Sentencing reset in methamphetamine, heroin case

Gerald Neil Walkup

Gerald Neil Walkup

PORT ANGELES — The sentencing of Gerald Neil Walkup — who pleaded guilty last month with multiple drug, weapons and assault charges in connection to one of the largest methamphetamine and heroin busts in recent Clallam County history — has been reset.

The sentencing for Walkup, 27, was reset Thursday for Jan. 11.

His two attorneys could not be present.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King filed Tuesday a sentencing memorandum that says Walkup is subject to a “doubling statute” on one of his drug charges that makes the statutory maximum penalty 20 years in prison rather than 10 years.

King argued that the standard range for Walkup should be 136 months to 156 months with a statutory maximum of 240 months. A court document that accompanied the guilty plea erroneously said the standard range was 10 years to 20 years, King said.

“The defendant needs to be correctly advised of the standard range prior to imposition of sentencing and needs to be asked if he wishes to withdraw his guilty plea or proceed to sentencing,” King said in the memorandum.

“While the court has the discretion to impose an exceptional sentence downward, the state is recommending a sentence within the standard range of 140 months.”

One hundred forty months is 11 years, eight months.

Walkup pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to possession with intent to deliver heroin with a firearm enhancement, possession of methamphetamine and four counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Walkup crashed a vehicle in Gales Addition on April 2, leading to the discovery of about 950 grams of heroin, more than 400 grams of methamphetamine, four guns, about 20 cellphones, dozens of car keys, 100 ounces of silver and about $9,000 in cash.

The firearm enhancement on the heroin charge, which was triggered by a 2014 felony drug conviction, creates the 136-month to 156-month standard sentencing range, King said in her memorandum.

Walkup pleaded guilty in a second felony case to third-degree assault for his role in a July 12 attack in the Clallam County jail that left another inmate with fractured ribs.

Defense attorney Ralph Anderson, who is representing Walkup in the assault case, participated in Thursday’s hearing by phone. He said he could not attend because of an illness.

Defense attorney Stan Myers, who is representing Walkup in the drug and weapons case, was unable to attend or participate by phone because he had slipped and fallen on snow and was being seen by a doctor, Anderson said.

“Although my case is not controversial, there are substantial issues about sentencing ranges and maximums in Ms. King and Mr. Myers’ case,” Anderson told Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour.

“It’s a serious issue, your honor, because the state’s position is that it doubles the maximum, and it also makes it a strike. So Mr. Myers wanted some time to [do] research, given that those are both very serious consequences.”

Under state law, only the most serious violent felony or sex offenses are considered strike offenses. A person convicted of three strikes would faces a mandatory life sentence.

Coughenour granted Myers’ request for a two-week continuance, which was made through Anderson. The judge also signed an order finding good cause to continue the sentencing to 9 a.m. Jan. 11.

Walkup, who appeared in court wearing shackles and a jail-issue uniform, asked Anderson whether he or Myers would meet with him in the Clallam County jail prior to his sentencing.

“We absolutely will see you, Gerald,” Anderson said.

“I give you our word, one or both of us, probably both of us, will see you to discuss the sentencing and what will happen.”

Walkup posted $210,000 bail bond in May but returned to jail in July for investigation of driving with a suspended license.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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