Home invader gets 10 years
Collins sentenced the 29-year-old Lafayette resident Monday morning in Yamhill County Circuit Court for his role in an October home invasion in which 49-year-old Kerry Kinion and his 22-year-old son, Logan, were severely beaten.
Thornton pleaded guilty to one count each of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and second-degree assault, a lesser included charge to first-degree assault, all felonies. In exchange, multiple counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon were dismissed.
The plea agreement was negotiated by prosecutor Ladd Wiles and Thornton’s court-appointed attorney, Mary Biel of McMinnville. It gave Collins the latitude to send Thornton to prison for more than 20 years.
Collins also ordered Thornton will serve 36 months on post-prison supervision upon completion of his sentence. He declared Thornton ineligible for treatment programs serving to reduce his sentence.
According to Wiles, Thornton has a significant criminal history, dating back to his juvenile years, with numerous convictions. In fact, he said Thornton was under supervision at the time of the incident.
Biel said her client never intended for the incident to escalate. But Collins said entering the Northwest Fifth Street home with two other armed men set the stage.
Co-defendant Todd Shelton, 30, also of Lafayette, was charged with the same 14 offenses. He was also scheduled to enter a plea and undergo sentencing Monday morning, but his court-appointed attorney, Carol Fredrick of McMinnville, asked Collins to defer to Judge Cal Tichenor, who oversaw plea negotiations in the case, and Collins agreed.
Tichenor will pronounce sentence on Shelton at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Co-defendant, Jose “Joey” Luis Diosdado, 23, of McMinnville, had a trial report conference scheduled Monday afternoon. His arrest came later, so his case is not as far along.
During interrogation by police detectives, Thornton denied being involved. He told detectives he wouldn’t admit it even if he had.
Investigators never established a motive, but a relative told them Thornton believed the victims had ripped off one of his friends in a drug deal, and was bent on settling the score. The relative said he had heard that directly from Thornton.
The intruders struck the elder Kinion with a hammer, fracturing one of his eye sockets. They struck the younger Kinion with a wrench, inflicting head cuts requiring 15 staples.
Detective Toby Carver detailed the attack this way in a probable cause affidavit:
About 11 p.m., Logan heard a knock on the front door of the residence. When Kerry answered the door, a commotion ensued.
Believing his father was under attack, Logan grabbed a knife from a bedroom nightstand and headed for the living room. He saw three adult males hovering over Kerry and immediately set out to “save my dad’s life.”
Thornton, who was wielding the hammer, had Kerry pinned down. The other two men advanced on Logan, and Shelton assaulted him with a wrench.
Logan said he heard one of them tell his dad, “Give me your money.”
Kerry was in a bedroom when he heard the knock and went to answer. He was confronted by a stranger with a large tattoo on the side of his neck — a description matching Thornton — and the stranger lashed out with a hammer.
Kerry sustained cuts on his right forearm and hand while pinned to the floor. He said it felt as if he was being cut with a knife, though he never saw one.
The attacker demanded money, but Kerry managed to get to his feet and flee out the front door.
Blood was found on both the interior and exterior of the home.
Two days later, Logan identified Thornton and Shelton as two of his attackers. He told detective Bill Christensen that Shelton had hit him with a wrench and Thornton had hit his father with a hammer.
The next day, Kerry positively identified Thornton as the man who struck him with the hammer.
Thornton’s father told them he encountered Shelton about a week after the incident and asked him about some visible injuries. He said Shelton indicated they stemmed from an incident he and Thornton had gotten into in McMinnville.
Another relative told police Thornton had been out to avenge a drug ripoff. That relative also told them Thornton was planning to flee the state, which led investigators to call in federal marshals.