”
He faces up to 50-plus years in prison for the convictions because of the state’s sentencing laws, according to Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu. Sentencing laws require consecutive sentences when a jury finds a firearm was involved in a crime, and judges have no discretion in the matter.
Lawyer says he’ll appeal
Deliberations began around 3 p.m. Tuesday and ended at 6 p.m. The jury resumed deliberations Wednesday, reaching a verdict at about 12:45 p.m.
Wiebe’s attorney, Chris Ramsay, said Wiebe will appeal the conviction.
“A key issue on appeal is whether Judge Collier properly admitted Mr. Wiebe’s statements to police,” Ramsay said. “Those were recorded statements, and the jury did ask to listen to those again (Tuesday) during deliberations. That tells me it was a very important factor in finding him guilty in regard to being an accomplice in the case.”
On the morning of Dec. 19, Wiebe and his friends, Larry C. Kyle, Ruben Vega and Regan C. Davis, traveled Interstate 5 together in a white Isuzu Trooper from the Snohomish area to Ridgefield, Vu said. On the way, they stopped at a Wal-Mart, where Kyle, Vega and Davis changed into military-style clothing, he said.
“We don’t know what exactly was said or agreed to … but in the defendant’s own words, there was talk in the car that someone had been wronged, someone needed a visit, and consequences needed to be taken care of,” Vu said.
The men were looking for a man named Francisco but apparently went to the wrong house, the prosecutor said.
Testimony during Wiebe’s five-day trial conflicted over whether Wiebe was with his three friends when they forced their way inside the single-wide mobile home of a 45-year-old farmworker on a dairy farm in the 23000 block of Northwest Hillhurst Road in rural Ridgefield. However, both the farmworker, Casimiro Arellano, and his longtime partner, Manatalia Barragan, testified that Wiebe served as a lookout while Kyle, Vega and Davis restrained Arellano with disposable plastic flex cuffs and threatened to call immigration if he didn’t surrender his firearms and give them $10,000. Kyle, Vega and Davis were dressed in military-style clothes and armed with loaded pistols, Vu said.
Arellano and Barragan said that the men kept asking for Francisco and they kept denying that they knew anyone by that name.
Barragan testified through an interpreter that Wiebe helped the other men steal 10 firearms from the home and pack them in the Isuzu Trooper.
Wiebe admitted that he knew Vega was carrying a pistol in the waistband of his pants and that Davis was armed with a 1911 Springfield .45-caliber pistol, Vu said. Kyle also was armed with a firearm, which was visible, the prosecutor said.
Ramsay argued that Wiebe wasn’t aware that the victims were being tied up, threatened and robbed. At one point, he invited two other farmworkers to come inside the mobile home, Ramsay said.
Ramsay said that if Wiebe knew what was going on, “why would he direct two other people to go inside the home when it’s his job to keep people out?
“Why would he essentially involve the public as two more eyewitnesses to a crime Jarrod Wiebe knew was occurring in that house?” Ramsay said. “It makes no sense.
“The only thing he said he saw was that they were bringing out firearms,” Ramsay continued. “He doesn’t know whose firearms they are. They didn’t want to give him information. He wasn’t in on it.”
Vu retorted that Wiebe directed the farmworkers into the house because he and his friends wanted to question them about the whereabouts of Francisco.
Kyle, 38, of North Bend, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and second-degree extortion and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Vu said Kyle was the ringleader. Vega, 37, also of North Bend, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and second-degree kidnapping and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Davis, 53, of Everett entered an Alford plea, acknowledging that a jury could find him guilty of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and theft of a firearm and was sentenced to 53 months in prison. Ramsay said Wiebe’s plea offer was similar to the one Davis received.