Earlier this week, we reported that it appeared a plea bargain was in the works for Ryan Cox, the 40-year-old repeat offender who’s been in jail since his arrest for stabbing a man in Gatewood almost a year and a half ago. (Our report on the August 2017 charges details what the victim told police and what they found the night of the crime.) Today, court documents confirm a plea agreement, but with a twist: Cox has pleaded guilty to not a reduced charge, but an upgraded charge. He was originally charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon. The amended version of that charge to which he pleaded guilty Thursday has an additional enhancement (“aggravating circumstance” under state law), that “… the injuries of the victim of the current offense substantially exceeded the level of bodily harm necessary to satisfy the elements of the crime.” While the documents note that the “standard” sentencing range for second-degree assault is six to 12 months, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending what is categorized in court documents as an “exceptional sentence” – four years in prison, plus the 12-month consecutive sentence for use of a deadly weapon. Cox’s sentencing hearing is set for two weeks from today, 1 pm Friday, February 8th, before King County Superior Court Judge Susan Amini, who has final say on the sentence.
BACKSTORY: While Cox has a long criminal history, dating back to age 17, his convictions are almost all misdemeanors, including the homophobic-graffiti vandalism that first brought him to public attention in 2009. His only felony conviction was the result of a 2013 plea bargain in an assault/malicious harassment incident in 2012. The rest of his long involvement with the criminal-justice and mental-health systems is detailed in this WSB story from the day after the 2017 stabbing.