Prosecutors charge alleged Greenbank burglar

A Coupeville resident accused of breaking a homeowner’s back during a July 27 burglary and then fleeing to Canada was charged recently, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged Paul Schmakeit, 20, in Island County Superior Court with burglary in the first-degree and assault in the first degree.

He’s being held in jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

If convicted of the charges, Schmakeit could face up to two years and 10 months in prison under the standard sentencing range.

In addition, he’s facing charges in Canada.

Schmakeit was arrested by Canadian authorities at the Sumas border after trying to avoid a customs inspection by speeding away while armed with a handgun, according to the report by Detective James Scott.

The victim of the burglary, Dennis Phillips, 68, was confronted by a man — later identified as Schmakeit — inside his house, the report states.

Phillips grabbed a shovel and went after the intruder. He later told detectives that Schmakeit tackled him to the ground, landing on top of him, the deputy’s report states.

Phillips continued to fight, wrapping his arms around the man and yelling, “You broke my back.” Schmakeit tried to get away and stuffed handfuls of grass into Phillips’ mouth. Phillips bit his finger; Schmakeit fled into the woods.

Phillips was unable to move or feel his legs and was on his back for about five hours until a friend rescued him and called the police. He suffered from a prior back injury and was left paralyzed by the assault, according to the report.

The deputies found a small growing room for medicinal marijuana in the house. The detectives believe the burglar may have been after the pot, according to the sheriff’s office.