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Man faces prison after firearm assault
"An Oak Harbor man who pointed a loaded gun at two South Whidbey teens will probably spend at least three years in prison.Harvey Baker, 53, of Oak Harbor pointed his 9 mm pistol at Donald Duval, 19, and Duval's 15-year-old friend on June 16, 1999, and threatened to kill the pair while they were at Duval's Lakeside Drive, Langley, home. The act drew a jury conviction for Baker on May 24 in Island County Court for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.According to Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks, Baker made his threats while trying to find his minor daughter, who had been at Duval's house the afternoon of June 16. Baker's then-estranged wife had given the daughter permission to spend time at the house. At about 5 p.m., Baker showed up at the home to pick up his daughter. He confronted Duval alone at first, showing him a clip of ammunition, which he loaded into the pistol in front of the young man. He then told Duval to produce his daughter and informed him that he would return to the house five minutes later.When Baker came back, his daughter was not there. He then pointed the gun at Duval and another teenager and threatened to waste them. He left shortly thereafter. While driving away from the house, he saw his daughter walking along the road. He told her to get in the car, then took her to Duval's house, where she picked up a duffle bag of her possessions. A few minutes later, Island County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Crownover stopped Duval and arrested him for suspected assault.Testifying in Island County Superior Court during Baker's three-day trial last month, Crownover said Baker smelled of alcohol at the time of the arrest. He also noted that he found the 9 mm pistol in Baker's car. It was loaded and had a bullet in the firing chamber.Baker did have some testimony given in his favor. A 26-year Navy veteran, Baker now works for the Island County Housing Authority as a maintenance supervisor at Langley's Brookhaven public housing project. Several Brookhaven residents vouched for Baker as being a man of character.At trial, Baker denied pointing his pistol at anyone, but did admit to bringing it to the house to intimidate the residents.Baker's conviction for the assault and for using a deadly weapon makes it almost certain that he will go to prison for at least three years, according to Banks, the prosecutor. While the standard sentence for second-degree assault is three to nine months, Baker's use of the pistol will require Judge Alan Hancock to sentence him for an additional, mandatory three years in close confinement. That requirement comes out of a state voter's initiative dubbed Hard Time for Armed Crime.Baker's sentencing hearing was scheduled for Friday, but Island County deputy prosecutor Mike Henegen said he doubted Baker would be sentenced so quickly. He said Baker's attorney, Mount Vernon's Richard Weyrich, planned to ask for a new trial for his client. Reporter Jessie Stensland contributed to this story. "