Moses Lake man sentenced for threatening people with knife

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MOSES LAKE — A Moses Lake man was sentenced for threatening several people with a knife at an apartment complex in Moses Lake last month.

Emilio Vargas, 25, of Moses Lake, entered an In Re Barr plea in Grant County Superior Court to criminal mischief while armed. Grant County Superior Court Judge John Antosz followed a joint recommendation between Deputy Prosecutor Kevin McCrae and defense attorney Susan Oglebay and sentenced Vargas to a month in jail.

The In Re Barr plea indicates Vargas is not pleading guilty to the crime he is pleading to and there is no factual basis for the charge, but he believes there is a substantial risk of being convicted of the crimes he was initially charged with if the case were to proceed to trial. Vargas was initially charged with two counts of second-degree assault, but the charges were dismissed in a plea agreement between McCrae and Oglebay.

On Sept. 6 the Moses Lake Police Department responded to a report of a male chasing and threatening people with a knife at an apartment complex in the 1000 block of South Division Street. Two males at the scene told police Vargas had threatened them for no apparent reason, according to court documents.

One of the victims said he was walking and Vargas confronted him as he passed his apartment. Vargas threatened the man with what the victim believed was a switchblade knife. Vargas and the victim were separated by another person and Vargas was taken into his apartment. He later left his apartment and chased and threatened two men and a woman.

“I got conflicting information as to what type of knife Vargas was holding which ranged from a switchblade to possibly a kitchen knife, which is not unusual when people are under duress,” wrote an MLPD officer.

Vargas was agitated when he was contacted by officers and started yelling and refused to comply with commands. He eventually calmed down and was taken into custody. He told officers he didn’t own a switchblade knife, but said he owns several kitchen knives.

“He said he only defends himself. He did admit he was holding a knife. Vargas does have a history of mental health-related issues and has been violent in the past even with law enforcement officers. Vargas did have a large gash on the right side of his head,” wrote an officer.

Vargas believed the gash stemmed from when he was separated from one of the victims. Police believe the gash could have been caused by the knife when the person who separated Vargas from the victim hit Vargas’ arm.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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