Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Vancouver man sentenced in assault

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man who chased another man, who was clad only in his underwear, into a Starbucks and beat him was sentenced Thursday to 225 days in jail.

James A. Neal, 35, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to residential burglary and second-degree assault in connection with the Aug. 23 incident in Vancouver’s Uptown Village neighborhood.

The prosecution said that the victim, Rolidan Robledo, suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack.

Police were called shortly before 8:15 a.m. for a disturbance at the Fort Vancouver Apartments, 2509 Columbia St. The disturbance reportedly moved outside and to the nearby Starbucks, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Robledo told police that he was sleeping in his apartment when Neal broke open the door and began punching and kicking him, the affidavit states. Robledo, who was wearing only underwear at the time, escaped from the apartment, but Neal chased him until he arrived at Starbucks, court records said.

Bystanders inside Starbucks caught the incident on video, which shows a man, presumed to be Robledo, attempting to hold off his assailant behind the entry door to the coffee shop. The assailant then barged through the doors and struck him a few times. He was restrained by others and removed from the building.

Police detained Neal outside the coffee shop.

Neal said he saw Robledo come out of his apartment when he returned home, so he chased the man to his apartment and broke open his door because he thought Robledo had stolen his Comcast remote, according to court documents.

Neal also told police that he suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the affidavit said.

His attorney, Lisa Toth, said her client was evaluated multiple times due to mental health concerns.

Judge Gregory Gonzales followed the attorneys’ previously agreed-upon recommendation of 225 days and 12 months of community custody. Neal was given credit for 135 days in custody. He will have to undergo mental health treatment, as well.