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Woman enters Alford plea in shooting incident

WALLA WALLA, Washington – A Walla Walla woman charged with five counts of reckless endangerment and one count of third-degree assault after prosecutors say she recklessly fired a shot towards a young paperboy last November, entered an Alford plea Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

For sentencing purposes, an Alford plea is the same as pleading guilty. In entering the plea, the defendant does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence, but the defendant also admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would likely persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to court documents, Stephanie Van Cleef, 38, heard a bang at her front door on Stoneyhaven Lane, so she armed herself with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, opened the door and allegedly fired a round in the direction of the 13-year-old paperboy.

The single round missed the paper boy, hitting a home across the street which was occupied by four people. Nobody was injured.

Van Cleef is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.

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