Former Skagit County sheriff’s deputy pleads guilty to assault

A former Skagit County sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a firearm Thursday, days before he would have stood trial on charges related to an alleged domestic violence incident.

Russell Christopher Whitmore, 34, reportedly choked his wife during an argument, leaving bruises that were visible a week later.

Court documents state that during the incident, he also threatened to shoot himself and his wife with a handgun.

In court Thursday, Whitmore said he has no memory of the event in question, but felt he would likely be found guilty if the case went to trial.

Whitmore was arrested Jan. 28 and was first charged in Skagit County Superior Court in March with two counts of unlawful imprisonment, one count of second-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault with a weapon.

Because of Whitmore’s plea, the remaining charges against him were dropped.

Whitmore’s competency was brought into question after a Feb. 10 suicide attempt at Island County Jail reportedly left him with diminished mental capabilities.

After a 90-day restoration period in which Western State Hospital doctors reported his condition was improving – but not to the point of competency – Judge Brian Stiles ordered Whitmore to return to Western State for another 90 days.

An Oct. 5 report completed by Western State staff determined Whitmore’s condition had improved and that he now “possesses the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and the capacity to rationally assist in his own defense,” according to the report.

His sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 13.