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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man sentenced to a year and a day for WSU robbery

By Emily Pearce, Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Published: April 15, 2024, 9:34am

PULLMAN — A Vancouver man was sentenced to just over a year in prison for a robbery on Washington State University’s campus in July.

RJ William, 22, was convicted of first-degree robbery and first-degree theft in Whitman County Superior Court in October. Whitman County Judge Gary Libey sentenced him Friday morning to a year and a day in jail and a year and a half of probation.

William was one of three men convicted in the robbery. Frank Rodriguez and Robert Garcia, both 19, were ordered to serve six months in prison and a year of probation after reaching a plea deal in September.

The three were also ordered to pay restitution.

Washington State University officers were called to a robbery in the early morning hours in July. Five men were smoking cigarettes when they were approached by Garcia, Rodriguez and William, according to court records.

The three stole four phones from the five men and a guitar, according to court records. William struck one of the men in the face before he, Garcia and Rodriguez ran away with the stolen items.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said in court they broke the guitar and threw the phones away. The property was never recovered.

During the sentencing, a victim said he is still affected by the incident. He said he no longer feels safe in Pullman, and often avoids leaving home at night.

William’s family gave statements on his behalf. They asked Libey for mercy in his sentencing, and apologized to the victims for his behavior. His family also spoke highly of him, saying they looked up to William and were shocked to hear what he’d done.

Two men who hold a weekly Bible study at Whitman County Jail also testified. They said they have met many inmates, and they’ve met very few who have shown repentance like William has.

William also apologized, expressing a desire to make right with the world. He said he can never take back what he did or the hurt he caused.

Libey said he came into court prepared to hand down a four-year sentence, but reconsidered this after hearing William’s and the family’s statements.

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