Robert John Cuevas, left, was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday after kidnapping and assaulting another Port Townsend resident last fall. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Robert John Cuevas, left, was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday after kidnapping and assaulting another Port Townsend resident last fall. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Guilty plea nets four-year prison sentence

Two more face trial on kidnapping, assault charges

PORT TOWNSEND — A 20-year-old Port Townsend man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and assaulting another resident has been sentenced to four years in prison.

On July 16, Robert John Cuevas admitted to kidnapping and assaulting Dennis Shaw on Nov. 10, 2020, as well as an unrelated charge of possession of a stolen firearm. He was sentenced Friday.

Isaiah William Peoples-Morse, 18, also pleaded guilty on that day, and was sentenced at that time to five years in prison.

During the July 16 hearing conducted by Superior Court Judge Keith Harper, both men pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping with deliberate cruelty and second-degree assault with deliberate cruelty, both Class B felonies.

The kidnapping charge has a standard range of 22 months to 29 months in prison with an additional 18 months in community custody.

The assault charge has a standard range of 15 to 20 months in prison and an additional 18 months in community custody, according to court documents.

The pair, along with Zachary James Barbee, 44, and Giuseppe D. Glanz, 20, were charged in March with first-degree kidnapping with deliberate cruelty, first-degree assault with deliberate cruelty and first-degree robbery with deliberate cruelty by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Anna Phillips.

Glanz has a pretrial and omnibus hearing scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, while Barbee’s pretrial hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13.

Harper sentenced Cuevas to four years in prison, with 18 months community custody for kidnapping, the longest sentence of the three charges, which will be served concurrently, with a 20-month sentence for second-degree assault and 17 months for possession of a stolen firearm.

Cuevas read a prepared statement before he was sentenced.

“I never thought my life would end up here,” Cuevas said. “I was there and I didn’t stop it.

“I broke everyone’s trust including my own.”

Cuevas has a juvenile criminal and drug history. He previously was denied admittance to the county’s drug court; he had hoped it would be an opportunity to turn his life around, he said in his statement.

Harper admitted that he thinks it was a mistake to not admit Cuevas into drug court for help with his addiction.

“I regret that,” Harper said.

Cuevas expressed remorse about the incident involving Shaw and although he participated in the assault and kidnapping of Shaw, his actions were less than the other three who had drugged Shaw and shot him in the eye with an airsoft BB-gun, Harper noted, so the judge gave him a four-year sentence rather than the six years the prosecution requested.

“I hope you can get the support and structure you need,” Harper told Cuevas at the end of the sentencing.

Phillips supported a reduced sentence.

“I believe today’s sentence was just,” she said at the end of the hearing.

On Nov. 10, the four allegedly trapped, beat and drugged Shaw over the course of several hours in their house, hitting him with fists and clubs. They debated killing him, according to the probable cause report.

Eventually, Shaw was forced to change clothes and lie down in the back of a pickup, according to the police report. He was driven about 8.5 miles from the residence and dumped on or near Anderson Lake Road, where he was found by a person who called 9-1-1.

More of the about the Nov. 10 incident can be read at


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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