22-year sentence for assaulting police was miscalculated, attorneys say

Jake Van Wyk: Sentenced to 22 years in 2015 assault on two Wenatchee police officers.

WENATCHEE — A man serving 22 years in prison for assaulting two Wenatchee police officers was apparently sentenced to less time than he should have received.

In 2015 Jake Van Wyk, now 37, broke the wrist of one officer and shot another in the eye with her own Taser when they confronted him for breaking into an abandoned house. He pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault and one of attempting to disarm a police officer, and has been in state prison ever since.

But lawyers recently found Van Wyk’s offender score — the numerical formula that determines the length of a criminal sentence — was calculated too low. In a Jan. 12 hearing in Chelan County Superior Court, Van Wyk told Judge Travis Brandt he might seek to withdraw his plea and ask for a trial.

Van Wyk, who had long struggled with mental illness and methamphetamine abuse, was trespassing in an abandoned house in the 400 block of South Chelan Avenue in May 2015 when Sgt. Keith Kellogg and Officer Tracy Valdez arrived. Van Wyk tried to seize Kellogg’s handgun from its holster, breaking Kellogg’s right wrist in the process, and caused Valdez’s Taser to discharge into her eye before he was overpowered.

Chelan County prosecutors and Van Wyk’s court-appointed attorney agreed to recommend the 22-year sentence after Van Wyk pleaded guilty in 2016. But that sentence was based on a miscalculated offender score that Brandt acknowledged was much lower than it should have been, based on his conviction.

Another hearing on the issue is scheduled for Feb. 23. Attorneys must present case law to Brandt before then on whether Van Wyk should be allowed to withdraw his plea. He remains in custody.