BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man's effort to withdraw his guilty plea in an attempted murder case - because he thought 15 years in prison sounded like "too much time" - has been denied in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Warren Denell Willis, 33, agreed to an exceptional sentence in December after admitting to first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault for breaking into his ex-girlfriend's house on West Smith Road on the morning of June 24, 2012, and attacking two people.
Several residents in the home heard loud banging on the front door at 8 a.m. Eventually, the door busted open and Willis shoved a woman down, demanding to know where his ex-girlfriend was.
He found his former girlfriend, punched her, choked her, smacked her head with a pan and smashed her face several times on a kitchen counter - all while shouting, "You could have told me!" and asking if she was pregnant.
Willis grabbed a knife. He stabbed at a man in the house, but the victim parried the blade with a pan. Willis told his ex she had pretty eyes, then said he'd gouge them out so he could "take them with him," according to court records. He stabbed her repeatedly in the face and arms. She survived.
It took a stun gun and several blows from a metal pot to get him to stop the assault. Prosecutors later charged Willis with attempted first-degree murder and several counts of assault.
After Willis pleaded guilty to the lesser charges, his lawyer, Starck Follis, got a call from Willis saying he "wanted to take the plea back." He claimed he felt pressured into accepting the plea deal, according to court documents filed by Follis. Willis, however, had signed court paperwork that said he understood the consequences of admitting guilt.
Superior Court Judge Ira Uhrig denied the motion last week, confirming the sentence of 15 years behind bars.
Willis had six prior felonies on his record: drug crimes, violations of protection orders, harassment and third-degree assault.