7-Eleven robber 'OK' with prison term
Robert Chaffin told the court he didn’t have a problem doing 10 years in prison for robbing the McMinnville 7-Eleven convenience store, punching a fellow Yamhill County Jail inmate and violating his probation on a previous conviction.
His court-appointed attorney, Mary Biel of McMinnville, said Chaffin had one of the “saddest, most difficult life stories” she had ever heard.
“I am speechless,” Circuit Judge Ronald Stone said, after hearing from Chaffin and Biel.
He sentenced the 23-year-old to 130 months — 10 years and one month — Monday afternoon after accepting guilty pleas to one count each of second-degree robbery, third-degree assault and a probation violation.
Chaffin was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault.
Biel, who has represented him multiple times in the past, negotiated the reductions with Eagan in exchange for the guilty pleas. In addition, Eagan agreed to dismissal of lesser counts of harassment, menacing and unlawful use of a weapon.
Chaffin got 70 months for committing the robbery, 30 months for committing the assault and 30 months for violating terms of his probation on a prior conviction for manufacture of an explosive device.
Capt. Matt Scales of the McMinnville police gave this account of the knifepoint robbery, which occurred in mid-December at 910 S.E. Baker St.:
Chaffin entered the store, located across from the Linfield College campus, about 12:30 a.m. Displaying a knife, he confronted the clerk and demanded money.
After the clerk complied, he fled on foot. The clerk immediately activated the store’s hold-up alarm and called 911.
Surveillance photos were shown to deputies at the county jail, and they identified Chaffin as the likely perpetrator. He already had warrants out for his arrest. He was high on methamphetamine when apprehended.
Chaffin had been in custody a few days when he got into a fight with fellow inmate Noah Norton. He punched Norton with his fist, fracturing an eye socket.
Norton sustained a brain injury in 2008. As a result, he suffers from blurred vision, headaches and intermittent speech problems. As a result of being punched by Chaffin, these conditions are likely to worsen, according to a probable cause affidavit.
It was the second time Chaffin had struck a fellow inmate, Eagan said. He also lashed out last October in the jail’s day room in an incident caught on video.
“He said the victim called him stupid,” she told the court. “He said he has an anger problem.”
Eagan said Chaffin had priors for fourth-degree assault, harassment and fourth-degree assault, and reckless endangering, unlawful manufacture of a destructive device and possession of a destructive device, stemming from three cases.
“He built an IED in November 2012,” she told the court. When it went off, she said, “It mangled his hand. A friend was not injured.”
Eagan said Chaffin wrote her a three-page letter on sentencing issues. While he admitted guilt for past actions, she said, he expressed little remorse and said he doubted prison time was going to get him on a better track.
“I’m OK with going to prison,” he said. “Ten years is OK.
“I don’t have to worry about anything when I’m there. What I worry about is when I get out.”
Biel said he had been shuffled from one foster home to another as a youth. As a result, she said, he had developed anger issues.
He probably suffers from attachment disorder as well, she said. That’s a term used to describe mood, behavior and social relationship challenges arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregiving figures in early childhood.
Biel went on to tell the court, “He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, is on five medications, feels like everyone is out to get him, is suicidal and has mood swings.
“He believes life is hopeless, yet wants to be rehabilitated and wants a regular life.”
Stone said there is always hope. “You’re a young man,” he told Chaffin, “and your alcohol, drug and mental health issues are treatable.”