BELLINGHAM - A Blaine man was sentenced to 22 years in prison Thursday, Dec. 13, after pleading guilty to six counts of robbery, six counts of kidnapping, rioting in jail and two other felonies.
Ananda Sativa Eichhorn, 36, chose not to address the court at his Thursday hearing before Superior Court Judge Ira Uhrig, but his defense attorney said he had expressed "serious remorse" for his crimes. Many of his violent felonies were committed so he could support his drug habit, said Public Defender Hilary Boyd.
"It's not every day I stand here and ask the court to accept a 22-year agreement," Boyd said.
But Eichhorn's crimes, she explained, were textbook examples of "why people want drugs to be illegal." And if the cases went to trial, he could face a far stiffer sentence.
Just after midnight May 29, Eichhorn broke into a Bellingham house in the 2800 block of St. Clair Street wearing a white sweatshirt and a mask, according to court records. Along with another masked man - identified by prosecutors as Brandon Keck, 21 - he rounded up five people inside and, at rifle-point, bound their hands with duct tape near the top of the stairs. Several victims were punched and left with bleeding and swollen faces.
But a sixth victim, a 20-year-old man, hid and called 911. He crept out a bedroom window to safety.
In the meantime Eichhorn stood guard over the victims with the .22-caliber rifle. Keck ransacked the home of electronics, credit cards, cash, wallets and cell phones, according to charging documents.
Police caught Eichhorn coming out the front door with bags full of stolen goods. He struggled, but was arrested and booked into jail.
Keck was arrested, too. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a trial date.
In October, Eichhorn was in cell block D of Whatcom County Jail when he instigated a riot. He and four other high-risk inmates caused thousands of dollars in damage by ripping off a metal vent and smashing it against reinforced glass windows, according to the charges. The inmates became mad when a lockdown during a roll call took too long for their liking.
Eichhorn told a jail guard: "This is what happens when you mess with our time," according to court records.
Now Eichhorn faces a sentence of 22 years, two months and 20 days behind bars. He was convicted of burglary, robbery, kidnapping, malicious mischief and the riot in jail.
In his plea deal, five cases against him for nonviolent crimes were dismissed: several counts of drug possession and two separate theft cases.
Eichhorn had past convictions for robbing a Bellingham grocery store and having a stolen new Kia Forte that was taken from an auto dealership.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 715-2276.