Crime

Bellingham man gets 23 years for sexually motivated burglaries

A high-risk sex offender must serve 23 years in prison for breaking into two Bellingham homes to masturbate in front of a stranger and to sexually touch a young man.

Matthew Luke Humphreys, 32, a Level III sex offender, had been released from a state prison in Monroe on Oct. 1. The next morning, around 3 a.m. on a Friday, he opened the unlocked door of a stranger’s apartment in the 1000 block of York Street in Bellingham.

The resident, a 62-year-old woman, ordered Humphreys to leave. Humphreys rifled through the woman’s DVD collection and tried to play something, according to court records. Then he sat down on a chair, pulled down his gray sweatpants and masturbated. Humphreys fled when the woman called 911.

Forty minutes later, as patrol officers searched the neighborhood, Humphreys broke into a house on Gladstone Street that’s about 500 feet west of the York Street apartment. He crept into the bedroom of a teenage college student and knelt down as he fondled the young man’s genitals. The teen, terrified, pretended to be asleep.

Before he left, Humphreys rummaged through the bedroom and stole a backpack, keys, an ID card and a debit card. The young man dialed 911 around 4 a.m.

Hours later Humphreys tried to use the teen’s debit card at a gallery in the 300 block of West Holly Street. He didn’t know the pin number. Uniformed police officers walked up to him minutes later, and once Humphreys saw them he ran. Police caught him kneeling behind a trash bin after a foot chase of about a quarter-mile.

Humphreys — who has drop tattoos on his face and a gang name, Smokey, tattooed across his chest — was wearing the same clothes described by the woman on York. Retracing the path of the chase, police found a half-gram of meth and things that belonged to the teen on Gladstone: a driver’s license, an ID card, a debit card and keys.

Court records show Humphreys has a history of sex crimes dating back to 1999, when he sexually assaulted a sleeping girl. A criminal history in his case file stretches on for 16 pages: indecent liberties for the sexual assault of a neighbor in her 50s; failing to register as a sex offender; theft of a tow truck; attempting to elude police in a stolen car; six counts of driving with a suspended license; possession of methamphetamine, morphine and cocaine; five counts of disorderly conduct; criminal trespassing; domestic violence assault; violating a domestic violence no-contact order; and once breaking into a home on Haxton Way, when he was already excluded from the Lummi Reservation, to assault a resident with a metal chain.

Most of those offenses are related to drugs and alcohol.

He had been classified as a Level III sex offender, the most likely kind to reoffend.

He’d been taken to prison a few times in recent years for violating probation. He failed to charge his GPS monitor in July, and that’s why he was behind bars in early October. He recalled being in Everett on the day of his release from prison, and he recalled being tackled by police the next day, but nothing in between, according to his statement to a Department of Corrections evaluator.

Humphreys admitted guilt in January to burglary in the first degree, residential burglary and felony indecent exposure, in a plea deal brokered by Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Quinn and Deputy Public Defender Darrin Hall.

If he’d been convicted of the other charges, he faced up to life in prison, Hall noted.

The deal suggested a consecutive sentence for the three crimes, totaling 23 years and two months. In prison Humphreys must get sex offender and mental health treatment.

Neither victim spoke at the sentencing hearing on Thursday, March 24.

Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis said she felt “very comfortable” handing down an exceptional sentence.

Humphreys told the judge he had nothing to say.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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