BELLINGHAM - A bad tenant who left a sledgehammer stuck in the wall of his rented house was sentenced Thursday, Dec. 20, to three months in jail after a pre-eviction party ended with $50,000 in property damage.
Brian Robert King, 26, was given notice to move out by Oct. 29, 2011, because he and his housemate didn't pay rent for their home in the 1200 block of East Maryland Street, according to court records.
Two days before the eviction, a neighbor saw King shattering bottles against the house and overheard him saying he wanted to wreck the place. After he was confronted, King assured the neighbor he would clean up after himself.
King left for a bit, then came back with a half dozen friends. They went inside and made loud "thumping and banging sounds" for hours, according to charging documents filed by Deputy Prosecutor Elizabeth Gallery.
By 9 p.m., the group was tearing apart the front porch. Police were called to the scene. Officers asked King about the "massive damage" to the home.
"King simply responded that he chose to live that way," Gallery wrote.
The landlord showed up on the eviction date to prepare the home for new renters but found the porch and every room destroyed. A sledgehammer was still stuck in a living room wall. The repair bill was estimated at $50,000. The home was in good condition when King moved in.
King pleaded guilty Thursday to malicious mischief in the first degree. Attorneys noted he was very drunk on the night of the crime. King must pay for repairs, but the exact bill will be fixed later.
Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder said he hopes this is a good enough incentive for King to stop drinking. King told the judge he has since enrolled in a support group for alcoholics.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 715-2276.