Port Angeles teen admits guilt in being party to two home invasions
By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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He will be at least in his mid-30s before he gets out.
Moore pleaded guilty Thursday in Clallam County Superior Court to four charges in connection with two July home invasions — one of which terrorized a couple.
On Friday, he was transported for processing at the state corrections center at Shelton, the first stop on his way to at least nearly 14 years in prison, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg said Friday.
Moore pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery with a firearm enhancement, unlawful imprisonment with a firearm enhancement for keeping the couple at gunpoint while he robbed them, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, attempted burglary with a firearm enhancement and residential burglary.
The plea came in connection with home invasions in Gales Addition just east of the Port Angeles city limit July 7 and on South Barr Road farther east near Carlsborg on July 8 — both of which authorities said involved two other men.
Travis L. Turner, 23, of Port Angeles is in custody on $250,000 bail and is expected to plead guilty to similar charges at a Superior Court hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Turner and Moore confessed to the home invasions, implicating Benjamin M. Wetzler, 19, by saying Wetzler participated in the crimes and drove the trio in his BMW to both locations, according to Wetzler’s certification for probable cause.
Wetzler, arrested in Poulsbo on Oct. 10, has been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, unlawful imprisonment, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, first-degree attempted robbery and first-degree attempted burglary.
He is being held on $150,000 bail in Clallam County jail.
Moore would have served five years without the firearm enhancements, Troberg said.
“His earliest possible release from prison is in 165 months from the day of his arrest, or 13.75 years,” Troberg said.
‘Expressed his regrets’
At his sentencing, Moore “expressed his regrets for having caused anguish to the parties involved and his regret that he was ever involved in anything like that,” Troberg said.
When Moore gets out of prison, “he’ll still have a life ahead of him,” Troberg added.
The three had not formed a gang or a robbery ring, he added.
“I think they were just young men who kind of hang out together,” Troberg said.
“I don’t see this as having any kind of organized structure.”
Authorities interviewed two girls who said Turner and Moore bragged about the home invasions.
The county Sheriff’s Office then recorded conversations between Moore and Turner during which the men talked about committing the robberies, leading to their arrest, according to Wetzler’s probable-cause statement.
Wetzler was attending a trade school in Oregon when he was apprehended on an arrest warrant in Poulsbo.
His one-day jury trial has been set for Dec. 10.
The July 7 home invasion in Gales Addition involved a couple who told county sheriff’s deputies that they were awakened by three men at about 1:30 a.m. who were disguised in black clothing and who pointed one of the guns at the couple, stealing jewelry, coins and four guns.
The men were armed with a BB gun and a pellet gun that looked like real weapons, Turner told deputies.
The following night, the three attempted to rob the Barr Road residence but were foiled when the adult male occupant shot through the door, injuring Turner in the arm.
“Turner said that they expected to get money from this guy, as [Moore] claimed to have known him his entire life,” according to Turner’s statement to police.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 27. 2012 5:37PM