Sunday, 14 April 2024

REGIONAL: Man gets seven-year prison term for assault case

COVELO – A Covelo man has been sentenced to more than seven years in state prison following his conviction for attempting to injury a Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy with his vehicle.


Last week Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ronald Brown gave Kenneth Ryan Whipple, 34, the seven-year, four-month prison term, according to a Tuesday report from Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott's office.


Whipple was convicted of the charges on Aug. 18, after a two day trial.


A seven-woman, five-man jury found Kenneth Whipple guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and recklessly evading police officers. Both offenses were committed with a motor vehicle.


In a separate case Whipple entered a guilty plea to vehicle theft.


Deputy Alternate Defender Christina Briles prosecuted Whipple.


The charges arise out of a Feb. 21 incident where Whipple ran from Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies at speeds up to 85 miles per hour in and around Covelo, according to the report.


At one point during the chase Round Valley Tribal Police Officer Carlos Rabano attempted to block the road and prevent Whipple from fleeing further. At that point, Whipple aimed the Dodge Durango he was driving directly at Rabano and then rammed Rabano’s police vehicle.


In the theft case Whipple walked up to a vehicle that had just been parked at the gas pumps at the Redwood Oil station in Covelo, got in, and drove it away while the owner was inside. The theft was captured on the gas station’s surveillance video.


Whipple drove at high speed and crashed into a pick-up parked at the Western Auto store and then fled on foot. Witnesses at the gas station and at Western Auto identified Whipple as the thief.


The seven-year, four-month sentence includes two years because Whipple has been to prison two other times, Lintott's office reported. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 80 percent of the prison time.


Lintott emphasized that her office takes violent crime in Covelo seriously and those committing violent crimes will face vigorous prosecution.


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