Man convicted in 2008 has sentence amended

Supreme Court mandate doesn’t change time to serve

PORT TOWNSEND — A man convicted by a Jefferson County jury of four crimes in 2008 has had his sentence modified based on a mandate from the state Supreme Court.

Moses Beliz Jr., 49, of Port Hadlock is continuing to serve more than 26 years in state prison for second-degree attempted murder with a firearms enhancement for shooting a Quilcene man in the leg during a crime, but his conviction for first-degree attempted robbery was shortened on Friday.

The Supreme Court said the county Superior Court made a mistake when it sentenced Beliz to 128¼ months because it was above the statutory maximum of 120 months for a defendant with Beliz’s offender score of nine.

Superior Court Judge Keith Harper adjusted the sentence to 120 months, although it doesn’t impact the total number of days of confinement.

“We’re doing exactly what the Supreme Court has told us to do,” Harper said to Beliz, who appeared by telephone from Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Beliz is serving a 320-month sentence with a current release date of Oct. 27, 2032, according to the state Department of Corrections database.

It was the fifth personal restraint petition filed by Beliz, who has been representing himself.

Supreme Court Deputy Commissioner Walter Burton issued the ruling Jan. 16, stating prosecutors acknowledge the maximum for a Class B felony is 120 months and the sentence should be adjusted.

“He is not, however, entitled to complete re-sentencing, since the superior court plainly intended to impose the highest standard-range sentence it could for the attempted robbery,” Burton wrote.

The jury also found Beliz guilty of first-degree burglary and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm stemming from an incident in which he attempted to steal drugs and money from Bruce Bratton at Bratton’s Quilcene residence on Dec. 19, 2007.

Court documents state Beliz, a second man named Joseph Martinez of Omak and a driver identified as Joe from Idaho, had driven from Omak to Seattle to buy methamphetamine, but the contact in Seattle wasn’t home, so they drove to Quilcene.

The driver dropped them off at a friend’s house and drove back to Idaho, Beliz testified at trial.

Beliz and Martinez made their way to Bratton’s residence and waited for two days inside his trailer and workshop, according to court documents.

At one point, Martinez went to a store to get beer and was arrested for shoplifting, court papers said.

When Bratton came home, the oven in the trailer was on, someone had baked and eaten several frozen pies, and tools in his shop were in piles by the door, according to court documents.

Bratton decided to go to a hardware store to purchase wiring to set up a surveillance camera.

“While setting up the camera, he noticed a shadow behind his shop and realized it was a man wearing a ski mask and holding a gun,” according to an unpublished opinion from Division II of the state Court of Appeals, which affirmed Beliz’s convictions in 2010.

The man, later determined to be Beliz through DNA evidence found inside a car stolen from near Bratton’s home, told Bratton to get on his knees and held the gun to Bratton’s head, court papers said.

Beliz demanded Bratton’s wallet and cell phone and shot Bratton in the leg after Bratton threw his phone at him, according to court documents.

As the men wrestled for control of the weapon, Beliz repeatedly hit Bratton in the head with the gun. Bratton jammed his thumb in Beliz’s eye and pulled the ski mask off before Beliz got away, court documents said.

The next day, Bratton’s neighbor reported his Jeep had been stolen. A pair of blood-stained jeans was found inside when the vehicle was later recovered.

Several items matched DNA evidence to Beliz, including the jeans, ski mask and a fork, court papers said.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].

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