Just over a year after shooting up his Missoula apartment with his girlfriend and children present, 26-year-old Johnny Washee was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.
His girlfriend asked District Court Judge Leslie Halligan not to put him in custody, saying providing for both children without him has been difficult and that she's not afraid of him.
But Halligan, who said Washee has shown himself to have a “split track” life between wanting to be a good father and having an “aggressive” and drug-involved mentality, followed the recommendation of a plea agreement and sent Washee to the Montana State Prison for 15 years, with five of those years suspended.
Halligan said Washee was only the first or second defendant she's seen who was screened as “high risk” during his pre-sentence assessment, something she felt she couldn’t ignore.
“You’ve demonstrated that you can’t be law-abiding,” she said.
According to court documents, Missoula police went to the Silvertip Apartments in December 2016 after several people reported gunshots.
After officers forced their way into Washee’s apartment, Washee allegedly grabbed his girlfriend — who was holding one of their children — and ducked behind her. He eventually surrendered.
Officers found five bullet holes in the walls of the apartment, and the couple’s other child in the bedroom. In a backpack in the bedroom officers found a handgun, as well as a lightbulb with methamphetamine residue, a lighter, and 97 grams of meth packaged in multiple baggies, court records said.
While his Missoula case was open, Washee was twice released on pretrial supervision. Each time, he stopped showing up to court hearings and reporting to his supervising officer and had to be rearrested. During one of those release periods, Washee cut off a GPS monitor and tested positive for meth use.
Washeee pleaded no contest to a felony charge of criminal endangerment and a felony drug possession charge last month after reaching an agreement with prosecutors to resolve the case.
The agreement also included his guilty pleas to a pair of misdemeanors for violating orders of protection for calling the woman several times after he was arrested and ordered not to have contact with her.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the woman said she was “coerced” into filing for the order of protection under the threat of having her children taken away. She said she wanted Washee to go to trial so he would get his charges dismissed.
Halligan said she worries that Washee’s aggressive tendencies will not help him in prison, and said she hopes he uses the time to focus on getting away from drugs and that he'll participate in treatment.
“It’s really up to you, Johnny, and it’s always been up to you,” Halligan said.
Washee told the court, and his girlfriend — who was there — that “I’m going to come home and I’m going to be a good man.”