By Jesse Major
Olympic Peninsula New Group
A man who escaped from the Forks jail in January was sentenced Thursday in Clallam County Superior Court to serve five years in prison as part of a plea deal.
“I would like to apologize,” said Alejandro Cendejas-Montoya, who escaped from the Forks jail with another inmate. “I need to work on my drug problem. That’s certainly where all my actions come from.”
Cendejas-Montoya, 22, pleaded guilty to several felony charges June 28, including second-degree robbery, second-degree escape from a detention facility-law enforcement enhancement, accomplice to forgery, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, second-degree introducing contraband, possession of a controlled substance other than marijuana (heroin), use of drug paraphernalia, and second-degree assault-law enforcement enhancement.
“Part of the state’s intent was making him serve time in prison for these crimes and ensuring to the public that when he is released he can’t come back before the court for any ranked felony offense without going back to prison,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King said. “He’s done if he wants to keep doing this.”
King said any new felonies after he is released from prison would result in a mandatory sentence. When released, he will have 18 months of state Department of Corrections supervision.
“When he gets out of prison, he is going to live differently unless he wants to go back to prison,” she said.
Superior Court Judge Erik Roher pressed Cendejas-Montoya on what his plans are for when he gets out of prison.
“You’ve got to do something, this is not working,” Roher said. “This is serious at this point.”
Cendejas-Montoya said he hopes to earn a commercial drivers license when he is released.
Forks Police corrections officer Sue Roberts was injured during the escape at about 9 p.m. Jan. 15 after Cendejas-Montoya shoved her and tried taking away her jail keys, police said in a probable cause statement.
Jail inmate Boe James Baker, 35, of Forks, simultaneously attacked her, punching her in the face and pushing her to the floor, according to the probable cause statement.
Cendejas-Montoya was captured after hiding in the area and running into the woods, police said.
Baker was found hanged from a shrub by his T-shirt in a yard near the jail at about 8 a.m. the following morning, according to the statement.
Roberts, who suffered three facial fractures and was put on paid administrative leave, has post-traumatic stress disorder, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King said at the court hearing.
In an April 10 probable cause statement written when Cendejas-Montoya was already in custody, Officer Julie Goode said he admitted to taking four bank checks that a 20-year-old woman he knew had tried to cash four times.
Cendejas-Montoya also pawned an optic scope that the owner of the bank checks identified as his own, police said.
The contraband, controlled substance and drug paraphernalia charges grew out of an Aug. 24, 2016, incident.
Cendejas-Montoya’s attorney, Doug Kresl has said Cendejas-Montoya could have been facing 10½ years had a first-degree robbery charge not been reduced to the second-degree robbery that his client pleaded guilty to as part of the plea deal.
Kresl said this is Cendejas-Montoya’s first set of felonies. Kresl has represented him in Forks frequently for “relatively minor crimes,” he said, most of which were related to his addiction.
“What was a constant thought was there was a drug issue and that’s been going on for years,” Kresl said. “Unfortunately in the last year or so, in a series of cases, this has come to a full bloom.”