Crime

Bellingham felon gets prison for break-in where he held stranger hostage at knifepoint

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A Bellingham man must serve 6 1/4 years in prison for breaking into an apartment, holding a tenant hostage at knifepoint for two hours, and calling police from inside a bank at 1 a.m. to turn himself in.

Koyla Daughs, 27, pleaded guilty to four felonies Thursday for his actions on Jan. 11, 2016.

That night a man, 68, answered a knock at his East Holly Street apartment around 9:30 to a stranger who shoved the door wide open, according to charging papers. The stranger, later identified as Daughs, punched him in the face and kept pushing his way into apartment. In the kitchen Daughs grabbed a large metal flashlight and a kitchen knife with a 5-inch blade.

He swung the flashlight at the tenant, but missed. He pointed the knife at the tenant and ordered him to sit down. So the man sat there for two hours. At times Daughs held the knife within an inch of the man’s throat and threatened to stab him if he made noise. He took the man’s wallet and $595 in cash that was later recovered.

Around midnight Daughs put down the knife and flashlight and moved toward the bathroom. The tenant rushed to the door, and the two men fought. Daughs ran down the street, and the man called 911.

A half-hour later police took a phone call from Key Bank on Lakeway Drive.

“I’m the bad guy,” the caller said. “I’m done with life.”

Police found the glass of the bank’s front door had been shattered. From inside the bank Daughs asked police to flash their red and blue lights to prove they were cops. Once he surrendered, he said he had taken methamphetamine that day.

Months later Daughs broke a window and damaged a sink in his jail cell. He told a corrections deputy he did it to get his attention. The damage cost more than $750, the threshold for it to be a felony property crime, according to charging papers.

On Thursday Daughs pleaded guilty to residential burglary, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery, and unlawful imprisonment for the break-ins. He admitted to second-degree malicious mischief for damage to the jail.

Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced Daughs to six years and three months in prison, as suggested by a plea deal.

Daughs’ criminal record now lists 13 felony convictions: drug possession, violating domestic violence no-contact orders, harassment, bail jumping, and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Daughs has spent much of his adult life behind bars. His most recent stint in prison was a 14-month sentence for a high-speed chase through western Whatcom County. He was released in November 2015, a couple of months before the break-in on Holly Street.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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