Former UW basketball player Doug Wrenn sentenced to 12 months in prison
Wrenn maintains his innocence despite being convicted on two counts of second-degree assault
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Former Washington basketball player Doug Wrenn was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison Friday morning for threatening two people with a handgun during a March 2008 road-rage incident in Bellevue.
Wrenn said he was prepared to go to jail but maintained his innocence despite being convicted on two counts of second-degree assault.
"I'm an innocent man," he said, standing in front of a small contingent of family and friends. "I didn't do anything wrong. I'm sorry all this took place, but ... an innocent man is going to go to prison."
King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers said he had little discretion on sentencing guidelines, acknowledging deputy prosecuting attorney Val Ritchie recommended a 14-month sentence.
"Our goal in this case as in every case is to seek justice," Ritchie said. "We feel the unanimous verdict of the jury was proper and justice was served."
Friday's sentencing concluded the latest chapter in a yearlong ordeal for Wrenn, which began shortly after 6 p.m. on March 19, 2008, when a man and woman told Bellevue police he drove behind their car while stopped at the intersection of 116th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 4th Street.
When the woman didn't move at a green light, Wrenn repeatedly honked his horn, she said in court documents. The woman moved into the right lane before Wrenn pulled up alongside her car. He rolled down his passenger's window, began yelling and pointed a handgun at them before driving off.
Wrenn, a registered gun owner, admitted he engaged in a verbal confrontation, but said there wasn't a gun in his car. He said he was pointing a cellphone; police discovered a .40 caliber Beretta handgun inside his apartment several minutes after the incident.
After nine days of trial testimony, a 12-member jury found Wrenn guilty on Feb. 6, but he remained free on $30,000 bail due to several continuances before sentencing.
Wrenn filed a motion for a new trial citing jury misconduct, improper jury selection and insufficient probable cause for his arrest. Rogers, however, denied the motions and listened to tearful testimony from Wrenn's mother, Dora, and sister, Deloris Marks, before sentencing.
"From the very onset of this little adventure, I've had strong feelings of injustice," Dora Wrenn said. "This is not a case of justice, it is about the law."
Said Marks: "I hope that you perceive my brother as not being a threat to the community."
Wrenn, who arrived to court wearing a black pinstriped suit, said he believed his reputation as a brash basketball player unfairly influenced the actions of the Bellevue police and county prosecutors.
"It seems I'm not catching a break up here," he said.
After sentencing, Wrenn's attorney, Ali Nakkour, filed an appeal and Rogers granted a $250,000 bond for appeal. Dora Wrenn said the family plans to post $25,000 for his release next week.
"If we can get this appeal to go through, I'm confident the outcome will be different," Marks said.
Wrenn, who attended O'Dea High School, played two seasons at UW.
As a sophomore he averaged 19.5 points and was voted first-team All-Pac-10 by conference coaches after the 2001-02 season. His scoring average dipped to 12.7 points the next season under first-year coach Lorenzo Romar, and Wrenn chose to forego his senior season to declare for the NBA draft.
Undrafted, he played several years in minor basketball leagues and overseas. Wrenn last played in South Korea in December 2007.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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