SPOKANE, Wash. - Former Spokane County deputy prosecutor Marriya Wright pleaded guilty Tuesday to rendering criminal assistance to a convicted felon with outstanding warrants.
Wright helped Mathew Baumrucker – who had a warrant for his arrest – evade police and later visited him at the Spokane County Jail.
There was the very real possibility that Wright could have ended up in jail with the man she was trying to steer straight, however she pleaded guilty Tuesday morning and, with the help of her friends and attorney, convinced the judge that helping Baumrucker escape a police dragnet was a one-time bad decision based on her belief that Baumrucker could be rehabilitated.
Wright's faith told her not to judge people based on their appearance and so she looked passed the fact that Baumrucker had the word criminal tattooed on his forehead.
She invited the long-time criminal to her church, and one night when police were trying to take Baumrucker into custody Wright drove to a nearby convenience store and picked him up.
The move outraged the officers, who felt Wright had betrayed the criminal justice system, but Tuesday in court Wright explained she was just trying to help Baumrucker get his legal affairs back on track.
"Knowing what I know now I would have made different choices, but again I don't believe anyone is without worth, I don't believe anyone is without value, including Mr. Baumrucker," she said.
Prosecutors recommended one year of probation but no jail time based on her guilty plea for rendering criminal assistance. The judge, who said Wright should have followed a higher standard as a deputy prosecutor and not given a wanted criminal assistance, fined her, required her to complete 60 hours of community service and gave her a one-year suspended sentence.
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