West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Plea bargain in Highland Park theft of SUV with baby inside

Just found during our periodic check of open case files: A plea bargain in a crime that drew regional attention one afternoon last August, after an SUV was stolen from outside a Highland Park mini-mart with a baby in the back seat.

(8/27/14 photo by BETTINA HANSEN/THE SEATTLE TIMES, republished by permission)
25-year-old Estevan L. Sanchez pleaded guilty last week to auto theft and unlawful imprisonment – reduced from second-degree kidnapping – for stealing the vehicle from outside the Sea-Mart store at 16th and Holden last August 27th with a 10-month-old girl in the back seat. According to court documents from the plea bargain and from the original charges, the baby’s father ran into the store with the vehicle’s engine running, but the SUV was supposed to be locked and unable to be shifted out of “park.” Instead, Sanchez got in and drove it away even as the baby’s father ran out of the store and yelled for him to stop. 15 minutes later, the vehicle was found abandoned in White Center’s Greenbridge neighborhood, with the baby safe inside; Sanchez, a Highland Park resident, was found within the hour at 17th and Roxbury.

He already was wanted on warrants from a domestic-violence case in which he injured his girlfriend and her 11-year-old son, attacking her with a stun gun and knocking him down just before stealing her car.. As part of this plea agreement, Sanchez has pleaded guilty to reduced domestic-violence charges in that case too. In all, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending 19.5 months in prison – a little over a year and a half – for Sanchez, who has been in jail for seven months since his August arrest. King County Superior Court Judge Monica Benton is scheduled to sentence him on April 17th. .

11 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Plea bargain in Highland Park theft of SUV with baby inside"

  • West Seattle Hipster April 1, 2015 (3:59 pm)

    “In all, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending 19.5 months in prison”.



  • Mookie April 1, 2015 (4:25 pm)

    Not a fan of reduced charges in any domestic violence case.

  • Eric1 April 1, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    Ouch. That wrist slap has got to hurt. He will probably be out in a couple of months since he already has 7 months in. Oh well, at least the prosecutors are consistent.

  • carole April 1, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    He’ll get good time credit on the 19.5, probably half, then with his 7 months county time, he’ll be out shortly.

  • Paul April 1, 2015 (9:00 pm)

    19 months! You have to be kidding. How about 10 years!

  • wscommuter April 1, 2015 (9:43 pm)

    I don’t know anything about this case so I can’t say whether this is a good outcome or a bad one … but as is so common with blog comments which are critical of sentencing for felons, I repeat – talk to your legislators. Sentence ranges are set in Olympia; not by prosecutors or judges. The prosecutor’s recommendation is nothing but a reflection of the available standard range.
    Oh and btw … “good time credit” is 1/3 off; not 1/2 as a couple of commenters erroneously say above. Again – don’t like it? Tell your legislators. On 19.5 months, he’ll do a year and change.

  • Chris April 1, 2015 (9:47 pm)

    What is with these plea bargains? The punishment should not be less just because of a plea bargain, especially when there are so many crimes committed.

  • carole April 1, 2015 (9:59 pm)

    Good time was modified from one-third to half for all but the most serious crimes several years ago. Serious crimes are still fifteen percent.

  • Paul April 1, 2015 (10:32 pm)

    The whole point of a plea bargain is a reduced charge or sentence! If that wasn’t offered, nobody would take the bargain.

    We don’t pay enough taxes for enough prosecutors and public defenders to fully try every case that’s charged, so plea deals are the unfortunate result of that.

  • Eric April 2, 2015 (5:06 am)

    WTF?!! Why would you plea bargain a case when you got this POS on video committing the crime!

    Our system is bleeping broken! Look at this guy’s record and then what he’s done and he gets a freagin year and a half?!!! What a bleeping joke!!!

  • Leonard April 2, 2015 (7:34 am)

    Hey now, everyone deserves a second chance at stealing a car with a baby in it.

    Besides he _probably_ won’t do it again, right?

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