Man serving 11-year sentence has motion denied

Victim says man beat her in car for hours

PORT TOWNSEND — A Jefferson County judge has denied a motion to shorten a man’s 11-year prison sentence.

Superior Court Judge Keith Harper said Friday there is no precedent to sustain the request of Larry Dean Buck, who is serving consecutive sentences related to domestic violence that total 132 months in the state Department of Corrections.

Buck, 48, of Port Angeles entered an Alford plea in January for third-degree assault with criminal negligence and substantial pain, unlawful imprisonment and harassment with threats to kill. An Alford plea denies committing the crime but acknowledges evidence may be enough to convict if the case goes to trial.

Buck filed the motion on his own behalf, saying the consecutive sentences add up to more than the maximum allowed under one charge and requesting it be corrected.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Julie St. Marie argued Friday that Buck was trying to cut his sentence in half, and the Alford plea agreement came with the exceptional sentence qualifier that allowed the sentences to run one after the other as opposed to concurrently.

There is no authority or case law that would support Buck’s motion, St. Marie said.

“If he wants to withdraw his plea … we can start all over again,” she said.

Harper said he read through state statutes that provide for sentencing, and he said Buck was sentenced to the maximum allowed under each of the crimes.

“A sentence was imposed for each, and it was consecutive,” Harper said.

“Nowhere, anywhere, does it say consecutive sentences can not be more than a maximum sentence.”

Buck entered the Alford plea based on incidents that took place with a woman July 9, 2017, in Jefferson, Clallam and Kitsap counties.

The woman submitted a statement to the court last December that stated Buck beat her, grabbed her hair and bent and twisted parts of her body throughout an 11-hour period.

Eight of those hours were spent in a car under the guise of taking a road trip to California to see the woman’s family, the victim wrote.

“It started with a punch to my face while he was driving, instantly giving me a fat lip,” the victim wrote. “In the following hours, I endured uncountable punches to my stomach and chest, my head, ears, jaw and face with his closed fist.”

The woman stated Buck pulled off on a side road and told her to get out, “that this was a nice place to die.”

She wrote Buck repeatedly kicked her knee where she recently had surgery, “and when his toe started hurting, he accused me of breaking it.”

Buck kept the woman’s phone so she couldn’t send for help, she wrote.

When her brother called her, Buck forced the woman to put the phone on its speaker function so he could listen to the conversation, she said.

“At that time, I was unable to walk unassisted and my walker was in the back seat so I couldn’t escape, even if there was ever an opportunity,” the woman wrote.

She said they returned home after about eight hours, and “large hunks” came out of her head as she rinsed and combed her hair.

The woman said Buck continued his assault, and a neighbor heard her screams from inside her house and called police.

“I have never felt such relief as I did when the police pounded on my door,” she wrote. “The pain and terror were over. I was safe.”

The woman also addressed Buck in the letter she submitted to the court.

“When you were arrested and put in jail, I vowed to do all I could to keep you from hurting another woman because I truly believe you will if given a chance,” she wrote.

Buck has a history of similar crimes, including a 2011 case in Franklin County in which he entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment charges.

In 2009, Buck was convicted in Kitsap County of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, both with the domestic violence indicator.

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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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