Two women who were held at gunpoint and tied in zip ties during a 2012 home invasion robbery in Rochester appeared in an Olympia courtroom Tuesday to tell their attacker that they forgive him.
A judge sentenced the defendant, Timothy Dopp, 39, to 17 months in prison in connection with the home invasion robbery. The sentence was handed down as recommended by a prosecutor and Dopp's defense attorney as part of a plea deal.
The women, one of whom was punched repeatedly in the face by Dopp during the robbery, both said in court that the terrifying experience scared them enough so that they stopped using methamphetamine and are now happily sober.
They told Dopp that they hope he does the same, and Dopp's eyes appeared to well up with tears as they encouraged him to get sober and change his life in Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor's courtroom.
"I know you didn't come there to hurt me," one of the women told Dopp. "I know you came there because of the drugs...Life in recovery is excellent. Truly, from one human being to another, get help."
The woman went so far as to say "thank you, in a way," because without the experience of being robbed at gunpoint, she said she does not think she would have gotten clean.
Tabor sentenced Dopp to 17 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, residential burglary and motor vehicle theft. Tabor asked Dopp's victims if they wanted to address the court prior to sentencing, and instead of condemning Dopp, said they hope he turns his life around.
"This is somewhat an unusual circumstance to see two victims stand here and say that they want the best for you," Tabor said. Tabor added that he understands that Dopp's addiction to methamphetamine might have contributed to the crime, but it is not an excuse.
"Coming to someone's home and pointing a weapon at them and tying them in flexicuffs just chills me to the bone," Tabor said.
Tabor is requiring Dopp to complete drug treatment as part of his sentence. "There is for anyone, a chance to do better, to learn from one's mistakes," Tabor said.
The other female victim in the case stood side-by-side with her former roommate in court Tuesday. She carried in her arms child she has had since getting sober.
"I know there's a good man inside of you," she told Dopp. "I just hope that you don't think you got lucky and go do it again."
Later, outside court, the women said that they did not know Dopp prior to him robbing them at gunpoint. But they said they later learned that Dopp had robbed them because he was desperate for drugs, and he had learned from someone else that they had drugs in their home.
According to court papers, in addition to methamphetamine, Dopp stole laptops, cash, jewelry and a vehicle from the residence during the the May 25, 2012 home invasion robbery. He pointed a gun at the women, and tied their wrists and ankles in zip ties, court papers state.
In September 2012, a Thurston County sheriff's detective identified Dopp as a suspect from a confidential informant, court papers state. Dopp was arrested in October 2012, in Pocatello, Idaho. The victims later identified Dopp as the person responsible for robbing them at gunpoint.
Dopp has a wife and child, according to court papers. He has a prior felony conviction out of Idaho. Dopp's victims told Dopp in court to get clean and change his life around for the sake of his wife and child.
"If we can pull out, we think anyone can," the first victim said. "...Go home and be a dad, stop running amok."
Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers said Tuesday that with time served, Dopp may serve an additional eight months in prison.
Dopp seemed moved by the women's message of forgiveness. "I'm sorry," he said in court, turning to address his victims.
"We accept," said one. "You're forgiven," said the other.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org