Bellingham man sentenced to 20 years for kidnapping, assault

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 10, 2013 

A Bellingham man who went on a 34-hour crime spree that included kidnapping, burglary and assault was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday, July 9.

James Michael Craver, 28, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree attempted kidnapping and second-degree vehicle prowling, all of which happened over the course of a day and a half last December.

It began when Craver broke into his ex-girlfriend's mobile home in Everson at 1 a.m. Dec. 11. They had broken up three years before, and she had recently refused his request to get back together, according to charging documents. He held the woman and her boyfriend at knifepoint in a bedroom for more than two hours.

During that time, he told them that he'd kill anyone else who came in the room, including children who were in the home. After the woman asked him to leave, Craver pushed her into a corner and stabbed her in the left forearm, leaving a small puncture wound.

When he heard an alarm clock ringing in another room, Craver jumped out the bedroom window. The couple called 911, but deputies couldn't find him.

The next day, a Whatcom Community College student was leaving class when he saw a man - later identified as Craver - going through items in the cab of his truck. The victim chased Craver away from his truck and saw him trying to carjack occupied cars while armed with a knife, according to court records.

After trying other cars, Craver ran to a white Volkswagen Jetta stopped at Westerly Road and Eliza Avenue. He told the driver he had a gun and forced her to drive him into north Whatcom County and back.

Craver was arrested the following morning, when a corrections deputy saw him walking on Pacific Street in broad daylight. The deputy recognized him from jail.

Craver was tearful in Whatcom County Superior Court Tuesday, when he told Judge Charles Snyder that he knew he needed to figure out a way to stay on his mental health medication and avoid drugs.

"I don't mean to do the things I do," he said. "I really don't. I just get lost."

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher Blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow us on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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