Union-Bulletin Court Report

A Walla Walla woman was sentenced Wednesday for shooting in the direction of a newspaper carrier in November.

Stephanie J. Van Cleef, 38, was charged with third-degree assault and five counts of reckless endangerment. She said she thought someone was breaking into her home on Stoney Haven Lane and Sumach Street when she shot at or in the direction of a young newspaper carrier Nov. 20, 2018, according to records. In March, she entered an Alford plea, which means she did not admit guilt but agreed the prosecution had sufficient evidence to convict her.

Her sentence included nine months in jail beginning July 15 with two months suspended contingent on supervision requirements, as well as 240 community service hours, one year of community custody, mental health treatment, no firearm possession and $2,292.35 in fines, fees and restitution. She was allowed work release.

Police responded to a burglary report at about 5 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2018, records stated. Van Cleef told police she heard a loud bang on the door, then armed herself before opening the door and firing one round. Evidence was consistent with her story, according to records, and police arrested her.

The shot hit the home of the paper carrier’s uncle, Jon Loney, who lives across the street, Loney told the Union-Bulletin.

No one was injured, he said, but the bullet cut through his son’s bedroom window, through the walls and into the master bedroom, Loney said.

The 13-year-old paper carrier quit his job of more than a year after the shooting, according to the boy’s father.

Emily Thornton can be reached at emilythornton@wwub.com or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.

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