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Woman brandished knife, stole car

A homeless woman pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and unauthorized use of a vehicle after brandishing a knife and stealing a car near Union Park in Medford.

Samantha Bobbie Rae Harmon, 24, was sentenced to probation and 60 days in the Jackson County Jail, but will get credit for the time she served while awaiting the outcome of her case. She has been lodged since June on $100,000 bail.

However, if Harmon fails to obey any conditions of her probation, she will be sent to prison for three years.

"You're walking on a thin layer of ice," warned Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Barnack.

He added, "I would recommend you fly right."

A first-degree robbery charge was dismissed in a plea agreement.

The second-degree robbery charge still carried a potential sentence of almost six years in prison under Oregon's tough-on-crime Measure 11 mandatory-minimum sentencing requirements, but Harmon was allowed to use a "safety valve" from the requirements because no one was injured. 

According to a probable cause affidavit, a man was giving Harmon a ride when she asked him to pull into a parking lot at Union Park. She located a knife in his glove box and began stabbing the dashboard and door.

The man said Harmon then put the knife within inches of him and told him to get out of the car. He grabbed his phone and exited the vehicle, and she drove away. The man was about to call 911 when he saw Harmon driving back past him with damage to the vehicle from having hit something, the affidavit said.

Police recovered the stolen vehicle near the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Hamilton Street. An officer contacting potential witnesses interviewed a neighbor, who said Harmon ran into her house and refused to leave. The homeowner said she had to tell Harmon to leave several times before she would leave the house, the affidavit said.

Harmon's defense attorney, Paul Moser, said Harmon has benefited from her time in jail following her arrest.

"This incident has allowed Ms. Harmon to regain her sobriety after years of drug use," Moser said.

Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Samantha Harmon