An Acme man was sentenced Tuesday, July 24, to more than 20 years in prison for the 2009 shooting of a man who was dating his ex-girlfriend.
Noah Wilhelm, 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault in June in Whatcom County Superior Court. He was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years and six months in prison.
In December 2009, Wilhelm shot Kyle Brown in the chest, back and shoulder with a .357 revolver in front of Brown's Bellingham apartment.
Wilhelm had met with Brown the week before and told him he didn't want Brown seeing Wilhelm's ex-girlfriend, Samantha Muhlbach, according to court documents. He showed Brown a gun and said there would be repercussions if the two dated.
On the day of the shooting, Wilhelm knocked on several doors before finding Brown's Racine Street apartment. Muhlbach was there at the time, and she patted Wilhelm down for weapons before she went to get Brown to come outside. Wilhelm then got his gun out of his car.
When Brown came outside, they talked briefly before Wilhelm pulled out the gun and told Brown to get in the trunk of his car. As Brown tried to back away, Wilhelm shot him three times and then drove off.
He fled to his native Acme Valley, stole a jeep and drove to Nevada, eluding police for 10 days before turning himself in.
Brown and Muhlbach both spoke at Wilhelm's sentencing and talked about how the shooting has changed their lives. Brown had been set to go into bootcamp for the Navy but couldn't with his injuries. Muhlbach moved hundreds of miles away to escape the stigma of being involved and the memories of the incident. Both felt like their lives had been put on hold during the long trial process and were relieved to see it come to an end.
Wilhelm's parents asked the court for mercy and leniency in the sentencing, describing the shooting as an out-of-character breakdown for an otherwise kind man.
Before receiving his sentence, Wilhelm spoke solemnly to the court, apologizing to Brown and Muhlbach and their families for the emotional and physical pain he'd caused. He said he hoped they'd be able to move on as best they could.
"I am truly sorry for what I did," he said. "I'd take it all back in a heartbeat if I could."
Judge Ira Uhrig upheld the recommendation from the defense and prosecution, giving Wilhelm a sentence that was just slightly over the midpoint of sentencing guidelines for his crimes. He told the victims to do whatever it takes to get beyond what had happened to them.
Reach ZOE FRALEY at email@example.com or call 756-2803.