KENNEWICK - A former seasonal worker for the city of Kennewick admitted that while in a counseling session, he made threats about harming two city employees.
Norman Eugene Shankle, 60, pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to two counts of harassment, both gross misdemeanors.
He was sentenced to five days in jail with 360 days suspended and was given credit for already doing the time.
In his plea documents, Shankle acknowledged that he made statements "that were taken as threats by my counselor. Although I did not intend to or take any action, (Gary Deardorff and Phil Bleazard) could be placed in reasonable fear that my statements would be carried out."
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Shankle originally was charged with two counts of felony harassment, but prosecutors agreed to the reduction because he "suffers from mental illness which he was seeking treatment for at the time of this offense."
The agreed sentence requires Shankle to continue getting treatment and to regularly appear before the court and provide proof that he is complying with the treatment.
Shankle had been meeting with a Richland psychologist Sept. 22 for a state Department of Social and Health Services psychological evaluation when he made the statements.
Shankle "stated that when he is deemed terminal he will deliver Phil Bleazard and Gary Deardorff to hell for calling him a liar and hurting him on purpose," Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire wrote in court documents. "Norman wanted to take his revenge by shooting them at their place of work, and then shooting himself."
Shankle is an ex-seasonal parks employee who had not been hired back.
Deardorff is Kennewick's director of parks, streets and facilities. Bleazard is an accountant in the city's finance department, according to a city roster.
The psychologist immediately notified the Kennewick Police Department and the Crisis Response Unit about the alleged threats.
Crisis Response met with Shankle on Sept. 22 and involuntarily committed him to Lourdes Counseling Center, court documents said. He was released Oct. 7.
As a part of his sentence, Shankle was ordered not to possess a gun during his two-year supervision period. He also cannot have any contact with Deardorff and Bleazard for that time.